Cutting through the bullshit.

Thursday 30 July 2009

More pots and kettles

Arutz Sheva’s David Lev is scandalised that the PA has launched a plan

to commemorate the actions of terrorists who are still alive, serving sentences in Israeli prisons.

At least 100 streets in PA cities will be named for these terror prisoners, said PA Minister of Prisoner Affairs Issa Qaraqi announced last week.

The terrorists to be honored in this manner have all been convicted for directly participating in or helping plan terror attacks in which Israelis were killed, and all have been sentenced by Israel to at least 20 years in prison.

Israel would never commemorate terrorists like that, unless...

Last week the Hasbara buster quoted from a biography of Irgum leader David Raziel:

On July 6,1938, time bombs were put in milk cans and placed in the Arab market place in Haifa by an Irgun member dressed as an Arab porter. In the explosion that followed, 21 Arabs were killed and 52 wounded. Terror spread throughout the Arabs of Haifa, among the most vicious of the enemies of Zionism.

The attack was in reaction to the murder of two Jews the previous day in Jerusalem, and the Arabs of Jerusalem were not to be spared. A bomb thrown into a crowd of Arabs on David Street in the Old City killed two and wounded four. Two days later, the Irgun threw a bomb into a crowd of Arabs waiting near the bus terminal near Jaffa Gate. Three were killed and 19 injured. A week later, on a Friday, as Arabs left their mosque at the foot of David Street in the Old City, an electronically detonated mine went off killing ten Arabs and wounding 30.

On July 25, 1938, a 30-kilogram explosive went off in the Arab market place in Haifa. Hidden in a barrel of sour pickles, it killed at least 35 Arabs and wounded 70 more. The Arabs were terrified; (...) Raziel was content.

One month later, the Irgun switched to Jaffa, a nest of the worst gangs of Arab vipers in the country. An Irgun member, once again dressed as an Arab porter, placed a bomb in the Arab Dir-a-Salach marketplace. The official version listed 21 Arabs dead and 35 wounded. In reality many more went to heaven.

February 27, 1939, proved to be yet another "Black Day" for the Arabs as the Irgun, sensing collapse of Arab terror in the face of Jewish vengeance, attacked in three cities. In Haifa, two powerful explosions went off, one at the ticket window of the railroad station in East Haifa and the other at the Arab market place. At least 27 Arabs were killed. Half-an-hour later in Jerusalem, three Arabs were killed and six wounded in an Irgun explosion on David Street while another died after being attacked on an Arab bus passing Machane Yehuda.

The Hasbara buster concludes,

One would hope for this beast to be fully repudiated by Israel. One would hope in vain. Today, Israel celebrates this mass-murderer with a village named after him, Ramat Raziel, which is located in the Jerusalem corridor. Streets in all major Israeli cities bear his name as well.

I shudder to think how many places bear the names of Menachem Begin, who ‘has streets and parks named after him in no less than 43 communities’ and the other bloodthirsty gunmen who roamed Palestine in the middle of last century, and ever since.

A Jewish fingernail

To the clamour of sensational headlines, Britain’s Community Security Trust (CST) has released its latest report, Antisemitic incidents, January – June 2009.

In case they are unfamiliar, according to the CST website,

Every year CST helps secure over 170 synagogues, 80 Jewish schools, 64 Jewish communal organisations and approximately 1000 communal events. CST also represents the Jewish community on a wide range of Police, governmental and policy-making bodies dealing with security and antisemitism. Indeed, the Police and government praise CST as a model of how a minority community should protect itself.

It seems that one of the threats from which they secure communal events is Jewish women distributing flyers.

Their other claim to fame is compiling data about antisemitic incidents. ‘Anti-Semitic attacks in Britain at record high’, wrote the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on 24 July. Similarly, Ha’aretz reported, ‘Watchdog: British anti-Semitism doubled after Gaza war’, and BBC News, ‘'Record rise' in UK anti-Semitism’.

The BBC’s Dominic Casciani opens his article, ‘Anti-Semitic attacks in the UK doubled in the first half of this year compared with the same period in 2008, according to new figures.’ In reality, the CST reported a total of 609 incidents in the first half of 2009, compared to 276 over the first half of 2008. The 77 assaults recorded in the last six months are not nearly double the 45 they claimed for January to June 2008. Of course an attack need not be a literal assault, but Casciani couldn’t possibly be in any doubt about how his audience would interpret that first sentence, as he tacitly acknowledges a few lines down, ‘Most incidents were abusive behaviour, but there were also 77 violent acts.’

