The Trump Effect? Not a 'Single' Palestinian Allowed Back to Israel, Def. Minister Declares

The Trump Effect? Not a ‘Single’ Palestinian Allowed Back to Israel, Def. Minister Declares

Israel Takes extreme position On Return of Palestinian Refugees

Israel has dramatically risen its tone in regards to Palestinian refugees, with its Defense Minister slamming the door on all displaced Palestinians. Avigdor Lieberman, the ultra-right Israeli Minister of Defense, said during a speech at Israel’s Herzliya conference that his country will not allow the return of any Palestinian to the lands that historically and legally belong to them, but have been claimed by Israel since 1967.

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In his speech, Lieberman dismissed all possibilities of his government ever allowing the return of Palestinian refugees or those internally displaced (IDPs), as well as the possibility of making any deals that would give Palestine back the territory that was assigned to it in the 1949 armistice, but later taken away by Israel during the Six Day War in 1967.

“We will not agree to the return of a single refugee to within the ‘67 borders.”

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the mass exodus of Palestinians (approximately 66%) who were forced to flee the war. And although most international agreements establish that Palestinian refugees should have the right to return, Israel has for decades continued an illegal expansion and occupation of Palestinian territories. Previous Israeli leaders such as former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, at some point considered the possibility of a withdrawal from occupied territories. However, Lieberman has outright rejected it;

“There will never be another prime minister who makes propositions to Palestinians like Ehud Olmert did.”

Former President Barack Obama repeatedly stated that the borders of a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict had to be the ones mutually agreed upon. This position was also stressed by former Secretary of State John Kerry, who rejected the recognition of Israel’s unilaterally-declared borders. But President Donald Trump has, since his election campaign, adopted a different position towards Israel, a country he believes was treated unfairly by the previous administration.

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Trump’s repeatedly pro-Israel position has only encourage the Israeli right-wing government to continue with its aggressive occupation policies. In fact, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, visited Israeli PM Netanyahu this week to discuss the possibilities of a peace process. Yet, as The Washington Post pointed out, the encounter did not result in any breakthroughs. Most alarmingly, the return of the 5 million Palestinian refugees (the largest refugee population in the world) was not even considered.

Featured image via Abid Katib/Getty Images News