In his statement last Friday, Mr. Whitley outraged the Palestinian refugees by undermining the right of return stating that ‘the refugees will almost certainly not be returning to Israel’.
The PRC, which has been actively campaigning for the rights of Palestinian refugees, reminded UNRWA of its responsibility taking particular note of the historical context in which it emerged. In the letter PRC stated that the “Palestinian refugees all across the world are outraged and bitterly disappointed by the immoral and irresponsible comments. Mr. Whitely, holding such a responsible post in New York, should have known better than to be a mouth piece of Israeli propaganda. He should know that the right of return is legally guaranteed by all international laws and this right is natural, non-negotiable and inalienable. Palestinian refugees are not demanding the outrageous but seek only the right given to them as human beings. Palestinian refugees do not, as he said, want to “return to Israel”; they want to return to their land and homes”. PRC bemoaned the fact that M. Whitely appeared to be ignorant of the history of the plight of refugees. The letter stated advisedly that “Mr. Whitley should familiarize himself with the history of the plight of Palestinian refugees, the context in which UNRWA came into existence and why for six decades Palestinian refugees still have not been allowed to exercise their right of return. He needs to be reminded that it was Israel who expelled Palestinians from their land and continues to do so. That it is Israel which continues to block their return. It was Israel’s obstinacy and refusal which lead to the dissolution of UNCCP, a committee set up by the international community to specifically co-ordinate the right of return. The past failures are too many to be listed here but a Director of UNRWA must surely know the history and context in which he is working”.The letter also informed UNRWA of the ideology rejecting the right of return, tracing the baggage’s of racism which Israel has been carrying since its inception. It also declared that Law and justice cannot simply be pushed aside for one parties self interest and political expediency. The letter questioned Mr. Whitelys position in denouncing someone else’s human right. It stated “He has no legitimacy to speak on this creedal issue for millions of Palestinians. Additionally he should not indorse and give legitimacy, through his senior position in UNRWA, for a historic crime and for the ideology that fuels it”.It called on UNRWA to repair the damage which could potentially be unstable for the region and concluded saying “UNRWA needs to reassert its position as a force for international law and justice. The least it can do, which it is doing, is provide humanitarian aid until a time when justice and international law will prevail and not allow its image to be sullied by careless and irresponsible agents”. -End-