Friday, March 24, 2006

Calling all diaspora Palestinians!

Diaspora Palestinians-been feeling neglected lately from the internal political process in Palestine (or for the last decade for that matter)? Wish you could have your say about Palestinian politics, especially final status issues? Well, this is your chance!

I am working on an article about putting the issue of recognizing Israel (when, how, if), to a referendum, as suggested by Hamas. When Hamas published its draft programme a week or so ago, it said that the issue of recognition was nothing to do with any group or party, but a decision for Palestinians everywhere. This begs the referendum question. One could argue of course that voters chose Hamas at the elections and so were aware of their policy on Israel, but Hamas campaigned largely on education and welfare grounds so the question deserves asking.

Easy enough here in Gaza, but I want to get a sense of what other Palestinians think-those in refugee camps, or working in other Arab countries or even in Western countries. You could also be in the West Bank or 1948 Palestinians-heck you could be on the moon for all I care (which, I might add, is closer for me to reach than the West Bank)- but I want to hear your views!

Feel free to leave a comment, or if you prefer, send me an email, and I will feature a few of the responses in my article (for English).

Now go go...compose your views and make your voices heard!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

sounds like a good idea Laila I presume your talking about pre 1967 borders?

6:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Israel wants recognition but it has never defined its borders!

8:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, there is a fantastic project based out of Oxford that has done public meetings in all of the diaspora areas which tries to ask these very same questions. They are going to be publishing their report very soon from what I've heard. It would be good if you contacted them. The project is called Civitas.

9:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The concept of Palestinians being a "diaspora" is incredibly problematic. We are not like the Jewish "diaspora" that have no center (as it were), and have essentially always been scattered. We are a rooted people with a clear trajectory and history of dispersion and exile. Diaspora and exile are very distinct and politically significant terms with specific teleologies that it would behoove you to clarify.

The notion of a Jewish diaspora is a religious and pre-modern one, Palestinian exile and dispossession is a modern post-WWII experience. The initial trauma as it is embodied in narratives as moments of trauma might perhaps be similar, but they cannot collapse into each other without careful distinction.

9:24 PM  
Blogger Will said...

Um Yousuf,

I took a stab at your question -- not my most succinct writing by the way.

Thanks for linking us BTW


11:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Hamas needs to figuer out how it's going to deal with the occupiers. Is it going to be face to face negotiations and in this case recognition of Israel right to exist (on land taken by force in 48 ) is emminent, or are they going to negotiate through the media or through a third party and this senario I just do not think will bear fruit. I think that the new Palestinian leadership needs to exceed everyone's expectations and throw the ball in The international community's court by recogniozing Israel's right to exist and Start a nationwide non violant Intifada where the whole population is mobolized in a peacefull and non violant independance movement.

12:58 AM  
Blogger الفلسطينية said...

when israel recognizes how it came into existance- at the expense of another ppl- when it admits to the crimes it has committed, the international laws it has broken, when it recognizes my right to return; then i will recognize it. besides how can i recognize a 'country' that doesnt define its borders in its constitution?

7:30 AM  
Blogger Laila said...

Filisteenia-can you email me? Would like to hear more and possibly include your opinion in the piece...thanx!

11:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All Palestinians should have a say in a referendum what type of Israel do they want to recognise: Within UN Resolution of 1947 or Within the so-called "green line". Also displaced Palestinians should have the right to say whether they want to return to pre-1948 homes or accept compensation in lieu. It goes to say all susequent refugees should have the right to return or compensation.

4:08 PM  
Blogger Laila said...

might I request that all commentators who wish to participate in the article email me so I can get your names, locations etc.- thank you!

4:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Falestina since the right of return comes up again and again here is a perpestive from me.They the israelis are never going to except the right of return no matter how many boycotts divesments you can come up with.If its between right of return and nucler war they will go for the latter.Ashkenazi sephardi mizrahi ethopians there all united on the subject no return.So maybe a resonable compromise from the hamas goverment on sush matters.Just as palestinians are determined that they wont be peace until return the israelis are equally dertermined that they wont ever be any return

4:59 PM  
Blogger الفلسطينية said...

i know that the right of return is a big issue and that israelis dont want us to return- but the fact is, we have the right to return under intl law; we have more of a right to be there more than some guy who just converted to judaism yesterday. so just b/c israelis are determind not have us return, does that mean we give up on it? i dont know- i just dont see that as being fair. as for a compromise how do u even begin to decide which palestinians return and which don't- no one is better than anybody else.

laila my email is if u wanna email me.

8:54 PM  
Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

lail, so, basically, you're asking whether people think the Jews have any right to exist? See, whether you "recognize" Israel or not, it exists. It's a bonefied country. And, if you say that it has no right to exist or there are still questions on whether to recognize it, you're really saying that the Jews don't have a right to be on that land. Therefore, you're agreeing with Hamas' stated goal of detroying Israel and killing all the Jews.

8:57 PM  
Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

Falastenia, what intl law are you referring to? Can you please state the source? Do you also believe that if every classified Palestinian refugee were allowed to freely return to their homes, that they would pose no security threat to Israel and the conflict would be over? Furthermore, if the law of return,namely full repatriation, would be granted, what would be the point of a Palestinian State?

You also have your history misconstrued when it comes to allowing the Palestinians to return to their homes. The Israelis, more so than any other government, especially the surrounding Arab/Muslim governments have sought a solution to the Palestinian refugee problem with no compromises or solutions ever agreed upon by the opposing side. In fact, many Arab leaders have been quoted as saying that they would use the Palestinian refugees as a fifth column to destroy Israel by giving them a vast Arab majority in the land.

You aim to claim that the Israelis are an evil people because they do not freely allow all refugees to return to their former homes, and that they are the only country to ever do such a "horrific" thing. This absolutely untrue. If it were truly international law as you have stated, then why has it happened in many other parts of the world after WW2? Israel is one of the only country to compensate refugees as a result of the 1948 war. 12.5 MILLION Germans were forcibly expelled from Czechoslovakia and Poland after WW2. They were not compensated for lost property and monies. They were only allowed to leave with whatever they could carry. This is contrast to the fact that Israel unfroze and returned all assets belonging to Palestinians who had fled. Poland's actions were considered to be "accomplished facts" by the international community, and the Germans were not allowed to return. Is that fair? Then, there's the example of the Jewish refugees. Between 1948-1972, over 800,000 Jews became refugees as a result of forcible expultions, continuous persecution, etc from countries like Iraq, Morocco, Egypt, Yemen, etc. They had no desire to be repatriated into the very countries that took everything from them. However, until this day, no compensation has been paid. Is this fair? I can give at least a handful more examples, but I wouldn't want to bore you with facts and history lessons.

9:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good idea! Inshallah the PA will realize this as well and begin to include the shatat (the exiled) in all decisions related to the people. No decision that affects the Palestinians should be made without including the Palestinians- all of them. That is one of the reasons why Oslo was a joke.
My humble opinion.

10:40 AM  
Blogger Moses said...

Apparently the democratic principle of one person one vote regardless of race, religion or tribe is left behind when Americans emigrate to Israel.

One the one (selfish)hand I think, Good, fewer racists here.
On the other I am saddened that they receive lots of guns and other people's land when they arrive.

11:22 AM  
Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

abu shaar, are you on something? What was that little tangent you went on there?

2:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A person in jail can recognize his jailers, in the sense that he recognizes the fact that he is in jail and someone is keeping him there. That doesn't mean that person has to think it is something just or legitimate- especially when it is an innocent person in jail.

We Jews used to produce better people than we have in the last 100 years... and it is getting worse (see the hyperactive American woman turned Israeli settler writing comments here). I don't know what happened to us and I am sad about this. inshallah khir...

