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

4 January 2001

Washington, DC (January 4, 2001) - The Palestine Right to Return Coalition (PRRC) upholds the inalienable right of Palestinian refugees to return home as an integral component of a just and viable peace. 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 accept it.

PRRC strongly condemns the statement published in the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz (2 January 2001) by "Peace Now" and other self proclaimed Israeli "peace camp" which calls for Palestinians to abandon their inalienable right of return. The call by the so-called Israeli "peace" movement for the abrogation of the Palestinian refugees' right to return home is a clear manifestation that racism and exclusive formulation are in fact an integral part of most Israeli organizations that uphold Zionism.

While such overt racism and dehumanization of the Palestinian people cannot be as easily dismissed as the violations of right-wing extremists like Ariel Sharon, it is equally oppressive of Palestinian rights. These Zionist groups acknowledge the creation of Israel as the instigator of the expulsion and dispossession of the Palestinian people, but their proposed solution is to transfer the Palestinian refugees to whatever land the Israeli administration allocates as the Palestinian state. In the name of a Zionist-defined "peace," these groups support the racist and oppressive Israeli occupying power in denying Palestinians their rightful ownership of the land from which they were expelled. These "peace" advocates call for a "positive conclusion" that maintains the formula of an exclusive racist Jewish state.

The statement made by the so-called Israeli "peace" movement exposes their racist position and represents the imbalance of power that allows them to co-opt and monopolize the term "peace" and define it within an oppressive and racist framework. The Zionist concern for "maintaining the demographic balance" and "Jewish supremacy" is that of apartheid and contradicts international law and moral imperatives, including countless United Nations resolutions and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Strict adherence, de facto and de jure, to international human rights law and international law is the prerequisite for creating trust and strengthening security.

The right to return is an essential and inseparable part of the realization of the Palestinians to their right of self-determination, and is an essential condition for the effective guarantee and observance of individual human and collective rights. The perpetual existence of Palestinian refugees, despite the number, impedes the exercise of the Palestinian people's right to self-determination. That is, the right of self-determination is effectively terminated if the majority of the people concerned are unable to return to their homes from which they were either expelled or forced to flee.

Human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated. The Palestinian human right to live freely is interdependent for the Palestinian right to return. For the Israeli "peace" movement to be what it professes, it is insufficient to merely come to a historical realization of the injustices committed against the Palestinian People, but it must also own up to its responsibility for a struggle for justice that dares to include Palestinian inalienable rights in their entirety.

PRRC strongly believes that the struggle for peace and justice must be democratic and reflect the Palestinians' desire and right to return. PRRC appeals to people of conscience and peace advocates to seize the opportunity now to help raise Palestinian voices that have been silenced for 52 years for a just and sustainable peace rooted in granting the
Palestinian people their legitimate right to freedom and return.

For further information or to arrange interviews contact:

In the United States: Elias A. Rashmawi Tel: (530) 304-4573, Amira Solh Tel: (212) 529-6934
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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