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THE ARAB INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS FOR THE RIGHT OF RETURN: International Declaration In Defence Of The Palestinian Right Of Return

23-24 November 2008

 

We the participants in the Arab International Congress for the Right of Return which was hosted by the Arab Syrian capital, Damascus, during the period 23rd – 24th November 2008 with the attendance of more than 5,000 delegates from organizations, associations, political parties, popular unions and syndicates for the right of return representing Palestinian, Arab, Islamic and international personalities of all persuasions as well as Palestinian communities from all parts of the world and which demonstrated an undertaking of historic solidarity with the Palestinian people and their struggle for their legitimate and inalienable rights.

And in support of the Palestinian right of return and vowing to continue defending and supporting their efforts to realize it we declare the following:

 

1.      The right of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and lands from which they were expelled with compensation for the losses that they have incurred lies at the centre and heart of the Palestinian issue. It is a deeply-rooted and inalienable right that cannot be compromised, bargained or diminished.

 

2.      The right of return is a legitimate and natural right, individual and collective, guaranteed by religions, conventions and international laws. It is a permanent right that cannot be annulled by time. It is also an absolute right. No party individual or collective, unofficial or official, possess the right to concede this right, likewise it is unacceptable to hold referenda about it.

 

3.      The Congress reaffirms the need to popularize the culture of resistance and its practice as the option of resistance is the best and shortest way to realize the return of the refugees to their homes. It calls for the safeguarding of this option and its fortification on the national, patriotic, Islamic and international fronts.

 

4.      The adherence to the right of return is among the priorities of the Palestinian national liberation struggle and the Arab, Islamic and international liberation project. The undertaking by the free peoples of the ummah and the world to defend this right is a humanitarian and civilizational duty.

 

5.      We support the Palestinian people in reaffirming their permanent allegiance to their land and country, civilizational legacy and Arab and Islamic identity. The Congress also reaffirms its commitment to their unity in Palestine and abroad as it is a prerequisite to protect their just rights which cannot be disregarded, bargained, divided or deferred.

 

6.      The expulsion of the Palestinian people was conducted by the Zionist forces through adopted terrorist methods, murder and massacres which were effectively a crime ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. The international powers which aided and provided all forms of assistance to the Zionist project also bear responsibility.

 

7.      Any initiative which diminishes the right of the refugees to return are condemned and rejected whether it involves compensation, resettlement, naturalization or an alternative home regardless of the personalities, agencies or organizations that stand behind these initiatives.

 

8.      We call upon the United Nations (UN) to expedite the right of return without further delay. The continued suffering of the refugees is a blatant indictment of the international system, evidence of its tyranny and its dependence on the law of the jungle.

 

9.      The UN must assume responsibility to enable the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refuges in the Near East (UNRWA) to continue its duty in all theatres of its operation.

 

10. The actions of the Zionists aimed at expelling more Palestinians are dangerous criminal actions which must be resisted. It is also mandatory to resist all 'population exchange' and 'transfer' initiatives and settlements and the racist wall which aim to change the demographic and geographic identity of Palestine.

 

11. It is the right of the Palestinian refugees to enjoy civil, economic and social rights in all places of refuge until they are repatriated. It is the duty of the Arab states in which they reside to guarantee these rights and remove all forms of oppression and suffering.

 

12. We regard the what is called the 'Jewish state' a pretext to complete the expulsion of the Palestinians who live in the part of their land occupied and in 1948 and an attempt to annul the right of return and entrench the 'Jewish Law of Return' which is clearly a legitimization of this symbol of racism in Palestine and endorsement of the settlement project at the expense of the Palestinian people and their identity.

 

13. The Congress commends the steadfastness of the Palestinian people inside and abroad as well as their resistance and sacrifices throughout the years and generations - men, women, elders and children, liberated and prisoners in the face of expulsion and settlement campaigns.

 

14. All the institutions and organizations and agencies that defend the right of return are called upon to coordinate their efforts and contribute to the mobilization of Palestinian, Arab, Islamic, Christian and humanitarian resources and power, regionally and internationally, in order to realize a global consensus to implement the right of return and defeat any attempt to abrogate or conspire against it.

 

15.  We call for the activation of political, legal, economic, media and educational instruments and methods to defend the right of return and disseminate its culture and entrench it in the souls of generations, especially the young and upcoming.

