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Treating Palestinians Lawlessly

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Treating Palestinians Lawlessly - by Stephen Lendman

The right of return is universal and binding.

December 11 marks the 63rd anniversary of UN Resolution 194, mandating that:

"the (Palestinian) refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible."

International law enshrines this right, including:


  • Article 13(2) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;

  • Article 5(d)(ii) of the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination;

  • Article 12(4) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; and

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  • the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (the Apartheid Convention).

Denying this right constitutes apartheid. Nonetheless, Israel refuses to let diaspora Palestinians return home. It calls doing so an "act of suicide," disruptive of its tenuous majority.

It cites UN Resolutions 242 and 338. They mandate political solutions for Palestine's refugee problem, exclusive of international law, human rights, equity and justice. As a result, durable solutions are blocked.

Israel calls right of return issues a privilege, not a right. Palestinian self-determination is thus severely compromised. Millions are left unprotected.

An October BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights Working Paper No. 12 headlined, "Applying International Criminal Law to Israel's Treatment of the Palestinian People," saying:

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Since established in 1948, Israel institutionalized land theft and Palestinian dispossessions. Through 2009, "displaced Palestinians amounted to at least 7.1 million."

About 70% of West Bank land (including East Jerusalem) has been confiscated or subjected to restricted use. In addition, Israel's Gaza buffer zone prevents Palestinians from using 17% of their land and 35% of its arable portion.

Within Israel, 94% of land is exclusively Jewish. "The Israeli domination over the Palestinian people continues unabated and the policy of displacement, illegal acquisition of land and denial of return, repatriation, restitution and compensation has intensified recently in various areas, for example in East Jerusalem and Area C of the West Bank."

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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