Transfer (of Arab population outside Palestine)

Term used by some Israeli political circles to describe the idea whereby the solution to the conflict between Jews and Arabs can be found through the deportation or voluntary departure of the Arab Palestinian population (out of Israel and the occuppied territories since June 1967).

Theodore HERZL was the first to suggest this idea before WW I when Palestine was a part of the Ottoman Empire.

It was raised again during the British Mandate with a view to create two states, one purely Jewish and the other purely Arab, and was debated at the 1937 Zionist Congress and submitted to the Peel Commission. David BEN GOURION was in favour of the approach.

A partial transfer of the Arab population took place during the 1948 war when 750,000 Arabs were forced to seek refuge outside Israel.

Several Israeli political parties openly advocate transfer: the Tehiya (in government in 1990) and Rabin Kahane’s Kash. These two parties have disappeared but a third one continues to promote this idea. Indeed, Moledet, renamed Ihoud Leoumi in 1999, continues to defend the « transfer » and is part of the Sharon-Peres government of national unity since February 2001. Its leader, Rehavam Zeevi (minister of Tourism), was killed in October 2001 by a PFLP commando. Rehavam Zeevi’s successor is Benny Eilon.