RASHID KHALIDI, Professor of Middle East History, Director of the Center for International Studies, University of Chicago, said that of all the issues which must be resolved for settlement of the question of Palestine, that of Palestinians who became refugees in 1948 -- more than half the population at the time -- and the related problem of those who became displaced persons after the 1967 war, was probably the most basic and difficult to resolve. The Palestinians could not forget the matter -- allowing for various dissimilarities, one might as well ask Israelis to forget the Holocaust or Americans to forget Pearl Harbor.
Real history, he said, had been almost totally ignored in efforts to achieve a settlement thus far, which was part of the reason that reconciliation had not yet really started in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Real reconciliation could only begin when there had been acceptance of the weight of history. A General Assembly resolution of 11 December 1948 called for permitting refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours to do so, and for the payment of compensation for the property of those not desiring to do so, as well as for loss of or damage to the property of all refugees. He still favoured use of this resolution as the basis of a settlement, despite numerous difficulties, because it constituted a recognition in principle of the wrong done five decades ago -- both from Israel and the world community.http://www.arts.mcgill.ca/MEPP/PRRN/docs/unngo0996.html