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The Legal Status of the Displaced Palestinians
Publication date: 2007-12-17

Clarifying the Legal Status of the 'Palestinian Refugees'

On the 11th of December 1948, shortly after the establishment of the State of Israel, in the course of which some million Arabs had to leave their houses and to flee from their land, the United nations had passed Resolution 194, Article 11 of which reads as follows:

that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.

This Article had not been implemented, and the Palestinians, and their families are still seen as “refugees”, that is people who had been forced to abandon their houses and seek refuge in other countries than the one where they used to live, hoping that once the situation changes they will be able to return home.

The reason that they were unable to “return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours”, as per the above UN resolution, is that the Israeli Governments had refused to implement that article and those who call themselves “the International Community”, had supported the Israeli Governments in that refusal. Which effectively means that the International Community had decided to permanently displace the Palestinians from their land in order to implement the project of creation of the State of Israel.

But, if this is the case, then the legal status of the displaced Palestinians is no longer that of “refugees” (who can “return to their homes”), but that of “permanently displaced persons”, who were permanently removed from their places of residence to enable the International Community to implement the project of creation of the State of Israel, as the “Home of the Jewish People”, who previously had no nation state of their own.

It does happen that a state needs to take control of an area of land to implement some state project, like, for example, building a motorway. And this can involve removing the residents of such area from their land. In this case, however, the state has the duty to compensate such residents for the loss of their residences, and for whatever other losses they sustain as a result. In Britain such cases are covered by the Law of Compulsory Purchase and Compensation.

And it is this principle that applies to the case of the Palestinians who had been displaced by the International Community in order to create the State of Israel.

And it is this failure by the International Community to enable the displaced Palestinians either to “return to their homes”, or to be compensated for the loss inflicted upon them, that has lead to the decades of violence that became known as the Middle East Conflict.

Thus, instead of following the path of legality, the International Community had chosen the path of violence and political intrigue. And this is why the Middle East Conflict remains unresolved. — The “Home of the Jewish People” Project has turned out to be another man‐made humanitarian catastrophe, another proof of incompetence, dishonesty, and intrinsic criminality of politicians.

But they (the International Community) are still playing their political games, and creating more and more humanitarian catastrophes around the world.

But, if the International Community really want to resolve the Middle East Conflict, then they need (1) to assess the amount of compensation each displaced Palestinian family is entitled to, (2) to grant to each Palestinian family full citizenship of one of the International Community countries, (3) to set up the mechanisms for the implementation of the payments of the compensation and of the re‐settlement of the Palestinians, (4) to implement this project.

And once all the Palestinians are duly compensated and re‐settled, then the International Community will bring its project of the Creation of the “Home of the Jewish People” (the State of Israel) to a successful conclusion. Israel will become a truly viable (purely Jewish) Palestinian state living at peace with its neighbours. And the Middle East Conflict will become Past History1.

Notes:   -----   to top

1) For suggested amounts of compensation and other details, see: The Middle East Settlement 2005.

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