Sixty five years after the forced exodus of the majority of the Palestinian population that inhabited the territory on which Israel was established (known as Nakba, translated to catastrophe), forced displacement is still an important feature of the Israeli policies towards Palestinians. Not only does Israel prevent the return of refugees, but it is still inflicting more displacements through measures that have been undertaken within the framework of the Israeli legal system whether in its civil or military varieties. Unfortunately, despite the fact that a peace process has been launched since almost 20 years, Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons have not been provided with remedies. On the one hand, the Israeli legal system is part of the problem, and on the other hand, the political process is not yet leading anywhere.
Against this background, scholars and other contributors have been debating solutions that could end the plight of the refugees within the context of the peace process. A new approach has emerged, attempting to use the transitional justice framework in solving the plight of the Nakba victims. Most of the new literature looks into the possibility of designing truth commissions to heal the pains caused by the Nakba.
This thesis aims at defining the parameters of a transitional justice approach in relation to displacement in Palestine/ Israel. It does so by attempting to employ a transitional justice methodology, which stresses the significance of comprehensiveness. Towards this end, the thesis starts by studying the measures that Israel took to inflict displacements during times of war and peace. Then, the legality of these measures in international law is examined. Finally, the thesis looks into transitional justice mechanisms and how they redressed forced displacement in similar contexts. As a result of this study, the thesis concludes that using transitional justice in the Palestinian-Israeli context cannot be limited to truth and reconciliation commissions, but needs also to comprehensively address the human rights violations by advancing such rights. This requires a number of remedies that must include, at a first step, the immediate end of the forced displacement regime. This can only happen through deep reforms in Israel’s legal frameworks and state institutions. In addition, this shall be coupled with reparation programs including truth, return, restitution of property, compensation; as well as designing a policy concerning the criminal justice element of the crime of forced displacement.