The CST’s media release itself notes that the perceived explosion of antisemitism was a direct response to Israel’s slaughter of the besieged population of the Gaza Strip.

The main reason for this record number of incidents was the unprecedented number of antisemitic incidents recorded in January and February, during and after the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza

There’s absolutely no reason anyone should give them the benefit of the doubt, but let’s assume they are not disingenuous when they claim, ‘Anti-Israel activity, which does not use antisemitic language or imagery and is directed at pro-Israel campaigners rather than Jewish people or institutions per se, is also not classified by CST as antisemitic.’ When the State of Israel claims to be the state of all Jews and to act on behalf of all Jews, when all the principal Jewish organisations in Britain applauded the massacre, and the Board of Deputies of British Jews, ‘The voice of British Jewry since 1760’, organises a rally to celebrate it, it is understandable, if wrong and unforgivable, how some might form the impression that Jews were complicit.

As Casciani mentioned, only 77 of the 609 ‘attacks’ (less than 13%) actually involved any violence. Another 63 (10%) involved ‘Damage or desecration’, defined as

Any physical attack directed against Jewish property, which is not lifethreatening. This would include the daubing of antisemitic slogans or symbols (such as swastikas) on Jewish property, or damage caused to Jewish property, where it appears that the property has been specifically targeted because of its Jewish connection.

Most (64%) of the ‘incidents’ comprised ‘Abusive Behaviour’, which ‘includes a wide range of types of incident, including antisemitic graffiti on non-Jewish property, hate mail and verbal racist abuse.’ To be honest, I’m not convinced that the Jewish community is likely to flee in panic to the sanctuary of the West Bank at the sight of a sticker like this one allegedly distributed in Bournemouth:

But taking the CST at their word again, let’s assume that there were 77 actual physical assaults on Jews motivated by antisemitism over that six month period. The CST’s 2008 report claims 44 assaults in the last six months of 2008, giving a total of 121 for financial year 2008–09.

According to Wikipedia, the total number of Jews in the UK is 350,000. That means that the rate of antisemitic assaults for FY 2008–09 was 34.6 per 100,000 Jews. In comparison, the Home Office site gives a figure of 960,187 cases of ‘Violence against the person’ in England and Wales during FY 2007-08, the most recent data available. The total population of England and Wales is 54,096,600. So the rate of assault in the population in general is 1774.95 per 100,000. Bearing in mind that the figures are not strictly comparable because the Home office figures cover the previous year and are more geographically restricted, they may still provide a rough indication of the scale of difference, and that means that any Briton, Jewish or not, is roughly 40 times as likely to be the victim of assault as a British Jew is to be the victim of an antisemitic assault. Looked at another way, 0.01% of all assaults are motivated by antisemitism.

But that scenario doesn’t really account for the alarming increase witnessed in 2009. So let’s assume that the level of violence for 2009 is exactly double the rate over the first six months, even though we know that the rate of ‘incidents’ plummeted in the six weeks after Israel withdrew its troops in January and has now plateaued at around 50 per month, as the graph shows.

On that assumption, the antisemitic assault rate is 44 assaults per 100,000, as compared to 1775 total assaults per 100,000.

Indeed, even ‘Damage or desecration’, like this swastika daubed outside a synagogue in Manchester, is not a great threat to Jewish life or community.

Still, compared to the ‘Criminal damage’ rate for England and Wales in 2007–08 of 1915 per 100,000, the antisemitic ‘Damage or desecration’ rate for 2008–09 is 30 per 100,000. Antisemitic “damage or desecration’ turns out to be equivalent to about 0.010% of the 1,036,123 cases of Criminal damage. In the implausible scenario where the observed increase persists through 2009, the Damage or desecration rate would be 36 per 100,000, or 0.012% of Criminal damage.

One is doubtless tempted to compare the frequency of antisemitic incidents with analogous racist incidents targeting some other oppressed minority in Britain, say Muslims. According to a May 2002 BBC article,

Muslim groups have agreed with a report by the EU race watchdog that anti-Islamic feeling has "detonated" in the UK since 11 September.

The European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) said there had been a big rise in attacks - including physical assaults - on Muslims in Britain since the US terror attacks.

