Al-Awda New York, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition

DON'T LET ETHNIC CLEANSING WIN - Prevent the Erosion of International Law
3 January 2001

Washington, DC (January 3, 2001) - In a letter sent to the Palestinian Authority, the United States and the European Union, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition (known in Arabic as Al-Awda) wrote that "no agreement, negotiations or parties which purport to trade away the right of return or any other inalienable rights can have any legal basis and cannot bind or compel the Palestinian people to end the struggle for the fulfillment of their internationally recognized rights."

It stressed that any attempt to abrogate the rights of Palestinian refugees would set a disasterous precedent in international human rights law, providing a clear signal that ethnic cleansers who expel civilians from their homes, steal their property, and prevent refugees from returning for a lengthy period can expect to have their illegal territorial conquests blessed with international legitimacy.

Implementation of the right of return as spelled out in UN resolutions is key to a peace based on a just resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Today, PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat has accepted the joint US-Israeli formula for a final settlement with "reservations," following meetings in Washington with President Clinton. The U.S.-Israeli proposals, also known as the "Clinton Plan," call for the abrogation of the Palestinian refugees' right of return as well as the annexation of parts of the occupied territories to Israel.

The Clinton proposals, as widely leaked, clearly and explicitly call for the cancellation of the right of return for Palestinians forcibly expelled from their homes in 1947 and after.

As new rallies for the right of return are currently being planned for April 2001, the Palestinian Right to Return Coalition (PRRC) as well as Palestinians in general and human right activists will continue to insist on the immediate implementation of pending United Nations resolutions and respect for universal human rights. It emphasised the legal and moral obligation of the parties to support the implementation of the right of return of Palestinian refugees as a step towards a just peace in the region.

For further information or to arrange interviews contact:

In the United States: Ali Abunimah Tel: (312) 806-7153
In Europe: Arjan El Fassed Tel: +31 (6) 16854541

Al-Awda, Palestine Right to Return Coalition
P.O.Box 401
Hummelstown, Pa 17036
Fax: (717) 832-1123

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