Tuesday, February 25, 2014

My letter to Forbes RE "The Politics Of The Palestinian Right Of Return"

Growing Gardens for Palestine
RE: The Politics Of The Palestinian Right Of Return

Dear Editor,

The Palestinian refugee right of return is a universal basic human right that Jewish survivors of the Nazi Holocaust have benefited from for decades.  The right of return and return itself can not erase bad memories nor will it rebuild a way of life that no longer exists, but it is an important part of international law and civilization itself.  It is the first step in the right direction- and a prerequisite for a just and lasting peace.

Religious extremism and bigotry on both sides of the Israel-Palestine conflict is constantly being exasperated by the conflict and the many negative ramifications created by the conflict. As things are today, Israel's misguided Jewish citizens have spent the past six decades subsidized and motivated to harass, impoverish, oppress, demonize and displace the native non-Jewish population of the Holy Land.

Choices being made right now set the precedent for what will be in the future and I'd rather we not condemn our children to living in a world where property rights, security, citizenship and job opportunities are determined by a person's religion... or their DNA.

Religion should be a personal preference and a family affair, not a state funded project: Tax payers should not be forced to subsidize religious scholars and schemes.

Anne Selden Annab

A World Not Ours: Filmed over more than 20 years by multiple generations of the same family, A World Not Ours is more than just a family portrait; it is an attempt to record what is being forgotten, and mark what should not be erased from collective memory.

A day at the Aida Camp Normal life can never be normal when it is lived under brutal military occupation, writes Kholoud Al-Ajarma from the Aida Refugee Camp in the Occupied West Bank

History writing that aims at damage control
Ralph M Coury: "...The fact is that the “heresy” of which Shavit speaks was a main current in Zionist speculations from the outset. The new settlers, Theodor Herzl (the founder of the Zionist movement) writes in his diary in 1895, should “gently” expropriate the natives’ property and “try to spirit the penniless population across the border by procuring employment for it in the transit countries, while denying it any employment in our own country. The property-owners will come over to our side. But the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly. Let the owners of immovable property believe that they are cheating us, selling us things for more than they are worth. But we are not going to sell them anything back.” (The Complete Diaries, NY, 1960, vol 1, P88.) "

This Week in Palestine: Human Rights in Palestine

Palestinians will not sway on principles, Abbas tells Kerry

This Week in Palestine: The Rights of Palestinian Children

Analysis: EU aid to Palestinians -- help or hindrance?

Israeli Settlers destroy 700 olive tree saplings near Ramallah... Israel's army is often present during attacks and rarely intervenes to protect Palestinians from settler violence.

It’s important for people to know how far the Palestinians have come to put an end to the conflict with Israel.

Palestinians seek UN heritage status for ancient village

"Since the beginning of our struggle for Cremisan, we have been determined to tell the world about the story of a small Palestinian community that, like many others, is threatened once again with dispossession and colonization..."

Israel confiscates Palestinian land near Nablus

BADIL: Six decades after their initial forced displacement from their homeland, Palestinian refugees and IDPs still lack access to voluntary durable solutions and reparations (which include return, restitution, compensation) based on international law, UN resolutions and best practice.

The Palestinian Refugee's Right of Return: No issue is more emblematic of the 20th century Palestinian experience than the plight of the approximately seven million Palestinian refugees.

The number of Palestinian structures (including many Palestinian homes) demolished by the Israeli authorities in the Jordan Valley in 2013 more than doubled, from 192 in 2012 to 393 in 2013

The Palestinian Authority has decided to remove the section detailing religious affiliation on Palestinian identity cards... ensures the equality of all Palestinians, regardless of their religion.

Excellent letter published in the Baltimore Sun: Academic freedom and Israel by Carole C. Burnett

Reflections By An ARAB JEW by Ella Habiba Shohat "When my grandmother first encountered Israeli society in the '50s, she was convinced that the people who looked, spoke and ate so differently--the European Jews--were actually European Christians. Jewishness for her generation was inextricably associated with Middle Easterness. My grandmother, who still lives in Israel and still communicates largely in Arabic, had to be taught to speak of "us" as Jews and "them" as Arabs. For Middle Easterners, the operating distinction had always been "Muslim," "Jew," and "Christian," not Arab versus Jew. The assumption was that "Arabness" referred to a common shared culture and language, albeit with religious differences."

