The Right of Return Cannot be Achieved through the Election Ballots - Boycott the Israeli Elections! (Statement by the National Society for the RIghts of the Internally Displaced

On the 13 January 2001, the National Society for the Defense of the Rights of the Internally Displaced decided to boycott the 6 February election for Prime Minister of Israel. By consensus, the Committee also demanded that Palestinian citizens of Israel boycott the casting of election ballots under the slogan "The right of return cannot be achieved through the election ballots".

Both candidates (Barak and Sharon) dogmatically reject implementation of the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties under a final status agreement with the PLO. This position has been accompanied by the adoption of legislation in the Knesset that forbids Israeli negotiators from offering any kind of compromise on this issue. Additional legislation concerning refugee and internally displaced land - on which most of the Israeli Kibbutzim 
and Moshavim have been established - attempts to impose new facts on the ground by transferring "ownership" of the land to these settlements. These laws aim to extinguish the hope of Palestinian refugees in order to facilitate the imposition of an American-Israeli-European-Canadian project to resettle the refugees in countries that hosted them after their displacement in 1948 and 1967.

In the context of the upcoming elections and negotiations on the final status agreement, repeated statements by Barak, which reject the Palestinian right of return and deny Israel's moral and legal responsibility for the creation of the refugee and internally displaced catastrophe, have a dangerous dimension. The election will serve as an opinion poll on Barak's political agenda that aims to close the refugee file forever.

We believe that the refugee and internally displaced issue represents the heart of the Palestinian issue, and that the right of return is a constant and established right that cannot be extinguished by time. It is based on the natural individual and collective right to return to one's home and property as well as international law. 

In response to the official Israeli position - with all its political overtones and colors - we call upon our people in Israel to boycott casting ballots in the election, as an organized protest against the 
agenda of the candidates who refuse to take responsibility regarding the catastrophe of Palestinian refugees and internally displaced, and have rejected the right of refugees to return to their homes and properties for more than 50 years.

We also call upon all Palestinian parties, national factions, associations, organizations and personalities supporting the boycott of the elections, to establish a field committee to supervise and monitor its implementation. We will block the road of those who attempt to falsely portray our people's position in the street and in the election ballots.

We also call for popular, social and political activities and upon Palestinian local authorities to organize lectures and conferences about the refugee issue in order to raise awareness among our children and the new generations.

The National Society for the Rights of the Internally Displaced
Contact: 050-498831; 053-752601; 050-267679