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Palestinian Civil Society calls upon Arab Summit PDF Print E-mail
Mar 28, 2007 at 01:11 PM

“Protect Palestinian Refugees and Work for their Right of Return”

BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights
28 March 2007

“Recent Israeli statements claiming readiness to engage with the Arab Initiative, if Arab states dropped the clause on the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes in accordance with UN Resolution 194, is nothing but yet another attempt to deceive Arabs and Palestinians and obtain free concessions... Any compromise of the rights of the refugees stands for the continuation of the Nakba (catastrophe) inflicted upon the Palestinian people since 1948 and perpetuates the conflict with Israel,” say Palestinian civil society organizations to Arab leaders convening today, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, for the summit of the Arab League.

The memorandum, submitted to the Arab Summit and published in the Palestinian press today, is endorsed by 76 organizations and networks of Palestinian civil society in Israel, the occupied Palestinian territories, Lebanon, Syria, Europe, and North America.

The memorandum reminds Arab states that the right of return of Palestinian refugees to their homes and properties is an inalienable individual and collective right which is enshrined in international law and not limited in time. “Therefore,” says Palestinian civil society, “this right is not up for negotiations. Political initiatives and negotiations can address only the modalities of its implementation under UN Resolution 194.”

The memorandum also calls upon the Arab Summit to take measures for ending the plight of Palestinian refugees in Iraq and to set up a mechanism that will ensure effective protection and implementation of the right of return of Palestinian refugees through cooperation with the concerned international agencies, foremost UNRWA and UNHCR. In this context, Palestinian civil society proposes that a permanent Arab League follow-up committee be formed to improve and ensure the protection of Palestinian refugees in Arab states under the 1965 Casablanca Protocol. At the same time, the Arab League is asked to study, in cooperation with the PLO, ways for reactivating the dormant UN Conciliation Commission for Palestine (UNCCP) mandated to assist with the implementation of Palestinian refugees' right of return under UN Resolution 194.

For the full text (in Arabic) of the Palestinian civil society memorandum to the 2007 Arab League Summit, see: www.badil.org

BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights
PO Box 728, Bethlehem, Palestine
Telefax: 00972-2-2747346
info@badil.org - www.badil.org
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Facts and Figures about the Current Darkness in the Gaza Strip

January 23rd 2008

Report from the Palestinian Hydrology Group
  1. Gaza Strip today is facing a very harsh siege which is expected to have severely negative humanitarian impact.
  2. The distribution of drinking water and the collection and treatment of wastewater completely rely on electricity and fuel in Gaza Strip.
  3. For several months now Israel has imposed a cruel siege on the Strip preventing people and goods from free movement. This has immobilized the importing of spare parts, pumps, pipes and other necessary accessories for the water and sanitation providing facilities.
  4. According to different sources the water and sanitation services are expected to be completely paralyzed within a matter of hours due to the lack of fuel reserves.
  5. About 133 water wells are being used for domestic purposes in addition to 33 sewage pump stations and three treatment plants; 10 of these groundwater wells function using fuel while the rest rely on electricity. Diesel powered generators are normally used as backup for the whole system but only for a limited time.
    The Coastal Municipalities Water Utility needs at least 100,000 liters of diesel per month to operate the water system. An additional 100,000 liters of diesel per month are needed for the sewage system to prevent wastewater from flooding the streets and residential areas.
  6. Reducing electricity and fuel supplies are potential causes to trigger an environmental crisis especially in the wastewater pump stations and treatment plants. If wastewater is not treated it will have to be pumped directly to the sea. This will for sure have a direct and negative impact on the groundwater aquifer and marine life.
    During winter time sewage pumps need to operate about 24 hours per day due to rainfall. Therefore, interruptions in fuel and electricity supply would be particularly significant.
  7. The sewage treatment plant in Beit Lahiya is also vulnerable to interruptions in electricity supplies. The treatment lagoons must be pumped regularly, or else the 10,000 people living in the area are in danger.  Six months ago, one of the lagoons over flooded and caused the death of five persons. Proper maintenance could have prevented the disaster.
  8. The water supply in Gaza City, with a total of 600,000 residents, in addition to a major part of the central portion of the Strip is expected to be completely cut-off as a result of ceasing the pumping from the municipal groundwater wells. The City also faces the threat of overflowing wastewater since the pumps (especially Al Samer and Aqoola stations) are expected to stop operating within the next 24 hours.
  9. If the current situation should persist the solid wastes generated in the Strip will accumulate in piles on the streets endangering the health of the locals.

The WaSH Monitoring Program calls on the International Community to push Israel to immediately cease all military operations, reopen the borders to allow the movement of people and goods and provide fuel supply and humanitarian aid to the residents of Gaza.

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