One small reason why I support the Right of Return

Anas lives in Amman, Jordan. He helps out at a local clothing store.  His ancestors were ethnically cleansed from Silwan. 

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Missing from the Ethan Bronner articles about Silwan are faces like Anas’s. 

His is the face of the Palestinian refugee who is not allowed to return home. 

If you hear about a "peace initiative" which claims the right of return is not "realistic", think of Anas’ face.

Barack Obama should explain to Anas why his hopes and dreams are "not an option".

Maybe I should just tell him the awful truth his parents might be shielding him from: that he was simply born the wrong religion.

Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 69 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Chaos4700 says:

    Remember — this is the face that people like Witty and his ilk refuse to look at and weigh as human, as deserving the same rights as he does.

  2. KenDavis says:

    And what about all the Jews kicked out of the Arab countries in the late 40s.
    What about all the Jews kicked out of Saudi Arabia by Mohammad?

    • Jim Holstun says:

      Dear Ken,

      Why, they should all have the right of return and/or compensation, of course!

      But of course, Zionists never ask this question because they want an end to ethnic/sectarian cleansing–they ask it because they want to prop up their own version of ethnic cleansing. How degraded!

      The Jewish departure from Arab and Muslim countries was mainly in the fifties, and it was more complex than you suggest: some expulsions, some departures under pressure, some free departures, and quite a few (particularly in Iran) who never departed at all.

    • eljay says:

      >> And what about all the Jews kicked out of the Arab countries in the late 40s.
      >> What about all the Jews kicked out of Saudi Arabia by Mohammad?

      Hi, eee. You appear to have forgotten the lesson that crimes of other nations are no justification for the crimes committed by Israel. Israel cannot be a self-proclaimed “beacon unto the nations” if it perpetrates the same sort of shit as the nations to which it purports to be morally superior.

      If you want to fight for justice for Jews in Saudia Arabia, go to a website geared toward that fight.

    • Walid says:

      KenDavis most of the Arab Jews left voluntarily for their aliyah or got sucked or suckered out of Arab countries through pressure or trickery by the Zionists to goose up the number of Jews in Israel and offset them against eventual Palestinian RoR. Of course some were kicked out after Israel expelled the Palestinians and these have a full right to return and claim back what was unjustly confiscated from them by the various Arab countries but it’s absurd to make only the Palestinians pay for the expelling of the Jews by the different 5 or 6 Arab countries as you’re insinuating.

      The Jews of Muhammad’s days took up his offer to pack up and leave after their failed attempt to overthrow him. If you’re that interested in that story: link to

      Looks like Obama with his “not an option” is continuing Bush II’s good work at keeping the Palestinians permanently dispossessed. The day will come when Israel will stick its head out of the toilet bowl and bite the US in the ass.

      • pjdude says:

        while it maybe that some left lets not pretend that the arab nations were as white as snow in the morality row after the war.

    • azythos says:

      “What about all the Jews kicked out of Saudi Arabia by Mohammad?”

      You are writing from a nuthouse, right?

    • What about the six million Ukrainians killed by Jews in the 1930′s?

      What about all the Russians taken away in black vans by Jews during Stalin’s reign?

      • Schwartzman says:

        What the hell are you talking about? Are you part of the blame the Jews for everything crew? They are prevalent here on Mondoweiss, welcome to the club I guess. It’s too bad Phil and Adam don’t ban you outright and your ilk outright, but if they’d do that they’d have to ban 1/2 their base.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          “Noun, verb, anti-Semite” Every Zionist uses this one, sooner or later.

        • If the Palestinians are somehow responsible for what may or may not have happened in other countries then Jews are collectively responsible for the actions of Genrikh Yagoda, Lazar Kaganovich, Henry Kissinger and Leonid Reichman.

        • Schwartzman says:

          Are the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generation Israelis responsible for what may or may not have happened to Palestinians during the Nakba?

        • Schwartzman says:

          Once the Palestinians have their own sovereign state, they can demand reparations from the Israeli government.

        • I believe they’ve already declared independence and their state is recognised by a majority of countries.

