Cite: Nets-Zehngut, Israeli Memory of the Palestinian Refugee Problem

Nets-Zehngut, Rafi. “Israeli Memory of the Palestinian Refugee Problem.” Peace Review 24.2 (2012): 187-194.





Conflicts are a common human phenomenon, which typically do extensive damage to the involved parties. Their courses are significantly influenced by the memory of the rivals in question. This realization, and the centrality of conflicts worldwide, is the major reason for the recent growth in memory studies. Following this theme, this essay addresses a major case study: the Israeli memory of the main historical event of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict—the 1948 Palestinian exodus, which led to the creation of the Palestinian refugee problem. For decades, this conflict has jeopardized the stability of the Middle East, and is currently in an important phase: an intermittent peace process, in which the Palestinian refugee problem is a major issue. The essay describes the major dynamics of the Israeli memory of the Palestinian exodus from 1948 to nowadays, the causes of these dynamics, and their implications.


In conclusion, until the late 1970s, the Zionist narrative regarding the 1948 exodus was the hegemonic one in Israel. Since then, due to social, economic, and political developments, it has lost its hegemony and the Critical narrative has taken a significant place. Consequently, the Israeli official and popular memories have also transformed to become significantly critical, and the Israeli–Palestinian peace talks have been somewhat influenced, in turn.

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