UNITED NATIONS: Give Peace a Chance... The year 2014 has been proclaimed the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People... “The objective of the  International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is to promote solidarity with the Palestinian people as a central theme, contributing to international awareness of (a) core themes regarding the question of Palestine, as prioritized by the Committee, (b) obstacles to the ongoing peace process, particularly those requiring urgent action such as settlements, Jerusalem, the blockade of Gaza and the humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territory and; (c) mobilization of global action towards the achievement of a comprehensive, just and lasting solution of the question of Palestine in accordance with international law and the relevant resolutions of the United Nations.”

History of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights: "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10 December 1948, was the result of the experience of the Second World War. With the end of that war, and the creation of the United Nations, the international community vowed never again to allow atrocities like those of that conflict happen again. World leaders decided to complement the UN Charter with a road map to guarantee the rights of every individual everywhere. The document they considered, and which would later become the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, was taken up at the first session of the General Assembly in 1946. "

Palestinian Refugees (1948-NOW) refused their right to return... and their right to live in peace free from religious bigotry and injustice.
Refugees, Borders & Jerusalem
"Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home - so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world."Eleanor Roosevelt

More than sixty years ago, back in 1949, the Application of Israel for admission to membership in the United Nations (A/818) clearly pointed out that Israel was directly contravening "the previous recommendations of the United Nations in at least three important respects: in its attitude on the problem of Arab refugees, on the delimitation of its territorial boundaries, and on the question of Jerusalem." 

Dr. Zogby: This Time Must Be Different

Jordan's King urges Arab, Islamic organisations to serve nation’s causes in US... peace efforts should lead to the two-state solution based on international resolutions and the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, which, he said, was a historical turning point.

Ziad Asali : The Road to the Arab Civil State

Children of the occupation: growing up in Palestine


Given the U.S. commitment to religious freedom, and to the international covenants that guarantee it as the inalienable right of every human being, the United States seeks to:

Promote freedom of religion and conscience throughout the world as a fundamental human right and as a source of stability for all countries
The Office of International Religious Freedom
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Refugees and the Right of Return

We call for a just solution to our refugee issue in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194. Our position on refugees is also included and supported in the Arab Peace Initiative (API), which calls for “a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem to be agreed upon in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194.” A just solution to the refugee issue must address two aspects: the right of return and reparations.

UN Resolution 194 from 1948 : The refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that 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

Emanating from the conviction of the Arab countries that a military solution to the conflict will not achieve peace or provide security for the parties, the council:
1. Requests Israel to reconsider its policies and declare that a just peace is its strategic option as well.
2. Further calls upon Israel to affirm:
I- Full Israeli withdrawal from all the territories occupied since 1967, including the Syrian Golan Heights, to the June 4, 1967 lines as well as the remaining occupied Lebanese territories in the south of Lebanon.
II- Achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem to be agreed upon in accordance with U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194.
III- The acceptance of the establishment of a sovereign independent Palestinian state on the Palestinian territories occupied since June 4, 1967 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
3. Consequently, the Arab countries affirm the following:
I- Consider the Arab-Israeli conflict ended, and enter into a peace agreement with Israel, and provide security for all the states of the region.
II- Establish normal relations with Israel in the context of this comprehensive peace.

John Kerry defends US foreign policy “The reason we’re so devoted to finding a solution is simple: Because the benefits of success and the dangers of failure are enormous for the United States, for the world, for the region and, most importantly of all, for the Israeli and Palestinian people,” US secretary of state John Kerry at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

EU warns Israel, Palestinians of the cost of peace failure

Analysis: Why Palestinian leadership is right to engage in peace talks

Ziad Asali of ATFP: Why Palestinians are puzzled by the 'Jewish state' demand... Netanyahu's demand for recognition of Israel as a Jewish state bizarrely inserts Palestinians into the 'Who is a Jew' debate

  • All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
The Golden Rule... Do unto others as you would have them do unto you

 Live by the Golden Rule


"The only way to honor our tragic histories is to create a future for our children free of man-made tragedy. This means making peace fully, completely and without reservation, between Israel and Palestine." ATFP's Ziad Asali: To honor a tragic history, we must work for peace...

American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) supports Palestinian institution-building, good governance, anti-corruption measures, economic development, and improved living standards. ATFP categorically and unequivocally condemns all violence against civilians, no matter the cause and who the victims or perpetrators may be.

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