That would be the same EUMC that promulgated the execrable ‘Working definition’ of antisemitism that has been such a big hit with the US State Department, among others. They have a new name – the Fundamental Rights Agency and the link from the BBC site to the EUMC report is broken, nor can I find either that report, or indeed the ‘Working definition’, on the FRA site. (For reference, you can still find the ‘Working definition’ on the Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism site.)

There is an EUMC report, apparently from 2003, National Analytical Study on Racist Violence and Crime, but I’m sceptical that it is the one described in the article. It devotes a whole page to ‘New antisemitism’, including a table lifted from an earlier CST report, but only one paragraph to Islamophobia. Two graphs at the back chart the risk (Chart 2) and rate (Chart 3) of victimisation by ‘racially motivated incidents’ (RMIs) for four groups – White, Black, Indian, and Pakistani/Bangladeshi – in 1993, 1995, and 1999. They are not terribly informative, disaggregate neither Jews nor Muslims, and cover a period irrelevant to the topic of post 9/11 anti Muslim RMIs, much less to the explosion of antisemitism in the first half of 2009. For what it’s worth, however, they seem to show a pattern of RMIs targeting Pakistanis and Bangladeshis at a much higher rate than Blacks or Indians.

On visiting the sites of the Muslim Council of Britain and the Islamic Society of Britain, linked to from the article, there doesn’t appear to be a compilation of data. While the Islamic Human Rights Commission apparently collects incident reports, I haven’t managed to find evidence on their site that they publish the data, either.

In any case, to compare antisemitic incidents with anything else would of course itself be antisemitic. After all, we know how many Arabs a Jewish fingernail is worth.

Monday 13 July 2009

Agree to differ

On her Muzzlewatch blog a couple of months ago, Cecilie Surasky, Director of Communications at Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), excoriates the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for their recent survey of Israeli Jews, headlining the post, ADL completely disappears 25% of Israel’s population- joining efforts with Avigdor Lieberman?

