Jaber Suleiman is a researcher and member of A'idoun Lebanon.
"Towards a Just Solution to the Palestinian Refugee Problem"
Damascus, 6-7 September 2004
The Palestinian-Israeli negotiations inaugurated by the Oslo Accords over a decade ago have amply demonstrated the magnitude of the Palestinian refugee issue and its centrality to the Palestinian national question and Arab-Israeli conflict.
Based on this situation, A'idoun, a Palestinian community-based advocacy group for refugee rights, particularly the right of return, took the initiative to organize an international symposium in Damascus, in cooperation with Damascus University, entitled "Towards a Just Solution to the Palestinian Refugee Problem", over a two-day period, 6-7 September 2004. The initiative was based on the conviction that a just solution for Palestinian refugees would pave the way for a lasting peace in the region. Such a solution must be based on the principles of international law, human rights, freedom of choice for refugees and international resolutions, especially UNGA Resolution 194, which calls for three integrated rights (return, restitution and compensation).
In Burj ash-Shamali refugee camp in Lebanon, there is a small area reserved for collective memory. In the eastern side of the camp, the ruins of al-Hulah Club and its shelter, site of the Israeli Air Force’s horrific massacre, still remain.
The shelter has become a collective tomb. The residential areas around the site have now expanded, and with the exception of a few square meters on which a very modest memorial monument has been erected, houses today take up much of the area and its surroundings. Shaded beneath a majestic cedar, several layers of cement blocks make up this memorial, which carries no engravings or testimonials.