Between right and realization: the PLO dialectics of 'the right of return'

M. Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The article analyses the actions and thinking of the PLO regarding the right of return. During the 1980s, as the PLO developed its political programme, its leaders displayed four approaches towards the relevance of the right of return in the context of a political settlement with Israel: utter disregard of the concept; literal acceptance of Resolution 194; calling for full realization of return in a Palestinian state within territories occupied in 1967; and a method differentiating between the collective realization and the individual one. This article argues that until the Israeli-Palestinian Declaration of Principles in September 1993, the right of return remained for the PLO a principle rather than a detailed programme. Since then the PLO had dealt with the more practical aspects of return and developed the political means to negotiate the issue, yet the organization lacks a programme for absorbing those displaced in 1967. Thus, assuring the foundation of the Palestinian state within the 1967 territories is a higher priority in the PLO's agenda than enlarging its population base.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Refugee Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1998


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