3:01 PM  
Blogger Oleh Yahshan said...

so Shabtai,
you think we should all go back the Shtetle where we had it all good??
And where do you live, if I may ask?? I am sure you are sitting on someones occupied land.

I don't know where you come to the conlcusion that Jews were better Jews than the ones, in the last 100 year, but then again I guess you are one of those who think that the best kind of jew is a dead one. Should I go over the list of thing that Jews have contributed to the world in the last Century? or should I stick only to Israel (starting with the computer you are most likely typing with, and the IM service you most likely use, but also little minor things like the MRI and the C.T. Scan - ya terrible things those Jews/Israelies have done in the past century).

5:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never said Jews stopped contributed to the world. I wrote something different- regarding our attitudes and behaviours. One can be an asshole and cure cancer at the same time.(Not that the sciences are the only judge of contributions to a society.) Doesn't contradict each other.
You, Olah Chadasha, seem to be an asshole that is not going to cure cancer.

6:12 PM  
Blogger Oleh Yahshan said...

First of all, we are 2 different people (Oleh and Olah), although relted we are still not the same person.
And I am sure I am not going to cure cancer, I don't know the first thing about it.

so I still don't get what you wrote. are you saying that Jews today are Ass holes because they dare to defend themselves? We the Jews better people (less Ass holish) when we just took it didn't do anything about it?
Or maybe it is because we wanted to have our own country. Are you saying that Active groups who want a country are ass holes??
You still didn't answer what part of Occupied Palestine you live in?

too answer your Question "What happened to us?" well it's simple - We are tired of being the Victim. We are tired of being the Excuse for everything that goes wrong, we are tired of being chased out of every place we sit in for the past 2000 years! and if that makes us Ass holes than well I guess I am one.

one last thing, Calling me names is not what's going to win you this debate so you can give it up now, I have been called much worse by much better.

עולה ישן

7:37 PM  
Blogger الفلسطينية said...

olah- im not making up any laws- check out the universal declaration of human rights. and to suggest that if palestinians would pose a security threat immediately upon their return is saying that palestinians are inherently evil and more prone to violence. of course, if u are worried about having a jewish majority in the state of israel; then yes, they would be a 'demographic' security threat. but this a concern of a racist nature; its like saying you're afraid that latinos and african americans will take over america. and what would be the point of a palestinian state? well i think that should be debated- is there any use for the pa anymore? what kind of state are u talking abt anyway- at this point with so much of the west bank annexed by israel and israel essentialy controlling the fate of palestinians in gaza and the westbank (access to water, border control etc) i do not see a state in the near future.

futhermore nowhere in my post did I say that israelis were evil-- yes palestinians refugees should be allowed to return, and just cuz pervious governments have gotten away with injustice does not mean that all nations should be allowed to escape with those injustices. Indeed Jews of the Arab world desreve to repatriated or given indeminities for their troubles these are the sort of things that could be solved if Israel was willing to sit at the negotiation table and hammer out a just peace for all. but keep in mind that Palestinian refugees have languished in Refugee camps for generations while Jews
had the oppurtunity to emigrate to Israel and start new lives and were
granted citizenship the moment they stepped on Israeli soil.

Israel has never compensated the refugees of 1948 . Yes Arab governments were out
to destroy Israel, but that changed in 1967 with Israel's resounding victory
in the six-day war they became a permanent fact in the region that wasn't going to be changed. Essentially, the Arab-Israeli conflict is over. Egypt and Jordan have signed peace treaties and there are normalized relations between them and Israel. Syria has been neutralized and the other countries in the region like the gulf states and Lebanon had always been on the periphery of the conflict.

