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Until Return - Issue 6

Danger Ahead

The movement for the Palestinian Right to Return has been under attack since it came into being in 1948, when the Zionists, with US and European support, expelled more than 750,000 Palestinians from their homes and lands. On December 10, 1948 the UN responded to this atrocity and passed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A day later it passed UN 194 which reaffirmed the inalienable individual and collective right of Palestinians to return to their homes and land with compensation for their losses. This resolution, which was further clarified by UN General Assembly Resolution 3236 in November 1974, has since been reaffirmed by the UN well over 130 times.

The movement for the Palestinian Right to Return was reinvigorated in the US in the year 2000 by Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition. Indeed, Al-Awda has led the struggle for return in the United States for the past eight years with its educational and advocacy programs on behalf of the Palestinian people. But now, we, along with the rest of the movement for Palestinian Return, may be faced with our severest test.

The Bush administration finds itself unable to come through with an 'agreement' to take the Palestinian Right to Return off the table forever. The US bi-partisan consensus in a presidential election year has been that the 'security' of the State of Israel trumps everything including Palestinian rights. The latest trip of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, (the 7th since November '07) clearly shows that the pressure is on in Palestine to surrender to US, EU and 'Israeli' demands for a Western imposed 'peace'. While these pressures on the Palestinian Authority and its president Mahmoud Abbas to comply will no doubt continue to intensify to 'settle' the issue of refugees before the end of the Bush term in January, there are indications that the US seems to be set to move the battle to the UN as well. One possible scenario is the submission of a US resolution to the UN to liquidate the rights of all Palestinian refugees and exiles, now numbering 7.2 million worldwide. Such a resolution would be written in terms US allies and client states could imagine that they may be able to live with.

On the other hand, there may be limits on such US capabilities. The Bush administration has brought the US to its lowest standing worldwide as the result of the five-year genocidal invasion and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. At the same time, and as if totally oblivious to consequence, the Bush administration may attack Iran as it has threatened and thus carry out further genocide in West Asia.

The current limits on US capabilities have been starkly revealed to the whole world during this month of August. The Georgian aggression suffered a huge defeat. Behind this aggression were the US, 'Israel' and NATO. One possible result was that 'Israel' did not dare to stop the Free Gaza Convoy, which included a ship named after the SS Liberty. In June 1967, the 'Israeli' navy sank the USS Liberty outside 'Israeli' waters, killing 34 American crewmen.

Whatever Secretary Rice's most recent mission has become at this point, the weakened international standing of the US and 'Israel' could provide a window of opportunity for the Right to Return movement to stop what can only be a greater crime against the Palestinian people; the elimination of their Right of Return.

Those of us who understand the primacy of the struggle to return for Palestinian liberation and independence, must consider the possible consequences of moves to undermine return and be ready to act, mobilize and respond as needed in these last, potentially most dangerous months of the Bush administration. We need to be ready at any time to go to the streets, to launch write-in campaigns to the administration and media, to visit our congressional representatives and to pressure the UN to demand implementation of UN 194/3236.

Please support Al-Awda's campaigns, form committees in your community, read our points of unity and contact us to start a new Al-Awda chapter. Support us with your financial contributions for our Refugee Support projects in the camps, Al-Awda Media Center, Palestine Library, grassroots organizing and other educational programs.

To donate, please go to and follow the instructions.

For more information, please visit our website at

The Right of Return is an individual and collective right, which in Palestine's case means the restoration in full of Palestinian human, national, legal, and historical rights.

The struggle continues!


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