Boston conference to explore the realization of the Palestinian right of return

ActivismIsrael/PalestineUS Politics
right of return4

The first Palestinian Right of Return Conference to occur in the United States took place at Boston University in 2000. The conference, which featured prominent academics such as Noam Chomsky and the late Edward Said, was an effort by proponents of Palestinian rights to advocate for a mitigation of the historical tragedy that happened to the Palestinian people in 1948. Thirteen years later, Boston-area students, activists and academics have organized another conference at the same university because of this continuing catastrophe and the urgent need for a just political solution for Palestinian refugees.

In January, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas sought permission from Israel to allow 150,000 Palestinian refugees fleeing the Syrian conflict into the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Israel responded with the condition that allowing Palestinian refugees into the OPT would be dependent upon the refugees’ relinquishing their right to return to what is today Israel proper. Abbas rejected this condition as the matter is to be discussed in final status negotiations. Israel’s cynical reaction, jeopardizing the lives of Palestinian refugees, shows a renewed attempt to obscure the moral legitimacy that underpins the right of the Palestinian refugees of 1948 and their descendants to reclaim their inalienable right to return to historic Palestine.

In 1948, during the creation of Israel, around 750,000 Palestinians were either expelled or forced to flee by Zionist militia forces in an act that can only be described as ethnic cleansing. According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), these refugees currently number around five million, and are dispersed all over the world, including within the West Bank and Gaza. Israeli attempts to prevent refugee return, such as this recent Syrian case, are not novel, but do lie at the foundation of the modern Israeli state, all while refugees continue to languish under deplorable conditions with precarious political status in the Occupied Territories and the Arab states.

Although the Right of Return of Palestinian refugees is enshrined in international law, such as in UN Resolution 194 which stipulates that Palestinian refugees may return to their homes and/or be compensated for all property lost, Israel has continued to deny this Right’s legitimacy and implementation for almost 65 years. Thus, the probing question that must be asked here is: Why is Israel so adamant in its refusal of the Right of Return? The answer lies at the core of the Israeli state’s ideology of Zionism, based on an insistence on a Jewish demographic majority that has had and continues to have destructive ramifications for non-Jewish inhabitants that live between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, an area with an historically non-Jewish majority.

Israel portrays itself as the only democracy in the Middle East, when in fact it is an ethnocracy that systematically discriminates against non-Jewish populations through legal and institutional systems of control and exclusion, granting legal rights and privileges to some while denying them to others. These systems of institutionalized racism include but are not limited to discrimination against non-Jews in regards to education, access to land, and political participation.

Within such a political system, the return of Palestinian refugees would create a demographic shift ending the Jewish majority in the state and would thus jeopardize the Zionist project of maintaining a state based on ethno-religious supremacy. For this reason, Israel has rejected the Right of Return of Palestinian refugees and will continue to do so if it remains unchallenged.

The Peace Process between Israelis and Palestinians has largely failed to bring about a just solution in the Holy Land that would include the Right of Return, and instead has galvanized Israeli settlement activity in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), thereby continuing a system built on Palestinian dispossession. The Palestinian Authority instituted after the Oslo Accords with the ostensible mission of governing the OPT has failed in representing the aspirations of the Palestinian population, both within the OPT and the diaspora, and in aiding their struggle for the Right of Return and self-determination. If anything, it has allowed Israel the ability to continue its denial of this Right.

As aptly argued by Edward Said 13 years ago, this failure on the part of official channels precipitates the urgency that these matters be taken into the hands of non-governmental actors through independent planning and organizing. This is the framework from which the current upcoming Right of Return Conference at Boston University emerges; from an impetus to plan rather than debate the realization of the Palestinian Right of Return. Through examining the legal, cultural, discursive and spatial dynamics of a political order that facilitates this Right, this conference asserts the applicability of this goal, thus countering those who voice its supposed inapplicability.

The Right of Return must continue to be demanded as a practical means for healing the historical wounds of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, rather than keeping it an abstract notion. Indeed, a future that allows for the realization of the Right of Return and equal rights for all is a future that will see a possible end to the conflict as we know it.

About Zena Ozeir and Jamil Sbitan

Zena Ozeir is President of Boston University’s Students for Justice in Palestine and a co-organizer of the Right of Return Conference. Jamil Sbitan is a Palestinian student at Boston University and a co-organizer of the upcoming Right of Return Conference.

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61 Responses

  1. James Canning
    April 4, 2013, 7:03 pm

    What a surprise, that Israel would want to strong-arm Palestinians fleeing civil war in Syria.

    • Annie Robbins
      April 5, 2013, 1:52 am

      the mere act of abbas seeking permission from Israel to allow palestinian refugees into palestine is disgusting. what’s next? what other country will have to seek permission from israel to allow their own refugees into their territory. it’s so obvious the word ‘authority’ has a twisted meaning in the name ‘palestinian authority’. it really only means ‘authority formally authorized to seek permission from israel’.

  2. mondonut
    April 4, 2013, 8:30 pm

    Although the Right of Return of Palestinian refugees is enshrined in international law, such as in UN Resolution 194 which stipulates that Palestinian refugees may return to their homes and/or be compensated for all property lost

    Surely you can do better than this? There is nothing in 194 that constitutes International Law, or rights for that matter. And certainly nothing about descendants.

    • Citizen
      April 5, 2013, 7:55 am

      Resolution 194 restated and reaffirmed a well-established norm in international law and practice, namely the right of return. This norm is reiterated in several international law instruments such as Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that: “everyone has the right to… return to his country.” In practice, this right has been exercised more recently in various parts of the world such as Central America, the Balkans, Southern Africa, and parts of Asia.

      The universal recognition of the right of refugees to return to their homes is not only legal and moral in character. It also responds to practical necessities and considerations. The return of refugees is an essential component of generating public confidence in peace: it plays an essential part in validating and stabilizing the post-conflict political order. The return of refugees is an essential part of the transition to peace, rather than simply a result of it. The end of a conflict is inconceivable without bringing closure to refugee problems.

