“We Shall Return to Our Land”
The international umbrella organization Coalition for the Palestinian Right of Return successfully concluded its second annual coordinating meeting in Brussels on 30 November 2001. The meeting was coordinated by BADIL Resource Center (Bethlehem), in cooperation with OXFAM/Belgium and all other participants.
The coalition found the overwhelming achievement of the ongoing al-Aqsa intifada to be the strengthened unity of the Palestinian people in their shared determination to achieve three, interrelated goals: (1) to end the Israeli occupation; (2) to establish an independent sovereign Palestinian state, with Jeruesalem as its capital; and (3) to implement the Palestinian refugees’ right of return, as spelled out in G.A. Resolution 194. This unified vision has been forged as a direct result of the noble sacrifices made by the Palestinian people in resisting Israel’s illegal occupation and in insisting upon full implementation of the Palestinian refugees’ internationally recognized right of return.
Ten organizations representing seven different geographical areas attended the Brussels meeting. Past achievements were assessed and four papers were presented outlining prospective future activities, including a comparative analysis of the mechanisms set up by the international community to ensure return of refugees to their homes of origin in Bosnia – an important precedent for the Palestinian refugees.
It was agreed to maintain the existing structure of the international umbrella organization Coalition for the Palestinian Right of Return, which includes all current member organizations and is open to all NGOs, committees and centers working on the right of return who wish to join the coalition. It was agreed that the coalition should be broadened and strengthened, both within the Palestinian community and also by building networks with solidarity organizations and groups outside the Palestinian community (in a south-south type of international solidarity campaign approach). BADIL will continue to serve as a coordinator for this coalition-broadening work in the year 2002.
At the close of the meeting, the participants saluted with deep appreciation the steadfast brothers and sisters carrying out the courageous intifada. Special reverence was paid to the martyrs of the intifada, whose sacrifice is paving the way to the ultimate victories of freedom and return. The participants also saluted their brothers and sisters in Israeli jails, as well as their brothers and sisters in 1948 Palestine/Israel, who are also struggling against Israel’s racism while at the same time clinging to their Palestinian national identity.
The following ten organizations participated in the Second Coordinating Meeting:
BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights - Palestine.
Committee for the Defense of Palestinian Refugee Rights & Yafa Cultural Center – Palestine.
Union of Youth Activity Centers – Refugee Camps, Palestine.
National Society for the Rights of the Internally Displaced – 1948 Palestine/Israel.
High Committee for the Defense of the Right of Return – Jordan.
‘Aidun Group – Syria.
‘Aidun Group – Lebanon.
Forum of NGOs in Lebanon (an umbrella coalition including most major Palestinian NGOs operating in Lebanon) – Lebanon.
Palestine Right to Return Coalition (Al-‘Awda Network) – North America.
Al ‘Awda-Palestine Right to Return Coalition Europe – Europe.
For a full text of the Concluding Statement of the Second Coordinating Meeting of the Coalition for the Palestinian Right of Return, please click here