Nowhere in their lengthy release does it mention what you can only find by reading the actual report, under Methodology, where it says:
The poll was conducted as a telephone survey…constituting a representative sample of the adult Jewish population (aged 18 and higher) in Israel.
So in the eyes of the ADL, if you are not Jewish, you are not Israeli. Some 25% of Israelis are not Jews
She’s absolutely right to say the press release, which claims that it was ‘a comprehensive poll of Israeli opinions’ and consistently generalizes about ‘Israelis’ without ever mentioning that only Jews were sampled, is downright offensive. And the report, entitled ‘Israeli Views of President Obama and US-Israel Relations’, should have been clearer that it was a survey specifically of Israeli Jews. But it’s not true that you have to read all the way to the Methodology section – the second paragraph of the report – to find this out, because the very first sentence declares, ‘we have conducted an opinion poll among the Jewish public in Israel’.
And yet, a poll of all Israelis that fails to disaggregate Jewish views from those of other Israelis in the sample would be decidedly less interesting, a point I’ll return to. It’s not that the views of Palestinian Israelis are uninteresting – quite the contrary. But when aggregated with the views of the Jewish majority, they dilute and are themselves diluted by Jewish responses.
Importantly and somewhat surprisingly, she observes
Sounds just like “anti-Arab demagogue” Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who thinks of non-Jewish Israeli Arabs, whose families lived in Jaffa and Hebron long before most Jewish Israelis made Aliyah, as a fifth column. Some choose to think Lieberman’s open racism is an exception, but it’s not. The kind of thinking which only recognizes Jews as citizens and denies full rights to others has long pervaded Israel and the Jewish Diaspora here.
The poll itself is mainly concerned with Jewish Israelis’ views of Obama and the ‘special relationship’ between the US and Israel. But that’s not what struck me as the most interesting findings.
Asked ‘Obama has declared his intention of bringing about reconciliation with the Muslim and Arab worlds in order to improve the United State’s position and reputation. Do you believe or not that such reconciliation will be at Israel’s expense?’ (Q13), 63% said ‘It will come at Israel’s expense (80% of those who expressed an opinion one way or the other).
Fifty-one percent said, ‘The U.S. should not negotiate with Iran’ and 66% support Israeli
military action aimed at destroying the Iranian nuclear facilities (81% of opinion holders), and 75% of those who supported an Israeli attack still supported it even ‘if the Obama administration opposed’ it.
Finally, 52% said American Jews should not ‘feel free to publicly criticize the Israeli government and its policy’ (Q20), while 35% disagreed. In a 2007 survey, only 36% opposed freedom of expression for US Jews, while 62% supported it. The recent J Street poll of American Jews found that 58% said ‘It does not bother me when American Jews disagree publicly with Israeli government policy’, while 28% said it did.
Last week the Electronic Intifada’s Ali Abunimah wrote a devastating critique of parallel polls of Palestinians in the occupied territories and of Israelis conducted by One Voice in February, two months earlier than the ADL survey. He discerns that the survey, developed by Dr. Colin Irwin of the Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool, ‘...appears intended to influence international opinion in a direction more amenable to Israel, rather than to record faithfully the views of Palestinians or Israelis...The group's press release unabashedly spun the results to claim popular legitimacy for the two-state solution and to discredit alternatives...’
Nevertheless, I found it remarkably interesting. Unlike any other poll I’ve come across, it gets right down to the nuts and bolts, asking about a broad, if not quite comprehensive, range of options regarding the principal aspects of any solution, including even refugees and the corridor connecting Gaza with the West Bank, as well as process related issues. Although neither Abunimah’s critique nor Irwin’s report mentions it explicitly, a footnote indicates that Palestinian Israelis were included in the Israeli sample and their responses are disaggregable, although not actually disaggregated except with respect to two questions about the division of Jerusalem mentioned in the note. As I mentioned earlier, this pollutes the responses of the Israelis, presumably drawing the Israeli proportions closer to the ‘Palestinian’. For example, when asked about ‘Greater Israel – A Jewish state from the Jordanian border to the sea‘, 47% of Israelis found the prospect ‘Unacceptable’. My suspicion is that this proportion would be lower in a poll of Israeli Jews.
Irwin’s method is to ask respondents to rate various propositions on a five point scale: ‘Essential’, ‘Desirable’, ‘Acceptable’, ‘Tolerable’, ‘Unacceptable’. I’m ambivalent about this approach. The first and last points are true polar opposites and may provide a sound basis for comparison. But I’m not confident that the respondents could distinguish ‘Acceptable’ from ‘Tolerable’. I’m not sure what Irwin wanted to capture with these terms myself. Furthermore, there’s no real middle term – the first four points on the scale are effectively opposed to ‘Unacceptable’. In his analysis, Irwin sometimes sums ‘Essential’ and ‘Desirable’ responses as if this were an ordinary five point scale where the response categories are more balanced around a non committal middle term. In other cases, he sums all four responses – ‘Essential’ through ‘Tolerable’ – to provide the impression of a larger base of support for a proposition.
