Virtual statehood or the Right of Return

Omar Barghouti writes:

“The Palestinian declaration of independence practically constitutes a victory for Israel’s declaration of independence, and this is why Israelis must celebrate in the streets and be the first to recognise Palestinian independence, calling on the world to follow suit.”

Sefi Rachlevsky, Yedioth Ahronoth, September 5, 2011 (Israeli writer who led a recent Israeli delegation that met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to urge him to go forward with the statehood bid at the UN)

“Palestine 194” is the name of a campaign called for by Palestinian officials to drum up support for their “September Initiative”, or bid for statehood, in the hope that “Palestine” would become the 194th member of the UN. This same number, however, has historic connotations for the people of Palestine. It has been etched in our collective consciousness as the UN General Assembly resolution stipulating the right of the Palestinian refugees – most of whom were forcibly displaced and dispossessed during the 1948 Nakba by Zionist militias and later the state of Israel – to return to their homes and properties.

Without any sense of irony, Palestinian officials who have time and again colluded in eroding official international support for UNGA 194, as the Palestine Papers have amply shown, are now appropriating that very number and using it in a bid that runs the risk of surrendering the right of return associated with it for more than six decades. This is merely a symbol of the far more substantive moral, political and legal bind that this Initiative may potentially place the Palestinians and their supporters in.

The “September Initiative” is at best vague and confusing and at worst damaging to the interests of the Palestinian people. Regardless, it is entirely divorced from the will of the Palestinian people, and those advocating it have no democratic mandate from the people to employ it in any way that jeopardises our UN-sanctioned rights.

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3 thoughts on “Virtual statehood or the Right of Return

  1. pabelmont

    If citizenship in (new) State of Palestine is voluntary and is in no case automatic, then no person need become a citizen of Palestine who wishes, for example, to maintain “refugee” status and fears that accepting citizenship (e.g., in Palestine) will remove this “refugee” status.

    This would hold true of people living inside the territory of Mandatory Palestine as well as those living outside it. THUS refugees living in Gaza and West Bank could avoid loss of “refugee” status if they wished.

    The utility of preserving “refugee” status is anybody’s guess. But no-one should be forced to accept citizenship just because someone else (e.g., Israel or Palestine) has declared a state. Per UNGA-194 and UDHR, everyone has a right to return to his own country. PERIOD.

    See http://123pab.com/blog/2011/09/Right-of-return-and-the-Palestinian-State.php

  2. Ian Arbuckle

    “Virtual statehood or the Right of Return” It can be “or”, it can be “and” it just depends on where your coming from. It is about time the Palestinian people in the West Bank, Gaza, and all those others made refugees in camps by Israeli terror, British indifference, and now US bigotry and all their injustice, are listened too. Nationality and independence is about self determination of people. I for one am sick of the colonial power plays of elitists, especially Zionist merchants of deceit, racist oppression and ethnic cleansing wherever they pretend to hale from.

  3. dickerson3870

    RE: “If citizenship in (new) State of Palestine is voluntary and is in no case automatic, then no person need become a citizen of Palestine who wishes, for example, to maintain ‘refugee’ status and fears that accepting citizenship (e.g., in Palestine) will remove this ‘refugee’ status.” ~ pabelmont

    MY COMMENT: This certainly seems logical, but law all too often defies logic. It would seem to me that the PLO (or the Palestinian BDS National Committee) can continue to assert that it/they are the legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people for the purpose of negotiating a comprehensive settlement of all outstanding issues. Even if the PA actually conducts credible elections in the territories, I think it can be argued that the most they are entitled to do is to administer the territories pending a comprehensive settlement negotiated by the legitimate representative(s) of the Palestinian people. Of course, it would be best if this were to be spelled out in writing in any bid for membership in the UN.
    At any rate, I am by no means well versed in international law.

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