          When can they expect the cheque? It’d have to be one of those big ones, probably wouldn’t fit in the mail, just stick it through the wall, there’s a chap.

        • Sumud says:

          “Are the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generation Israelis responsible for what may or may not have happened to Palestinians during the Nakba?”

          The Israelis government is responsible for the ongoing Nakba.

          The Nakba of 1947/48/49 is not a “maybe” event. Even if you were to claim not a single Palestinian were forced from their homeland at gunpoint – an obvious falsehood – Israel’s refusal to observe their right of return confirms the policy of ethnic cleansing.

        • Schwartzman says:

          The ‘maybe’ phrase was a play on Bridges denial of any Jewish exodus from Arab lands. There is no denying the the Nakba happened, but punishing native born Israelis and negating the existence of the only homeland they know, because of the transgressions of their forefathers is ludicrous.

          I don’t know why I continue to argue about it, the one-state solution is so impossible its laughable. It’s simply another tactic to prolong the suffering of the Palestinians. What will it be after a one-state solution is accepted but never implemented? the enslavement of all native Jewish Israelis as reparations for their suffering? It’s clear from the Nazi obsession, the mocking of Jewish suffering, and the questioning of a Jewish people on Mondoweiss, that this is what you guys are aiming for, this is your end game. Well I have news for you….. Never again.

          Once the Palestinians get their state, in the WB and Gaza, they can have any immigration policy they want and demand all of the reparations they can handle.

          The Palestinians have suffered under the Israelis, the Egyptians, the Jordanians, the British, and the Ottomans and deserve their freedom and dignity. But to give them this freedom at the expense of another group of people isn’t justice, it will simply lead to even more bloodshed, unlike anything we’ve seen in the ME. The implementation of a one-state solution would lead to a civil war which would make Sabra and Shatilla, Hama, the September Massacres, and the Nakba look like child’s play.

          Your hatred, obsession, and bloodlust have lead to a total disconnect from reality with the main victims being the Palestinians.

        • Mooser says:

          Are the 2nd,3rd and 4th generations of Arabs responsible for…

        • Cliff says:

          The Israelis continue to colonize into the present. So yea, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generation Israelis are responsible for what DID happen to Palestinians during the Nakba since the Nakba hasn’t ended.

        • Sumud says:

          “punishing native born Israelis”

          You give yourself away SM. What’s so horrific about living side-by-side with the majority indigenous population? Arabs and jews had a long history of co-existence, until the zionists.

          From the tirade that follows, I have to say you’re sounding a little worked-up. Another book for you, and I’m not being sarcastic:

          link to

          Burg interview on Charlie Rose:

          link to

          “Once the Palestinians get their state, in the WB and Gaza”

          But when will this happen? Never, because Israel wants the land and resources more than it wants peace. It wants the camouflage of peace negotiations (while continuing to build settlements and ethnically cleanse Palestinians as fast as possible) more than it wants peace.

          On that basis – and seventeen years after Oslo, with the situation NEVER WORSE for Palestinians than now – there’s no reason to continue supporting two-states when the overwhelmingly powerful party in the conflict has no interest in the emergence of an authentic Palestinian state. A series of bantustans, yes – but a real state, no.

          “But to give them this freedom at the expense of another group of people isn’t justice,”

          That’s your fantasy about how one-state would play out, not mine. I would say, to invert your thesis (which I agree with): why is it OK for Israeli jews to have freedom at the expense of Palestinians? It definitely isn’t justice.

          “The implementation of a one-state solution would lead to a civil war which would make Sabra and Shatilla, Hama, the September Massacres, and the Nakba look like child’s play.”

          Put down your gun then. It’s clear who would be doing the killing, given it’s garden shed rockets vs. 3rd or 4th most powerful army in the world, w/ huge access to US weapons caches. Your comment seems to wander between an observation and a threat. Which is it?

          “Your hatred, obsession, and bloodlust have lead to a total disconnect from reality ”

          Take a valium and read me again. You thoroughly misdiagnose.

        • Samud: I really like and agree with your response. A binational reality in one state with democracy is only revisiting the past; the not so distant past. A past seen under the Ottoman Empire where Jews, Muslims, and Christians were equals and normal people living normal lives.