      • mondonut
        April 5, 2013, 12:46 pm

        Citizen says:Resolution 194 restated and reaffirmed a well-established norm in international law and practice, namely the right of return.
        ==============================================
        The RoR is not International Law, and restating it hundreds of times doe not make it so. Nor does Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which does not establish law or rights.

        As for the rest, I would agree with some of what you state. Except that if the end of this conflict is inconceivable without the RoR, that is a fault that lies with the Palestinians and their supporters. Namely the very people who are running the conference in Boston.

      • Talkback
        April 5, 2013, 9:37 pm

        mondonut says: “The RoR is not International Law, and restating it hundreds of times doe not make it so. Nor does Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which does not establish law or rights.”

        UDHR and RoR have become customary international law. Custom is among the primary sources of international law and the RoR for Palestinians is generally accepted amongst the members of the UN.

        mondonut says: “And certainly nothing about descendants.”
        See UNHCR family runification. It’s nearly the same. UNHCR can also transfer the refugee statues to ascendants.

        mondonut says: “There is nothing in 194 that constitutes International Law, or rights for that matter.”

        It’s BASED on human rights.

        mondonut says: “And it can be re-affirmed every day of the year and it still will not result in law or rights.”

        To the contrary. Continous reaffirmation is one way of creating customary international law.

      • mondonut
        April 5, 2013, 10:42 pm

        Talkback says: To the contrary. Continous reaffirmation is one way of creating customary international law.
        =================================
        Ummm, no. The RoR is neither customary nor International law. And International law does become so by the constant repetition of that which is not law, by those who are in no position to create law.

      • talknic
        April 6, 2013, 4:15 am

        @mondonut “The RoR is not International Law … etc etc”>

        The UNSC puts those items in UNSC resolutions just for fun. WOW!!

        Resolution 237 (1967)
        of 14 June 1967

        1. Calls upon the Government of Israel to ensure the safety, welfare and security of the inhabitants of the areas where military operations have taken place and to facilitate the return of those inhabitants who have fled the areas since the outbreak of hostilities;

        2. Recommends to the Governments concerned the scrupulous respect of the humanitarian principles governing the treatment of prisoners of war and the protection of civilian persons in time of war contained in the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949; link to unispal.un.org

        “if the end of this conflict is inconceivable without the RoR, that is a fault that lies with the Palestinians and their supporters. “

        The law says otherwise … In respect to the return of refugees, the UNSC doesn’t demand anything of the Palestinians or the Arab states who have for 64 year provided refuge. It does of the “Government of Israel ”

        But please do continue trying to convince yourself …. its hilarious stuff.. and affords one the opportunity to show other folk you’re either ignorant or stupid or just another propagandist LYING for the Jewish state

        Say .. did you know lying is against the basic tenets of Judaism. So lying on behalf of the Jewish state really is quite BIZARRE!!!

        Oh BTW. Thx … keep up the good work

      • Hostage
        April 6, 2013, 8:03 am

        mondonut says: “The RoR is not International Law, and restating it hundreds of times doe not make it so. Nor does Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which does not establish law or rights.”

        Displaced persons remain under the protections of Article 6 (regarding repatriation) and the prohibitions (against forced population transfers) contained in Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention until they have been repatriated or have opted for compensation and resettlement elsewhere. That means that the final settlement of any armed conflict has to address the right of return and compensation. Full stop. General Assembly resolution 194 (III) simply reflects that principle of binding customary international law (no matter how many times you repeat your hasbara fellowship talking points).

      • Sumud
        April 6, 2013, 8:41 am

        Except that if the end of this conflict is inconceivable without the RoR, that is a fault that lies with the Palestinians and their supporters.

        Nobody buys it mondonut.

        The “fault” lay with the party that created and maintains the refugee problem in the first place, with the express purpose of stealing their land and looting their property.

        Thou shalt not steal

        Palestinians do not need your permission to claim their rights.

      • mondonut
        April 8, 2013, 6:16 pm

        talknic says:The UNSC puts those items in UNSC resolutions just for fun. WOW!! Resolution 237 (1967) …

        The law says otherwise … In respect to the return of refugees, the UNSC doesn’t demand anything of the Palestinians or the Arab states who have for 64 year provided refuge. It does of the “Government of Israel ”
        ====================================================
        Well I will admit that you are a unique case at Mondoweiss, as you regularly dispel with the Palestinian notion of the RoR. But to answer your question regarding UNSCR 237, it does not confer rights, it does not apply to anyone other than 1967 refugees and it does not apply to descendants. But you already know all that. In addition it can be argued (without lying ) that the Israelis actually complied with 237, and did facilitate the return of those who sought it.

        And yes, the end of conflict is inconceivable due to the Palestinian demands. Because the are not demanding you interpretation of the RoR, they have made up their very own.

      • mondonut
        April 8, 2013, 6:20 pm

        Hostage says: Displaced persons remain under the protections of Article 6 (regarding repatriation) and the prohibitions (against forced population transfers) contained in Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention until they have been repatriated or have opted for compensation and resettlement elsewhere.
        ========================================
        Go with that Hostage. Convince everyone else here that the RoR, by your definition, does not apply to anyone from 1948 (as prior to Geneva) or to any of their descendants (as found nowhere).

      • mondonut
        April 8, 2013, 6:27 pm

        Sumud says: Nobody buys it mondonut. Palestinians do not need your permission to claim their rights.
        ================================
        Au contraire, at least in part. Talknic will tell you flat out that descendants have no rights at all. Hostage strongly implies that 1948 refugees do not have RoR.

      • Hostage
        April 9, 2013, 11:32 am

        Hostage strongly implies that 1948 refugees do not have RoR.

