The current state of affairs in Palestine, and for the past 67 years, does not differ greatly to the events that led to the 1948 Nakba, the colonization of Palestine and the forcible displacement of two thirds of Palestinians from their home of origin. In the 67th commemoration of the Nakba, 7.1 million Palestinian refugees are scattered across the world, with another 700,000 Palestinians internally displaced on both sides of the Green Line. 67 years after the Nakba, inalienable Palestinian rights continue to be denied, including the right to return to their homes and to be compensated for their losses, as codified in the UN General Assembly Resolution 194 of 1948, and UN Security Council Resolution 237 of 1967. Palestinians continue to be forcibly displaced by Israel, and are victims of grievous human rights violations both within the borders of Mandate Palestine, and across a large number of host countries.The current state of affairs in Palestine, and for the past 67 years, does not differ greatly to the events that led to the 1948 Nakba, the colonization of Palestine and the forcible displacement of two thirds of Palestinians from their home of origin. In the 67th commemoration of the Nakba, 7.1 million Palestinian refugees are scattered across the world, with another 700,000 Palestinians internally displaced on both sides of the Green Line. 67 years after the Nakba, inalienable Palestinian rights continue to be denied, including the right to return to their homes and to be compensated for their losses, as codified in the UN General Assembly Resolution 194 of 1948, and UN Security Council Resolution 237 of 1967. Palestinians continue to be forcibly displaced by Israel, and are victims of grievous human rights violations both within the borders of Mandate Palestine, and across a large number of host countries.
Whilst, as was stated in 1948, the international community must step up to the role of providing the protection desperately needed by the Palestinian people, Israel continues to enjoy international support through a powerful network of political and economic agreements. This support for Israel blocks efforts to hold it accountable for the crimes it continues to commit, as well to deliver tangible, effective measures of redress, including the imposition of sanctions.
The 67th commemoration of the Nakba takes on even greater significance in light of hugely destructive conflicts within Arab countries, which have resulted in mass secondary displacement of Palestinian refugees and the targeting of their camps. The outcomes of these conflicts affect the Palestinian cause, but Palestinian refugees are affected the most. This not only violates their basic human rights, but also their cause and right to return.
The destruction of refugee camps by Israel, and the targeting of Palestinian communities in Palestine and Arab states, is connected to an historical policy of denying the Palestinian national right, to eradicate our resistance movement through fragmentation, and to create narrow interests that contradict our national emancipation. Therefore, the act of targeting Palestinian refugee camps - whether by “Israel” or by other countries and groups - is intended to destroy the political power which resides in these locations. Historically, the concentration of Palestinian refugees in camps has been regarded by the international community as a financial and political burden. Though the Palestinian refugee body has, since the Oslo process, played the most influential role in resisting unlawful and unjust solutions, this same body now stands accused by Israel and the USA of representing an obstacle to peace.
The desperate situation in Syria, alongside developments in Lebanon, the prohibition of Palestinian refugees entering Jordan, and refugee being forced to take the ‘boats of death’ from Egypt and Turkey all weaken the strategic importance of refugee camps as a manifestation of Palestinian resistance and preservation of national rights. The current stance of the international community leans publicly towards rejecting a just solution based on international law and resolutions, and instead favors the imposition of a demonstrably unworkable solution that Palestinians have always rejected. Therefore, standing against this approach is of a great national importance.
In light of the failure of the international community to ensure Israel’s adherence to international law, the state of fragmentation among the Arab countries, and the absence of a national Palestinian strategy, the undersigned organizations and the national committees assert the following:
- A just and lasting peace is impossible without the adoption of a strategy based upon justice, international law, and the relevant international resolutions - particularly UN General Assembly Resolution 194 and UN Security Council Resolution 237.
- The targeting of Palestinian refugee camps and residential areas in Syria and other countries demands a strong stance from the Palestinian Liberation Organization. This strategic danger requires that the PLO makes concerted efforts to lobby governments and duty bearers on this matter and to urge them to fulfill their responsibilities in accordance to international law.
- The PLO and all Palestinian national and civil bodies can no longer remain complacent. This approach has failed to produce results on the ground, nor to attain the dignity and the rights of our nation.
- There must be a concerted effort to maintain and promote all forms of national resistance, including the strengthening of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel nationally and internationally, and to pursue the prosecution of Israel through all available legal channels. These are national responsibilities that require unity and collaboration of efforts.
*Statement of Palestinian Organizations, Committees, Coalitions and Networks.
1. BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights
2. Occupied Palestine and Syrian Golan Heights Advocacy Initiative (OPGAI)
3. Environmental Education Center
4. Land Research Center (LCR
5. Golan for development
6. Alternative Tourism Group
8. The Palestinian Center of Youth Action for Community Development (LAYLAC), Dhiesheh Refugee Camp
9. Ansar Center, Walajeh
10. Social Youth Center, Aida Refugee Camp
11. Lajee Center, Aida Refugee Camp
12. Ibda’a for the Development of Children Capacity, Dhiesheh Refugee Camp
13. Shoruq Association, Dhiesheh Refugee Camp
14. Women Center, Al-Arroub Refugee Camp
15. Social Youth Center, Al-Arroub Refugee Camp
16. Kairos Palestine
17. Phoenix Center, Al-Arroub Refugee Camp
18. Refugee Popular Committee, Al-Arroub Refugee Camp
19. Refugee Popular Committee,Dhiesheh Refugee Camp
20. Phoenix Center,Dhiesheh Refugee Camp
21. Social Youth Center, Aqbet Jaber Refugee Camp
22. Joint Advocacy Initiative
23. Alternative Information Center
24. Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committee
25. Al- Rowwad Center, Aida Refugee Camp
26. Al-Karmel Organization, Gaza
27. Refugee Popular Committee, Al-Maghazi Refugee Camp
28. Group 194, Syria
29. Refugee Popular Committee, Aida Refugee Camp
30. Social Youth Center, Al-Fawwar Refugee Camp
31. Women Center, Al Am’ari Refugee Camp
32. Women Center, Dayr Ammar Refugee Camp
33. Women Center, Aqbet Jaber Refugee Camp
34. Women Center, Al-Farr’a Refugee Camp
35. Women Center, Qalandia Refugee Camp
36. Women Center, Ein Al-Sultan Refugee Camp
37. Refugee Popular Committee, Salfeet
38. Social Youth Center, Al-Far’a Refugee Camp
39. Not To Forget Organization, Jenin Refugee Camp
40. Aidoun Group, Syria
41. Refugee Popular Committee, Jenin Refugee Camp
42. Defence for Children International - Palestine
43. Union of Health Work Committees
44. Baladna - Association for Arab Youth – Palestine
45. Progressive Youth Union
46. Al-Tawasol Forum Society
47. Popular Resistance Committees
48. Youth Development Association, Wadi Fukin
49. Insan Center for Human Rights