        • Joseph,
          If you value the concept of self-determination, then you would support a two-state solution, not a single.

          The two-state solution is only less just than a single state, when the populations in each region reach 70-30 relationship.

          Imposing a single state on communities that desire to self-govern by different definitions is a suppression, not a liberation. A suppression of the majority, in the name of democracy.

          Have you really seen a condition in which Jews and Arabs or Jews and Muslims co-existed as peers?

          I know of none historically. This would be a new precedent.

          If you are interested in building the conditions that would make that new thing actually possible (rather than just politically forced), that would be wonderful thinking.

          I don’t see it yet.

        • pjdude says:

          when they prevent justice from happening yes

        • pjdude says:

          So because their parents managed to get away with crimes until they died the victims of those crimes and their decendents should be denied justice. I’m sorry but to feel sorry and say that the current Israeli occupents of stolen land should keep it because of the time they managed to keep their grubby hands on is insulting and makes a mockery to the rule of law.

          So the jews taking land is justice but them getting it back isn’t. sorry but the palestinians getting their land and the ISraelis being removed is the only thing that is just.

          also you seem to use the same tactic as many pro Israeli people doing say well they can have the craps and do what ever. I can never get the arrogance you people have in demanding the palestinians be stripped of more rights. I feel bad for those people whose lives will be wrecked by following the law but tough for them. they have zero right to it.

  3. Joseph Glatzer- Could you please provide more information regarding the ethnic cleansing of Anas’s grandparents. Most ethnic cleansing took place in 48, but that can’t be the case with Silwan, since that remained in Arab hands until 67. Very few Palestinians were ethnically cleansed from Jerusalem in 67. There were certainly quite a few cases where people left Jerusalem for a variety of reasons and were not allowed to return for ethnic reasons. Was that the case with Anas’s grandparents? There were also quite a few people who left the West Bank because they didn’t want to be under Israeli rule. Was that the case with Anas’s grandparents?

    • azythos says:

      None of your business if you’re a Zionist, because you are the only one not supposed to be there (not you personally, of course, probably enjoying the safety of the US).

    • Chaos4700 says:

      “Show me the photos of Jews in the gas chambers or it didn’t happen!”

      Zionists. You’re all the same, really. Certainly your rhetoric is plug and play.

      • Schwartzman says:


        I don’t follow your logic, what does that mean? Do you know the Jordanians occupied East Jerusalem (Silwan) prior to 1967?

      • Schwartzman says:

        Also, I don’t understand the obsession with the Holocaust and Nazis on this blog.

        • Sumud says:

          I’d be surprised if you didn’t really understand it.

          link to

        • Schwartzman says:


          I didn’t realize Finkelstein sold out the memory of his parent suffering and the death of 12 million to sell a few books.

          Is there any question why he didn’t receive tenure and was ousted from his position at DePaul…. with shit like that, not anymore…

        • Chaos4700 says:

          “To sell books.” That’s why you think he posted pictures of dead Jews?

          What do you think Finkelstein is? A Zionist? He’s not Elie Weasel.

        • Cliff says:

          I know right? How dare he compare anything in the present to the Holocaust!

          Good thing Israelis never ever do that. Good thing American Jews never ever compare.

        • azythos says:

          Schwartzmann – Shameless, aren’t you?
          Let’s copy here what your slander is trying to hide:


        • Sumud says:

          WOW, if you’d actually read his books you’d know he thoroughly resents the exploitation of jews who died in the Holocaust for political purposes. Start with:

          ‘The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering’
          link to

          and follow it up with:

          ‘Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History’
          link to

          Then talk about who sold out who.

    • Sumud says:

      Leaving voluntarily is a red herring. People not being allowed to return to their homeland is ethnic cleansing. It’s just a cooler variation on the “hot” version – literally driving people out at gunpoint, such as the 3 or 4 villages cleansed and flattened in the Latrun Salient in 1967 – about 10,000 people.

