Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights University of Ottawa (SPHR) is a student run, non-profit organization that advocates on a strong social justice platform to uphold the rights of the Palestinian people in the face of human rights violations and all forms of racism, discrimination, misinformation and misrepresentation.

July 16, 2007

Palestinian Right of Return

Before, during and immediately after the establishment of the state of Israel, over 750,000 Palestinians were ethnically cleansed from their homes and lands. These refugees and their descendants are the largest and most persistent refugee population in the world. Until now, there has been no relief to their suffering. Under international law, the Right of return is an individual right that cannot be compromised or dropped by a third party.

The expulsion and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their towns and villages in 1948 was the first stage in the ?redemption? of the land to fulfill the original Zionist dream of a Jewish state in historical Palestine. It is the Palestinians subjected to ethnic cleansing between 1947-1949 who have the ?honor? of being the largest population of refugees still unsettled. They suffered the longest displacement in modern history (57 years so far). Two competing stories existed until recently. The first version, advocated by Israeli leaders holds that the native Palestinians left of their own free will, they were encouraged to leave by their leaders, and even that Israeli leaders begged them to stay. The second version, told by the Palestinian refugees themselves and lately confirmed by several Israeli historians with access to Israeli military archives, is that the native Palestinians were ethnically cleansed before, during, and after Israel?s war of independence. In Palestinian lexicon, the expulsion was Al-Nakbeh (the catastrophe), the most traumatic event in Palestinian history.


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