Yousef Nasser Al-Sweidan is right, but he is apparently unaware of the fact that the Arab refugees of 1948 were refused naturalization by all the Arab countries neighboring Israel except Jordan. Instead of absorbing the refugees, as Europe did after the postwar border adjustments that displaced millions of Germans, Poles, and others, they wanted to create a refugee problem that they could use as a stick with which to beat the Israelis.
And it has worked wonderfully well for them.
Meanwhile, I think all the displaced children and grandchildren of those exiled from the Ottoman Empire for refusing to embrace Islam should start demanding a “right of return.” I myself just want a small villa on the Mediterranean. Is that too much to ask?
In two recent articles in the Kuwaiti daily Al-Siyassa, Saudi columnist Yousef Nasser Al-Sweidan argued that the Palestinian refugees’ right of return is an idea that cannot be implemented, and that the only solution is for the refugees to be naturalized in the countries where they currently reside.
The following are excerpts from the articles:
The Right of Return – An Idea that Cannot Be Implemented
In the first article, published March 5, 2007 and titled “On the Impossible [Idea] of the Right of Return,” Al-Sweidan wrote: “…The slogan ‘right of return’… which is brandished by Palestinian organizations, is perceived as one of the greatest difficulties and as the main obstacle to renewing and advancing the peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians based on the Road Map and a two-state solution.
“It is patently obvious that uprooting the descendents of the refugees from their current homes in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and other countries, and returning them to Israel, to the West Bank, and to Gaza is a utopian ideal and [a recipe for] anarchy. More than that – it is an idea that cannot be implemented, not only because it will upset the demographic [balance] in a dangerous and destructive manner, and will have [far-reaching] political, economic and social ramifications in such a small and constrained geographical area, but [mainly] because the return [of the refugees] stands in blatant contradiction to Israel’s right as a sovereign [state], while the Palestinian Authority lacks the infrastructure to absorb such a large number of immigrants as long as the peace process… is not at its peak…”
“The Arab countries where the Palestinians live in refugee camps must pass the laws necessary to integrate the inhabitants of these camps into society. [In addition, they must] provide them with education and health services, and allow them freedom of occupation and movement and the right to own real estate, instead of [continuing] their policy of excluding [the refugees] and leaving the responsibility [of caring for them] to others, while marketing the impossible illusion of return [to Palestine]…” 
“As the Middle East peace process gains momentum, and as the regional and international forces remain committed to the need to resolve this [conflict]… there is a growing necessity for a realistic, unavoidable and bold decision that will provide a just solution to the problem of the Palestinian refugees by naturalizing them in the host countries, such as Syria, Lebanon, and other countries….