When the Arab-Israeli War ended in 1949, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were unable to return to their homes within the newly formed State of Israel. This fact might be the only one that Palestinians and Israelis agree on regarding the refugee problem. The intensely personal and narrative nature of this issue makes it particularly sensitive and especially difficult for world leaders to propose solutions that will satisfy both sides.There are two tough questions we must answer before we can reach a solution. The first is: who is to blame for the creation of the refugee problem? Israelis and Palestinians wholly disagree on the answer. Palestinians maintain that they had no choice but to flee their homes due to military assaults and expulsion by Jewish militias, and therefore, Israel is responsible. Israelis argue that they are not to blame because many Palestinians left their homes of their own accord, often encouraged by the armies of the invading Arabs who expected a swift victory. As is the case with most controversial conflicts where unfortunate realities take place, the truth is most likely somewhere in the middle.
The next crucial question is: who qualifies as a refugee and how many are there? According the United Nations, there were 914, 221 refugees after the 1948 War. The Israelis estimate a smaller number between 520,000-650,000 people. Since it has now been over 50 years since the war, decision makers must figure out whether a resolution to the issue should address just the first generation of refugees or include the subsequent generations as well, which have expanded to about 5 million people. To complicate the issue even more, there are Palestinian refugees currently living in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and many other countries around the world.
What are the best possible solutions to such a delicate and challenging issue? Take a look at the resources below or watch the full video from Is Peace Possible to find out: http://ispeacepossible.com