Right of Return

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Established by the State of Israel soon after its creation in 1948, the right of return enacted by the Knesset allows any Jew who so desires to live in Israel and obtain Israeli citizenship. This right was also requested by Palestinian political leaders, who demanded that Palestinians who had been forced to leave their land as a consequence of the various Israeli-Palestine wars be allowed to return home. This right of return, which now concerns 3.7 million Palestinians, principally refugees in neighboring Arab countries, is a source of anxiety for the Israeli authorities, who are afraid that allowing it would upset the country's demographic equilibrium between Palestinians and Israelis. Along with East Jerusalem, this problem is one of the main stumbling blocks in the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, in particular as it concerns the refugees from 1948, whose right to return was affirmed by United Nations Resolution 194. Among Palestinians, renouncing the right of return has been considered tantamount to treason.

SEE ALSO Arab-Israel War (1948);Resolution 194.