        Correction: I’ve always pointed-out that:
        1) the representatives of the Government of Israel provided declarations and explanations during the Ad Hoc Committee hearings on Israel’s application for membership in the UN. They indicated Israel’s acceptance of a legally binding undertaking to implement UN GA resolutions 181(II) and 194(III);
        2) The fact that time and again the international courts have ruled that states remain bound by the terms of their own acceptance of recommendations contained in the resolutions of international intergovernmental organizations; and
        3) That agreements must be kept (Pacta sunt servanda).

        The United Nations has created subsidiary organs staffed with legal experts who have been tasked with monitoring and advising on this particular issue. They reported to the Security Council:

        19. In this respect, it was pointed out that Israel was under binding obligation to permit the return of all the Palestinian refugees displaced as a result of the hostilities of 1948 and 1967. This obligation flowed from the unreserved agreement by Israel to honour its commitments under the Charter of the United Nations, and from its specific undertaking, when applying for membership of the United Nations, to implement General Assembly resolutions 181 (II) of 29 November 1947, safeguarding the rights of the Palestinian Arabs inside Israel, and 194 (III) of 11 December 1948, concerning the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes or to choose compensation for their property. This undertaking was also clearly reflected in General Assembly resolution 273 (III).

        link to un.org

      • miriam6
        April 5, 2013, 1:35 pm

        Citizen, I take it you then accept that Article 13 applies to Arab
        Jewish refugees from Arab countries also , and that peace cannot occur until the rights to return and/ or to claim compensation in lieu of return, of all refugees whether they be Palestinian, or Mizrahim are implemented . Justice and equality for all !
        link to harif.org

      • Annie Robbins
        April 5, 2013, 2:07 pm

        miriam, everyone is fully aware israel has been trying to barter arab jews for palestinians for decades. we all know the efforts israel employed to influence a zionist immigration

        link to juragentium.org

        so no, i certainly do not ‘accept’ that Article 13 applies to Arab
        Jewish refugees from Arab countries also. and israeli Mizrahim do not consider themselves refugees. this is a propaganda scam we’ve already covered at the site numerous times. this ‘new’ old scam by the knesset is the same crap that’s been going on for decades. now overhauled.

      • RoHa
        April 5, 2013, 9:30 pm

        “Citizen, I take it you then accept that Article 13 applies to Arab
        Jewish refugees from Arab countries also ”

        Insofar as there are any Arab Jewish refugees from Arab countries, I would say that they have a right to return/compensation. But the right to return of the Palestinians is not conditional upon the rights of the Arab Jewish refugees.
        It was Israel that created the problem*, and it should be Israel that takes the first action.

        (*By expelling the Palestinians, by sending Zionist agents to whip up trouble in Iraq, and by suborning some Egyptian Jews to plant bombs inside Egyptian-, American-, and British-owned targets. )

      • miriam6
        April 6, 2013, 12:03 am

        Roha , I suppose it is a step forward that you recognise the rights of Arab Jewish refugees.
        However , the problem is, Israel may claim in defence of its expulsion and driving out of the Palestinians is that it did so because the Palestinians represented a threat to it’s internal security , – you would never agree with, nor accept that argument, so why then do you imagine I or anyone else should accept that same argument when it is and was used to justify the behaviour and policies of Arab nations who expelled or coerced their Jewish population to leave?
        The activities of a few fanatical foreign agents allegedly sent by Israel to destabilise Jewish communities in Iraq and Egypt simply does not justify collective punishment of the Jewish communities in those Arab countries.

        link to blogs.timesofisrael.com

      • thankgodimatheist
        April 6, 2013, 5:38 am

        Jonathan Cook:
        “Israel’s concern for Arab Jews is really a cynical attempt to undermine Palestinian refugees’ rights”
        Israel’s goal is transparent: it hopes the international community can be persuaded that the suffering of Palestinian refugees is effectively cancelled out by the experiences of “Jewish refugees.” If nothing can be done for Arab Jews all these years later, then Palestinians should expect no restitution either….

        …Classifying Arab Jews as “refugees” skewers the central justification used by Zionists for Israel’s creation: that it is the natural homeland for all Jews, and the only place where they can be safe. As a former Israeli parliamentarian, Ran Hacohen, once observed: “I came at the behest of Zionism, due to the pull that this land exerts, and due to the idea of redemption. Nobody is going to define me as a refugee.”

        link to electronicintifada.net

      • thankgodimatheist
        April 6, 2013, 5:45 am

        Yehuda Shenhav:
        “Spineless bookkeeping: The use of Mizrahi Jews as pawns against Palestinian refugees”
        The analogy between the Palestinian refugees and the Jewish Mizrahis is baseless, not to mention offensive and immoral. It serves to cause friction between Mizrahi Jews and Palestinians, it is an insult to a great number of Mizrahim and harms chances for real reconciliation. More than that: the analogy points to a clear lack of understanding regarding the meaning of the Nakba. The Nakba does not only refer to the events of the war. The Nakba is, at its core, the prevention of those who were expelled from returning to their homes, lands and families after the establishment of the State of Israel. The Nakba is an active and clear policy of the State of Israel – not just the chaos of war.
        link to 972mag.com

      • Hostage
        April 6, 2013, 8:44 am

        Citizen, I take it you then accept that Article 13 applies to Arab
        Jewish refugees from Arab countries also , and that peace cannot occur until the rights to return and/ or to claim compensation in lieu of return, of all refugees whether they be Palestinian, or Mizrahim are implemented . Justice and equality for all !

        No. Jewish refugees from Arab countries have long-since asserted their independent legal claims to remedies through the Courts in their countries of origin without regard to any offsetting claims against Israel. See for example Egyptian-Jews seek rehearing in Coca-Cola case link to jpost.com

        Palestinian claims against the State of Israel are not legally offset by third-party claims made by Jews against other States, because Israel doesn’t hold all of the rights in question. Many Jewish refugees from Arab countries didn’t immigrate to Israel and have never assigned their legal claims to any other party. Israel is in no position to waive any third party’s right of return or compensation through the dubious device of asserting its own supposedly offsetting claims.

