Julie Webb-Pullman reports

Posts tagged “Right of Return

Land Day in Gaza: UNdo what you have done

By Julie Webb-Pullman

Palestinians are running out of patience. 65 years since they were ousted from their homes and lands following Israel’s unilateral declaration of itself as a state and the end of the British ‘mandate’, and 37 years since Land Day was established, they are saying, “Enough!”

And they are saying it loud and clear, men and women, old and young. “ENOUGH!!!”

Almina Abdullah Abusalmiya

Loudest of all are the cries from Gaza, where hundreds of thousands of refugees and their descendants still languish in cramped camps lacking the barest necessities, nary a tree for kids to climb, or a space to kick a ball in – the result of replacing one occupying power, Britain, with another, Israel, and all with the tacit endorsement of the United Nations (UN) and its never-implemented partition plan, and its scores of never-enforced resolutions.

Hamas today hosted an event in Gaza City, where people from all levels of society, the Palestinian Legislative Council to camp-dwellers, vented their frustration, and their legitimate demands to return to the homes brazenly stolen from them.

Abu Hussan Dugheeesh, a Palestinian refugee, was unequivocal in his condemnation of the British role in these shameful events.

“Our memory still maintains the history of our land, and how Britain participated in giving the land of Palestinians to the Jews in the biggest armed robbery in history,” he told the crowd to loud applause.

Abu Hussan Dugheesh

Abu Akram Bahar, of the Palestinian Legislative Council, insisted that the right of return cannot – and will not – diminish with time.

Dr Abu Akram Bahar

UN Resolution 194 guarantees Palestinian refugees the right of return. But as Palestinian poet Ghazi Kalakh pointed out, “The international community wants us to disappear, to make the refugee problem disappear. As a refugee, the only way I will disappear is when I return to my land. That is the how the refugee problem will disappear – with the return of the refugees.”

Ghazi Kalakh

Issam Audwan, from the Hamas Division of Refugee Affairs, made it very clear that doing nothing is not an option. With only around 22% of their lands left, and settlements expanding daily, time is running out.

“We must be united,” he said. “We should not wait for another Arab Spring, we have to move.”

This view was vehemently endorsed by Ameena Abdullah Abusalmiya, an 83 year-old woman driven out of her home in Ashkelon in 1948.

“We need action, not talk,” she insisted. “Muslims and Arabs all have an obligation. We don’t need food, we don’t need aid – Allah will give us those. We need our land. Enough! Enough!”

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Gaza Ministry of Justice: the Right of Return is Inalienable.

Al Ahrar Online – Ahmed Madhoun

The Palestinian Ministry of Justice today stressed the sacredness of Palestinians’ Right of Return to their stolen territories, saying that no-one has the ability to waive it, regardless of who they are.

The Ministry indicated during a press conference held at the Government Media Office on Sunday 04 November that the Right of Return is an individual and collective right held by more than six million Palestinian refugees displaced by the Israeli Occupation.

The Ministry spokesperson said, “On the 95th anniversary of the Belfour Declaration, the Palestinian people were shocked by the statements of Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, when he gave up his Right of Return.”

They added, “The Right of Return is a national, sacred, inalienable right guaranteed by International Law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 10 December 1948. However long they have been deprived of their land, Palestinian refugees still have the right to return, and that right is non-negotiable, unchangeable, and has not been abdicated.”

The Ministry also highlighted that the Palestinian people have withstood the pain of the Nakbah, the ravages of Israeli aggression, and the bitterness of displacement in order to realise their rights in general, and the right to return in particular.

They said anyone who gives up the Right of Return is out of touch with reality, denying fundamental national principles, and violating the Palestinian National Accord.

The Ministry called upon the Palestinian people to continue their struggle for their legitimate rights, and called upon international, Arab, and local media and human rights organizations to expose the obnoxious racist Israeli occupation and its denial of Palestinians’ rights.

Translation: Fatma Al Hasham
Revision: JWP

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