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Palestinians Right of Return is not Debatable: UN Resolution 194 In Force and Enforceable

September 4, 2011 12 comments

Posted on September 03, 2011 by Marivel Guzman

Continuing Relevance of International Law:

by Phyllis Bennis

UN Resolution 273 of 11 May 1949, welcoming Israel into the UN, established that the new state’s entry was based on Israel’s representations regarding its ability and willingness to implement 194.

Right of Return

International law regarding Palestinian refugees was essentially abandoned during the Camp David talks. After the 1948 war, the UN passed General Assembly Resolution (UNGA) 194, which mandated compensation for the Palestinian refugees and assured their right to return home. The UN made Israel’s own membership in the world body contingent on Israeli acceptance of 194 and the rights it granted to the Palestinians. UN Resolution 273 of 11 May 1949, welcoming Israel into the UN, established that the new state’s entry was based on Israel’s representations regarding its ability and willingness to implement 194.

The Palestinians’ right to return to their homes, despite a 52-year delay in realizing that right, is no less enforceable, no less compelling, than the same right of the Albanian Kosovars, in whose name the United States led NATO into war. It is no less than the right of Rwandans returning home from the Congo, or East Timorese going home from Indonesian refugee camps.

In fact, as law professor Susan Akram and others have noted, the Palestinian right of return has an even stronger legal basis. United Nations Resolution 194 was consciously designed to provide privileged protections for Palestinian refugees, with the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol serving as a safety net. Those special rights were not granted to other refugees, whose rights are determined solely by broader international laws.

25 August 2000—Considering that most observers of the Camp David negotiations called the contention over the Palestinian right of return “irresolvable,” it was no surprise that this issue was one of the summit’s deal breakers. Yet what most left out was the explanation of why this issue was a sticking point: Palestinian rights and international law have been overshadowed by Israel’s power.

Israel controls the land of the 530 Palestinian villages destroyed during and after the 1948 war, from which hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were expelled or fled more than 50 years ago. The Palestinians have few cards to put on the table. Instead of power, they have only their roughly five million exiles; most of them are stateless. Meanwhile, the United States accepts this vast disparity of power between Israel and the Palestinians, as if Camp David were a level playing field on which an honest broker could referee a fair game.

Continuing Relevance of International Law:

International law regarding Palestinian refugees was essentially abandoned during the Camp David talks. After the 1948 war, the UN passed General Assembly Resolution (UNGA) 194, which mandated compensation for the Palestinian refugees and assured their right to return home. The UN made Israel’s own membership in the world body contingent on Israeli acceptance of 194 and the rights it granted to the Palestinians. UN Resolution 273 of 11 May 1949, welcoming Israel into the UN, established that the new state’s entry was based on Israel’s representations regarding its ability and willingness to implement 194.

The Palestinians’ right to return to their homes, despite a 52-year delay in realizing that right, is no less enforceable, no less compelling, than the same right of the Albanian Kosovars, in whose name the United States led NATO into war. It is no less than the right of Rwandans returning home from the Congo, or East Timorese going home from Indonesian refugee camps.

In fact, as law professor Susan Akram and others have noted, the Palestinian right of return has an even stronger legal basis. United Nations Resolution 194 was consciously designed to provide privileged protections for Palestinian refugees, with the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol serving as a safety net. Those special rights were not granted to other refugees, whose rights are determined solely by broader international laws.

Demographics:

Despite the requirements of international law, Israel specifically rejects the “right” of return, maintaining that allowing the Palestinian refugees to come home would alter the demographic balance of the Jewish state. The claim is accurate: it would more than double the number of Palestinians in Israel, which now comprises about 20 percent of Israel’s population. However, concern regarding the ethnic composition of the country is not an acceptable basis for rejecting international law. The equivalent would be a post-war Rwandan government refusing—with U.S. support—to recognize the right of indigenous refugees to return home because of fears that it would somehow change the Hutu-Tutsi demographics.

