Refugees into Citizens: Palestinians and the End of the Arab-Israeli Conflict

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Refugees into Citizens: Palestinians and the End of the Arab-Israeli Conflict

By Donna E. Arzt
Council On Foreign Relations Press, 1997
232 pp. $18.95
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This study, which benefited from a working group at the Council on Foreign Relations, is less interested in sorting out historical rights and wrongs than in proposing possible solutions. The key argument is that Palestinians must acquire rights of citizenship if they are to abandon their irredentist claims. That citizenship should either be in a new Palestinian state, or in the states where they now reside. Arzt acknowledges that many Palestinians will not want to remain where they are, or will not be welcome to do so, as in Lebanon. She argues that Israel should take back a modest number, but that most will end up in Jordan and the new Palestinian state. She considers the option of dual citizenship for those who do not return to the new state, but this idea is not fully developed. The book assumes that a peace settlement will eventually be reached, and that the refugee issue will have to be part of it. Today that prospect is less certain than when the author wrote. But if and when the refugee claims are dealt with, many of the sensible suggestions in this book, if not the details, will be useful.