Boston Conference Examines Palestinian Right of Return

By P, David | Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, June 3, 2000 | Go to article overview

Boston Conference Examines Palestinian Right of Return


P, David, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs


Boston Conference Examines Palestinian Right of Return

David P. Johnson Jr. is a Boston-based freelance writer specializing in international affairs.

More than 600 people packed the Boston University Law School auditorium April 8 for a comprehensive look at the political, economic and social plight of the more than four million Palestinian refugees. Israel's refusal to allow the refugees to return home contravenes the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Geneva Convention and U.N. Resolution 194.

The conference, "The Right of Return: Palestinian Refugees and Prospects for a Durable Peace," began with a dramatic keynote address by noted Palestinian author Dr. Edward Said, who delivered withering attacks on Israel and the Palestinian leadership.

"The core issue [of the peace process] is the plight of Palestinians, displaced by naked ethnic cleansing," practiced in 1948, 1967 and 1982, Said told the jammed and sweltering hall.

"The Palestinians have endured decades of dispossession and raw agonies rarely endured by other peoples, and these agonies have either been ignored or denied and even more poignantly, the perpetrators of these tragedies are celebrated for political and social achievements that make no mention at all of where those achievements actually begin--in the destruction of Palestinian society," he said.

However, Said did not spare the Palestinian Authority from his ire, charging it as interested solely in retaining its own power. "It is only interested in maintaining its hold on the Bantustans of the West Bank and Gaza," he said.

Said charged that one million Palestinians depend economically on the Authority, including between 140,000 and 150,000 employees and their families. This makes local challenges to its control difficult. Therefore, he predicted, "A new leadership will almost certainly emerge from the Palestinian diaspora, which regards the Palestinian Authority as illegitimate."

Said also deplored what he called "the scandalously poor treatment of the refugees" by other Arab countries. He said Jordan has been the only country to welcome the refugees.

According to information supplied by the conference, there are 1.5 million Palestinian refugees in Jordan, of whom 278,000 live in 10 camps. Another nearly one million refugees live in camps in Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza.

Four panels occupied the rest of the day with discussions of the political positions of those involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; restitution; social conditions and the future.

Mona Fawaz of the MIT Arab Student Organization chaired "Critical Analyses of Israeli, American, European and PLO Positions." Each speaker addressed one group's position.

"In the months leading up to the war in 1948, Israel prepared its ethnic cleansing program, a plan that included mass expulsions, sporadic massacres, a campaign of terror and intimidation, and finally the confiscation of land and assets," said Dr. Ilan Pappe, director, International Relations Division, Haifa University in Israel, who spoke on that nation's stance on refugees.

Having created the problem, Israel resolved to ignore it, he said. "There was no refugee problem on the agenda as far as various Israeli governments were concerned...There was only the Palestinian terror. Israel quite successfully kept refugees out of the discussion."

Although the issue is now being discussed, "The Oslo accord is no different than earlier ones," Pappe stated. "It has an almost scornful attitude toward refugees."

MIT professor Dr. Noam Chomsky pointed out that the United States is truly the decisive player in the region, usually determining what happens.

"The U.S. has sought to marginalize" the issue of Palestinian refugees, Chomsky said, adding that pro-Third World groups at the United Nations are either pushed aside or destroyed by the U.S. and its allies. "There is a veto if the vote is 150 to one and the one is the U. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Boston Conference Examines Palestinian Right of Return
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.