"Reinstatements" al-majdal Special ( Issue.No 50, Autumn 2012)

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This Special 50th Issue consists of a hand-picked selection of articles, some from earlier issues, while some are more recent. We thought to present our readers with a 'guide book' on the ongoing Palestinian displacement, its historical, ideological, and political causes since the Nakba, as well as the rights-based, approach to the right to return as supported by international law. We also include a brief insight into BADIL's involvement in the current affairs, through its partnership in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. Every article in this selection is followed by recommendations for further reading materials from previous Al-Majdal publications. The articles recommended as part of this further reading offer in-depth analysis of study cases which elaborate upon the general topics presented in the Special 50th Issue.

we are happy to present to you this Special 50th Issue of Al-Majdal.

This is an opportunity for us to stop, look back and assess our progress since the launch of this magazine in 1999. It’s amazing how time passes. It’s even more amazing how things have not changed. The first editorial of Al-Majdal set the course for BADIL’s rights-based approach, in light of the ‘peace process’ at the time. BADIL Staff, the authors of most of our editorials, felt it was important to clarify that:

Different UN agencies have now adopted a human rights-based approach to their development cooperation, known as “The Human Rights Based Approach to Development Cooperation Towards a Common Understanding Among UN Agencies”, and the resulting experience, literature and debate prompted by this move has served to greatly enrich the concept both in theory and practice. Nonetheless, there is still no single agreed rights-based approach dealing with all aspects of peoples, groups and individual concerns; there is no workable approach which caters for different situations and issues worldwide. There is, however, a general consensus as to the basic constituent elements of such an approach, which in turn would enable concerned actors to design unique rights based systems and processes which fit particular situations, issues or causes. This commentary does not aim to explore the term, but instead seeks to present in general terms BADIL’s human rights based approach which in turn aims to uproot the conflict between Israel and Palestinian and to lay the foundations for a sustainable, just peace.

Israeli practices and policies are a combination of apartheid, military occupation, and colonization as a means to ethnically cleanse the territory of historic Palestine from the indigenous Palestinian presence.

This Israeli regime is not limited to the Palestinians living in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), but it is also targeting Palestinians residing on the Israeli side of the “1948 Armistice Line” as well as those living in forced exile. Reflections on whether a one or two-state solution would be the appropriate means to end the injustice and suffering in historic Palestine overlook the fact that one legal entity has already been established within that specified territory: Indeed, Israel’s treatment of non-Jewish Palestinians throughout Israel and the oPt constitutes an overall discriminatory regime aiming at controlling the maximum amount of land with the minimum amount of indigenous Palestinians residing on it.

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) describes as “[b]y far the most protracted and largest of all refugee problems in the world today.”[2] 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.[3] The question is: agreed upon by whom? What role, if any, do refugees themselves have?

For many years, the term al Nakba, the catastrophe, seemed a satisfactory term for both the events of 1948 in Palestine and their impact on our lives today. I think, it is time to use a different term, 'The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine’.

The term Nakba does not directly imply any reference to who is behind the catastrophe – anything can cause the destruction of Palestine, even the Palestinians themselves.

By 1920, the League of Nations had affirmed the applicability of the right to self-determination to the people of Palestine and decided to establish a temporary Mandatory system to facilitate Palestine's independence in accordance with Article 22 of its Covenant. Article 22 stated that “[c]ertain communities formerly belonging to the Turkish empire have reached a stage of development where their existence as independent nations can be provisionally recognized subject to the rendering of administrative advice and assistance by a Mandatory until such time as they are able to stand alone. The wishes of these communities must be a principal consideration in the selection of the Mandatory.”

Interview with Anis F. Kassim

HJ: What legal status was afforded Palestinians who came under Jordanian control after the 1948 Nakba?
AK: On 19 May 1948, the Jordanian army entered the area of central Palestine that the Zionist forces were unable to occupy, and began the process of legally incorporating central Palestine into the Jordanian Kingdom. As part of this process, on 20 December 1949, the Jordanian Council of Ministries amended the 1928 Citizenship Law such that all Palestinians who took refuge in Jordan or who remained in the western areas controlled by Jordan at the time of the law’s entry into force, became full Jordanian citizens for all legal purposes. The law did not discriminate between Palestinian refugees displaced from the areas that Israel occupied in 1948 and those of the area that the Jordanian authorities renamed the “West Bank” in 1950.

The Zionist project has, from its inception, been a cross-continental enterprise. Early Zionist settlement and proto-state formation, the seizure of Palestine in 1948 by the force of arms, and the consolidation of this conquest were all carried out with the crucial participation of important sectors in Europe and North America.

The campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel was borne of the belief that human rights and international law – in conjunction with the United Nations Charter and General Assembly resolutions - provide the only viable road map for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East. In the 7 years that have since passed, the need for such an approach has only become more apparent, and this campaign should be maintained until such a time that the State of Israel complies in full with its obligations as laid out under international law.

No more tax deductibles for funding settlements in occupied territory

September 21, 2012 — Following advocacy-work and pressure from Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) and the Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees (NUMGE), the Norwegian Ministry of Finance announced their decision to exclude the Norwegian organization “Karmel-instituttet” from the list of organizations that the Norwegian public may get tax deductions for providing funds to. The reason behind the decision is that the organization provides financial support to Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.