British Commission of Inquiry on Palestinian Refugee Choice Meets with Representatives of Refugee Organizations

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The first in a series of meetings between a British Parliamentary Mission of Inquiry on Palestinian refugee choice was held yesterday, 1 September, in the hall of the Youth Activity Center in Aida refugee camp, Bethlehem. For more than three hours some 45 Palestinian community activists, representatives of refugee organizations and Palestinian political parties, members of Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) and the Palestinian National Council (PNC), as well as delegates of the National Committee for the Defense of the Rights of the Internally Displaced in Israel gave testimony of their preferred option for a solution of the Palestinian refugee issue and answered the questions raised by the British Commission. Similar refugee hearings are scheduled to be held in Gaza (2-9), Balata Camp/Nablus (3-9), as well as in Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. 

The Commission of Inquiry is an initiative of the Joint British Parliamentarian Middle East Council and based on the recognition of Britain's historical responsibility for the creation of the Palestinian refugee problem. Concerned about the sidelining of the role of refugees and their internationally recognized rights (the right of return enshrined in UN Resolution 194, the right to self-determination and the principle of free choice) in the current peace efforts, the Commission is mandated to gather evidence of Palestinian refugee preference with regard to the appropriate durable solution of the world's oldest and largest refugee problem. Following its ten-day-tour through the Middle East, the Commission will prepare a report which will be presented to Israel, the PLO, European governments and the European Union, and remind the international community of its responsibility to set up the mechanism appropriate for the implementation of refugee choice. 

The message conveyed by West Bank Palestinian refugees in the Aida Camp hearing was clear: 

Note: The British Commission is Available for Press Interviews. Pleased contact MP Ernie Ross (Head of Commission), tel. 0044-410-520254. 

List of Participants: Hearing with the British Commission of Enquiry, Aida Camp 
 1. Jamal Shati Al-Hindi, PLC Refugee Committee, Union of Youth Activity Centers; 
 2. Suliman Fahmawi, National Committee/Internally Displaced 
 3. Khaled Mansour, Refugee Department, Palestinian People's Party 
 4. Bassam Na’im, Youth Activity Center, Al-Ein Camp 
 5. Ahmad Asad, Youth Activity Center, Al-Far’ah Camp 
 6. Bassel Mansour, Youth Activity Center, Al-Far’a Camp 
 7. Adnan Shehada, Youth Activity Center Center, Al-Aroub Camp 
 8. Mousa Abu Hashash, Popular Committee for the Right of Return, Al-Fawwar Camp; 
 9. Mohamed Hilqawi, Popular Committee for the Right of Return, Al-Fawwar Camp; 
 10. Ismail Abu Hashash, Popular Committee for the Right of Return, Al-Fawwar Camp; 
 11. Imad Shawish, Youth Activity Center, Al-Far’ah Camp; 
 12. Tayseer Nassrallah, Yafa Cultural Center, Balata Camp; 
 13. Salim Katouni, Popular Service Committee, Al-Ein Camp; 
 14. Shaher Badawi, Committee for the Defense of Palestinian Refugee Rights, Balata Camp; 
 15. Samir Ramadan, Lawyer 
 16. Ahmad Muhaisan, Twinship Committee Palestinian Refugee Camps, Deheishe Camp; 
 17. Mohammad Al-Laham, Popular Service Committee, Deheishe Camp 
 18. Usama Al-'Ayasa, journalist, Al-Haya Al-Jadida; 
 19. Jalal Hmaid, journalist, Al-Rou’ah TV; 
 20. Khalil Al-Azza, Popular Service Committee, Al-Azza Camp 
 21. Ahmad Al-Adarba, Committee for the Rehabilitation of the Handicapped, Al-Jalazoun Camp; 
 22. Khaled Al-Azza, Palestinian Popular Struggle Front 
 23. Issa Al-Azza, Palestinian People's Party; 
 24. Abdalfattah Abu Srour, Youth Activity Center, Aida Camp 
 25. Amal Jado, Popular Committee, Aida Camp 
 26. Issa Qaraq’a, Palestinian Prisoners Club; 
 27. Imad Aiad, Popular Service Committee 
 28. Bassam Abu Akar, Youth Activity Center, Aida Camp 
 29. Atallah Salem, BADIL Resource Center 
 30. Najah Baddah, Women's Social Center, Deheishe Camp 
 31. Heijar Hamdan, Women Social Center, Deheishe Camp 
 32. Adnan Ajarmeh, Union of Youth Activities Centers 
 33. Samir Odeh, Committee for the Rehabilitation of the Handicapped, Aida Camp 
 34. Amneh Ghanayem, Women's Social Center, Shu’fat Camp 
 35. Ingrid Jaradat Gassner, BADIL Resource Center 
 36. Mohamed Jaradat, BADIL Resource Center 
 37. Buthaina Darwish, BADIL Resource Center 
 38. Salem Abu Hawash, Board, BADIL Resource Center 
 39. Ibrahim Abu Srour, BADIL Resource Center 
 40. Katrien Van Eckhout, BADIL Resource Center