My blog on the right of return was a response to Michael Walzer’s comment on the Dissent weblog that the “no Palestinian has even hinted at a willingness to give up the right of return.” My own blog–first published on the Dissent weblog–was primarily an effort to set the factual record straight: as I showed, many leading Palestinians have essentially accepted that the right of return can never be fully implemented, or even close to it. Those are the facts, and they are important facts–their factual basis does not rest on whether or not you believe that the Palestinian leaders I cite were right or wrong in making clear that the ror is negotiable, nor whether one is in favor of a literal right of return or not.
That said, it is also true that I think the Palestinian leaders who have made it quite clear that they will not insist on a full ror are right to do so, since there is no possibility that the Israelis will accept it, and they obviously have the power to use that as a reason–or pretext–to block a two state settlement.
Now, it may be retorted that there is no chance for a two-state settlement in any case, so why not stand on principle? My position is that while it is certainly true that the prospects for a 2ss are bleak, and getting worse day by day, there still is no other choice but to pursue it, since the other options are either undesirable or unworkable. It is worthwhile keeping the 2ss idea alive, in the hope that circumstances can change.
As for the merits of an unlimited right of return–independent of whether it is practicable–Phil and I simply disagree. He has stated his position last Friday–and before–and I have also addressed the issue in many of my writings, including at this site. What I wrote before didn’t convince Phil nor 95% of Mondoweissers, and my position won’t convince them now–so I think I’ll let it stand at that.