Mideast Peace must Reflect International Law, Justice
Washington, DC — The largest Arab-American membership organization in the United States, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), reaffirms the basic principles, firmly rooted in international law, on which a just and lasting peace between Palestinians and Israelis must be based. In light of the Clinton Administration’s proposal for guidelines for a comprehensive settlement, ADC urges all parties to the ongoing negotiations to adhere to these legal principles.
ADC reaffirms that any just and lasting peace must include:
– The Establishment of a Palestinian State with its Capital in Jerusalem
ADC strongly supports the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and the creation of a Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem. Israel is obliged by UN Security Council Resolution 242, which emphasizes the “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force,” to withdraw from the territories occupied in the 1967 war, including the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.
– Recognition and Implementation of the Right of Return for All Palestinian Refugees
The dispossession of the Palestinians constitutes the largest and most long lasting refugee crisis of our time. There are at least 4 million Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, and scattered throughout the Middle East and beyond. These millions of Palestinians have an absolute, inalienable and individual human right to return to their original homes and country. The right of return is guaranteed to all displaced persons by the most basic documents of human rights law, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Fourth Geneva Convention. The Right of Return was specifically applied to the Palestinian refugees by UN Resolution 194 and countless other UN Resolutions, voted for unanimously by all member states including the United States. Palestinian refugees are also entitled to a full restoration of their property, and to compensation for all losses incurred as a result of their dispossession and forced exile. ADC reminds all parties that, as Article 8 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states, “protected persons may in no circumstances renounce in part or in entirety the rights secured to them by the present Convention,” including the Right of Return, and that such individual and collective human rights cannot be renounced or abrogated by any party or agreement.
ADC also renews its call for the international community and UN to extend immediate protection to Palestinian civilians living under Israeli occupation, over 300 of whom have been killed by Israeli troops in recent weeks.