Solidarity with refugees calls for courageous measures to end the policies that generate them

On World Refugee Day, MPPM expresses its solidarity with refugees around the world — and in particular with the millions of Palestinian refugees — and warns of the urgent need to complement the necessary mitigating actions of humanitarian support to refugees with strong measures to put an end to the policies of aggression, colonization and economic exploitation that are at their origin.

The wars of interference and destruction fomented and supported by the Western powers, in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen, were the proximate cause of the waves of millions of refugees in the case of the Middle East.

In Palestine, for 72 years, the Zionist occupation has subjected its inhabitants to evictions, expropriations and forced displacements, without respect for their internationally enshrined rights, namely UN General Assembly Resolution 194 (11 December 1948) and Security Council Resolution 237 (14 June 1967), which recognize the right of Palestinian refugees and displaced persons to return to their homes, to have their property restored and to be compensated for their losses and damages.

According to an estimate by Badil (Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights), the number of Palestinian refugees in 2018 was about 7.9 million, corresponding to two-thirds of the total Palestinian population. Of these, 6.7 million are 1948 refugees (and their descendants) resulting from the campaign of ethnic cleansing that accompanied the creation of the State of Israel. A second wave, estimated at 1.2 million, was created by Israel's war of occupation in 1967. To these refugees must be added 760,000 internally displaced people, 54% of whom live in the State of Israel and the rest in the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967.

In this framework, the United States has done everything to aggravate the situation of the largest and oldest refugee community in the world. Last year it cut funding to UNRWA, the UN agency created in 1950 to provide vital assistance to Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. But the UN General Assembly (15 November 2019) thwarted the US intentions, which aimed at the extinction of the agency, by renewing, by an overwhelming majority, its mandate for another three years.

On another front, the US wants to strip millions of Palestinians of their refugee status, thus eliminating the evidence of Israel's ethnic cleansing. In the hypocritically called “Plan for Peace and Prosperity”, the Trump administration points out three options for the Palestinian refugees: absorption by the new Palestinian entity, integration in the current host countries or migration to countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. The solution in accordance with international law of return to their homes and properties is not contemplated.

At present, another serious threat looms over the Palestinian people and suggests the possibility of a new wave of displaced persons: the annexation of the Jordan Valley and a large part of the West Bank, an election promise that Benjamin Netanyahu intends to fulfil from 1 July. Since Netanyahu has already assured that Palestinians who live in areas annexed to Israel will not be recognized as Israeli citizens and will have limited rights, they will have no choice but to emigrate or stay to work for the new masters as 21st century serfs.

On World Refugee Day, MPPM reiterates its commitment to the struggle of the Palestinian people for their inalienable national rights, including a just solution of the refugee issue in accordance with relevant UN resolutions.

20 June 2020

The National Directorate of MPPM

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