8:36 PM  
Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

No, I asked you to provide a source, not tell me to "look something up". Secondly, I provided examples as to the security threat posed by complete repatriation of all those classified as Palestinian refugees, so let's not throw out the "racism" card. Also, please be careful at what terms you throw out there. The State of Israel has never "annexed" any part of the West Bank and Gaza. If that had been the case, there would never have been a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza this past summer, now would there? It's also ironic that you bring up the term "annexation" being that Jordan officially annexed the West Bank after the 1948 war, yet there didn't seem to be any cries of "occupation" coming from the area. So too when Egypt took over Gaza. The PA is a corrupt entity, and, therefore, has no use to the Palestinian. They need to establish a stable and competent government to rule them.

My dear sir, but Israel, since the minute the 1948 war ended (as I've already stated, but you seem to have neglected to read it), they have been trying to come to an agreement about the settlement of the refugees with no compromise coming from the opposite parties. The Palestinian refugees are the only group in history to have become wards of the international community. Why are they not allowed to become citizens in any other Arab/Muslim country except for Jordan (and they're not granted full and equal citizenship there, anyways)? Because, unfortunately, your people are being used as a political pawn in their pathetic game to reconquer the Arab world. How do you explain why the Palestinian leaders, pre-148, said that they were not an independent people but part of Pan-Syria? When the Israelis were attempting to build permenant housing for the refugees, they were actually condemned and forced to stop by the UN, by way of their Arab neighbors, because as long as the Palestinians are refugees, they will be able to be used as an example of Israeli cruelty. Just as a final note, the Israeli government has stated that a condition for Palestinian repatriation would be the compensation of Israeli Jews forced out of their homes from all the Arab/Muslim countries after 1948. To this day, no Arab government has agreed to even consider this notion. So, maybe, you should talk to them about "hammering" out a deal.

Are you actually serious with your last comments?!? I couldn't believe that I was reading them. It is a fact that the bank accounts of all Palestinians who fled were unfrozen and the amount of slightly more than $11 MILLION was given back to their rightful owner. Also, as a result of the war, the Arab population are the only citizens of Israel who actually own their lands. Not even the Jews have that honor. Let's go further. If Israel's 1967 victory would have convinced the Arab world that Israel was here to stay, the Yom Kippur war would never have happened, The War of Attrition would never happened, and all the Arab countries who are currently sponsoring terrorism and declaring their goals of the end of Israel would not exist. Or, are those things just machinations of my mind? Why do things seem so stable now? Not because they have accepted Israel in their midst but because they do not want to experience the embarrassment, for the upteenth time, of being militarilly and soundly beaten by those Jews (They hate when those Jews actually stand up for themselves. They've been taught that the Jews just lay down and die. Ah well.). Syria hasn't started anything with us because Mr Assad knows that those darn Israelis can see right into his bath-room in Damascus. Lastly, it's just so interesting how easily you swat aside that pesky little fly or fact of the Arab countries wanting destroy Israel "back in the day". As if it's a periphery detail that really has no importance. Yeah, all those Arabs were out to obliterate the Jews, but they failed more than a few times, so you guys should just let by-gones be by-gones. Does that just about sum it up?

12:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A/RES/194 (III); 11 December 1948

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;

4:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i belive that palestians should have the right,the option of going back to thier homeland,weather they want to live thier or not,all what matters is the right!

we still have palestian refugee passports ,that still means we are palestians by legal documents and blood,we could be second or third generation ,but we still belive in our palestian and the day it will return.

Maybe alot of people have settled down and have a good life ,others are poor and in critical bad condition in refugee camps,but i can assure whoever,every one is waiting for the chance to go back ,after all its still our land and will always be forever.

10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it seems liek you will be waiting a long time. I don't see Anyone coming to help you move back to your lands.

If the ways were open and their were a Palestinian country, would you move their ? or would you insist on moving back to the place you left/ kicked out of?

