IPU Supports Palestinian Refugees' Right of Return
The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) backed the right of return for Palestinian refugees Friday at the end of a heated debate between Arabs and Israelis.
The IPU expressed "support for all efforts toward a just, lasting and global peace" in the Middle East, calling for Israel's compliance with United Nations Resolution 194 of 1948, which says the refugees should be allowed to return home.
The IPU resolution also supported the principle of exchanging land for peace.
The approved version of the resolution was proposed by the German delegation as a compromise at the end of several days of discussion.
The Israeli delegation earlier advanced a resolution calling for a "just resolution to the problem of Palestinian refugees" without mentioning Resolution 194.
The Israeli proposal was outvoted, and Deputy Joshua Matza of the Israeli delegation was booed when he said the resolution the IPU adopted "was not even-handed and did not serve the peace process."
The Egyptian, Iraqi and Syrian delegations denounced Israel, saying it wanted to deprive Palestinian refugees of their right of return.
The IPU resolution also asked the world's parliaments to "attack the underlying causes for the forced movements of peoples" and called for states, organizations and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to help ease the burden on states that have hosted large numbers of refugees.
In a separate resolution, approved unanimously, the IPU called for an end to "forms of sanctions where the essential victims are civilians, especially children."
The resolution did not explicitly mention the embargo on Iraq, whose opponents say is hurting Iraqi civilians more than the regime of Saddam Hussein.
Jordan's King Abdullah II opened the IPU's 103rd session Sunday. The IPU's next session will take place in October in Jakarta -- AMMAN (AFP).
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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