Dr. Abdallah Hourani is the Head of the Political Committee in the Palestinian National Council, a former member in the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, and the Director of the National Center for Studies and Documentations. This article first appeared in Haq al-Awda (May 2004). Translation from Arabic by Rana Mousa.
The moment you took your first step to fulfill your duty as the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and as President of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) you declared your committement to the Palestinian national principles: the right of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, the right of self-determination, and the right to establish an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. As you strive to achieve these objectives, starting by putting in order the 'Palestinian house' , I wish you the best of success on your difficult and long journey.
The last few years witnessed enormous popular efforts to defend the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes. These efforts included raising awareness about the refugee problem and its importance as a basis for solving the Palestinian problem. These efforts took root in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and inside the ‘Green Line’; among Palestinians in exile whether it be in Arab countries or the US and in European countries, in addition to various international fora.