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Tel Aviv University
Marxist Sociology Professor Yehuda Shenhav endorsing the "Palestinian Right of Return"


Palestinian Society and History Review, 2006, No. 1
Israel has used the Arab-Jews, and the population exchange theory, to abdicate
its responsibility for the expulsion of the Palestinians from Palestine in 1948
and 1967, to alleviate demands to compensate the Palestinian refugees for their
property confiscated by the Israeli government, and to serve as a
bargaining chip against the right of return. For all practical purposes, the
population exchange initiative was used in the political discourse to legitimize Israel’s
wrongdoing with regards to the transfer of the Palestinian refugees in 1948.
However, Israel has used the theory vaguely and ambiguously throughout the 54 years of its existence. It has used quasi-governmental organizations such as the Jewish Agency and the World Organization of Jews from Arab Countries to blur its practices and at the same time act upon them. This article lays out the
genealogy of the theory, describes the strategies of what I term ‘constructed ambiguity’ and shows the fallacies associated with it. The implications for any possible resolution are discussed.



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