Britain supports the right to return to Israel but not the right to return to Palestine
Minister for the Middle East – Alistair Burt “Trust me I’m British”
“Look guys I and my party are funded by the Zionist’s so it makes sense to keep the Palestinian Refugees our of their native country and for my supporters to return to Israel and take their land……what is wrong with that”?
How is it that we in the west continue to poke our noses into the affairs of the Middle East and never allow those countries to sort out their own issues via the United Nations and other international legal frameworks?
The British Minister for the Middle East, Alistair Burt, recently paid a visit to Lebanon to discuss this and many other issues, however, let’s look at this in a different light.
If this is truly the policy of the British Government (which it obviously is) then what this is basically agreeing too is that those of Jewish roots can return to Israel in mass and in doing so take over Palestinian land and all those of Palestinian origin can return to say Lebanon or some other Arab state and thus surrender their state to Israel!!
From the legal perspective there is something called “The Right to Return” which is firmly embedded in most countries around the world but for some strange reason our Mr. Burt does not agree with this long standing international agreement as per below:
United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194 (III) 11 December 1948
10. Instructs the Conciliation Commission to seek arrangements among the Governments and authorities concerned which will facilitate the economic development of the area, including arrangements for access to ports and airfields and the use of transportation and communication facilities;
11. Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible;
Instructs the Conciliation Commission to facilitate the repatriation, resettlement and economic and social rehabilitation of the refugees and the payment of compensation, and to maintain close relations with the Director of the United Nations Relief for Palestine Refugees and, through him, with the appropriate organs and agencies of the United Nations;
Let’s look at this UN Resolution in more detail and see how its wording has clearly not sunk in to the minds of those that were responsible for its implementation or in fact to the total disregard by Israel in its acceptance.
Take the first paragraph for instance………Note what I have underlined. If we can all recall it was mainly Europe that funded the building of a first class international airport in the Gaza strip and was to be used by the Palestinians in order for them to facilitate normal international relations and trading. When the Israeli’s pulled out of Gaza they totally destroyed this wonderful gift from Europe in order to deprive the Palestinians of any access to the rest of the world. The same goes for the comment re access to a port…..this has never been allowed and even with all the additional negotiations, such as the Oslo Accord etc Israel as manifested its arrogance towards any international law. Having said that however the Palestinians were forced into an agreement that gave Israel (the IDF) full control of the security of borders and offshore waters which they have continued to abuse to this day.
Back to the main story….I was somewhat shocked with Burt’s reference to the issue of Palestinian refugees and the suggested implementation of the Israeli regime’s “Alternative Homeland” plot!
He stated: “Our discussions will also touch on the Middle East Peace Process and the urgent need for progress towards a two-state solution, as well as the situation of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon,”….what exactly did he mean by this statement….was it along the lines that the Palestinians refugees currently in Lebanon should remain there?
Does he have any idea as to what life is like when masses of people are displaced across international border? As he ever spent time with such displaced people such as the additional masses of refugees from Iraq that are in Syria, Lebanon and Jordon etc?
I have spent hour upon hour with such refugees that basically have no status, many have no passports and certainly have no work. They are subject to becoming second class citizens in a country that is not their own and many truly want to return. I have seen their scars from wars and torture and I have shed a tear listening to their gut wrenching experiences and I have seen people abuse them, especially the women who have been treated like prostitutes.
It is time that the British Government stopped interfering with such situation that in most cases they have attributed too. Has our highly experienced Minister for the Middle East ever spent time with these people and how does he not understand the will of these refuges who’s only wish in life is to return home to a peaceful existence…..is Mr. Burt brain dead or what?
The report went of to say that the British plan “will make crucial social, political, and legal changes concerning the Palestinian existence in Lebanon” as it hopes that a “new legislative environment will be crystallized that serves to drop the Palestinian right of return.”
I would ask Mr. Burt if he would like to impose the same restriction on the Jewish populations around the world that return to Israel and continue to build their homes illegally on Palestinian land……that is after they have forcibly removed the occupants and bulldozes their homes!
Maybe dear Alistair would like to be reminded of the current status of Palestinians that are currently living in neighboring counties:
According to UNRWA in January 2010 were as follows:
- Jordan 1,983,733
- Lebanon 425,640
- Syria 472,109
Many of these refugees are living in terrible conditions and some are in refugee camps…..not forgetting those living in tent cities within the existing West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Will our Mr. Burt ever visit those camps and speak with the residents and more importantly will he ever visit the camps in West Bank and Gaza….the latter being absolute hell.
Are we so blind in this country to see the true situation on the ground…..think about it…..Israeli’s are daily bulldozing their homes and olive groves and rebuilding massive apartment blocks for the Jewish people who wish to return to what they say is their country and those evicted end up in tents with no power and in many cases very little water!!
At the end of the day the conflict in Palestine and in particular the Gaza strip is all about oil and gas. Gaza has substantial natural gas very close to the shore in the Gaza marine zone but Israel is currently using it and may well be siphoning off their gas. The UN is aware of this activity but as you would expect say nothing!
Palestinians have the right to return to their homeland and obtain their own sovereignty……there is little point in them entering yet again into dialogue as this has clearly failed…….only by demanding the UN address the problem and by other countries applying pressure with this long standard issue be resolved.
Should Egypt eventually get democracy I am sure we could well see the Gaza crossing open up for full commercial trading etc……that will truly aggravate the Israeli Government who more than likely will call for intervention!!!
Peter Eyre – Middle East Consultant – 30/4/2012