 

16. Sixty years have passed since the rape of Palestine without the realization of the return of the Palestinians to their homes and lands, the UN is therefore obliged to revoke the membership of the Zionist entity and expel it for the international system since the repatriation of the Palestinian refugees constituted a precondition for its admission.

 

We proclaim this Covenant which is not subject to alteration or exchange in honour of our obligation to the right of return and in defence of it and our duty to transmit it to future generations until the Palestinian people regain their right and return to their homes and country.

 

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THE ARAB INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS FOR THE RIGHT OF RETURN

 

Conferences Palace, Damascus,

 

23-24 November 2008

 

Letter from the Arab International Congress for the Right of Return to Syria

 

The participants in the Arab International Congress for the right of return reaffirm that the right of return is an integral and indivisible part of the right of the ummah to freedom, independence and liberation of its land. They reaffirm their support for the national, patriotic and liberation stand of Syria and the steadfastness of its people under the leadership of Dr Bashar Al Asad in the face of all forms harassment, threats and aggression the last of which was the abhorrent American attack on Syrian territory.

In this context the participants emphasize also the need to liberate the Occupied Golan by all means available and it salutes the continued steadfastness of the inhabitants of the Golan. They call upon the sons of the ummah and the free people of the world to act decisively to support the right of Syria to liberate its occupied land as it is the right of the entire ummah to liberate its land and protect its independence and protect its national security.

The participants acknowledge in the hosting of Damascus of their Arab Congress a reaffirmation of the steadfastness of Syria, its people, leadership and presidency, in its policies which are based on defence of the right and interests of the ummah and its national fixtures.

The participants in concluding their work convey their profound gratitude to President Dr Basher al Asad, the Syrian leadership and people for providing all the facilities needed for the success of the Congress and in securing the best means for the Congress to disseminate its message to the ummah and the free peoples of the world.

 

Damascus

24/11/2008

 

 

THE ARAB INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS FOR THE RIGHT OF RETURN

 

Conferences Palace, Damascus,

 

23-24 November 2008

Letter from the Arab International Congress for the Right of Return to the people of Iraq

 

The participants in the Arab International Congress for the right of return view the American occupation of Iraq a threat to Arab nationalist security, a demonstration of absolute support for the security of the Zionist entity and the continuation of its aggression and usurpation of the rights of the Palestinian people foremost of which is the right of return. They regard support for the Iraqi resistance and safeguarding of the unity and Arab identity of Iraq an important step toward the restoration of the Palestinian people of their land and rights.

In this context the participants declare their total support for the strong stand of the Iraqi people in rejecting the security agreement which the American administration is seeking to impose on Iraq. They warn of the direct harm and dangers that will emanate from this agreement on the sovereignty of Iraq, its independence and future; similarly, the Arab nationalist security and the security of the neighboring countries, their sovereignty and independence. They call upon all the popular forces, unions and Arab and international political parties to assist the Iraqi people to overturn this humiliating agreement through the liberation of their land and safeguarding of its national unity.

The Congress salutes the Palestinian people residing in Iraq who are suffering from increased aggression and forced expulsion anew. They demand the preservation of their rights and provision of the means of a dignified life and allow them to return to their homes in Palestine. It condemns the persecution that they are subjected to.       

Damascus

24/11/2008

THE ARAB INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS FOR THE RIGHT OF RETURN

 

Conferences Palace, Damascus,

 

23-24 November 2008

Letter from the Arab International Congress for the Right of Return to the male and female prisoners in Israeli jails

 

We the participants in the Arab International Congress for the right of return convened in the Conferences Palace in Damascus and attended by numerous Palestinian, Arab, Islamic and international delegations impart to you our immense pride for your invaluable sacrifices in your struggle for freedom and dignity.

The kidnap of 12,000 male and female prisoners, their incarceration in the darkness of Zionist prisons and detention centres and their subjection to various kinds of abuse, torture and denial of their most basic rights exposes the nature of this occupation which is based on brutality, repression and the violation of all the principles of human rights and attempts to stifle the will of the Palestinian people.

We follow with admiration this heroic steadfastness that you, male and female, embody behind the prison bars. This demonstrates your success in this struggle of wills with your jailers and their settler entity which is incapable of striking out your determination, perseverance and adherence to your just rights.

