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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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Israel planned for Lebanon war months in advance, PM says
  • Olmert's leaked testimony contradicts earlier remarks 
  • Criticism from inquiry may force resignation

Conal Urquhart in Tel Aviv
Friday March 9, 2007
The Guardian

Preparations for Israel's war in Lebanon last summer were drawn up at least four months before two Israeli soldiers were kidnapped by Hizbullah in July, Ehud Olmert, the prime minister, has admitted.

His submission to a commission of inquiry, leaked yesterday, contradicted the impression at the time that Israel was provoked into a battle for which it was ill-prepared. Mr Olmert told the Winograd commission, a panel of judges charged with investigating Israel's perceived defeat in the 34-day war, that he first discussed the possibility of war in January and asked to see military plans in March.

According to the Ha'aretz daily, which obtained details of Mr Olmert's testimony, the prime minister chose a plan featuring air attacks on Lebanon and a limited ground operation that would be implemented following a Hizbullah abduction. Hizbullah had made several attempts to capture Israeli soldiers on the border since Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon in 2000.

Israeli commentators believed that Mr Olmert and Amir Peretz, the defence minister, took the opportunity of the kidnapping to show they could manage a war in spite of their limited military experience. But the outcome of the war seemed to highlight their lack of experience and also deficiencies in Israel's military planning.