13 October 2003
For Immediate Release
Press reports indicate that recent talks held in Geneva and Amman between a Palestinian delegation and Israeli opposition parties reached an agreement which ignores the natural and historical rights of Palestinian refugees to return and restitution, international law and United Nations resolutions. If these press reports are correct, such an agreement sets a disastrous precedent and is totally unacceptable. The press reports indicate that the Palestinian delegation, which took part in the talks, was approved by Mr. Yasser Arafat, President of the Palestinian Authority.
Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, calls on its members and supporters to express their concerns directly to the leadership of the Palestinian Authority:
* The Palestinian right to return is an inalienable, natural and historical right, enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, The Geneva Conventions and UN Resolution 194.
* According to international law, no agreement, negotiations or parties which purport to trade away the right to return or any other inalienable rights can have any legal basis and cannot bind or compel the Palestinian people to end the struggle for the fulfillment of their rights.
* Any attempt to abrogate the rights of Palestinian refugees would set a disastrous precedent in international human rights law, and provide a clear signal that ethnic cleansers who expel civilians from their homes, steal their property, and prevent refugees returning for long enough can expect to have their illegal territorial conquests blessed with international legitimacy.
* Implementation of the right to return as spelled out in UN resolution 194 is the core to a just resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.