There has been little progress on the refugee problem because of official Palestinian public positions, other Arab countries' approach to the 'right of return' of all Palestinian refugees, and the contrasting Israeli public policy of not allowing any refugees to return to Israel. Such polar-opposite approaches can never resolve this difficult and longstanding humanitarian problem. By working collectively, the world's leading experts from Arab countries, the Palestinian Authority, Israel, Europe and the United States have developed a chessboard of proposed solutions. The volume in part reflects the polarization that exists on the issue, and in part moves away from the political slogans of both sides, toward concrete proposals for negotiating a comprehensive agreement.
"The editors note that the refugee debate is polarised between the Palestinian/Arab view that all refugees should be allowed to return to their original homes inside Israel, and the Israeli view that no refugees should return to Israel. The editors and contributors argue the case for 'realistic proposals for solving the refugee problem', but most of the contributors endorse at least in principle Palestinian maximal demands for a right of return... Shlomo Gazit is willing to financially compensate the refugees, but opposes any return to Israel... Yoav Gelber argues insightfully that the respective Palestinians and Israeli arguments about solutions are based on totally different cultural assumptions. The Israelis favour resettlement, which is the traditional European approach to refugee populations, while the Arabs favour repatriation, which is the traditional pattern in the Middle East." -- The Australian Jewish News.
Contents: Foreword by HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan; Introduction: Traditional Positions and New Solutions; PART I: The Historical Background and the Right of Return' -- The Historical Background; Between the Right of Return and Attempts of Resettlement; From a Doctrine-Oriented to a Solution-Oriented Policy: The PLO's Right of Return,' 1964-2000; The Political Refugee Problem in the Light of the Peace Process; Early US Policy toward Palestinian Refugees: The Syria Option; Refugee Compensation: Responsibility, Recipients, and Forms and Sources; Refugee Compensation: Why the Parties Have Been Unable to Agree and Why it is Important to Compensate Refugees for Losses; Traditional Positions and New Solutions; Actual Repatriation: A Minimal Israeli Gesture; From Refugees to Citizens: A Regional Proposal; Palestinian Refugees in Jordan and National Identity, 1948--1999; Final Status Negotiations and Regional Co-operation; Refugee Resettlement in the Gaza Strip: Israeli Policy Revisited; Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon since 1982; The Future of Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon; PART II: Policy Positions and Solutions -- Solving the Refugee Problem: An Israeli Point of View; A Predicament in Search of an Innovative Solution; The Historical Development of the Refugee Camps in Jordan; The Role of UNRWA: Refugee Statistics and UN Resolutions; A Jordanian Perspective; The Refugee Question and Human Rights; Obstacles and Opportunities: The Ideological Dimensions; The Economic Capacity of the Palestinian State to Absorb the Refugees: The Employment Perspective; How the Palestinian and Israeli-Jewish Publics Perceive the Issues; Index.