Below are some talking points you may wish to include in letters to the
editor or op-ed columns to newspapers. Because of word count limitations,
especially with respect to letters addressed to newspapers (usually about
250 words) , you may be unable to include all of the points below. Please
check on word count limitations for opinion editorials as these seem to
vary widely depending on the newspaper. For more detailed information,
please read the factsheet at http://al-awda.org/factsheet.htm.
- During and after the establishment of the state of Israel, over
1 million Palestinian refugees were created by a process that today
would be called ethnic cleansing.
- The Palestinian refugee problem is the oldest and largest refugee
problem in the world today, that there are over 3.2 million registered
by the United Nations and countless others not registered. The refugees
are living in countries and regions sometimes within a very short
distance of their original homes and lands.
- Article 13 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights reaffirms
the right of every individual to leave and return to his country.
- The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article
12, states: "No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right
to enter his own country"
- United Nations Resolution 194 affirms the right of refugees to return
to their homes and lands. This resolution was adopted on December
11, 1948 and has been reaffirmed almost every year for the past fifty
- The Principle of Self Determination adopted by the UN in 1947 guarantees
the right of ownership and domicile in one's own country. This principle
was explicitly applied in 1969 and thereafter to the Palestinian People,
including "the legality of the Peoples' struggle for self-determination
- International law demands that neither occupation nor sovereignty
diminish the rights of private ownership. Hence, the land and property
of "the refugees" remains their own and they are legally
entitled to return to it.
- Israel's ethnic cleansing policies are still ongoing. Amnesty International
reported that as of last December, 2650 Palestinian houses have been
destroyed since 1987 by Israel in the West Bank and Jerusalem alone.
Further thousands of acres owned by Palestinians have been confiscated
to build settlements in contravention of the 4th Geneva convention
Article 49 stating that the "Occupying Power shall not transfer
parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies."
- It is unrealistic to expect that peace will be durable without solving
the refugee situation. The inalienable rights of refugees cannot be
left to "negotiations" between Israel and the Palestinian
authority as International law considers agreements between an occupier
and any body in occupied areas to be null and void if they deprive
civilians of recognized human rights including the rights to repatriation
and restitution. Furthermore, UN resolution 194 clearly identifies
the right of return as an individual choice that cannot be made by
others on behalf of the individual.
- The US is bound by its constitution to support human rights and
freedom. There is no more elemental right than one's right to his/her
home and to live in his/her land. The US could use the massive financial
support we give to the State of Israel to press for this right.
- Research shows that return is not only legal but possible. 78% of
Israelis are living in 14 percent of the land and the remaining 86%
is mostly land that belongs to the refugees and on which 22% of the