We have investigated the conditions of detention and imprisonment and the extensive violations it entails and particularly the inhumane conditions that female prisoners, mothers and children are subjected to in the Zionist jails. We strongly condemn these practices and list them among the crimes of the Zionist entity.

Likewise we denounce the kidnap of the parliamentarians elected by the Palestinian people and their head, the speaker of the parliament, Dr Aziz Al Dweik and other leaders of the Palestinian national struggle.

We reassure you that we regard your issue and the need for your immediate release a central issue for which all people of the Arab and Islamic ummah and free people of the world would struggle and place at the top of their priorities.   

We salute you and through you salute with pride your families and the families of the martyrs of Palestine.

We are convinced that you will attain freedom and your steadfastness will remain a school from where lessons in glory and dignity would be taught.

Accept our highest esteem.

 

Damascus

24/ 11/2008      

  

THE ARAB INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS FOR THE RIGHT OF RETURN

 

Conferences Palace, Damascus,

 

23-24 November 2008

Letter from the Arab International Congress for the Right of Return concerning the criminal siege of the Gaza Strip

 

The participants in the Arab International Congress for the right of return convened in the Conferences Palace in Damascus and attended by numerous Palestinian, Arab, Islamic and international delegations strongly condemn the continued imposition of the oppressive siege on one million and a half Palestinians in the Gaza Strip which constitutes a crime against humanity (the crime of genocide), a flagrant breach of human values and international conventions and a form of punishment that should be resisted and evoke alertness of its dangerous consequences.

The siege policy now in its second year have reached unprecedented levels of violation of the rights of the people of Gaza who are isolated from the entire world and deprived of all the necessities of life. It constitutes a hideous scar on the forehead of the entire international community and its leading powers in particular, not to mention the responsibility of the Arab states in this regard. History would record a black page for the failure of the Arabs to break the siege and they were able to do it.

The Arab International Congress for the right of return is bewildered that some Arab parties have themselves endorsed the siege; indeed they have participated in it to the extent that it is no longer possible to conceal or remain quiet about it. The Congress calls for immediate Egyptian steps to open the Rafah Crossing, the only opening of the Gaza Strip to the outside world and their only remaining lifeline. They must allow the Gaza Strip to import the necessities of life, transportation and basic services such as water, electricity, fuel and medicine. There is no doubt the continued closure of the Rafah Crossing is inconsistent with Egypt's Arab standing and with the role that is expected of it. We do no accept this stand for its historical records as it does not represent the true nationalist and patriotic will of the Egyptian people.

The Congress calls upon the decent people of the Arab and Islamic ummah and the world to raise the level of their demands to confront the criminal siege of Gaza and launch far-reaching activities to end the siege and deliver support for the people of Gaza.

The Congress emphasizes the necessity to break the oppressive siege imposed on the Gaza Strip by all means and methods. The Congress salutes in this regard the ships of 'Hope' and 'Dignity' and all similar initiatives which broke the siege highlighting the need for further decisive Arab, Islamic and international initiatives until this organized criminal programme is ended. Ultimately it will be recorded in history as a distinctly heinous war crime. They must specifically send truck loads of support as well as Arab and international ships. It calls upon the Arab and Islamic peoples to offer whatever relief they can to the people of Gaza especially and the people of Palestine generally and pressure their governments to lift the siege.   

 

Damascus

24/ 11/2008     

  

THE ARAB INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS FOR THE RIGHT OF RETURN

 

Conferences Palace, Damascus,

 

23-24 November 2008

Letter from the Arab International Congress for the Right of Return concerning the issue of Jerusalem

 

The participants in the Arab International Congress for the right of return convened in the Conferences Palace in Damascus and attended by numerous Palestinian, Arab, Islamic and international delegations express their heightened concern and disquiet over the growing threats meted out to the city of Jerusalem, the capital of Palestine as a result of the policy of systematic judaization and attempts to efface its Palestinian Arab identity. The Congress is equally concerned with the Zionist efforts to impose a de facto settler policy in the city and the continued restrictions on the legitimate Jerusalemite inhabitants aimed at expelling them.

The Arab International Congress for the right of return particularly warns of the danger of tampering with the blessed Masjid Al Aqsa and the Islamic and Christian endowments in the Holy City. It warns of the risks of pursuing the systematic eradication of the Arab identity of the city, its historic sites and their special civilizational and cultural character and the efforts to isolate the indigenous Jerusalemite population from the rest of Palestine and restrict them by walls, fences and settlements.

