The Right of Return is too crucial an issue for any activist, academic concerned with Palestine and justice or indeed any person of conscience, to ignore. Sadly, however, a combination of the steady onslaught of Israeli violations of international law, atrocious human rights violations and an inability of mainstream media to contextualise the situation, the Right of Return of Palestinian refugees has been increasingly forgotten.
As the beginning of the Palestine Internationalist project, the Right of Return seems a natural place to start our discussions and inquiry into the core issues that define the Palestinian struggle but which are often left out of any attempt at a solution. The failure to achieve a just settlement to this crisis shames the international community – both governmental and civil. We hope that this project goes some way to raising the level of awareness of international civil society when trying to advocate for the liberation of the Palestinian people.
To this end, the contributors each deal with differing aspects of the Right of Return. Daud Abdullah focuses on preoccupation with referenda as a way of obviating obligations under international law in securing a just settlement. The formula of return, restitution and compensation has, in current discourse about Palestinian refugees, has been replaced by a rhetoric of political ‘pragmatism’ that belies not only a contempt for international law but of the principles behind the refugee regime as understood in international law and human rights conventions.
The applicability of these in other situations where the creation of refugees has been an issue is explored by Fahad Ansari. Ansari examines the resolution of conflicts in Bosnia, Kosovo, East Timor, and Tajikistan mooting its importance and the integral relationship it plays with sustainable peace in a pragmatic as well as legal and moral sense.
Anthony McRoy presents the spectre of continuing injustice should –as is often the case – the plight of Israeli Arabs and their claim to return be ignored within the general discussions of return. Understanding their locus standi as refugees lends strength to the case for Return and challenges the ethnocentrism of the Israeli state and proposed solutions to the conflict.
Finally Rabbi Yisroel Weiss, underlines the solidarity and scope for Return from amongst the Jewish diaspora and those resident in the Holy Land – something often unrecognised by pro-Palestinian activism and decried by Israeli chauvinism.
We hope that you find this first issue of Palestine Internationalist a useful and challenging tool in your studies on and activism for justice for Palestine.
Editorial Team for Volume 1, Issue 1