The conference was organized by the Association for the Defense of the
Rights of the Internally Displaced Persons in Israel, Zochrot (Remembering
the Nakbah in Hebrew), The Emil Touma Institute for Palestinian Studies
and in cooperation with Ittijah Union of Arab Community Based Associations.
By proposing the Right of Return, the organizers wished to reinforce
the Palestinian cause and to develop projects for the return of refugees
who find themselves in a situation of statelessness. They also wished
to put this question into the center of the political debate in Israel,
and to counteract a historical policy in Israel that aims to delegitimize
the Right of Return. In their view, these attempts are the main obstacle
for a just peace.
The Second Right of Return and Just Peace Conference
in the city of Nazareth took place simultaneously with a number
of similar conferences in Europe, the United States and the Arab
world. It was the result of unified efforts and coordination between numerous
Palestinian refugee institutions and solidarity movements,
who together aimed to face the challenges of Israeli and international
peace plans that will prevent the implementation of the Right
of Return. Together, the institutions aimed to reinforce a Palestinian
and international movement in favor of the return of Palestinian
refugees to their towns and villages, of the return of the
refugees property, and of the implementation of international resolutions,
most notable the UN resolution 194 for the return of Palestinian
refugees that is based on international human rights.
has affirmed the commitment of the organizers and the participants
to the rights of the Palestinian people, which they are convinced
is not negotiable. They have raised their united voice against each plan,
whatever party may propose it, that tries to weaken the Right of
Return and the rights of the Palestinian people for an end of the occupation,
for freedom and independence.
The organizers of the Right of Return
and Just Peace Conference are proud of the participation of their
Palestinian sisters and brothers from the occupied territories and
the Diaspora. They are also very proud of the greeting messages of many
Palestinian institutions from the West Bank and Gaza,
and refugee camps in Lebanon and in the Diaspora, who have excused
for not being able to attend the conference. The conference considers
these messages and the participation as a sign for the
importance of a new unification of the Palestinian people, wherever
they may live, under a shared aim.
The conference also appreciates
the participation of progressive Israelis who aim for a Right
of Return of Palestinian refugees and Internally Displaced People.
They are our partners in developing this project and changing the opinion
of the Israeli public, in order to build a foundation for the return
The discussions and lectures of the conference
insisted on the necessity to revive the memory, and to draw future
visions on the human, legal, public and political level.
They showed that there exists a potential that will be
important to use for developing actions and institutional efforts,
and for realizing envisioned projects.
has affirmed its rejection of all projects that will abolish,
avoid and destroy the Right of Return of Palestinian refugees. The
conference reiterates in front of the world at large that there will be
no just peace without the unconditional implementation of the
Palestinian Right of Return. The organizers alert the world against
the Israeli campaign to obtain international, Arab and
Palestinian recognition in Israel as a Jewish State through the elimination
of the Palestinian Right of Return.
The conference condemns
the Israeli authorities for preventing the representative of the
Palestinian refugees networks in Europe from entering the country
and from participating in the conference. We pledge not to let go of the
issue and we will take all the necessary steps to confront
this Israeli policy. We also affirm that the deportation
of our brother Qasim Qasim is only going to reinforce
our ties with our people in exile and in the homeland; we will
all stand together in our campaign for the implementation of the
Right of Return.
We call upon the world public opinion to acknowledge
that an ethnic cleansing operation took place in 1948
against the Palestinian people and that this policy continues
unabated until today.
We ask the Palestinian leadership,
on all levels, to relocate the Nakbah of 1948 at the center of
its agenda and to derive the necessary and essential conclusions
from what happened in the past so as to avert the occurrence
of a new Nakbah.
We demand from the Israeli Academia
to allow free and critical research according to the international
standards of academic openness- on the Nakbah. We call upon it
to stop being a mouthpiece for the authorities while
silencing any dissenting voices in it.
We leave this conference
determined to strengthen our struggle for the Right of Return
and to expand the popular participation in the efforts for its realization.
We are looking forward to our next and third conference of the Right of
Return and the Just peace - dreaming and hoping to see as soon as possible
all the refugees returning to their homes and homeland.