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2012 | ICTJ Report on Transitional Justice approaches to Restitution and Return 2012

This report by the International Centre for Transitional Justice discusses the protracted displacement of Palestinian refugees from the perspective of the “transitional justice principle”, which places victims of human rights abuse at the centre of conflict resolution, focusing on state accountability, reparations, and peacebuilding.

Nearly 70 percent of all Palestinians are displaced from their place of origin, following two major waves of  forced expulsions, property seizures and destructions by the Israeli authorities, which took place in 1948 and 1967. The report addresses questions pertaining to the rights of Palestinians to property restitution, also considering the arguments used by Israeli authorities and scholars to refuse restitution.

The report furthermore stresses the importance of treating the right to restitution and the right to  return separately, as distinct but complementary remedies. If refugees are unable or unwilling to repatriate, their right to property restitution should nonetheless be respected.

The report concludes with the observation that even if prospects for Palestinians seeking restitution are looking quite dim, this shouldn’t withhold us from examining restitution as part of a more rights-based approach of conflict resolution.