Under the motto of "Sixty years...and return is nearer" the Sixth Palestinians in Europe has been concluded. It was jointly organized by the General Secretariat of the Congress of European Palestinians, the Palestinian Return Centre, London, and the Palestinian Forum in Denmark in association with a number of Palestinian organizations both inside and outside of Denmark.
The Secretary General of the Congress Adil Abdallah greeted in his opening speech delegations attending from all over Europe. "Together, we look forward to the day when we can all gather in the squares of Al-Quds Al-Sharif and the towns and villages. We shall not miss to embrace", he said.
Abdallah added:" This congress takes place at a time of increasing challenges imposed upon our people wherever they are and the core of these challenges is the right of return. He further said that "all the congresses of European Palestinians right from the beginning with the first congress held in London in 2003 have clearly turned down those frantic attempts. The message of our people in the European diaspora has always been harmonious with that of the Palestinian people all over the world and is summed up as follows: we adhere to our rights and we will continue our endeavors so as to seize them by all means available to us generation after generation and we do believe that victory comes with patience".
He added: "We, in the Sixth Congress of European Palestinians, highlight the importance of national unity of all Palestinians of all trends as well as the development of mechanisms of general Palestinian work so as to stand up to the enormous challenges we are encountering at this crucial moment in Palestinian history . Abdallah addressed Palestinians around the globe saying: ‘we shall all meet in a free Palestine and all Palestinians wherever they are constitute one people with a constant right . We will meet in the squares of Al-Quds.Five Stations:
In his turn, the Director General of the Palestinian Return Center in London Majid Al-Zeer announced that the Palestinian people is drawing closer to exercising its right of return to Palestine as well as its liberation from occupation. He asserted that holding the Sixth Congress of European Palestinians with the attendance of thousands of people from around the globe does well reflect that we are getting closer to making the right of return a reality.
Al-Zeer added: "we gather in the Sixth Congress following five stations starting from London to Berlin then Vienna, Malmo and Rotterdam and here we are in Copenhagen, the sixth station on the journey of return to Palestine. He described the holding of the congress as one of the memorable days of Palestine".
Part of the audience
"We call upon all the Zionists on Palestinian soil to tell Ben-Gurion in his grave that his prophecy was a lie", added Al-Zeer who also addressed European parties that have provided the occupation of Palestine with tremendous support. ‘The time has come for your scale of balance to be rectified. It is time to reconsider your support", he said.
As to the presence of the European Palestinians in the official Palestinian decision-making Al-Zeer maintained that "the Palestinian Liberation Organization ( PLO) is the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people but it must be restructured on genuine democratic bases," denouncing the continuous exclusion of the Palestinian masses whether inside or outside Europe from decision-making . Al-Zeer also announced the imminent inauguration of the Palestinian museum in London stating that "this museum is aimed at presenting the true story of the Palestinian question and represents a huge achievement of European Palestinians'. The Director of the Palestinian Return Centre expressed his conviction that "the resistance of the Palestinian people has surpassed the bounds of time and it is this resistance which will bring about an honorable future that the mothers of the martyrs, wives of prisoners and heroic children under bombardment all deserve". Rock of Resistance
Prime Minister Isma'il Haniya on his part highlighted the adherence to the right of return for the refugees together with all Palestinian rights. In his recorded message, he underlined the fact that the situation of Palestinian division will not last long and that ‘sixty years of our tragedy, this open wound and this present pain demonstrates the scale of injustice inflicted upon our people and underscores the atrocity of the seizure of a holy land and people.
Haniya proceeded: "despite the pain and exile we look forward to a brighter future where sweet memories will replace bitter ones and the Palestinian people will no longer be dispersed in exile. It is what Allah the Almighty has promised us and what our ancestors adhered to, what the young generation stick to and what the whole of the Palestinian people as well as its supporters maintain.
A workshop within the Conference...
He added: "Here I am addressing you, speaking to you from within an unfair blockade that has been undergoing for two years and you are probably aware of its political nature. They want to push us towards making concessions at the expense of the rights of our people and above all the right of return. However, after two years of continuous siege we confirm that all attempts have failed and fallen on the rock of mythical resistance of the Palestinian people in Gaza and Palestine as a whole". Haniya further said: "Yes, the siege has become enormous and so has our people's suffering as a result. Nonetheless, it has not shaken the morale of our great people..It has not wounded our noble aspirations. We endure the pain and look forward to a coming victory when all of our Palestinian people would gather on Palestinian soil, in our land. This is a rule that history demonstrates to us"
Haniya also praised the endless efforts of the Palestinian community in Europe and its huge contribution in countries where there have exerted enormous influence on events and in the region as a whole. He said: "We talk to you from the sacred land and the Gaza Strip, the strip of dignity and we promise you that we would not abandon our duties towards you". Furthermore, he talked about the Palestinian rights, above all the right of return, a right nobody at all is entitled to give it up, with special thanks to the refugees who have once again suffered exile in Nahr al-Barid Camp and in Iraq. Haniya concluded his recorded message by addressing the participants as follows: "We thank you and leave you with the hope of victory, liberation, return and independence" Our Project
The Secretary General of the Union of Arab Organizations Amir Makhul asserted that "Return is our project and we will not give it up. It is our project and is a possession of our people." He emphasized that there is one Palestinian question and there will never be fragmented Palestinian questions. There will not be a 1948 issue and a 1967 one underlining the fact that the question did not start in 1967.
