By Nour Qudeimat/ Ramallah/
Badil Resource Center on Monday launched a Palestinian Youth Conference titled “Right of Return: Towards Practical Approaches,” which discussed the inalienable right of return (194) for Palestinian refugees, in hopes to turn this right from theoretical speech into practice, using a political, legal and humanitarian approach.
The conference, characterized by a significant participation of local and international youths and activists, hosted speakers specialized in refugee rights, international law and human rights.
Palestinian Historian & lecturer in Middle Eastern Studies, Dr. Johnny Mansour put the spotlight on the ongoing Israeli displacement of Palestinians since the 1948 Nakba (catastrophe) and the 1976 Naksa, where it used the policies of forced displacement in order to settle Zionist colonizers in the homes of those who became refugees.
While Israel still blocks Palestinians from returning to their homes, it still sees the Palestinian existence in the occupied lands, and the call for the inalienable right of return, as a threat to the Zionist project.
“Israel not only denies this issue but also tries to brush it off its shoulders and throw it onto the lap of the international community and countries hosting refugees,” Mansour said.
BADIL Executive Director Nidal Al-Azza, said that the activities of this conference are the culmination of a number of activities and programs implemented by BADIL for years, which focus on youth and enhance their role in realizing the right of return and developing a program to make return a liberation issue through its implementation.
Alazza said the conference workshops discussed permanent solutions to the issues of return and the Israeli position on it, which were presented by expert Terry Rempel, a Canadian academic researcher specializing in the Palestinian refugee case and the founder of the BADIL Research Unit.
Rula Nasser, a Palestinian woman displaced from the occupied city of Bisan, living in Nazareth, said that the conference is important for her as a refugee, since she seeks to restore the right of return and consolidate it at this critical time at a national level.
Tawfiq Nasser, a Palestinian youth living in the occupied 1948 lands, stressed that there will be no solution for the Palestinian freedom without the return of refugees from camps around the world to their homes according to resolution 194.
This conference suggests launching awareness campaigns in order to educate the international community, particularly the hosting countries, of the Palestinian right of return and the rights of refugees, in addition it stressed the need to hold Israel accountable for its crimes of displacement and colonization. It also called on Palestinians to continue to visit displaced villages and learn about them, for them not to be forgotten.
In addition, it called on the international community to deal with the Palestinian cause as a political, rights, humanitarian issue, and not look at it with empathy and pity.