Israel apparently offered a “humanitarian compromise” at Camp David which would allow a small percentage of Palestinians to return home based on Israeli-regulated family reunification. Yet Israel continued to reject UN 194, the Palestinian right of return, and any Israeli legal or moral responsibility for the plight of the refugees. At most, one rumor held that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s team offered a passive-voice recognition that “pain was caused” to the Palestinians.

Third Generation Refugee Movement:

After the 1948 war, the families who lost their homes—many still holding their house keys in the expectation of a quick return—clung tightly to their memories. Their children grew up on the romantic vision of Palestine as a paradise where everyone was rich, everything was beautiful, everyone was happy. That second refugee generation created the intifada 40 years later, fighting for a new state in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem; the unlikely possibility of actually returning to their parents’ idealized vision of Palestine inside the Green Line was not at the top of their agenda.

Now, the third generation is growing up in the fetid refugee camps of the still-occupied territories and in surrounding Arab countries. This Oslo generation, these young refugees now in their teens and early twenties, are bringing a new passion and a new realism to their right of return.

On a recent visit inside Israel, teenagers from the Ibda’ Cultural Center of the Dheisha refugee camp traveled to the villages their families had left behind in 1947 or 1948. At that time, Israeli forces ransacked many Palestinian villages, leaving most completely destroyed, with fast-growing pine trees planted over the ruined foundations. Only the rows of cactus that once marked property lines are still visible. A few walls and minarets were damaged but left standing. In most, only the ancient olive trees remain.

As part of an extraordinary oral history project, the Dheisha children have interviewed their grandparents who were expelled in 1948, and then studied the culture, architecture, and history of the villages, as well as where their residents ended up. Now, traveling to the destroyed villages, the children themselves proudly explain to visitors where the school was, where the mosque stood, how the residents made their living, where their own grandparents’ houses were located.

This third generation of children is preparing for a real, not romantic or idealized, return. They discuss what kind of houses they will build, how they will get water, from where their homes might get electricity. They debate whether and how they can live with the Israeli families who have built new houses on and around some of their land.

Compromise:

Is compromise possible? Absolutely. But only if it is based on a recognition of return as a real, fundamental right. The kind of compromise that will not work includes Israel’s proposal for a “humanitarian” family reunification program that would benefit only a few tens of thousands of the millions of stateless Palestinians. Another sure-to-fail “compromise” is the proposal being quietly banded about in the corridors of U.S. and Middle Eastern capitals. This plan envisions a quid pro quo in which Baghdad would settle most of the Palestinian refugees now living in Lebanon—with or without their consent—in Kurdish areas of Iraq from which equally unwilling Kurds are already being expelled, in exchange for a lifting of the crippling economic sanctions against Iraq.

Real compromise might be possible in determining how, not whether, the right of return will be implemented. The Palestinians’ return could be organized to minimize the effects on existing Israeli lives in the area. Palestinian refugees might agree to return to their lands and villages but leave negotiable which plots of land will be reclaimed. Returning refugees may work with Israeli officials to insure an orderly repossession. Certainly not all Palestinian refugees will ultimately opt to return at all. But the right to return is absolute, and cannot be compromised away.

Refugee Involvement in Decision-Making:

The question of who decides is fundamental. Palestinian refugees must be allowed to make their own decisions, accept or reject their own compromises. Current camp dwellers must themselves be represented on the negotiating teams. The starting point of any agreement must be Israeli acknowledgement of the binding legal commitment their government made in 1949 to implement Resolution 194, and to recognize the absolute right of Palestinian return.

In the destroyed village of Zakhariya, as Ibda’ children picked lemons from the prolific trees scattered across what was once their families’ land, one of the adult coordinators who was himself born in Dheisha camp said quietly, “I can close my eyes and see it, see the people coming to the mosque, to the market. They cannot play with this history.”

Phyllis Bennis is a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies. The above text may be used without permission but with proper attribution to the author and to the Palestine Center. This Information Brief does not necessarily reflect the views of the Palestine Center or The Jerusalem Fund.