      The number of refugees from 1967 is not well known. Benny Morris in ‘Righteous Victims’: about 70,000 from Gaza and 25% of the population of the West Bank, 200-250,000 people. Only 14,000 were permitted by Israel to return though 120,000 applied during Israel’s arbitrary window period.

      link to

  4. Following the 1967 War, Israel subjected the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) to military rule that lasted until 1981 and treated all Palestinian residents of the OPT as non-citizens and foreign residents. The majority had Jordanian nationality. A quarter of a million Palestinians who were not in the OPT during the war were not allowed to return, and 150,000 were stripped of their ID cards when their exit visas expired. Israel used emergency regulations inherited from the British Mandate to deport 1,522 Palestinians between 1967 and 1992.

    Sounds like ethnic cleansing to me or do you only consider ethnic cleansing to be at the end of the barrel of a gun exclusively?

  5. kapok says:

    Dang, that kid looks like a nebbishy Jew I once knew.

    Maybe the Israelis hate the Palestinians because they remind them of themselves. So, whose the self-hater now?

  6. es1982 says:

    Anas looks like a cute, happy kid.

    Since Silwan is in East Jerusalem, there’s a good chance his family will be able to move there once the Palestinian state is established. It’s a whole different story from areas in Israel-proper.

    I wonder, though, whether Anas even wants to move away from Amman, which is probably the only place he has lived all his life. Have you heard from him that his hopes and dreams include the right of return to Silwan, or are you just assuming?

  7. I support the limited right of return on the basis of the rule of law.

    Relying much more on civil law than statutory or “international” law (especially when only applied highly selectively).

    • robin says:

      How about supporting the right of everyone who wants to live in Palestine, to live there? Why would Jews’ wishes to that effect be considered superior?

      • I also support the principle of self-determination.

        To create a non-national Israel/Palestine would deny self-governance to the 5.7 million Jews that live in Israel.

        Is self-determination an important concept to you?

        • Chaos4700 says:

          But denying the right of self-governance to millions of actual native Palestinians? That’s easy for white Witty.

        • Cliff says:

          Self-determination means nothing to you.

          Zionist Jews don’t simply want ‘self-determination’ – it came at the expense of another people.

          It was always about a Jewish State at the expense of the other. That’s what was always going to happen.

          So for a Zio to claim innocently that all Zios want is ‘self-determination’ is wholly transparent.

          No, the Palestinians have much more right to return than someone who happens to be a Jew.

          If I convert to Judaism and claim to be a member of some ‘lost tribe’ of whatever, I have more legitmacy under the Jewish make-believe law of return – rather than the real, physical ties to the land that Palestinians have always had.

          This is a colonial conflict. One group destroyed the society of an another to create their own.

          It didn’t happen in the 12th century or something, it happened only 60+ years ago.

        • Sumud says:

          Lame. You don’t understand self-determination, or rights Richard.

          You’re advocating apartheid but trying to use what you think is a PC term to make it palatable. It didn’t work for the Afrikaners and it’s not going to work for Israelis.

          Self-determination is not an unlimited right. Rights are not absolute, but limited (usually) at the point they infringe on the rights of others. Free speech is a right – but not unlimited – with the boundaries of free speech being enforced by libel and other laws. My right to my property is not superseded by your right to my property – even if you really want it.

          Equality-based rights systems don’t prioritise the rights of one group over another. At the point such a system starts to do so – either by unequal enforcement of laws for different groups (Israel), additional laws for particular groups (Israel) or completely different legal systems for different groups (Occupied Palestinian Territories) then it’s apartheid or heading in that direction.

          To say the self-determination of jewish Israelis is more important than the self-determination of Palestinians makes a mockery of the concept altogether. I’ve pulled you up on this before but you’re never responded – presumably because you can’t.

          There’s only 5.2 million jews in Israel BTW – 500,000 are illegally squatting in the Occupied Palestinian Territories with an apartheid system of second laws and US-funded weapons to back them up.

        • es1982 says:

          Jewish-Israeli self-determination is not more important than Palestinian self-determination. Both are equally important. The two-state solution is the only way for both sides to implement their national rights.

        • You are misrepresenting my views on Palestinian determination by about 179 degrees.