        The ICC can prosecute Israeli officials and arrange for compensation of the victims for any violations of Article 49(6) of the Fourth Geneva Convention that have occurred since July of 2002. Criminal situations arising in other jurisdictions are simply not relevant to offenses committed on the territory of Palestine.

      • Sumud
        April 6, 2013, 8:53 am

        miriam – please quote the relevant UN GA and SC resolutions concerning these alleged arab jewish refugees.

      • RoHa
        April 8, 2013, 8:56 pm

        “why then do you imagine I or anyone else should accept that same argument when it is and was used to justify the behaviour and policies of Arab nations who expelled or coerced their Jewish population to leave?”

        I am not presenting that argument. I am simply pointing out that Israeli actions were the primary cause of the problem.

    • Citizen
      April 5, 2013, 7:57 am

      Resolution 194 on December 11, 1948, called for the return of the refugees. Paragraph 11 of the Resolution states that: “…the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date… compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.” Resolution 194 was affirmed practically every year since with almost universal consensus — the one constant exception being Israel.

      • mondonut
        April 5, 2013, 12:48 pm

        Citizen says:Resolution 194 on December 11, 1948, called for the return of the refugees.
        =========================================
        Yes, of course. It does all that you state with the exception of creating law or rights – it does neither. And it can be re-affirmed every day of the year and it still will not result in law or rights.

      • RoHa
        April 5, 2013, 9:31 pm

        Resolution 194 is not necessary to create the moral right to return. That right exists regardless of any law.

      • mondonut
        April 5, 2013, 10:44 pm

        RoHa says: Resolution 194 is not necessary to create the moral right to return. That right exists regardless of any law.
        ============================================
        Maybe so. But your moral law is not binding, nor does it supersede the indisputable right of a sovereign state to determine its own immigration policy.

      • Hostage
        April 6, 2013, 8:52 am

        Yes, of course. It does all that you state with the exception of creating law or rights – it does neither. And it can be re-affirmed every day of the year and it still will not result in law or rights.

        Yes, and we’ve pointed out on countless occasions that resolution 194(III) simply reflects the conventional and customary law contained in the 4th Geneva Convention of 1949 Article 6 and 49. Those binding principles of law prohibited any forced displacement or population transfer as a result of an armed conflict and guaranteed that displaced persons would remain under international protection until the were repatriated or opted for compensation and resettlement elsewhere. The option of forced population transfer has never been left-up to the discretion of a belligerent, since the United Nations adopted Article 6 of the Nuremberg Charter.

        You can repeat your hasbara fellowship talking points until you are blue in the face and it won’t alter the principles of customary law recognized by all civilized nations.

      • mondonut
        April 8, 2013, 6:32 pm

        Hostage says: Yes, and we’ve pointed out on countless occasions that resolution 194(III) simply reflects the conventional and customary law contained in the 4th Geneva Convention of 1949 Article 6 and 49.
        ==============================================
        Making progress. Please identify who you refer to be “we”, I would like to know who else around here does not believe the 1948 refugees or any of the descendants have the RoR.

      • RoHa
        April 8, 2013, 8:51 pm

        “But your moral law is not binding, nor does it supersede the indisputable right of a sovereign state to determine its own immigration policy.”

        And once again you demonstrate that Zionists simply do not understand morality. Morality is binding on all people, everywhere, at all times.
        It supersedes the legal rights of states. That is why we non-Zionists condemn the actions of the sovereign state of Nazi Germany.

      • American
        April 8, 2013, 10:01 pm

        mondonut says:
        April 5, 2013 at 12:48 pm

        Citizen says:Resolution 194 on December 11, 1948, called for the return of the refugees.
        =========================================
        Yes, of course. It does all that you state with the exception of creating law or rights – it does neither.
        >>>>>

        LOL…o.k. if Res 194 which was voted on and passed by the UNGA doesn’t constitute law than neither does Res 181 which was voted on by the GA to create Israel…
        Soooooo….hello dummy…..Israel is illegal.
        How do you zios get to be so dense, all your totally silly off the wall arguments get you shot down every time…don’t you ever learn?

      • mondonut
        April 8, 2013, 10:44 pm

        RoHa says: It supersedes the legal rights of states. That is why we non-Zionists condemn the actions of the sovereign state of Nazi Germany.
        =================================================
        Again with straight to the Nazi stuff. And you are wrong, morality does not supersede law, in particular International law. Morals vary across cultures, countries and age groups. It changes about as often as the weather, so no you cannot simply declare something immoral (in your opinion) and decide that laws no longer matter.

      • mondonut
        April 9, 2013, 10:21 am

        American says: LOL…o.k. if Res 194 which was voted on and passed by the UNGA doesn’t constitute law than neither does Res 181 which was voted on by the GA to create Israel…
        Soooooo….hello dummy…..Israel is illegal.
        How do you zios get to be so dense, all your totally silly off the wall arguments get you shot down every time…don’t you ever learn?
        ======================================
        Pretty impressed with yourself are you? UNGA 194 and UNGA 181 are BOTH non-binding and neither constitute International Law. But of course, 181 did not create Israel so that is a moot point.

      • Hostage
        April 9, 2013, 11:10 am

        Making progress. Please identify who you refer to be “we”, I would like to know who else around here does not believe the 1948 refugees or any of the descendants have the RoR.

        You’re not making any progress. You’re still denying that Article 6 and 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention are sources of international law that govern any settlement of the Six Day War. Full Stop.

        The Geneva Conventions of 1949 simply codified the customary rules of international law regarding fundamental human rights found in earlier legal instruments including repatriation or compensation and resettlement of refugees in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the “Arrangements of 12 May 1926 and 30 June 1928; or those under the Conventions on Refugees of 28 October 1933 and 10 February 1938 , the Protocol of 14 September 1939, or the Constitution of the International Refugee Organization”.