This information first appeared in Information Brief No. 45, 25 August 2000.

More Posts Relevant to Palestine…….

Victory for Palestine-Israel defeat in front of the International Community

UN Vote for Palestine State, humiliating Defeat for Israel and US

Palestinian Bid For State Hood should not be questioned, Israel Existence Should

EU Support Palestine Bid For State Hood, Slight Division Not a Problem

Palestine: Arduous odyssey of statehood….OpinionMaker.org

Palestine Bid for State Hood Does Not Affect Israel Economy, Peace Talks, or Refugee Return Rights


Posted on August 31, 2011 by Marivel Guzman

I have been reading lose stories here and there that have been spreading the notion that Palestine Bin for State Hood will cause Israel to lose foot in the International economy. Take as an example this “Analisys” posted yesterday by Attila Somfalvi on ynetnews.com. This is how they are misleading the world on the issue.

Palestinian UN bid – a blow to Israeli economy?

While economists warn of widespread boycott of Israel in wake of Palestinian declaration of state, senior ministers more concerned about allocating billions for defense against third intifada

Economists, pundits and politicians warn that a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state could put Israel in a corner by isolating the Jewish state both politically and financially.

The concern is that an increasing number of international companies and western nations will choose to boycott Israel – just like they did with South Africa under Apartheid – due to its continued control of the West Bank and its unwillingness to stop settlement construction. President Shimon Peres has warned of such developments, especially after a number of port authorities in Europe announced that they would not unload Israeli cargo.

Lets not forget that the wave of the BDS  (Boycott Desinvestment and Sanctions) around the world against Israel Products and Companies has nothing to do with Palestine Bid for statehood. The international communities of Peace activists, conscience writers and other socially engaged people around the world, has been following Israel trail of murders, injustices against the native Palestinians, home demolitions, tree uprooting, illegal construction of settlement inside West Bank and East Jerusalem I mean countless issues that have become the back bone of the Palestine-Israel conflict. And by no means the boycotting started because of Palestine seeking state hood, NO! not at all, the campaign started as a result of Israel unwillingness to abide by UN resolutions, and the abuse of Palestinians in all the spectrum of their life; physically, mentally, and the destruction of their live hood, and habitat. Do not even buy into this propaganda.

The ruthless state of Israel that called Itself the Only Democracy in the Middle East is being deceiving people and using her Lobby around the world to get money and political support using the lies that propagate in the News to get away with almost everything.

Another story being spread that it is taking force because it is even repeated by Israel supporters and Palestinians supporters alike is the Refugee Issue. There is nothing written on stone and the gossip sometimes is the best weapon Israel use for her advantage. They are old rumor that spread like dynamite and they are still being used now to discredit Palestine. “The Rapes and killings rumor spread in the Palestinians Villages” to rid them out of their Homes and Lands” and later was said that the land was without an owner.

The rumor spread all around Palestine. “leave now with Nothing, the Arab armies will come to help you”, so Palestinians left to refugees camps and Israel army came and claim the land was empty.

Acceptance of PA’s UN bid will push back talks for years’

By HERB KEINON
09/01/2011 00:46

Senior official warns that General Assembly resolution recognizing PA as a member state would create “unbridgeable gaps.”

That is BS in the best way understandable, the only problem the world has, is the aggression of Israel against Palestinians inside the 1967 borders and outside of it. The illegal expansion of Israel on the excuse of buffer zone, the construction of illegal settlements inside West Bank and West Jerusalem and the racists policies that Israel is implementing inside Israel which making Palestinians every day life inside Israel unbearable, The Illegal Wall even to Israel Court Ruling, the Check Points, the Nighty raids inside Palestinians homes; just to mention few of the issues that matter to solve the conflict. The Talks can be push back a century and won’t make a difference for Palestinians.
The talks don’t help, the Action is what makes the difference. So, Please do not even give ears to this non sense.

