Are Palestinian Refugees Defying Reality

Category: Middle East, World Affairs Topics: Occupation, Palestine Views: 3084
3084

Outraged Palestinians have reportedly protested a survey. Conducted by a Palestinian research center in Ramallah, it concluded that not many refugees are enthusiastic about their right to return to today's Israel.

The alleged survey, now dismissed as sheer lies by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR), reported that only 10 percent of Palestinian refugees dwelling in the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon and Jordan wish to return to their land in Palestine, ending a forced exile that lasted for decades.

The survey was attributed to PCPSR. As a result, a crowed of angry Palestinians protested at the center's main office in Ramallah, chanting angry slogans, and reportedly throwing eggs and the institute's chief, Khalid Shikaki.

In a statement, quoted by Islam Online news service, the center vehemently denied that its survey offered such a conclusion; rather, "the poll conducted by the center in the Occupied Territories, Jordan and Lebanon asserts that any solution for the refugee issue that does not guarantee the right of return will never work out."

The entire episode concerning this issue is indeed unfortunate. Shedding light on this event is vital, for it would prevent such regretful episodes in the future.

However, while egg throwing is certainly not an encouraged form of dialogue, one must recognize the fear that grips the hearts of Palestinians all over the world.

Once again, history is of essence.

In 1947-48, Jewish gangs and militias forced nearly one million Palestinian to evacuate their villages and towns in historic Palestine, setting the stage for the Palestinian exodus, which continues to taint Palestinian memory and serve as a symbol of the Palestinian quest for freedom.

The UN General Assembly recognized the injustice of the situation by adopting Resolution 194 in its third session, on December 11, 1948. The resolution concurred the Palestinian refugees wish to return home, and went even further by detailing the mechanisms of such return. The often repeated claim that such resolution has been rendered irreverent is false, considering the fact that the General Assembly reaffirmed its decision over one hundred times since its original passing in 1948.

When the Israeli cabinet recently gave its partial agreement to the Road Map for peace, a US-brokered peace initiative, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon handed US Secretary of State Collin Powell a list of 14 conditions. Powell was told that once these conditions are recognized, the Israeli government would sanction the Road Map. One of these conditions is revoking the Palestinian refugees right of return.

If Israel indeed thought of such a right as irrelevant, it would not labor to deny its legitimacy and would care little about listing it as a top condition for peace restoration in the Middle East. Israel's aim is to maintain the exclusive Jewish identity of the State of Israel, a concept many see as racist. To achieve such purity, the refugee problem must be dealt with by any other way, but allowing the refugees to return home.

Res. 194 was adopted only six months before Israel's admission as a U.N. member, an admission that was preconditioned by having the Jewish state carry out U.N. Resolutions, including Res. 194.

Decades after the resolution and the hope that hinged on its implementation, Palestinians are gripped with fear and fury.

First, since the initiation of the peace process in the early 1990's, Palestinians observed how Israel tends to get its way on the consequential issues, while the Palestinian leadership often settles for symbolic and simple gains.

Second, international law and U.N. resolutions, no matter how often affirmed and reaffirmed, remain ink on paper, unless championed by a might state. Israel has violated more than 70 resolutions, while Iraq allegedly violated 17. The way the US and its allies reacted to these violations reflects the double standards exhibited by the United States government and its selective respect for international law.

Third, a few prominent and influential Palestinian figures expressed their willingness to compromise on the issue of refugees return. Relatively recent statements made by Sari Nusseibeh, the PLO representative in Jerusalem, in which he showed readiness to forge an unpopular conclusion to the right of return debate, still reminds many Palestinians that their officials cannot always be trusted to handling this almost sacred right with care and thoughtfulness.

It's because of these reasons combined, Palestinians chanted for their right to return in Ramallah, in Lebanon and in the desolated refugee camps of Jordan. These chants should serve as a reminder, that neither an official who barely remembers what a refugee camp looks like, nor an alleged survey circulated over the Internet shall quell that unwavering desire to deliver the refugees back to their homes.

To return home, the Palestinian people should continue to march and to their side all peace loving nations of the world, to enforce a non-selective implementation of international law, most notability Res. 194. 

As for those who deny the right of return based on the claim that such demand defies reality and pragmatism, I must remind them that the right of return is not their decision to make. It's those refugees in Ein El-Hilweh in South Lebanon, the refugees living in tents in the Haifa schools in Baghdad, and those dwelling over the ruins of Jenin are the ones who earned such a right, after five decades of struggle, marred by blood and unending sacrifice.

True, Israel still holds many of the cards in this bloody game, but the Palestinian refugees still hold the card of memory. As long as they remember, not even Israel's 'invincible army' can defeat their enduring spirit.

Ramzy Baroud is the editor-in-chief of PalestineChronicle.com and the editor of the anthology entitled "Searching Jenin: Eyewitness Accounts of the Israeli Invasion," now available at: www.palestinebooks.com

To buy "Searching Jenin: Eyewitness Accounts of the Israeli Invasion"CLICK HERE


  Category: Middle East, World Affairs
  Topics: Occupation, Palestine
Views: 3084

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Older Comments:
MAT FROM MALAYSIA said:
Israel is a democratic state? Puh-leese.I'm happy to see many N/A 'Choosen People' went to the 'Promise Land' to stay there happily ever after.Maybe the end is near.They will know who they are sooner or later.

p/s:Read Quran : The Last Testement.
2003-07-23

ASAD FROM CANADA said:
It is true that I am a victim of Propaganda and I do not know much of Jewish history, However Nothing can justify what they are currently doing. It is evil to the core and that is the truth. Killing children with slingshots and rocks and blaming it on radicals and rebels. As far as I am concerned, He who does not value human life makes his own life as nothing.

