This is a Journal entry by combattant pour liberte
Addition to Arafat Entry
combattant pour liberte Started conversation Nov 14, 2004
I forgot one of the most important things the PLO fought for, the thing that Fatah and the PLO were founded to fight, the reason why Arafat resisted for so long recognising Israel's right to exist: the right of return of Palestinian refugees.
When the State of Israel was declared in 1948 the First Arab-Israeli War began. Thousands of Palestinian Arabs fled abroad to eascape the fighting, taking their keys and deeds to their house with them. They all presumed they could go home when the fighting ended. Also, Zionist militias (the precursors of the Israeli military) forcibly deported thousands of Palestinian Arab civilians in campaign of ethnic cleansing resulting from years of sectarian violence between Jews (many who fled Nazi ethnic cleansing and genocide in Europe) and indigenous Palestinians.
At the end of the war the Israelis systematically stole the houses of the Palestinian refugees, passed laws preventing their return and gave every Jew in the world a "right to return" to the new State of Israel. The displacement and deportation of most of the Arabs from what was now Israel, and the Jews flooding in from abroad, created an artificial Jewish majority.
The refugees, with their descendants, now number over 5 million and most live in horrible refugee camps in Arab countries like Lebanon and Syria (whose regimes often refuse to improve their conditions). If an independent, viable Palestinian state is created in the West Bank and Gaza Strip they will be allowed to move there.
But international law says the 1948 refugees have the right to return to what is now Israel. Article 13(2) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states "Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country." UN General Assembly Resolution 162 guarentees the right to return, recieve compensation for lost property, and to also recieve compensation if the right to return is waived.
Moreover, the forcible deportation of thousands of civilians is a crime against humanity under the Nuremburg Charter, the document written by the Allies to punish the Nazis. It is also a war crime and multiple counts of kidnap under the laws of Israel and British Mandate Palestine.
The most frequently uttered argument against letting Palestinian refugees return to their homes is blatently racist: that it will undermine the Jewish character of the State of Israel, a state with a significant indigenous Arab minority (descendants of those who weren't displaced or deported in 1948), not to mention the Christians, which is even today discriminated against in law and practice.
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