This is not our vision of peace

This is not our vision of peace

The Palestinian Return Centre, London, read with profound shock the article written by President Yasir Arafat in the New York Times on 3rd February 2002. His assertion that the Palestinian right to return as enshrined in Resolution 194 “must be implemented in a way that takes into account” Israel’s demographic concerns has confirmed our worst fears.

When the same newspaper published an article last year (17th October) quoting the PLO’s Commissioner for Jerusalem, Dr. Sari Nusseibeh, as saying “that there could be no peace and a Palestinian state could not be established unless the Palestinians abandon a longstanding demand (and not their right) to return to their homes,” Palestinians of every political persuasion called upon Chairman Arafat to dismiss him. This did not happen

Now we are faced with the unexpected situation where the Palestinian leader is himself endorsing these views, albeit in different words.

The PRC affirms that the right of the Palestinians to return to their homes is not a political demand that needs recognition or legitimacy from the likes of Ariel Sharon or his American collaborators. It is engraved in the canons of international law. It is guaranteed by; the law of nationality as applied upon state succession, humanitarian law, human rights law and refugee law.

Israel’s legitimacy of admission to the UN is conditional upon allowing the refugees to return according to UN Resolution 194 is proof that this resolution is binding and absolute.

The PRC believes that peace cannot be achieved by appeasement and acquiescence to the illegal and insatiable demands of Israel. We the Palestinian people posses no nuclear weapons but we have one weapon that is more powerful and far-reaching than Israel’s entire arsenal. It is the justice of our cause and the determination of our people.

We call upon all patriotic Palestinians to disavow this statement by President Arafat. We urge them to help him resist the enormous regional and international pressure exerted upon him. And we call upon President Arafat personally to take a page from the book of his old friend and comrade, Nelson Mandela, who preferred to languish on Robbin Island indefinitely rather than denounce his people’s right to resist and exist. History will absolve you Abu Ammar. We do not wish for you what your Israeli detractors have said time and again: they want you to be condemned to the waste-bin of history. Stay strong, proud and steadfast Abu Ammar.


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