The refugee issue is on the table and the parties will negotiate it

The Right of Return Versus a New Home in a Settlement

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Gershon Baskin feels that Jews can apply to be citizens of Palestine, under Palestinian law and sovereignty.

Traveling around the West Bank in the last days I would like to propose an idea – mainly to Palestinian refugees. If I were a “refugee” or the son of refugees living in the West Bank, I would drop my call for the right of return to my village that no longer exists and find a settlement in the middle of the West Bank – say along road 60. I would identify a nice spacious house there and declare – I give up my right of return – I will take this house instead.
If Israel and Palestine agree to a 4% Israeli annexation of the West Bank and equal territorial exchange, it will leave more than 75% of the settlers under Israel sovereignty. But some 80 settlements east of the agreed border will have to be vacated. These settlements are a perfect source of Israeli financial compensation for Palestinian refugees who have property claims for loss of homes and livelihood inside of Israel. Let’s propose this deal. I think that a lot of refugees and children and grandchildren of refugees living in the West Bank could imagine a pretty good future living in the homes of those settlements that will be vacated.

As for the settlers who will leave, they can move to the areas of Judea and Samaria that will be annexed. They can come back to Israel proper. All of them will receive financial assistance to make the move. They can also, if they like, apply to be citizens of Palestine, under Palestinian law and sovereignty. I know that this will be an option on the table. I think that very few will chose this option – but it will be there for consideration.

Gershon Baskin

Gershon Baskin

Gershon Baskin is one of the most recognizable names in the Middle East Peace process. His dedication to creating a culture of peace and environmental awareness, coupled with his impeccable integrity, has earned him the trust of the leaders of all sides of the century old conflict. Few people have such far-reaching and positive impacts on promoting peace, security, prosperity and bi-national relationships.
Gershon is an advisor to Israeli, Palestinian and International Prime Ministers on the Middle East Peace Process and the founder and director of IPCRI, the Israeli-Palestinian Public Policy Institute. He was the initiator and negotiator of the secret back channel between Israel and Hamas for the release of 1,027 prisoners – mainly Palestinians and Arab-Israelis of which 280 were sentenced to life in prison for planning and perpetrating various attacks against Jewish targets that resulted in the killing of 569 Israelis in exchange for one Israeli soldier, Gilad Schalit. Gershon is actively involved in research and advocacy concerning topics such as social policy, environmental security, political strategy, peace education, economics, culture and in the development of affordable solar projects with the goal of providing clean electricity for 50 million people by 2020.
Gershon Baskin