A UN General Assembly resolution recognizing the Palestinian Authority as a member, state would create “unbridgeable gaps” and push back negotiations for years, a senior Israeli official warned Wednesday.The official said that once such a resolution was passed, the Palestinians would never be willing to negotiate on the basis of anything less, and no Israeli leader would ever be able to agree to what the Palestinians would likely get from the UN.
And another gossip propagated, Palestine is not seeking Non-Member status, Palestine is seeking full recognition in the UN Body, with rights to vote in her own, and not spectator as it sits now, or Non-member status as the Vatican.
First lets analyze what Israel means with “Peace Talks”: When ever Israel decides to make a meeting with a Palestinian leader, it has to be at Israel convenience, at her terms, in the place she decides and always will be something she is requesting from PA, US or UN, and just as the two previous accords were not beneficial for Palestine but detrimental to its cause, it has only brought more restrictions for the grow of Palestine as independent nation, it has put its leaders as guardian of Israel interest instead of Palestinians interests  and had tied Palestinians leaders to move forward.
When ever there is any conflict regarding illegal settlement activity inside West Bank or Jerusalem Israel uses as excuse to crack down in Palestinians activists, to incarcerate its leaders and to tied more the grip she has in Palestine society, like the check points, the extension of the illegal Apartheid Wall and the demolition of Palestinians homes.
So does not matter the acceptance of Palestine as a member in the UN body, the peace talks will never  go back to levels they were never in not for Palestine anyway.
Every time that there were any “Peace Talks”, for one reason or another Israel would cry wolf and they will stop, sometimes even right before they would start, so now to complain that the Bid for state hood will throw the Talks years back, it is really a lame excuse.

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The future of Palestine was being decided secretly by Israel,  Egypt and the United States of North America and now, Israel claiming that Palestine is seeking “unilaterally ” the UN Bid for State hood. What a ludicrous claim

U.S.: We will stop aid to Palestinians if UN bid proceeds

Monday, August 29, 2011

From time to time, the Palestine Center distributes articles it believes will enhance understanding of the Palestinian political reality. The following article was published by Haaretz on 26 August 2011.  “U.S.: We will stop aid to Palestinians if UN bid proceeds”The United States will stop all financial aid to the Palestinian Authority if they proceed with plans to ask the United Nations for recognition of an independent state in September, a U.S. official warned Friday.U.S. Consul General in Jerusalem, Daniel Rubinstein, told chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat in the name of the Obama administration, that the U.S. would veto a UN Security Council resolution calling for recognition of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip within the June 4, 1967 borders and for UN membership. U.S.: We will stop aid to Palestinians if UN bid proceeds

No to worry for Palestine, the Aid that the US is been giving Palestine is minimum and that is not going to be miss, actually has been crumbs what the US is being giving Palestine compare to what is given to Israel.

“Over the last 20 years, the U.S. has been slowly phasing out economic aid to Israel and gradually replacing it with increased military aid. Beginning in 2007, the U.S. has increased military aid by $150 million each year. By FY2012, we will be sending Israel $3.09 billion a year (or an average of $8.5 million a day) and will continue to provide military aid at that level through 2018. U.S. tax dollars are subsidizing one of the most powerful foreign militaries. According to the CRS report, “[current U.S. military aid] grants to Israel represent 18.2% of the overall Israeli defense budget.” Read More…

That the declaration of the state will result in dropping the right of return for Palestinian refugees. Many scholars have made assertions on this issue. 