      • RoHa
        April 9, 2013, 10:40 pm

        So you take a cultural relativist position about morality*. In that case, the Nazi reference is perfectly appropriate. In a Nazi culture, anti-Semitism is not wrong, it is a moral obligation.

        Of course, the position is based on a dud argument, and there are good reasons for rejecting it.
        (Here are some:http://faculty.uca.edu/rnovy/Rachels–Cultural%20Relativism.htm)

        But what cultural relativism comes down to is a rejection of morality. It says there is nothing right or wrong, but only local customs. Not surprising that a Zionist rejects morality.

        And if you think law is more important, then we have to ask “Why obey the law? Is it a moral obligation?”

        (*I don’t know where people get this from. Philosophers have been pointing out the flaws in the idea for years, so you would think that the message would have seeped through to whomever is peddling cultural relativism.)

      • mondonut
        April 10, 2013, 2:00 pm

        Hostage says: You’re not making any progress. You’re still denying that Article 6 and 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention are sources of international law that govern any settlement of the Six Day War. Full Stop.
        ============================================
        Not so. What I am denying is that the Geneva Conventions are retroactive. I assume you believe they are, in which case I invite you to declare how many hundreds of years they are retroactive. If not, then feel free to dismiss the claims of the 1948 refugees and and/all descendants.

  3. gingershot
    April 5, 2013, 7:01 am

    If Abbas didn’t exist then Zionism would have to create him.

  4. Joe Ed
    April 5, 2013, 7:16 am

    “There is nothing in 194 that constitutes International Law, or rights for that matter”

    Classic Zionist nonsense. International law does not constitute international law.

    How can we ever re-educate people like these?

    • Sumud
      April 5, 2013, 10:55 am

      How can we ever re-educate people like these?

      Don’t bother. The clock is running out on Israel and mondonut is a bitter old man or woman in the making, who will go to their grave hating the world because of zionism’s self-induced failure.

    • mondonut
      April 5, 2013, 12:58 pm

      Joe Ed says:Classic Zionist nonsense. International law does not constitute international law. How can we ever re-educate people like these?
      ===================================================
      Then help me out Joe Ed. Where have you gotten the impression that General Assembly resolutions constitute International Law? The UN itself openly admits that GA resolutions are not binding, so when and how are non-binding resolutions elevated to law?

      • talknic
        April 6, 2013, 9:14 am

        mondonut “Where have you gotten the impression that General Assembly resolutions constitute International Law?”

        The binding law, conventions and/or the UN Charter (which is binding on all Members in its entirety) reflected in any UN resolution are still binding. They’re not negated by being mentioned in UNGA or Chapt VI resolutions.

        “The UN itself openly admits that GA resolutions are not binding”

        Though GA resolutions might not be binding, the laws, UN Charter and relative conventions they cite, re-affirm, emphasize etc ARE!

        Most UN resolutions against Israel are reminders to that UN Member State of binding law, the binding UN Charter, binding conventions and Israel’s obligations to adhere to them

        BTW

        Friday, 5 March 1948 Rabbi Silver official Jewish Agency representative to the UNSC

        “Nevertheless, reluctantly but loyally, we accepted the decision which appeared fair and reasonable to the United Nations”

        “We feel under the obligation to make our position unmistakably clear. As far as the Jewish people are concerned, they have accepted the decision of the United Nations. We regard it as binding, and we are resolved to move forward in the spirit of that decision. “ link to unispal.un.org

        What’s next on your pathetic wholly holey Hasbara script?

      • mondonut
        April 8, 2013, 6:37 pm

        talknic says: Though GA resolutions might not be binding, the laws, UN Charter and relative conventions they cite, re-affirm, emphasize etc ARE!
        =======================================
        First of all tell it to Joe Ed, he thinks they are binding. Secondly, please convince all of your friends here to stop citing non-binding resolutions that may (or may not) be simply references to something else that actually is binding. Just cut to the chase and cite what actually is binding and law.

      • sardelapasti
        April 9, 2013, 1:15 am

        Mondonut – “The UN itself openly admits that GA resolutions are not binding…”

        Just like the one recommending the partition of Palestine between Palestinians and invaders from Poland?

      • mondonut
        April 9, 2013, 9:12 am

        sardelapasti says: Just like the one recommending the partition of Palestine between Palestinians and invaders from Poland?
        ===============================================
        Exactly.

      • Hostage
        April 9, 2013, 12:41 pm

        Mondonut – “The UN itself openly admits that GA resolutions are not binding…”

        Just like the one recommending the partition of Palestine between Palestinians and invaders from Poland?

        FYI, according to the ICJ, its advisory opinion in the Wall Case was the direct result of Israel’s violation of its obligation to stop illegal construction of the Wall in accordance with a demand contained in General Assembly resolution A/Res/ES-10/13: On 27 October 2003, the General Assembly adopted resolution ES-10/13, by which it demanded that “Israel stop and reverse the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, which is in departure of the Armistice Line of 1949 and is in contradiction to relevant provisions of international law”

        The General Assembly cited its own resolutions and asked the Court to advise on their legal consequences considering the rules and principles of international law that they contain:

        Recalling relevant General Assembly resolutions, including resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947, which partitioned mandated Palestine into two States, one Arab and one Jewish,

        Decides, in accordance with Article 96 of the Charter of the United Nations, to request the International Court of Justice, pursuant to Article 65 of the Statute of the Court, to urgently render an advisory opinion on the following question:

        What are the legal consequences arising from the construction of the wall being built by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, as described in the report of the Secretary-General, considering the rules and principles of international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, and relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions?

        — General Assembly resolution A/Res/ES-10/14

        General Assembly resolutions were cited as a source of the rules of international law in both the question that was addressed to the Court and in the Court’s analysis and findings regarding Israel’s violation of its obligations under the rules of international law. See paragraphs 66-137. link to icj-cij.org

    • Mike_Konrad
      April 5, 2013, 1:08 pm

      Joe Ed says:

      mondonut says:

      There is nothing in 194 that constitutes International Law, or rights for that matter

      Classic Zionist nonsense. International law does not constitute international law.

