Tzipi Hotovely
Tzipi HotovelyYonatan Sindel/Flash90

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) issued a call Sunday to dismantle the Palestinian "refugee camps."

Speaking at the JCC Conference, Hotovely said: "Israelis after 2009 understand that the root of the conflict is the Palestinians' demand to recognize the 'right of return,' and therefore, the solution must be the dismantling of the refugee camps and taking the subject of the [Palestinian] 'right of return' off the agenda. The 'right of return' is de facto the end of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state."

As for the issue of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, Hotovely said: "More and more people understand that the settlement enterprise is not the problem. After [the Disengagement from Gaza in] 2005, the thought that transferring 400,000 Jews will bring peace is not only an illusion, but also a moral distortion. It is time that the world understand that the settlement enterprise is the front line in the fight against global jihad."

Hotovely noted Israel's diplomatic strides, including the widening of its new markets into China, India and Japan.

Arab irredentists claim that millions of descendants of refugees from villages abandoned in Israel's War of Independence deserve to "return" to Israel. To maintain the power of this claim, they insist on keeping millions of Palestinians in "refugee camps" in Judea and Samaria as well as Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Gaza, instead of assimilating them in their new countries.

The refugee stream in 1948-9 was a direct result of the failed attempt by joint Arab armies and local Arab paramilitaries to destroy nascent Israel and annihilate the Jews.

Joint List MKs Ahmed Tibi and Osama Sa'adi proposed a bill giving Arabs the "right of return" to specific villages in northern Israel earlier this month, citing "broken promises" dating as far back as 1948. 

"This is the return of the country's citizens to where they lived," the two claimed in the explanatory note.

"Residents of Gabasia were evacuated from their village in 1951, and residents of Ikrit and Bir-am were evacuated from their villages at the end of 1948, with a promise from the state authorities that they will return to their homes soon."

The two also cited a High Court ruling which gave the residents of those villages the right to return to their land.