He added: "Our thanks are to our people in Gaza who demonstrate that resistance is the only way to attain national rights and that negotiations will not solve our problem." Makhul also highlighted the importance of the young generation among European Palestinians noting that, "our people have succeeded as the younger generations now bear the torch and move forward.' Makhul concluded his speech by stating that "the future is in our hands, our return to Palestine and the return to us of Palestine"". The Head to the Body
One of the old generation of Nakba...
In his turn Sheikh Ra'id Salah, the chairperson of the Islamic Movement in the territories occupied in 1948 underlined that "whoever plots against the right of return is plotting against the head of the Palestinian Question". He maintained that the importance of the right of return to the Palestinian Question "is similar to the importance of the head to the body". Sheikh Salah emphasized that talking about compensation as a substitute for the right of return is mere nonsense. He addressed the participants thus: "We have come to reassure you that you have our own people in the 1948 territories whose population will soon reach 1.5 million and who will keep repeating: We are staying here..We are staying here.. We are staying here as long as thyme and olive trees are''.
Sheikh Salah congratulated the journalist Sami A-Hajj on his release from the American terrorist Guantanamo bay and added that "our prisoners will come back home from Israeli occupation jails". He thanked everybody in the name of the Palestinians in Nasirah, Akka, Haifa (Jaffa) Gaza and the West Bank saying that "every atom of the Palestinian soil is saying to you ..Don't be late..Don't leave me alone..I'm waiting for you at a near dawn, a dawn of return for all Palestinian refugees" . Salah added:" We have come with a message from our generous land that is saying to you: I have kept my promise to you ..Have you kept yours? I miss you.. Do you miss me? "
He also praised the people of a besieged Gaza saying: " the babies, the children the sick and the hungry men and women in Gaza are calling upon you in the name of Islam and Arabism ..Oh our people, our fellow Arabs and Muslims, were you not the good Ummah sent by Allah to the world?!. Please do not desert you're your people in Gaza, the West Bank and Al-Quds Al-Sharif " Salah also called upon President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Isma'il Haniya saying: "We urge you to initiate a free, independent and pure Palestinian dialogue for the sake of a unity within the Palestinian home so as to end the Israeli occupation and establish the Palestinian State with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital city". The Question in Brief
The former Lebanese Prime Minister Salim al-Hoss stated that "the right of return does sum up the whole of the Palestinian Question. To ignore, underestimate or turn a blind eye to this right in the settlement projects presented or suggested in relation to the Palestinian Question contradicts the simplest of human rights principles and constitutes a breach of the basics of humanitarian values."
Adhereance to our Right of Return...
He went further to say: "We believe that adherence to the right of return is for the Palestinian Problem a humanitarian issue, and a national issue on the Palestinian and Arab levels. To wipe away this right by translating it into a bunch of dollars as a substitute for return to the refugee's homeland with a guarantee of residence in any place on earth other than the birth place is but an undervaluation of the right of a people in ...a even a its right to an honorable life ..There is neither a substitute nor a compensation for return in the eyes of those expelled from their land, their homes and their people."
Al-Hoss proceeded: "the return home of a citizen who has been deliberately uprooted is a fundamental human right. To expel someone from his home to accommodate an alien coming from afar is equivalent to piracy in its crudest form." Al-Hoss added: "several alternatives have so far been proposed to resolve the Palestinian Problem mainly the Road Map and the Arab Initiative for Peace and both of these in our view would not solve the problem."
He highlighted the fact that the solution to the Palestinian Question is synonymous to the right of return and underlined the necessity of Arab adherence to this right in the face of all alternative theses.
Al-Hoss concluded, "As the Palestinian Question is at the core of all Arab-Israeli conflict and the background of all the crises in the region whether in Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq or elsewhere in the Arab world, a just solution to it holds the key to the restoration of stability and achievement of progress in the entire region. It would likewise be the beginning of the establishment of an Arab Union, like the European Union, restoring to the Ummah its glories and lost position among the nations.
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