      How can we ever re-educate people like these?

      Unfortunately, for your side, there is a germ of truth in what Mondonut says.

      In 1949, World War II was fresh on everyone’s mind.

      About 15 million Germans were driven out of land they had lived in for centuries. Not to mention the Poles who were driven out of lands they had lived in for centuries as Poland’s borders were moved West.

      German East Prussia – which had been around for centuries – was erased and given to the Poland, and the Baltic States. Silesia – German for centuries – was given to Poland.

      There was no way that the UN was going to recognize a right of return. Europe had been reshuffled after the war. A right of return would have demanded a reshuffling of 20 millions over again.

      Resolution 194, while not as worthless as many Zionists would claim, is still not the iron clad resolution that Palestinian supporters make it out to be.

      Some claim the use of the word “should” in “should be allowed to return” softens the power of the statement; and makes it worthless.

      Not by any plain reading. “should” is not an escape clause.

      However, the historical sense of the time indicates that, in 1949, the UN did not recognize a right of return.

      This may be immoral. This may moral. But it is what it is.

      Resolution 194 cannot have weight to declare a right of return.

      NOT AFTER THE TENS OF MILLIONS WHO WERE RESHUFFLED AFTER 1949.

      If you doubt this, read about the millions of Sudeten Germans who were violently expelled from Czechoslovakia in 1945. There was mass murder of innocent Germans as they were tossed out of lands they had habited for a thousand years. Historically, those Germans had a claim on the land. After WW I, the Allies redrew German borders to cut off Germany from the industry they had built in the Sudetenland. They stranded those 3 million Germans in Czechoslovakia.

      Wilson’s Ambassador, Archibald Coolidge, even recommended ceding the Sudetenland to German in 1919. He was ignored.

      After WWII, the Czechs expelled them almost totally.

      Tens of thousands died.

      To have allowed a right of return, would have required Czechoslovakia, Poland, and the Baltic states to allow millions of refugees to resettle, and would have required millions of Czechs, Poles, Balts, etc. to leave their houses and return them to the expellees.

      The UN was not going to have that.

      Res 194 is stronger than Zionists would admit, but it still does not rise to the level of a right of return.

      Moral? Immoral? It is what it is.

      Mondonut’s conclusion is right – whether or not his logic is right or flawed.

      • Talkback
        April 5, 2013, 10:24 pm

        Mike_Konrad says: “Mondonut’s conclusion is right – whether or not his logic is right or flawed.”

        The UN has continously reaffirmed in countless resolutions that the RoR for the Palestinians in an an “inalienable right”. The International Court of Justice would base an advisory opinion on this simple fact.

      • talknic
        April 6, 2013, 8:55 am

        @ Mike_Konrad “the historical sense of the time indicates that, in 1949, the UN did not recognize a right of return”

        Strange UNGA res 194 was adopted in 1948 by the UN, it recognizes the right.

        “If you doubt this, read about the millions of Sudeten Germans who were violently expelled from Czechoslovakia in 1945.”

        1945 is before 1948

        “Wilson’s Ambassador, Archibald Coolidge, even recommended ceding the Sudetenland to German in 1919. He was ignored.”

        1919 is before 1948.

        Your Wiki link

        This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page.
        This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia’s quality standards. (July 2009)
        This article contains weasel words: vague phrasing that often accompanies biased or unverifiable information.

        “Mondonut’s conclusion is right – whether or not his logic is right or flawed.”

        You’re both wrong.

      • talknic
        April 6, 2013, 9:26 am

        @ Mike_Konrad “Some claim the use of the word “should” in “should be allowed to return” softens the power of the statement; and makes it worthless”

        Let’s see this in the full context of what those “some” have claimed. Source/s? Thx

      • talknic
        April 9, 2013, 3:51 am
  5. Citizen
    April 5, 2013, 7:49 am

    On an up note, the first EU academic union to call for academic boycott of Israel is the Teachers Union Of Ireland: link to ipsc.ie

  6. pabelmont
    April 5, 2013, 11:49 am

    I’ve corrected this otherwise correct statement in bold:

    Within such a political system, the return of Palestinian refugees would create a demographic shift ending the Jewish majority in the state and would thus jeopardize the Zionist project of maintaining a state based on ethno-religious supremacy upon a territory no smaller than 1948-1967 Israeli territory.

    Israel wants a Jewish-majority state, some want a Jewish-law state (Torah/Talmud rather than Sharia, so to speak), some want democracy more-or-less and others don’t and ALL want a territorially big state. Consolidation and contraction of sovereign territory is impossible for them to imagine (unlike expanding sovereign territory which they obviously imagine and which they have, de facto, accomplished: wall, highways, settlements).

    The armistice lines of 1948-50 (“green line”) are not formal boundaries, and Israel is not entitled to sovereignty over the territory within them other than as a military conqueror. If Israel would agree to a more compact territory for its state, and move all the Jewish Israelis into it — from wherever they are within Mandatory Palestine — it could have the Jewish majority they desire, the more so the smaller the space was, because the PRoR would only allow returning refugees/exiles to return to the places from which they came, and fewer would return to the smaller Israel.

    Not gonna happen? Well, what IS gonna happen? And when? And when will the world stand up and pressure Israel? (There will be a review of all this in 2050.)

  7. talknic
    April 5, 2013, 12:21 pm

    “the return of Palestinian refugees would create a demographic shift ending the Jewish majority in the state and would thus jeopardize the Zionist project of maintaining a state based on ethno-religious supremacy”

    Except there are only a few thousand refugees who actually have RoR to Israel’s Internationally recognized sovereign territories as Israel asked to be and was recognized. link to trumanlibrary.org Most of those who fled in 1948 are dead.

