Palestinian refugees in the diaspora : a rethinking of attitudes on return
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This thesis presents a practical analysis of the factors that are likely to affect the decisions of Palestinian refugees in the Diaspora towards returning to their homeland if given the opportunity. This is contextualized in a setting where refugees are given a choice between several options including returning to areas now a part of Israel, receiving compensation, and/or potentially moving to a third country. The evidence drawn from a variety of first and second hand research points to several conclusions. Choice will be a critical element in any settlement if compensation is to be an acceptable alternative to the majority of Palestinians. Palestinian refugees are likely to make their decisions with the priorities of economic and political stability in mind. Given the choice, most Palestinians will not return to their homeland, now part of Israel, if they are made fully aware of the implications of this decision. The host state political, social, and economic environment plays a critical role in influencing Palestinian perceptions and attitudes towards return. As part of an effort to ease tensions and to create realistic impressions of life in Israel, all Palestinians should be allowed to take a sponsored exploratory trip in advance of any permanent solution.