Panelists, Participants at Palestinian Diaspora Conference Adopt Arab Strategy for Refugee Issue
By Mohammd Omar
More than 450 panelists and participants at the Conference on the Dispelled Palestinians’ Future, which ended in Amman on Wednesday, adopted a vision, guidelines and work mechanisms to find a solution to the 52-year-old plight suffered by two thirds of the Palestinian people.
“The declaration, which was drafted by the 30-member Strategy Committee, sought to draw up an Arab strategy that involves mechanisms ensuring the implementation of the refugees’ right to return as sanctioned by the international laws,” said Jawad Hamad, director of the Middle East Studies Center, the organizer of the three-day event.
Hamad told reporters at the press conference he held Thursday that the meeting, “came as an answer to the state of frustration at the popular and official levels, in the absence of a unified Arab vision.”
The conference’s final statement said that Israel is responsible legally, politically and ethically for the emergence of the refugee problem and all the consequences that followed, stressing that the right to return is an absolute one guaranteed by all laws and religions.
The communiqué added that a solution to the issue should be based on international law and UN resolution 194 in particular. The participants also rejected all plans aimed at settling the refugees outside their homeland, describing the projects as “a colonial Israeli attempt to annul the right of return of the Palestinians.”
They added that the right to compensation is by no means an alternative to the right of return.
The conference drew up guidelines for efforts to be exerted in search of a solution to the issue. The participants, who represent 14 Arab countries, called for supporting the Palestinians, and the activation of the institutions concerned with the issue.
They also urged the Arab and Muslim states to reject all solutions to the problem that do not secure the refugees their legitimate rights.
At the international level, the assembly called on the world countries to work for the implementation of the international decisions related to the refugee issue and to sustain the services offered by UNRWA to the refugees.
The conference suggested ten work mechanisms they saw as effective in the attempt to reach the desired end to the plight of Palestinian refugees.
These included setting up a fund for the support of refugees and activating the institutions working in the field. They also called for more research, studies and documentation of the issue and for launching an awareness campaign at the Arab level.
According to the participants, a web site should be launched, designed to promote the issue and serve as a forum where all the persons and institutions concerned can meet to discuss the subject.
There are about 3.7 million Palestinian refugees distributed in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and the rest of the world, in addition to the refugee camps in the West Bank – Albawaba.com
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)