Palestinian Refugees' Right of Return Remains at Core of Palestinian Public Agenda
Global Palestine Right-of-Return Coalition Holds 6th Annual Meeting
For Immediate Release
No. (E/31/05) 05 December 2005
"Palestinian refugees' right of return will remain at the core of the Palestinian public agenda", says the global Palestine Right-of-Return Coalition. The 6th annual meeting of the Coalition also called upon official parties and civil society organizations to thwart current efforts at defunding or terminating UNRWA operations. And it appealed to host states and UN agencies to enhance the protection of Palestinian refugees until they can implement durable solutions based on their right of return.
The Coalition also called for the launch of preparations towards a broad public anwareness-raising campaign around the 60th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba in 2008, as well as for concerted global efforts for campaigns of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel until it abides by international law.
The statement isssued by the Coalition at the conclusion of its 2005 annual meeting takes note of wider regional factors and Israeli policies which pose new challenges to the Palestinian people's quest for freedom, return and self-determination. In particular, the Coalition raised strong concern about the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq and Israeli efforts to destroy the territorial and socio-political basis of Palestinian statehood in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, says the Coalition, has been turned into a tool for territorial disconnection while Israel's Wall under construction in the West Bank serves to annex Palestinian land.
In this context, the Coalition considered pros and cons of a new Palestinian strategy which combines the quest for implementation of Palestinian refugee rights with a one-state, rather than a two-state, framework of conflict resolution. The Coalition decided to launch this strategic debate and calls for the active participation of Palestinian communities worldwide.
The Palestine Right-of-Return Coalition is an independent network of Palestinian refugee community organizations and NGOs in Palestine/Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Europe and North America, formed in 2000 in order to encourage coordination between Palestinians in the homeland and in exile for the defense of Palestinian refugees' right of return. Its 6th annual meeting, 23 – 27 November, was hosted in the Dutch city of Vlaardingen, temporary home to 3,000 of the some 8,000 Palestinians currently residing in the Netherlands.
Logistic support was provided by the Dutch Interchurch Organization for Development Cooperation (ICCO) and the Al-Awda Palestine Network, Netherlands. Participants in the meeting were also briefed by Palestinian MK Muhammad Baraka (Democratic Front for Peace and Equality). A working session with experts of the international Legal Support Network, BADIL Resource Center explored issues of common concern.
Participants, 6th annual meeting, Palestine Right-of-Return Coalition:
Association for the Defense of the Rights of the Internally Displaced in Israel (ADRID), BADIL Resource Center, Popular Service Committees-West Bank Refugee Camps, Popular Service Committees-Gaza Strip Refugee Camps, Union of Youth Activity Centers-Palestine Refugee Camps; Committee for the Defense of the Right of Return, Union of Women's Activity Centers-West Bank Refugee Camps, Aidun Group-Lebanon, Aidun Group-Syria, Forum of Community Organizations in Palestinian Refugee Camps-Lebanon, European Confederation for the Right of Return.