Irwin Cotler, a Canadian MP and former justice minister in Canada, has said there is no legal or moral basis for the Palestinian demand that the Palestinian refugees be allowed to return to Israel. In an interview with IsraCast, Prof. Cotler contended that the Arab League rejection of the 1947 Partition Plan and its war against the new born state of Israel was responsible not only for the estimated 550,000 Palestinian refugees but also for the some 1,000,00 Jewish refugees who were driven out of Arab countries after their property and assets were sequestered.
'There is no moral or legal basis for the right of return of Palestinian refugees to Israel - that's the professional opinion of Irwin Cotler, a McGill University law professor. After participating in an inquiry of the Palestinian and Jewish refugee issue in the Middle East, Cotler contends that it is the Arab League which bears responsibility not only for the estimated 550,000 Palestinian refugees but also for the estimated one million Jewish refugees who were forced to flee the Arab countries. Rather than accepting what was actually the first two state solution, the Arab countries declared war on the Jewish state and it was this Arab aggression that created two sets of refugees - the Palestinian and the Jewish refugees who were uprooted in the Arab countries who were forced to flee after their property and assets were sequestered.
"Cotler said the inquiry uncovered an official Arab League document instructing its member states to impose Nirenberg type laws against their Jewish citizens.This deliberate campaign caused the forced expulsion of considerably more Jewish refugees than Palestinians who fled Israel when the Arab armies attacked the Jewish state. Therefore, there was no moral or legal basis to the claim for the Palestinian right of return to the very state that the Arab side tried to destroy. However, Cotler adds that the plight and suffering of the Palestinian refugees should be addressed from a humanitarian point of view and this also applied to the Jewish refugees from the Arab countries.
"The McGill law professor also took issue with the total exclusion of the Jewish refugees form the Arab countries during all discussion at the United Nations for the past sixty years. Cotler notes that the U.N. General Assembly has passed over 130 resolutions on Palestinian refugees without once referring to the Jewish refugees who were forced to flee the Arab states. Nor was there any basis for the contention that Jews lived lives of equality in the Arab countries. On the contrary, on the basis of Islam, Jews were tolerated as second class citizens."
Listen to Isracast Parts 1 and 2