Thursday, March 29, 2007
Dr. Salman Abu Sitta: A Sacred Right
Those are the words of Alex Stein, writing for Comment is free last week. A commendable admission of injustice to Palestinians, you would say. But then he derives conclusions that are contrary to this premise; that the right of a Palestinian to return to his home is neither sacred, legal nor possible.
What is more natural than a person returning to their home? If Stein does not believe this is "sacred", he has to ask 6 million Palestinian refugees (two-thirds of all Palestinians) why are they still determined to fight for their right to return over a period of six decades and through three generations and many wars. That the right of return for Palestinians has been affirmed by the UN more than 130 times is enough to put this matter to rest. No need to spill more ink on that score.
This is what the international community insisted upon, sometimes using military force, in implementing the return of refugees to Bosnia, Kosovo, Burundi, Cambodia, East Timor, Georgia, Guatemala, Mozambique, Ruwanda, South Africa, Tajikistan, Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan.
We have a huge database of millions of Palestinians - where they come from in Palestine, and where they are residing today, their family structure and their ages. Today, 90% of them reside within 100 km of their homes, 50% within 40km and many can actually see their home on the opposite hill.
This is an excellent post about the right of return for Palestinians. I apologize for a somewhat off-topic comment, but I could not find your email address.
I am writing to ask if you could help get the word out about a petition against cluster bombs, which mainly kill civilians, like the Lebanese victims of the cluster bombs dropped by Israel last summer.
We are hoping to get several hundred more signatures before delivering this petition next week. It is available at:
i'd deconstruct this article point by point but since you aggressively censor comments you don't like, i won't waste my time.
good luck with your right of return quest though. it's kind of sad to see you invest so much time in something you know deep down will never happen.
"Facts have a way of surfacing. The facts, documented on maps and records, show that in 1948 Israelis depopulated the Palestinian inhabitants of 675 towns and villages, that their land represents 93% of Israel's area..."
yes, facts. like the fact that dr. abu sitta, like many palestinian nationalists, likes to pretend that all the land not owned by jews was owned by palestinians. the _fact_ is that around 70% of the land was government owned. the same delibereatly misleading tactic can be seen in the image you posted in the article above this one.
saying the palestinians owned 22% of the land doesn't have quite the same impact though, now does it?
"...that half of all the refugees have been expelled in the last six weeks of the British Mandate, before the state of Israel was declared and before any Arab regular soldier set foot on Palestine..."
again, half facts aimed at deliberately misleading readers. while it's true that few _regular soldiers_ from arab countries set foot before the end of the mandate (if we exclude the jordanian legion which carried out several attacks but didn't stay, you know, like gush etzion), irregular forces, most notably the arab liberation army, was operating in palestine from january 1948. that's not 6 weeks before the end of the mandate, that's almost 6 months.
"What is more natural than a person returning to their home?"
oh, i don't know. why don't you ask the almost 100 million refugees worldwide since 1945 that didn't return to their homes?
"If Stein does not believe this is "sacred", he has to ask 6 million Palestinian refugees (two-thirds of all Palestinians) why are they still determined to fight for their right to return over a period of six decades and through three generations and many wars."
the answer to that is pretty simple. because unlike the 100 million other refugees, the palestinians have been prevented from being absorbed by their host countries that use them as political pawns.
ask the 2.5 million sudeten germans. ask the millions of indian muslims who were forced to move to pakistan or the millions of pakistani hindu who were forced to move to india.
"That the right of return for Palestinians has been affirmed by the UN more than 130 times is enough to put this matter to rest. No need to spill more ink on that score."
perhaps dr. abu sitta, should read the un charter. you should do the same. the general assembly can make ten thousand resolutions on something and still they will have no binding force. the same goes for unga 194 and the udhr which you like to quote so much. those are not binding. i believe you know this.
dr abu sitta doesn't want to spill more ink because he knows there's no treaty or convention that lets people inherit refugee status. a person can't be a refugee from a place they never set foot in.
i'll wait and see if this one paragraph from this article goes through the censorship machine. i'll gladly continue if it does.
Addresses Jewish and Palestinian land ownership
that still means that palestinians did not own 93% of the land as claimed by dr. abu sitta and is implied by the image you posted.
"Facts have a way of surfacing". indeed.