          I am entirely supportive of Palestinian self-determination, as I am entirely supportive of Israeli self-determination.

          The two are reconcilable to those that are willing.

          Are you willing?

        • Sumud says:


          From what you’ve said you support an emaciated version of “self-determination” for Palestinians, based on what happens to be left over after Israelis satisfy themselves. Apartheid is not self-determination.

          [Part of] self-determination is to not be forced to live as refugees, banished from your homeland at the arbitrary whim of a third party choosing to ignore international law.

          Like it or not zionism was and is justified as the return of a particular group of people whose ancestors (spiritual, not necessary genetic) may or may not have been banished thousands from an area thousands of years ago. It’s tenuous at best.

          • Non-Palestinain jews with a vague connection to Palestine: granted full unrestricted access
          • Palestinians non-jews with a literal connection to Palestine (property/land/birthright/moral right/legal right): denied access.

          Don’t bother with the “I support right of return for Palestinians”, you don’t – well only for dead Palestinians..

          link to

          “I am entirely supportive of Palestinian self-determination, as I am entirely supportive of Israeli self-determination.
          The two are reconcilable to those that are willing.”

          What have you got beyond [empty] platitudes and motherhood statements?

        • Witty: this is like saying all the white, Latino, and other non-black Americans are denied self determination and “self-governance” because there’s a black president. Do you believe this to be the case?

        • That is the case in respects, but not because the United States is by definition a “trans-national” state. You know well that that wasn’t always the case, and not until really very recently.

          Israel/Palestine is entirely different in that to create a single state (absent annexation by Israel) would entail revolution, active and intentional and nearly certainly very violent.

          The world is not currently going the way of increased centralization in civilist states. Perhaps the gradual integration of the European Union is an exception to that trend, but that is a tide that flows in alternating directions (and is entirely limited to economic concerns).

          The trend currently in the world is towards smaller states, more national. The dissolution of Yugoslavia, Czechoslavakia, and the Soviet Union are the primary examples.

          In those states, the populations determined that they were national entities, negotiating (or warring) over the boundaries of jurisdiction. It resulted in a GREATER degree of self-determination than a single Yugoslav or Soviet state.

          That is the significance of partition.

          IF the majority of the total population of Israel/Palestine stated that they preferred civilist non-national states, then that would their self-determination.

          It is obvious to me that both Palestinians and Jewish Israelis hold their national identity strongly, and LESS than a majority would even accept a single civil state (which would likely devolve to a Zionist or Palestinian/Arab dominated state), let alone prefer one.

          Make your argument including in socially consenting terms, not just the simplistic formula. And, work for what is good.

          Every dogmatist tells the other, “you are full of shit, your opinions, your participation is worthless”.

          And, that makes their opinions, their participation functionally worthless, even when it sounds good.

        • pjdude says:

          If you support Israel than you don’t support self determination your just spitting on the concept. All you have done is show you don’t understand the concept or believe its ok to commit crimes to try and pretend people have rights they don’t. the vast majority of those jews at least in my opinion don’t have the right to self determination. they aren’t their legiatimately so as far as I’m concerned their irrelevant. the only true self determination would only be involving those whose ancestors were there legitimately before the war that stole the palestinians right to self determination from them.

        • pjdude says:

          the problem being there is no such thing as israeli self determination

    • What you support is irrelevant, the RIGHT of return, is exactly that, a right.

      • Schwartzman says:

        When will the ROR end if it is granted to kids like the one in the picture above(someone who has zero ties to the land, a native citizen of Jordan)? What is to prevent the ROR from being abused (those ‘entitled’ getting paid thousands of dollars by their governments to move, just to end Israel’s existence). Why should the ROR be granted to 8 – 10 times the amount of people than who were originally dispossessed?

        Let me de-bunked anti-Israel argument #1 before it is brought up, the Law of Return. Israel, a sovereign country, gets to dictate its own immigration policies. Once the Palestinians have their own land, they can dictate THEIR own immigration policies, until then there is no legal precedent which allows more people to ‘return’ than who were originally expelled.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Israel, a sovereign country, gets to dictate its own immigration policies.