11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When your talking about the right of retun what would happen is that israel would go from being a jewish country to a arab muslim one.Now if it was like south africa where equal rights would be a given where it would be a secular state with a secular constitution then i could see some israelis and jewish people over time accepting the right of retun.But i for one could never see that happening.So for example you would have five million refugees who would try and get the houses of their families back you know have a couple of million israelis who would lose their homes where a lot of them have lived all their lives.Obviosly that would result in bllodshed and since the israelis would now be the minority they would be in danger.Then over time i cold see islam being declared the offical religion so you can forget about any secular state.I could be completely wrong but i think it would be much more like algeria in wich you have third and fourth gernation french settles who never had the option to stay and had to leave.Look at what happened to the pro french arabs who stayed on in algeria after independence whole families were tortured and killed.The french settlers did have a place origin to go back to but for 65 per of the population in israel who have been born their they would have no where else and then they would become refugees.Its self peservation from them to reject the refugees And falistena saying that the arab jews should have the right to g back to the arab world that is bullshit where could they go i mean i cant see iraq welcomeming back 250000 zionist jews

6:53 PM  
Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

Anon (6:53 PM), finally, some-body who really gets it. Don't really need to say more than that, because you really understand what's going on.

Jon, thank you very much for bringing up that Resolution. That's exactly what I was waiting for Felastina to bring up. Thank you for providing it. Let's see who actually reads it carefully.

ziad, it is the UN's fault that the Palestinian refugee problem is completely ambiguous. Reality says completely different that what what you have to say. All Palestinians who left were considered refugees, but a majority of them did NOT own homes or land. They worked on other peoples' lands and, otherwise, Bedouins. Who's house do you give to them? This the only place in the world where an entire people and ongoing generations have been told that they have a right to go back to their former homes and on day, eventually, they'll ALL get there (both by their Arab/Muslim brothers and the UN). My grand-father can't, yes, by law, go back to the house and land that he and his family owned and were kicked out of, knock on the door of whoever lives there, show them proof that his family used to own the place, and kick the current tenants out of their house. And, when you make the statement that every Palestinian refugee "still believes in their 'Palestine' and the day it will return", you are speaking the majority's voice that the Palestinians do not want Hamas to recognize Israel, and that the refugees, as has been confirmed by numerous polls and studies (if you would like the sources, please ask), are still waiting for Israel to be destroyed so they can go back. It also never was "their Palestine". There has never been a Palestinian controlled government, which was governed by Palestinians. In fact, in 1947, the majority of Palestine was public land. Going by your words, there were hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Jews. Only there weren't. There wasn't even a Palestininan until 1964. So, which land is still yours and always will be forever?

7:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Olah Chadashah -
Two mistakes in your narrative.

1. Israel has annexed portions of the West Bank adjacent to Jerusalem - French Hill and Gilo are examples as is the area leading up to Atarot airport.

2. There were actually cries of "occupation" when Egypt had controll of the Gaza strip. In fact the very first "intifada" was by refugees against the Egyptians protesting their treatment.

11:22 PM  
Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

stacy, the only part that Israel "annexed", we called it unification, after 1967 was Jerusalem. French Hill and Gilo are all part of Jerusalem. Can you tell me why Israel would want to unify Jerusalem, especially after it was Jordanian control?

Can you please the source for your second claim? If it is true, it is because of teh abismal treatment that the people were fored to suffer under Egypt. Also, why is that the Palestinians living under the ANNEXED West Bank of Jordan? Why weren't they screaming for a state of their own?

2:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

olah chadasha ,first of all ,i still insist it is our right ,weather the un or the world world disagree to return or its impossible,to own the right is what matters ,no matter how much history is being faked,palestine was for the palestians and will always be.the isreal state is built on occupied land and the population migrated from all over the world ,no matter what you say ,this is a clear fact from history.Palestian who lived in palestine that days wernt peasent or workers ,they mostly owned land and house,as you know most of the 48 lands are farmers.also as you kow alot of them resisted and still live there grandfather still have the key to his house and still belives hes going to come back and die there.and the fact weather its logical or not to knock on someones door after 58 years regardless , its his right ,thats his land ,and thats his house.throught out history all civilized democratic nations including britian and france gave back most of the land that they occupied and gave compensation for families who proved to be abducted durig that era,offcourse i dont think such a fund exist to all the abduction on the palestians.also you are telling me that palestien did not exist in 1947 ,and it was a public land,let me ask you a question i want you to name the countries that acctually had independence at that time?heres a link ( )pakistan and india only gained independence at 1947,who cares what years the british left ,the land was palestine and inhabitian were called palestians,their grandfathers before them ,lived in that land ,and history traces with us in that land,saleh el dein and all civilizations that passed over that land who was there? the polish jews?it was only palestians matter how much history they try and change and fake.for any educated historian the country identiy and people are known.Palestians ,weather they were jews ,christian or muslims.

8:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was wondering if you're going to be reporting for AlJazeera International? This type of human interest story would be good fodder for television.

8:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Jews were also Palestinians. History also records the Jewish presence in the land for thousand of years, as well as that of the Arab peoples. Where is the origin of the word Palestine??? and when was it first used? and by whom? That would be an interesting project. Anybody know?

If you are arguing over the name Palestinian and what it means - should you not first find out its origins. A land can be the home of many different ethnic groups of people and be called by one name. If on the other hand you are arguing about the true ethnic orgins of the people of the land, then that would be a bit of a disaster - there is ample evidence of ancient Arabs, non-Arab peoples, and Jewish people, going over thousand of years. You would have to ask - how far back are you willing to go, and who of them would be the true Palestinians?? A difficult task indeed and inpossible to argue considering the history of the area.

7:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Olah Chadasha -
I have no interest in getting into an arguement about whys. I'm only interested in correcting mistakes.
Oh and I am Israeli and was resident in Jerusalem for over 10 years - check your history books for annexation.

9:18 PM  
Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

Stacy, we're actually not contradicting eachother here. We both said the same thing. After the 1967 war, the only territory that Israel annexed was Jerusalem. They called it the "reunification" of Jerusalem. Of course, you also failed to mention the Goland Heights, but whatever. Seems like a slight over-sight on your part. The fact that you won't look at the whys says a lot. If you don't look at the whys of the history than you really won't understand anything that's going on, and it would be much easier to give into all the propaganda that's been spewed about givng parts of Jerusalem back. The why has to do with what Jordan did when they annexed the West Bank after 1948. They did not allow Jews to visit and pray at the most holy sites in Judaism; The Western Wall and the Temple Mount. Hebrew University, which owned a lot of land in the French Hill was barred from conducting studies because Jews were not allowed to get to the campus. Hence, forcing Hebrew University to create a new campus in Givat Ram. Understand the whys, and you understand the reasons and causes behind the actions. Don't learn them, and you're doomed to allow history to repeat itself and to make moral equivelancies where none exist.

3:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The right of displaced people (and their descendants) to return to their homes is well-recognized in international law. See here:

7:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi laila,

the civitas project mentioned earlier is publishing its report very very soon and sought to establish this referendum as one of its aims. my sister was heavily involved with the project at oxford and it truly is a culmination of many many years of groundbreaking grassroots work both in magnitude and scope. Once the final report comes out it will surely be a source for discussion and contention for anyone and everyone Palestinian or working on Palestinian issues. I hope the press reports heavily on it and maybe you can do a piece as well! Check out their website and be on the look-out for it.

best of luck and keep up the good work, danya

6:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon (7:40 AM), that link is absolutely useless, and you really should read it and those laws on the side bar again, very carefully. ESPECIALLY, the one that pertains to the Palestinian refugees, Resolution 194. But, thanks for playing.

10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Laila,
A lot of people feel welcome in your blog, so do I. Thanks, and please keep it going. I have a son too, and hope his and Yusef's future will be much better than our present.

Both Israelis and Palestinians need to recognise each other's RIGHTS, and to recognise FACTS. Now neither is being recognised. Once rights are fully recognised both ways, it will be easier to talk about the facts, change the facts or endorse the facts.

The so-called international community can wait another hundred years for this to happen. Our children cannot.

1:30 PM  

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