German Precedent for Nullifying a Right of Return

After World War II ended in 1945, the Soviet Union annexed territory from eastern Poland to produce a buffer zone between itself and Germany. To compensate Poland for this lost territory, the borders of Poland were moved westward. The eastern German territories of East Prussia and Silesia were removed from Germany and given to Poland. Several million German residents were forcibly expelled from East Prussia and Silesia and resettled in Germany. People from all over Poland moved into East Prussia and Silesia to replace the former German population.

The post-war border between Germany and Poland was recognized by East Germany in 1950. In 1990, as part of the reunification of Germany, West Germany renounced all claims to the historical eastern territories of Germany. In negotiating a two-state solution with the Palestinians, Israel can use Germany’s renunciation of all claims to its pre-war eastern territories as a precedent for nullifying the Palestinian demand for a right of return to land in Israel vacated by their parents and grandparents in 1948. The Palestinian people will be resettled in a future state of Palestine.

About the Author
Ted Sheskin is a professor emeritus of industrial engineering at Cleveland State University, and the author of a textbook, Markov Chains and Decision Processes for Engineers and Managers. He has published peer-reviewed papers on engineering systems and mathematical algorithms. His letters to editors addressing politics, economic policy, and issues facing Israel and American Jews have appeared in the NY Times, Daily News, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Cleveland Jewish News, Jewish Week, the Forward, and Jewish Voice.
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