    The Palestinian claim for RoR is per UNGA res 194. It also applied to Jewish Palestine refugees and applied only people to had lived in the area of return. Not lineal descendants link to unispal.un.org

    UNGA res 194 was adopted 12 months BEFORE UNRWA was formed and before Israel’s Aug 1949 claim to territories Israel had previously stated on the 22nd May 1948 were “outside the State of Israel”

    The UNRWA definition is irrelevant to RoR. A) It doesn’t extend to final status
    B) it wasn’t written until afterUNGA res 194 and;
    C) is only to ascertain who qualifies for assistance while they are a refugee. It also applied to Jewish refugees and UNRWA maintained a refugee camp in Israeli territory until the Israeli government took over responsibility (1952)

    Those few thousand non-Jewish ‘Palestine’ refugees who have RoR to Israel’s actual sovereign territory and who are all at a minimum of 64 years of age, haven’t a hope in hades of changing the demographics of Israel.

    The majority of Palestinian refugees on the other hand, have a right to live in any territory slated for the Arab State including that illegally acquired by war by Israel since being declared. Territory that can only become Sovereign to Israel by the legal custom of annexation in agreement with the Palestinians.

    THERE they are a demographic problem for Israel. But it ISN’T yet Israeli territory. Israel broke the law and now to maintain, must continue to break the law or reach an agreement with the Palestinians, because Israel can not now afford to comply with the law, it would go bankrupt. The Jewish state, failed … the kvetching would be even more deafening !

    It’s failing anyway. The Hasbara is peeling off … the shining light is running on a very hot fuse

    • Mike_Konrad
      April 5, 2013, 4:13 pm

      talknic says:

      The majority of Palestinian refugees on the other hand, have a right to live in any territory slated for the Arab State including that illegally acquired by war by Israel since being declared. Territory that can only become Sovereign to Israel by the legal custom of annexation in agreement with the Palestinians.

      You are missing the point talknic.

      Israel is NOT going to concede this issue ever.

      Rightly or wrongly, the Palestinians outside of Israel will NEVER be allowed back.

      Israel will go to nuclear war over this.

      Forget right or wrong for a minute – even though right and wrong may be the central issue – Israel will not concede the point.

      Israel will go to nuclear war over this. You are dealing with a people who, a mere 70 years ago, were being tossed into gas chambers, with their bodies being cremated.

      The nation collectively has PTSD, and dissociative behavior. They are paranoid – for a good reason.

      They will not budge on this.

      If the Arabs ever get the upper hand, those missiles will fly. Cairo, Damascus, Mecca, Medina, etc. will all be evaporated. Boy, will you have refugees, then.

      Religion enters into this : ON BOTH SIDES.

      So mass annihilation will become a sacred duty.

      A Palestinian RoR is not going to be conceded in any part. That may be wise or it may be despicable; it is probably a bit of both.

      Israel will NOT allow a RoR.

      You can jump, scream, holler, weep, plead, etc. All the UN sanctions will not move them on this issue.

      These are a stubborn/determined people. Had they not been stubborn, they would have assimilated and converted to Christianity in Europe, Islam in the Arab world, and to Buddism in the East.

      I am sorry about the situation millions of Palestinians (often innocents) find themselves trapped in. It is terrible; but neither is it all Israel’s fault.

      Israel will NOT budge. NOT ONE INCH on RoR!

      Start all your possible solutions from that premise.

      Otherwise, no matter how reasonable your position is; no matter how fair, just, kind, loving, etc., your solution will fail. You might as well be appealing to help from Santa Claus.

      Whether right or wrong: The Jews in the Jewish state will not give in. Nothing but a nuclear war will budge them; and they will light up the planet upon their departure – be assured of it.

      I do not like saying this … but at least I am dealing in reality.

      Start all your assumptions from that undeniable fact.

      • talknic
        April 8, 2013, 11:01 pm

        “You are missing the point talknic. Israel is NOT going to concede this issue ever”

        I am quite aware of the insanity that has prevailed over consecutive Governments of the Jewish State

        “Israel will go to nuclear war over this. You are dealing with a people who, a mere 70 years ago, were being tossed into gas chambers, with their bodies being cremated.”

        Israel is a state. It didn’t exist during the Holocaust. The Holocaust ended years before Israel was declared. The Holocaust is completely irrelevant to the Internationally recognized sovereign extent of Israel and its illegal activities outside the extent of its sovereignty.

        Any Government willing to go to nuclear war to be allowed to illegally keep the territory it has illegally acquired, ought be lined up and dealt with before they have the chance

        “They are paranoid – for a good reason”

        They’re kept in paranoia by propaganda designed to justify the usurping of non-Jews from non-Israeli territory. It is not a good reason.

        “If the Arabs ever get the upper hand, those missiles will fly.”

        The Arab States have only asked that the law be upheld.

        Religion enters into this : ON BOTH SIDES.

        The Arab argument has been based on the law, not religion

        “These are a stubborn/determined people. Had they not been stubborn, they would have assimilated and converted to Christianity in Europe, Islam in the Arab world, and to Buddism in the East”

        Irrelevant to the Internationally recognized sovereign extent of Israel and its illegal activities outside the extent of its sovereignty

        ” at least I am dealing in reality. Start all your assumptions from that undeniable fact”

        I don’t deal in assumptions based on speculation. Your ” undeniable fact” is pure speculation. The Nazi’s operation was far larger than Israel’s racist colonial enterprise. They’ve gone, Germany remains.

      • sardelapasti
        April 9, 2013, 1:36 am

        Konrad – “Whether right or wrong: The Jews in the Jewish state will not give in. Nothing but a nuclear war will budge them; and they will light up the planet upon their departure – be assured of it.”

        That is obvious. Of course the “Jews in the Jewish state” as you call them are essentially insane murderers, and we aren’t allowed to call them worse than the Nazis.
        This will ensure the physical destruction of the Zionist entity instead of a civilized solution. All the discussion we do here is for the unlikely case of a reasonable outcome according to decent and lawful behavior. Unlikely, though, does not mean impossible, as shown in the case of South Africa or the US. After all, even Zionists may, unbelievable as it sounds, have some cerebral activity when forced to.

