80% of Israel?s Arabs Support Return of Arabs Who Fled in ?48

80% of Israel’s Arab citizens support the right of Arabs who fled the country in 1948 to return to their homes and property in Israel, or receive compensation for the property they left behind.

Scott Shiloh , | updated: 3:01 PM

According to a poll taken by the Arab Center for Applied Social Research in Haifa, 29% of Arab citizens say that Arabs who left the country during the War for Independence in 1948 should be able to choose between the option of returning to Israel or taking compensation.

Arabs who fled the country in 1948, mostly to Arab states bordering Israel, are generally referred to by the media as “refugees,” despite the fact that those states have steadfastly refused to resettle them.

Israel’s Arab population stands at 1.3 million people, nearly 20% of the country’s population. Arab refugees and their descendants today number in the millions. Most Israeli politicians, even those on the left, generally agree that demographically, absorbing even a small proportion of those refugees could lead to Israel’s demise as a Jewish state.

Seven percent of the Arabs polled said that the ’48 refugees should be allowed to return only to a Palestinian state which would be established in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. Twelve percent said that the right of return should be granted only to those Arabs encountering difficulties abroad.

Nearly all the Arabs polled, 93%, say that Israel bears the brunt of the responsibility for finding solutions for the refugee issue. Eighty-six percent said that Israel has the sole responsibility for providing compensation for Arabs who fled during the 1948 war.

Two-thirds of the Arabs polled also said they would be willing to provide economic and moral support to Arabs returning to live in Israel. Sixty-eight percent said they were willing to absorb the Arabs into their towns and villages. Only 18% said they would be willing to help a limited number of refugees, and 14% said they were opposed to absorbing any at all.

1400 Israeli Arab citizens, aged 18 and over, from all social strata were questioned in the poll.