In the OneVoice press release, we learn that ‘74% of West Bank & Gaza Palestinians and 78% of Israelis are willing to accept a two state solution’. These figures represent the sum of all responses other than ‘Unacceptable’ to the question about the ‘Two state solution - Two states for two peoples: Israel and Palestine’. So we don’t actually know what the respondents found ‘Essential’ or ‘Tolerable’. In all probability, the Palestinians thought they were responding to a question about a version of partition where the border would be drawn along the Green Line (78% ‘Essential’) and East Jerusalem would be incorporated into the Palestinian state (89% ‘Essential’), while the Israelis, or the Israeli Jews, at any rate, thought they were being asked about a partition with the border drawn along the wall (58% ‘Essential’ to ‘Tolerable’), and Israel retaining sovereignty over all of Jerusalem (74% ‘Essential’ to ‘Tolerable’). So it is a distortion to imply that the Israelis and Palestinians surveyed are prepared to tolerate the same two state ‘solution’.
As Abunimah points out, 53% of the Palestinian sample were willing to tolerate ‘One joint state – A state in which Israelis and Palestinians are equal citizens’, but only 18% said it was ‘Essential’, and 43% said it was ‘Unacceptable’, while the Israeli sample wasn’t asked about this option. As for ‘One shared state - Bi-national federal state in which Israelis and Palestinians share power’, 34% of Palestinians and 32% of Israelis were prepared to tolerate it, while 59% and 66%, respectively, found it ‘Unacceptable’.
Note that, as Abunimah also remarks, ‘One Voice asserts that a "very conscious effort was made in this poll to cover as wide a range of potential solutions as possible." But except for the initial question about the type of state, all the other questions assume, and are primarily relevant to, a two-state solution.’
I think it might be instructive to compare what the Palestinian sample found ‘Essential’ and comparing it to what the Israeli population found ‘Unacceptable’, for some key issues, omitting the equivocal middle terms – ‘Desirable’, ‘Acceptable’, and ‘Tolerable’. In this way, we may discover some intractable sticking points. Among the Israelis, there was little consensus on what was ‘Essential’ – they are mainly united in their rejectionism.
The option the highest proportion of Palestinians deemed ‘Essential’ was ‘Historic Palestine – From the Jordanian river to the sea’ with 71%, another option not offered the Israeli sample. On what was ‘Essential’, the highest proportion among the Israelis was 32% for the two state ‘solution’.
According to the Saudi plan, Israel will retreat from all territories occupied in 1967 including Gaza the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, and a Palestinian state will be established. The refugees problem will be resoved through negotiation in a just and agreed upon manner and in accordance with UN resolution. In return, all Arab states will recognize Israel and its right to secure borders, will sign peace treaties with her and establish normal diplomatic relations. Do you agree or disagree to this plan?
As is always the case with complex questions like this, ‘disagree’ answers are uninformative because we don’t know which component respondents objected to. But it is probably safe to assume that those who agree accept every component. Only 22.2% of Israeli Jews agreed with this formulation, 7% ‘definitely’. Among the Palestinian sample, 57.3% agreed, 8.3% definitely. Interestingly, in a follow up survey of Israelis only and not disaggregated by ethnicity conducted after Obama’s 4 June Cairo speech, 35% of all Israelis agreed, 13.3% ‘definitely’. This represents a slight decrease from before the speech when 36.3% of all Israelis agreed, 14% ‘definitely’. Although the margin of error is not stated, the drop may not be significant.
On the question of the border, 78% of Palestinians said it was ‘Essential’ ‘Israel should withdraw to the 67 border’, while 60% of Israelis said that was ‘Unacceptable’. There was again no consensus among Israelis on what was ‘Essential’, but 58% would tolerate a ‘Border established by the security wall’, an option 73% of Palestinians considered ‘Unacceptable’.
It was ‘Essential’ for 91% of Palestinian respondents that ‘All of Jerusalem should remain in Palestine’, while 45% of Israelis said it was ‘Essential’ that ‘All of Jerusalem should remain in Israel’. A point of agreement was that majorities of both populations regarded it as ‘Unacceptable’ either to divide the city or to make it an ‘International City of Peace’ under UN or multifaith jurisdiction.
Ninety-eight percent of Palestinians said it was ‘Essential’ that ‘All the settlers should leave the occupied territories/West Bank and settlements demolished’ and 83% that ‘Abandoned settlements and infrastructure should be given to Palestinians’. Without access to the interviewers’ instructions or comparable metadata, I can’t be sure, but I surmise that this apparent contradiction arises because respondents were asked to consider each option independently of the others. These were ‘Unacceptable’ to 53% and 58% of Israelis, respectively. Thirty-seven percent of Israelis said it was ‘Essential’ that ‘All the settlements on the Israeli side of the security wall should be part of Israel’ and 20% that ‘All the settlements should remain as they are’. Significant majorities of both populations agreed it would be ‘Unacceptable’ for settlers to stay in the Palestinian state.
Curiously, the Palestinian sample was not asked about the crucial corridor connecting Gaza to the West Bank, but among the Israelis, 47% said a bridge would be ‘Unacceptable’, 57% rejected a tunnel, and 43% wouldn’t accept a ‘Corridor between Gaza and West bank on land given to Palestine under land exchange’. Only about 8% of Israelis thought it ‘Essential’ for there to be any form of ‘transportational contiguity’ between the two enclaves at all.
Among Palestinians, 96% said ‘Palestinians should have control of their energy, minerals and air space’, while this was unacceptable to 35% of Israelis. Ninety-three percent of Palestinians considered it ‘Essential’ for the Palestinian state to have an army, while 63% of Israelis said that would be ‘Unacceptable’, and 25% said it was ‘Essential’ that ‘The IDF should remain in the Occupied Territories/West Bank’.
