The Palestinian village of Imwas, together with the villages of Yalu and Beit Nuba, were razed to the ground in the 1967 war. In the mid-1970s, the Jewish National Fund (JNF) used donations from its Canadian branch to establish Canada Park on the lands of the three villages. We spoke with Ahmad Abughoush, president of Lajnet Ahali Imwas (Imwas Society) about the plight of the village, the villagers, and their attempts to return home.
How should the topic of the Palestinian right of return be dealt with by the Israeli educational system? How should it be approached when the reality in Israel is that the topic is one “we don’t talk about”? How can we start a conversation, get people to listen, overcome objections?
Affirming Refugee Rights while Advancing Strategic tools to Achieve these Rights
Palestinian Refugees stranded in and fleeing from Iraq
It is to everyone's dishonour that these human beings are still rotting in Al Tanf, in Al Walid, in Ruweished and -worst of all – in Baghdad where one or more is being murdered virtually every day. Rupert Colville, “Shame, How the world has turned its back on the Palestinian refugees in Iraq”, Refugees, No. 146, issue 2, 2007, p. 24.
Al-Lajjun villagers continue their struggle
Lying at the foot of the plain of Marj ibn Amr, an ancient crossroads where the road from Haifa and Lebanon crosses the Damascus to Cairo thoroughfare, the village of al-Lajjun has a long history of political significance. In 1516 when the Ottomans took the area from Mamluk control, Lajjun was one of five district (liwa) towns in Palestine. During the British Mandate villagers played a significant role in the Arab Revolt–the anti-colonial struggle of 1936-1939. This legacy of resistance is proudly remembered by today’s villagers fighting a legal battle from their position as internally displaced only 6 kilometers down the road.
In recent years it has become increasingly common to emphasize that any solution to the Palestinian refugee question must be agreed upon. The Arab peace initiative and the Road Map both call for an agreed upon solution. This appears to be a common sense approach to resolving what the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) describesas “[b]y far the most protracted and largest of all refugee problems in the world today.”(1) Solutions that are agreed upon, in contrast to imposed ones, are widely seen to be more durable, not least of which is due to the broad ownership that such approaches tend to generate.(2) The question is: agreed upon by whom? What role, if any, do refugees themselves have?
Will the US-led Annapolis meeting fail, succeed, or even happen at all? Whatever the answer, one thing is clear: there is again no accountable process based on international law. In other words, the 'best' outcome will be another meaningless peace process, because it fails to take into account international law and best practice.
Sa’diya Al-Liddawi - Al-Wihdat refugee camp, Amman, Jordan
The Al-Liddawi family lives in the middle of Al-Wihdat refugee camp in Amman, one of the biggest camps in Jordan. They come from Jaffa, but came to Jordan from Gaza, which means that they have a different status than most other Palestinian refugees in Jordan. They cannot have a Jordanian passport and have restricted access to services.
When the first news came from Tunis and Tel-Aviv in early September 1993 about the secret talks between the PLO and the Israeli government, the people of Palestine inside and in the exile were torn between enthusiasm and optimism on the one hand, and doubt and skepticism on the other. “Let’s wait and see”, said many then.
The situation of uncertainty did not last long. A week later, the secret Oslo talks were revealed and we learned that the parties had concluded the talks with a Declaration of Principles that was to pave the way for final status negotiations on the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people, i.e. the agreement which became known as the Oslo Agreement or the Declaration of Principles.