"There was no such thing as Palestinians...It was not as though there was a Palestinian People in Palestine considering itself as a Palestinian people, and we came and threw them out and took their country away from them. They did not exist."
That every Palestinian has a legitimate, individual right to return to his or her original home and to absolute restitution of his or her property.
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14 JUNE 2000 -- On 11 June, Peace Action, the largest grassroots peace and justice organization in the United States, adopted a resolution at its national board meeting in Seattle, Washington, in support of CPRR's right of return campaign, and will be making available copies of this resolution and CPRR's petition to its affiliates.
The resolution was drafted by Rania Masri, a Peace Action board member, and Zahi Damuni, from Al-Awda, The Palestinian Right to Return Coalition.
CPRR now has 225 affiliates to its right of return campaign from around the world, including organizations with activist and community mandates, advocacy and human rights centers, research centers, business & commercial institutions, and media, non-governmental, political, professional, religious, and student organizations.
Peace Action itself has a membership of 67,000 persons, 27 state affiliates, and over 100 local chapters, making it the largest membership and activist network of any peace and justice organization in the country.
Peace Action members work for policy changes in Congress, state capitals, city halls and the United Nations. The national office of Peace Action houses an Organizing Department which promotes growth and activism on these issues across the nation. Peace Action produces a quarterly newsletter with Peace Action Education Fund and also publishes an annual voting record for every member of Congress.
The text of Peace Action's resolution follows.
Resolution: Everyone has the legal right to go home
Whereas, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 13, states: "Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country";
Whereas, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 12, states: "No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country";
Whereas, no state may refuse entry and resident rights to persons having a legitimate connection to the territory;
Whereas, for the Palestinian refugees, the right of attachment to the territory that became the State of Israel and the right of return to that territory is recognized by the international community through repeated assertions every year beginning in 1948, when the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 194. Paragraph 11 of Resolution 194 affirms the proposition that existing populations must be offered nationality in a territory in which sovereignty changes. It calls on Israel to permit the repatriation of the Palestinians who had been displaced in 1948 and viewed Israel as being legally required to do so.
Whereas, Resolution 194, Paragraph 11 clearly recognizes this right-of-return by affirming that every refugee should be permitted to return and clearly identifying it as an individual choice that cannot be made by others on behalf of the individual. It states "that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so as the earliest practicable date."
Whereas, the rights of Palestinian refugees to their land and property are inalienable individual human rights decreed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (The right to restitution means the return of property to their rightful owners. The right to repatriation means the rights of Palestinians and their heirs to return to the very home (land or town or village) from which they were driven, and all associated rights. The right to reparation refers to all lost income suffered by Palestinians since 1948.);
Whereas, today there are around 5 million Palestinian refugees, about 70 percent of the total Palestinian population, scattered in 59 refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and individually throughout the world. The primary demands by refugees are return, restitution of all confiscated and destroyed property, and compensation as provided for under UN Resolution 194 of 1948;
Whereas, more than 200 organizations and chapters of organizations have affiliated with the Council for Palestinian Restitution and Repatriation's Right of Return Petition Campaign, and thus have affirmed "that every Palestinian has a legitimate, individual right to return to his or her original home and to absolute restitution of his or her property"; And, whereas these rights are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UN General Assembly Resolution 194, and international law;
Therefore, Be It Resolved that Peace Action joins CPRR and others in affirming "that every Palestinian has a legitimate, individual right to return to his or her original home and to absolute restitution of his or her property";
Be it Further Resolved that copies of this resolution be sent to the President of the United States, and the US Secretary of State;
Be it Finally Resolved that copies of this resolution and the CPRR petition will be made available to Peace Action affiliates by publication in the next issue of the GRO and in accordance with established policy and procedure.