(15 May 2019) BADIL - NAKBA 71 - Statement: Return is the key to durable peace and justice

Hits: 1929
Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) are the world’s largest and most protracted displaced population,[1] they today number 8.7 Million,[2] constituting 66.7 percent of the Palestinian people. Since 1948, Palestinian refugees and IDPs have been subjected to ongoing Nakba (catastrophe) through the denial of their fundamental rights by Israel, Israeli policies of forcible displacement and forcible transfer in Mandatory Palestine,[3] and significant secondary displacement of Palestinian refugees from historic host countries, such as Syria, and suffering from the lack of international protection that they are entitled to.

Yet, neither the internationally mandated bodies nor the international community, have taken any measures to adequately address this ongoing Nakba (catastrophe) by the provision of just and durable solutions as stipulated by international law,[4] and as embodied in UNGA Resolution 194 of 1948 and UNSC Resolution 237 of 1967. Instead, Palestinian refugees and IDPs face unfounded challenges and new obstacles, led conspicuously by the United States of America (USA) Trump administration. The American administration’s actions are part of a wider campaign that aim at imposing a one-sided solution on Palestinian refugees - contrary to international law, relevant UN resolutions, and the principle of justice.
In this context, it is necessary to emphasize that individual states and the UNHCR are under an international obligation to ensure Palestinian refugees’ entitlement to rights equal to other refugee populations.  International complacency vis-à-vis the rights of the Palestinian people - particularly the right to reparations - facilitates the continuation and intensification of the ongoing Nakba. The passivity of the international community impacts those who have already been displaced while simultaneously, encourages further displacement, as Israel continues to enjoy impunity for international crimes. As such, third party states must necessarily and promptly recognize that any just and durable solution to the Palestinian Question must begin with the adoption and implementation of a rights-based approach. Failure to do so will maintain the status quo in which international protection is absent, and in which Palestinians are condemned to additional and more protracted displacement.

Regardless, Palestinian refugees and IDPs continue to call for their right of return on the basis that a durable peace and just solution for the protracted conflict is only achievable through enforcing UNGA Resolution 194 of 1948 and UNSC Resolution 337 of 1967.  

Return is our right and will.


[1] UNHCR, The State of the World’s Refugees, April 2006, 106, available at: https://www.unhcr.org/4444afcb0.html.                            
[2] 5,545,540 M 1948 refugees registered with UNRWA, 1,161,812 M 1948 unregistered refugees, 1,237,462 M 1967 refugees, 415,876 internally displaced inside the Green Line and 344,599 internally displaced in the oPt. BADIL Survey 9th Edition (under final review).   
[3] See BADIL’s series on Forced Population Transfer: the Case of Palestine, available here.
[4] Rule 132 of Customary IHL; the Fourth Geneva Convention; Universal Declaration of Human Rights; and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.   Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law, Adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 60/147 of 16 December 2005, and Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power, adopted by General Assembly resolution 40/34 of 29 November 1985.