As for my monsters comment, All people have monsters but at the moment, The Israeli Monsters are Shining in their grotesteque glory.
2003-07-21

SUHAYB FROM CANADA said:
to the editor. ok well i'm sorry if i was wrong, mistakes can be made,but it was terrible, excuse me. But i say IF , because as you must know there are different historical reports... i shall search for those you use. about lebanon is it right to say that Palestinians "own" people, i'm not sure. Then i got that information from a pretty serious tv channel called "Arte" and they were in the biggest camp and that's what they said. also you didn't tell me about the terrible people who hurt the refugees by claiming to be such themselves for money. still once again i feel terrible IF all my media built opinions were wrong. one last sad statement though, letting poeple write that israelis are ten times worse than Hitler is going on a dangerous ground, if you wish i can send you historical reports that prove that wrong... bslama
2003-07-21

SUHAYB FROM CANADA said:
well what i just read from this child Asad is horrible. please young one, learn how to read before expressing those kind of "opinions". I understand you're a victim of propaganda but take it easy or you'll feel sorry in a few years when the truth will come out. you obviously don't know much about jewish history or muslim history.
2003-07-20

KOVITZ FROM CANADA said:
John, are you trying to convinc the world that Hitler was right?
2003-07-20

HANIFFA M. FAIZ FROM SRI LANKA said:
It's true that the Israelis are also a part of mankind created by Allah and they should also live in Israel. But one must not forget the fact that the State of Israel was the illegitimate child of the 2 powers - US and UK. Israel has violated so many UN resolutions and has no moral right to speak about international norms or laws.
If it could pass the 'Law of Return' and the 'Law of Absentism' for its own selfish motive and bring in millions of Jews from Russia and other places into Israel for settlement why the Palestinians shouldn't be given the right to return. Afterall they have been the real victims of the State Terror and living as refugees.
Therefore they have the moral, economical,
political and even cultural right of return. This riht should be won through peaceful dialogue with Israel for which the Arab countries should unitedly raise one voice, build up militarily and economically and make a Balance of Power aainst Israel rather than meeting and passing only resolutions.
2003-07-20

SHUJA SYED FROM TORONTO, CANADA said:
To John Norman: Forget about 850,000, Muslims are ready to take the Jewish population of the entire globe. Welcome home. We did it before in Spain, Turkey, Iraq and many other countries. Is Israel prepared to do the same thing for the poor Palestanians? By the way, why then Germany is being chased for everything from financial damages, property damages etc....... Justice must be done. If Israel is democracy, if it is plurastic society which they boast all over the world, then why not absorb the "ABORIGINALS".

Shuja Syed
2003-07-20

ASAD FROM CANADA said:
As for those that would try to win sympathy points for Israelis, I would have to say that Not even a second Nazi holocaust could justify what Israelis are doing to Palestinians.

When they were on the receiving end, they prayed for a way out. You can see it in their diaries, their memories and their endless TV specials. However when the tables are turned, they prove to be ten times worse than HITLER and The Nazi.

SOME JEWS TRULY ARE MONSTERS e.g ARIEL SHARON. I WILL NOT GENERALIZE. SOME ARE TRULY GOOD. I HOPE TO MEET THEM IN MY LIFE TIME.
2003-07-19

ASAD FROM CANADA said:
I am eternally disgusted by the evils people will commit for the sake of an ideology or symbolism. The state of Israel means more to some people than the lives of Palestinians and Israelis combined.

As long as the name remains, all evil that led toward it will be completely justified. With justice and liberty only for a jewish identity.
2003-07-19

KAMRAAN.AFRIDI FROM AUSTRALIA said:
Allah is helping the muslims.Alot of people started converting after september 11 th.O people
of the world judgement day is coming near.I respect the holy bible as irespect the holy quran.
We SHOULD respect all religiouns.We are one ummah
(community).
2003-07-19

SUHAYB FROM CANADA said:
well this article tries to simplify everything but unfortunatly it is not so easy. To begin with, once again why are the refugees still in camps in the so called brother countries around Palestine, why can't they work out of the camps in Liban?!!!!!!!! then even though i hate to admit it, the israel coudln't have kicked out 1million because there wasn't that many people in palestine in 48. Then many poeple got refugee cards to get U.N money, i know it's terrible to say that but it's so true, anyone who has been there himself KNOWS. again whatever the ennmy does, you're supposed to fight back YES, but take a look at the school books made by the P.A and you'll get scared. i might be seen as a zelot but i strongly believe that everything is written and happens for a purpose...Allah wakbar. if HE wants this to happen it will, if HE makes it such a struggle well......
2003-07-19

JOHN NORMAN FROM UK said:
There was a population exchange in 1948 and in subsequent years. It is forgotten altogether that 850.000 Jews were forced to leave their homes in the Arab and Muslim worlds. It does look now as if their voices are going to be heard and any solution to the Israel/Palestine issue will have to take them into account.
2003-07-18

SALADIN FROM USA said:
I don't care much for Israel, but I kind of understand why they won't agree to the "Right of Return" demands of Palestine. It would mean suicide if they did. Israel would cease to be a Jewish nation if they let all these Palistinians into their country. So you are basically asking for the destruction of the Jewish nation by demanding the "Right of Return." It's never going to happen unless you get rid of Israel for good.
2003-07-18