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Statement Issued by the National Committee for the Rights of the Internally Displaced

Tremendous efforts are currently being invested by Israel's prime minister Ehud Barak and his crew in order to overcome the impasse created by his policy of aggression. These efforts, dismissed by the Palestinian Intifada, consist of exerting strong pressure via the United States and Israel's European allies on the Palestinians on all levels - economic, social, cultural and political - in order to save himself by reaching an agreement, no matter how weak and short-lived, with the Palestinians prior to the Israeli elections scheduled for February 2001. 

Israel's political institutions have been taken over by a frenzy, with feverish activity taking place on two complementary levels. The first is the Israeli parliament (Knesset), where laws are being legislated that will prevent the Israeli negotiators from making compromises on the Palestinian right of return and the whole refugee issue. The domestic siege is accompanied by an effort to close in on the Palestinians also on the external front, mainly with the help of Uncle Sam, who is always available with silly and unfeasible suggestions in order to deny refugees and internally displaced persons their right to return to their homes and properties, such as the recent "new American proposal" to offer Palestinians sovereignty over Al-Aqsa Mosque and some neighborhoods of 1967  occupied East Jerusalem in exchange for a Palestinian compromise on the right of return.

We, the internally displaced Palestinians, are fully aware of the fact that the right of return of Palestinians displaced within the "green line" (Israel's borders/armistice lines) and refugees displaced in the Diaspora, is both an individual and a collective right, sacred and inalienable, guaranteed to us by all international laws, humanitarian and human rights conventions, and therefore not subject to negotiations. 

We therefore alert the Palestinian negotiators, and warn the Israeli leadership: Do not gamble with our right of return. Do not trade our right of return for any other issue, and do not sign any agreement which denies this right, directly or indirectly.

In this context we reaffirm our position on behalf of all Palestinian refugees wherever they are: Any agreement that does not guarantee our right to return to our homes and properties and to receive compensation for our material and non-material losses incured over more than fifty years, is null and void, and still-born. We affirm that those who are searching for peace must recognize our rights and facilitate our return. Only then can peace be supported by the 5.2 million Palestinian refugees who account for 72 percent of the Palestinian people. With these refugees, there will be peace; without their return, peace will never be achieved and conflict will continue to dominate our region. 

  YES for the RETURN OF ALL REFUGEES to Their Original Homes and Lands!  YES for the RETURN OF THE INTERNALLY DISPLACED PALESTINIANS to their Villages!

The National Committee for the Defense of the Rights of the Internally Displaced in Israel