The Congress calls attention to the choice of Jerusalem as the Arab cultural capital for 2009. It is an occasion to renew Arab and international focus on the realties of the occupation and its oppressive and arbitrary policies toward the rights of Jerusalem and its legitimate Jerusalemite inhabitants as well as the need to intensify efforts to support Palestinian steadfastness in the city and develop the instruments of support and assistance to the Jerusalemites in their struggle.

The Arab International Congress for the right of return call for an Arab, Islamic and international response in accord with their responsibility. It calls for sanctions on the Israeli Occupation for its violations, breaches, its expansive racist policies and expansionism in Jerusalem. Equally it calls for urgent Arab, Islamic and international efforts to confront this grave danger to Jerusalem and its sanctuaries.

The Congress sends its greetings to the Jerusalemites who are steadfast in the battle of truth and justice and allegiance to their city with its identity and sanctuaries in spite of the priceless sacrifices they make to secure their freedom and honor.

 

Damascus

24/ 11/2008     

  

           THE ARAB INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS FOR THE RIGHT OF RETURN

 

Conferences Palace, Damascus,

 

23-24 November 2008

Letter from the Arab International Congress for the Right of Return to the people of Sudan

 

The participants in the Arab International Congress for the right of return convinced of the longstanding and current danger of the Zionist role in the plots to dismember Sudan and undermine its national unity, Arab, African and Islamic identity and halt its role as a bridge between the Arab ummah and its strategic and civilizational depth in Africa declare their firm support for the people of Sudan in their struggle against all forms of colonial intervention, dubious internationalization and provocative initiatives. It calls upon all the dynamic forces in Sudan to close their ranks and deepen their understanding and unity and deny any opportunity to all those who seek to subvert the unity of Sudan, its security and stability.

The participants call upon the Arab and Islamic states to fully bear their responsibility to thwart the conspiracies aimed at Sudan and by extension the Arab national security in its entirety.

 

Damascus

24/ 11/2008     

 

 THE ARAB INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS FOR THE RIGHT OF RETURN

 

Conferences Palace, Damascus,

 

23-24 November 2008

Letter from the Arab International Congress for the Right of Return to the people of Lebanon

 

The participants in the Arab International Congress for the right of return salute the brave people of Lebanon in their resistance and distinguished victory over the Zionist enemy. They regard support of the resistance and unity of the Lebanese people and the sanitizing of Lebanese-Palestinian relations of all infections is a central pillar in the battle for the right of return. They regard this as part of the Lebanese nationalist battle against the dubious settlement and expulsion projects which requires combined Lebanese and Palestinian efforts for the right of return in all fields and endeavors. They reaffirm the need for the immediate reconstruction of Nahr Al Bared refugee camp and end the suffering of its residents.   

Damascus

24/ 11/2008    

Leila Khaled: The entire Palestinian people and Arab nation must unite for the right to return

Comrade Leila Khaled, member of the Political Bureau of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, stated that the achievement of the right of return requires collective work of a united Palestinian people and the entire Arab nation and the full involvement of Palestinians in exile, noting that Arab and international dimensions are key elements in the right of return.

She made these statements at the Arab and International Forum on the Right of Return in Damascus, Syria, on November 25, 2008, noting that the right of return is the key to the resolution of the Palestinian issue, and that without the return, all so-called negotiations and agreements are pointless. She drew particular attention to the Palestinian internal division, stating that this division is like a dagger in the side of our cause and a roadblock in the face of the national project of the Palestinian people.

Comrade Khaled emphasized that the right of return faces serious challenges today, from settlements, closure, isolation, Judaization and Zionisation programs and mass imprisonment and arrests, and called for upholding the resistance that has been proven successful in expelling occupation in Lebanon and throughout the Arab world. She noted that any attempt to destroy our right to return is doomed to failure and that it is our human right and our right under international law, and that conspiracies and programs designed to undermine our rights will indeed fail in the face of popualr mobilization.

Comrade Khaled said that "The Palestinian struggle and the Arab struggle for freedom, despite displacement and settlement projects, will win our right to return, and through unity, struggle and armed resistance we will obtain our rights and all of our rights as Arab people, and our rights as humans, to be free, to return, and to live as free people with self-determination."

 

 

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UPDATED Dec 15, 2008 5:30 PM
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