      • Cliff
        April 9, 2013, 4:57 am

        Sorry Konrad,

        We don’t live under Israeli oppression and insanity.

        You validate all of that insanity by issuing lame lip service condolences to the death of Palestinian sovereignty and self-determination as well as justifying Israel’s nuke-everyone option by invoking the Holocaust and blah blah.

        Our argument is that the Holocaust is not the issue. The Zionism movement predates the Holocaust and the Holocaust is not an excuse for the Nakba and subsequent colonialism.

        There won’t be peace because Palestinians do not live within your warped reality where the world revolves around Jewish naval contemplations.

        They are living with Jewish supremacists day in and day out and that is what we see.

        Morality is important to us because we live free in our respective countries. We have some semblance of justice ingrained into our national conscience – even though our countries do awful things outside our borders and to historically oppressed peoples.

        If you want to turn this ongoing discussion into a simulation of the ‘peace talks’ then forget about it.

        No one wants to waste time on that bullshit. But it is telling that as a human being you are incapable of talking morals. Instead you talk about nuking everyone in response to protecting Zionist greed.

  8. miriam6
    April 5, 2013, 1:20 pm

    {The Peace Process between Israelis and Palestinians has largely failed to bring about a just solution in the Holy Land that would include the Right of Return, and instead has galvanized Israeli settlement activity in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), thereby continuing a system built on Palestinian dispossession. The Palestinian Authority instituted after the Oslo Accords with the ostensible mission of governing the OPT has failed in representing the aspirations of the Palestinian population, both within the OPT and the diaspora, and in aiding their struggle for the Right of Return and self-determination. If anything, it has allowed Israel the ability to continue its denial of this Right.}

    ******So, according to Ozeir and Sbitan, the best way to remedy this relative lack of accountability and inability to provide good governance by the P.A. is to simply ** “take these matters into the hands of Non Governmental Actors ,”** who themselves are unelected and therefore only accountable to themselves! out of the frying pan and into the fire! ****** Ironically enough , Edward Said who is said in this piece by Ozeir and Sbitan to endorse this N.G.O. strategy, resigned his membership of the Palestinian National Council of the P.L.O. in 1994 , which he had held since joining in 1977 ,as a protest against Yasser Arafat and Fatah’s signing of the D.O.P. the Oslo Peace Accords, , not only a bad peace treaty in Said’s view, but also one conducted behind the backs of the Palestinian people themselves, their local leaderships ,Islamist and Leftist groups ( the two groupings for once in alliance in opposition to the 1993 Accords ) , and also other Palestinian intellectuals including Said.

    ******Yasser Arafat dismantled virtually all of the democratic and accountable structure of the P.L.O. in order to conduct the secret talks with Israel , by that point in time, all that was left of the once mighty P.L.O. was Fatah.****** BTW I notice one of the academics involved with the Right of return conference in Boston is Joseph Massad. Massad’s stance on the rights of refugees have proven controversial , apparently he doesn’t endorse equal rights for all refugees in the Middle East. See Shayna Zamkanei’s critique of one of Joseph Massad’s essays here.****** link to blogs.timesofisrael.com
    Also, the U- Tube video of the Right of Palestinian refugee return episode of the Doha Debates is also worth checking out. It features Illan Pappe , Ali Abunimah and the views of Bassam Eid, who believes the occupied Palestinians must struggle to achieve a State first before R.O.R. He is resident in the O.P.T himself.****** link to youtube.com

  9. RJL
    April 5, 2013, 6:17 pm

    R.o.R., as pointed out, isn’t law, merely a GA wishlist. Further, those talkers in Boston studiously avoid mentioning the 800,000 Jewish citizens of arab states who were forced out of their respective countries, starting as early as 1941 with the Farhud in Baghdad, and effectively became the Jewish refugees taken into Israel. There were more, but some left to Europe or the Americas. Israel has expressed interest in returning the original Palestinian residents, 64 years plus. Mind you, if Israel was going for ethnic cleansing, they’d have expelled all the arabs; more than 750,000 arabs remained unharmed in Israel. So much for ethnic cleansing.
    In the aftermath of WWII, expellees from Eastern Europe, of German descent (going back hundreds of years), were never returned to their countries of birth, nor compensated. To single out Israel for criticism for “failing” to do something nobody else has is….racist, be the critics Jewish or not. Shabbat shalom, to those who care.

    • Talkback
      April 7, 2013, 3:49 pm

      “R.o.R., as pointed out, isn’t law, merely a GA wishlist.”

      I just explained to mondonut that and how it has become customary international law. But I’m afraid that it is still too difficult to breach the zionist perception barrier.

  10. talknic
    April 8, 2013, 11:24 pm

    RJL “R.o.R., as pointed out, isn’t law, merely a GA wishlist”

    ” as pointed out” = Some folk have attempted to deny it… Try this link to unispal.un.org

    “the 800,000 Jewish citizens of arab states”

    A) ‘J’ewish uppercased vs ‘a’rab lowercased… over and over … take much practice? Bigotry is discouraged here.
    B) No longer refugees. They’ve taken citizenship in countries other than that of return.

    Israel has expressed interest in returning the original Palestinian residents, 64 years plus”

    Odd …. Report to the Provisional Government by Prime Minister and Minister of Defence – 17 Jun 1948
    “We cannot allow the Arabs to return to those places that they left.” link to mfa.gov.il

    “In the aftermath of WWII, expellees from Eastern Europe, of German descent (going back hundreds of years), were never returned to their countries of birth, nor compensated”

    Cite the precise examples … don’t leave out the relative treaties and agreements

    To single out Israel for criticism for “failing” to do something nobody else has is….racist, be the critics Jewish or not “

    Israel is not a race. Jews are not a race. Name the countries refusing RoR

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