This competition of narrative and counter-narrative can be continued endlessly; we can forever pitch the suffering of Palestinians against that of Jews; we can find proof of the other side’s inhumanity, and point out how righteous our own side is. The result will be perpetuation of the conflict, and bequeathing endless suffering for future generations of Israeli and Palestinian children.
raising the right of return at this moment plays into the hands of Israel’s right wing: they will be able to say: “We always told you so: the two-state solution is just a Palestinian plot to incorporate the Jewish state into the Greater State of Palestine.”
Erekat cannot say in good faith that this “will not lead to an existential crisis for Israel”, because he implies that, over time, Israel will disappear as a homeland for the Jews, because beyond a certain point Jews will be a minority in the pre-1967 borders.
Hence we call upon the Palestinian leadership to state clearly what exactly it demands. It will have to be less equivocal on which of the two meanings of “right of return” it endorses. On this question the future of the whole region hinges, and this is not up for Israel to decide. It is time for the Palestinians to realise that the future of the region is now in their hands.