PA urges Palestinians to 'return'
Mar. 18, 2008
The Palestinian Authority is planning to mark Israel's 60th anniversary by calling on all Palestinians living abroad to converge on Israel by land, sea and air.
The plan, drawn by Ziad Abu Ein, a senior Fatah operative and Deputy Minister for Prisoners' Affairs in the Palestinian Authority, states that the Palestinians have decided to implement United Nations Resolution 194 regarding the refugees.
Article 11 of the resolution, which was passed in December 1948, says that "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, 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."
The initiative is the first of its kind and is clearly aimed at embarrassing Israel during the anniversary celebrations by highlighting the issue of the "right of return" for the refugees.
Entitled "The Initiative of Return and Coexistence," the plan suggests that the PA has abandoned a two-state solution in favor of one state where all Arabs and Jews would live together.
"The Palestinians, backed by all those who believe in peace, coexistence, human rights and the UN resolutions, shall recruit all their energies and efforts to return to their homeland and live with the Jews in peace and security," the plan says.
"Fulfilling the right of return is a human, moral and legal will that can't be denied by the Jews or the international community. On the [60th] anniversary of the great suffering, the Palestinian people are determined to end this injustice."
Abu Ein's initiative, which has won the backing of many PA leaders in Ramallah, calls on all Israelis to welcome the Palestinians "who will be returning to live together with them in the land of peace."
The plan calls on the refugees to return to Israel on May 14, 2008 with their suitcases and tents so that they could settle in their former villages and towns. The refugees are also requested to carry UN flags upon their return and to be equipped with their UNRWA-issued ID cards.
The Arab countries hosting Palestinian refugees are requested to facilitate the return of the refugees by opening their borders and allowing them to march toward Israel. The plan specifically refers to Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq, whose governments are asked to provide logistic support to allow the refugees to carry out their mission.
Palestinian refugees living in the US, EU, Canada and Latin America are requested to use their foreign passports to fly to Ben-Gurion Airport from May 14-16. The plan calls for the Palestinians to hire dozens of boats flying UN flags that will converge on Israeli ports simultaneously.
To ensure international backing, the plan calls to invite world leaders, the UN secretary-general, journalists and legal experts from around the world to declare their support for the Palestinians' "right of return." The Palestinians, in return, would promise to practice their right peacefully and to denounce terror and violence.
Arab governments are requested to provide both financial and political backing for the initiative. The plan stresses that the Palestinians can no longer expect to achieve the "right of return" at the negotiating table with Israel. "We must take matters into our own hands," it states. "Negotiations, slogans and UN resolutions are not going to bring us our rights."
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