From: Ismail Zayid

To: Baker Abdel Munem

Sent: Monday, January 01, 2001 3:39 PM

Subject: Right of Return and Rami Khouri


Dear Baker:

I was reading this morning in The Globe and Mail ,Jan 1, 2001, an article by Rami Khouri, titled :"It's our right, let us return". The article starts very well and states accurately the context of the refugee problem and quotes UN Resolution #194 and The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However towards the end he makes the preposterous statement and I quote:

" On a practical level, one possible option for Israel would be to accept Resolution 194, and then negotiate an understanding that the right of physical return to lands in Israel proper could be excecised only by those adults who were actually expelled, or departed, during the fighting in 1947 and 1948. This would limit the number to several hundred thousand Palestinians, not all of whom would want to return to Israel. Younger Palestinians and their families born after 1948 would "return to the Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza {as the capability of the new state allowed}, remain where they are today, or resettle elsewhere[emphasis added]".

Of the 750,000 Palestinians who were uprooted from their homes in 1948, no more than 50% of them would have been adults, i.e. aged over 18 years. Fifty two years later, the great majority of those would be dead by now{aged over 70}. And even the few who may still be alive and well {as many of them would not be in the best of health} would not probably want to return without their children.

This is truly remarkable. Jews from Moscow, Kiev, New York and Toronto, who, neither they nor their ancestors ever set foot in Palestine or had any connection to it, are allowed the Israeli "right of return", but the Palestinian children who were driven away with their parents in 1948, or their offspring, or the children of the adults who were driven from this land and their children who and their ancestors, for over 4000 years, since history began, lived and tilled this land and still own and have the legal title to it, do not have the right to return, according to Mr. Khouri's option.

I am amazed that such a preposterous proposal could emanate from a Palestinian. I hope such thoughts are not part of the official thinking.


Ismail Zayid

P.s. I would have liked to express my concern to Rami directly but I could not get his EMail address,