I m really sorry but I do not agree with the findings. The Position of Palestine as its stands now, is invisible almost, with no power no vote, with no rights to stand in a political arena other of being spectator of her own demise, and be recipient of international welfare.
The Rights of Return of Palestinians was already granted:
“the UN passed General Assembly Resolution (UNGA) 194, which mandated compensation for the Palestinian refugees and assured their right to return home. The UN made Israel’s own membership in the world body contingent on Israeli acceptance of 194 and the rights it granted to the Palestinians. UN Resolution 273 of 11 May 1949, welcoming Israel into the UN, established that the new state’s entry was based on Israel’s representations regarding its ability and willingness to implement 194.”. The implementation of their rights is by no means severed by the acceptance of Palestine as a State.
We can argue the two state solution or one state solution all our life, but the facts are here and now, and Palestine needs to start some how to be participant of her own affairs and not be treated as an Orphan Nation receiving crumbs from the International community. The creation of Palestine State is the beginning to a more fair treatment of Palestinians in the world, being able to be called citizens of Palestine. There is a great ordeal Palestinians suffer in the exile. There are thousands of them languishing in Immigration detention centers around the world, the lack of paper work to travel, they are stateless and have no rights. Example in the US, most of the Palestinians can not ask for asylum because Palestine is not in the Political Map. Gaza Palestine does not have a code in the United State Postal Service, or UPS I mean there are many privileges that are deny to Palestinians because is not a state. 

Please Watch this Video in its entirely, we as American Citizens needs to take our country back, and I m sure other countries also give financial and military aid to Israel.

This fall, will Palestine become the newest member of the United Nations? As the opening of the UN General Assembly draws near, this question looms above the rest.

The answer may depend on the position of The US. If the United States uses its veto in the Security Council as promised, then Palestine’s full membership in the UN will be difficult,  to achieve. In that case, the General Assembly may admit Palestine as a “non-member state,” a status held by the Vatican.

Palestine’s bid for UN membership has engendered many opposing reactions, with some believing that it could advance the cause of Palestinian human rights, while others think it could set it back.  Get a variety of political perspectives from our website.

Whether you support or oppose this initiative, or are neutral toward it (the US Campaign takes no position–read more in our FAQ), there are a few things that we can all agree to:

Palestinians are entitled to all of their individual and national rights, including self-determination, freedom, justice and equality.

The biggest obstacle to Palestinians attaining these rights is U.S. diplomatic and military support for Israeli occupation and apartheid policies toward Palestinians (whether living under military occupation, as Israeli citizens, or as refugees denied their right of return to their homes).

The United States should not use its veto at the UN to shield Israel from accountability for its illegal policies and actions, nor should the United States sanction Palestinians for pursuing their long-denied rights.

Last month US Campaign to End the Israel Occupation delivered to the State Department an open letter signed by more than 125 groups, including 30 national organizations, and petitions signed by more than 25,000 people urging the Obama Administration not to veto Palestine UN membership if the issue arises in the Security Council. National organizations CODEPINK, Grassroots International, Jewish Voice for Peace, and Just Foreign Policy contributed petition signatures to the overall count. You can still sign the petition here.

Yet the State Department refused to discuss its position with us, ignoring our concerns. (Learn more about the Obama Administration’s position in this essay by our National Advocacy Director Josh Ruebner.) That’s why we must organize to exert more pressure and to make our voices heard more loudly.

Take to the street this month like many of our member organizations and individual activists are doing to protest U.S. diplomatic and military support of Israel.

On September 10, the North Texas Boycott, Divest, and Sanction of Israel Campaign will rally in Fort Worth to protest the potential U.S. veto in the Security Council.

On September 15, a coalition of dozens of New York-based organizations, many of which are members of the US Campaign, will hold a rally and march at the UN in support of Palestinian self-determination.

Also on that day, which coincides with the International Day of Democracy, activists around the country are planning demonstrations opposing U.S military aid to Israel and U.S. interference with the UN membership bid. So far, events are planned for Phoenix, AZ, San Francisco, CA, Washington, DC, Urbana, IL, Omaha, NE, Pittsburgh, PA, and Austin, TX.

On September 16, several organizations are planning a demonstration at the federal building in Los Angeles to protest the threatened U.S. veto.

The point of no return, a collection of information that needs to be disseminated wide, the following videos explain why we need to stop Israel, the bankers, the Zionist Movement, the elitist, the globalist, the Illuminati, the NWO.

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