          Because we all know how well Zionists adhered to prevailing immigration policies in the region before 1948, right?

        • I suppose it ‘ends’ when the problem is resolved either via return or compensation for stolen property.

          What is to prevent the ROR from being abused

          By who? Swarthy buggers moving into refugee camps? I hear Wavel is lovely this time of year.

          Why should the ROR be granted to 8 – 10 times the amount of people than who were originally dispossessed?

          Because Israel has procrastinated for sixty years to allow for such an eventuality, the longer it procrastinates, the greater the problem.

          Israel, a sovereign country, gets to dictate its own immigration policies.

          I’m afraid the internal policies of any country (and lets assume a borderless settler state can call itself a country for a moment) sovereign or otherwise do not usurp customary international law.

        • Schwartzman says:

          Again Chaos, I don’t understand your logic. Do you know what the word sovereign means? Israel was not a sovereign state prior to its creation. In fact the area of Palestine hadn’t been sovereign to anyone for thousands of years previous to Israel’s declaration of their independence.

          I think Chaos and Shingo are the same person.

        • Schwartzman says:

          I am glad you brought up international law, which says nothing about the descendants of refugees.

          When the Palestinians have their own country they can create their own immigration policies. Then all of the Palestinians who want to return can.

        • That’s odd, because the UNHCR seem to recognise descendants as refugees.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Of course you don’t understand my logic, Schwartzherz. You’re a Zionist troll who doesn’t even consider the Palestinians to be human, and thus you deny them of human rights.

        • Cliff says:

          Palestinians have more right to that land than some random Jew from Brooklyn or some ‘lost tribe’ Chinese/Indian/etc Jew.

          Your claim to that land is based on abstract nonsense. Palestinians were kicked off that land by force, by you. Their ties are physical and based on memory.

          You’re a FRAUD and a liar. You don’t care about the rule of law. Only when it benefits you. Total hypocrite, crook. Hiding behind ‘Jewishness’. You’re like any other European colonist/criminal.

        • Sumud says:

          Hilarious to hear freak about the return of people “unrelated to the land” as though European jews had any connection to the land whatsoever – beyond some religious fantasy from several thousands years ago and an eye for real-estate.

          You’re speaking about ROR as though it’s an upsize at a hamburger joint. It’s not an optional extra Israel can just pretend to ignore – forever.

          You’ve debunked nothing in claiming Israel can set it’s own immigration laws. It doesn’t undo the fact Israel elected to become a UN member state and has obligations accordingly.

          Can you cite an example where the children of refugees born in exile have been forcibly left at the border as the refugee population returns? To try and suggest international law supports that idea is absurd..

          Palestinians had plenty of land prior to 1948 – unlike zionists who held a meagre 8%. That land was stolen.

          Israel likes to claim legitimacy on the notion zionists accepted the UN Partition Plan, however UN 181 specified:

          “No expropriation of land owned by an Arab in the Jewish State [or by a Jew in the Arab State] shall be allowed except for public purposes. In all cases of expropriation full compensation as fixed by the Supreme Court shall be said previous to dispossession.”
          link to

        • pjdude says:

          um the answer is simple because their parents were denied the chance. I’m sorry but well the clock ran out is just not a good enough reason to prevent justice for the the vicitms of crimes against humanity

    • Chaos4700 says:

      Do as Witty says! Not as Witty does!

      Because he and and his son have more of a right to Jerusalem than any Palestinian… obviously.

    • Sumud says:

      You support a limited right of return on grounds you’ve manufactured – and only now that the bulk of the 1948 refugees are dead. How frigging generous.

      link to

      Whose civil law Richard? Do you believe all laws that aren’t enforced 100% should be abolished? How would you measure such enforcement? On what grounds should Israel be permitted to ignore it’s obligations as a UN Member state? Are you advocating Israel withdraw from the UN?

      What a flake.

    • Mooser says:

      “Relying much more on civil law than statutory or “international” law (especially when only applied highly selectively).”

      Try this oil and rasberry-vinagrette with that, or maybe a chunky Russian? Witty’s word salad, with no nutritional value.