On the central issue of the right of return for the refugees, 87% of Palestinians said return with compensation, as provided in UN General Assembly Resolution 194, was ‘Essential’, while 77% of Israelis said it was ‘Unacceptable’, 83% even without compensation. Even the prospect that ‘The number of refugees returning to Israel should be limited to family members and numbers agreed between Israel and Palestine/the Palestinians’ was unacceptable to 49% of Israelis. Similarly, 60% rejected ‘An Israeli recognition of the suffering of the Palestinian refugees, while most refugees return to the West bank or Gaza and some return to Israel’.
In summary, in the context of a partition arrangement, an overwhelming majority of Palestinians consider it essential for the Israel to withdraw to the Green Line, evacuating all settlements, with Jerusalem to be incorporated into the Palestinian state, which must have its own army and control its own resources, and the refugees should have the right of return and compensation. A majority of Israelis regard most of these as unacceptable, with a large minority rejecting Palestinian control of resources. A significant plurality says it is essential for Israel to retain all of Jerusalem.
Key issues
Palestinians – Essential
Israelis – Unacceptable
Israel should withdraw to the 67 border
All the settlers should leave the occupied territories/West Bank and settlements demolished
Right of return AND compensation
All of Jerusalem should remain in Palestine
All of Jerusalem should remain in Israel
Palestinians should have control of their energy, minerals and air space
Palestine should have an army
Finally, only 33% of Israelis said it would be ‘Unacceptable’ that ‘Israeli Arabs should be transferred to Palestine/the West Bank and Gaza’, while 18% thought it ‘Essential’ and another 46% can live with it.
What this shows is that when asked about ‘the two state solution’ majorities among both Israelis and Palestinians say they would tolerate it, but when probed about the details they are diametrically opposed on the main issues – borders, refugees, settlements, and Jerusalem. At the same time, there is no enthusiasm for binationalism on either side and while a small majority of Palestinians would tolerate ‘one joint state’, the prospect was so offensive to Israeli respondents that ‘the interview would often be brought to a close’.
The International Consensus, as I understand it, is more or less captured by the three principal demands of the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative:
I. Full Israeli withdrawal from all the territories occupied since 1967, including the Syrian Golan Heights, to the June 4, 1967 lines as well as the remaining occupied Lebanese territories in the south of Lebanon.
II. Achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem to be agreed upon in accordance with U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194.
III. The acceptance of the establishment of a sovereign independent Palestinian state on the Palestinian territories occupied since June 4, 1967 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital. [my emphasis]
The Palestinian respondents to the OneVoice poll regard these provisions as ‘Essential’. Their only departure from the Consensus is in demanding all of Jerusalem. It’s clear that they don’t mean just the part that Israel occupied in 1967 because 50% rejected the proposition that ‘Jerusalem should be divided into East and West along the pre 67 border’. Large, but not overwhelming, majorities of Israeli respondents, in contrast, reject all the provisions of the Peace Initiative, including 77% who reject dividing Jerusalem on the old border.
While we’re talking about The International Consensus, I might just point out that there is a wee problem. I mean apart from the problem about partition and all. It calls for an independent Palestinian state and goes on in a later section to offer normalisation of relations with Israel. This has received a lot of coverage lately, as US President Obama is quite keen on that aspect of the Initiative, effectively asking the Arab states to normalise relations before Israel complies with the provisions I quoted. Now the whole point of Israel is to be a Jewish state – state that privileges Jews in some meaningful sense. But what would it mean to achieve ‘a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem to be agreed upon in accordance with U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194’? For reference, here is the relevant passage:
11. Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible [my emphasis]
Nobody really knows how many of the millions of refugees would actually exercise their right to return, but, as I wrote some time ago,
In other words, it is up to the refugees themselves, and not someone purporting to negotiate on their behalf, to decide whether or not to return, and the place they are entitled to return to is not some arbitrary place, but ‘their homes’. Even if only a small fraction of those currently languishing in refugee camps were to decide to exercise their right, if it were a meaningful right – to return to their homes - it would almost certainly entail a non Jewish majority within the Green Line. The compensation due to those choosing not to exercise their right, if it were just, would almost certainly bankrupt Israel.
As I read it, therefore, any two state arrangement that provides the minimum just redress for the 1948 refugees would create a non Jewish majority in the Jewish state, which is precisely why the Zionists reject the right of return as ‘national suicide’. The inevitable outcome of two states in historic Palestine turns out to be two non Jewish Palestinian states, which defeats the purpose.
But of course, since the purpose of the two state ‘solution’ from the 1947 UN partition resolution to the Geneva initiative and the Road Map is precisely the creation or retention of a sectarian racist ethno-religious Jewish state, the question of justice - for the refugees or anybody – doesn’t arise. And in the absence of justice, there will not be peace.