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64th Anniversary of the Nakba: Palestinians’ Suffering Continues to Aggravate and the Human Rights Situation deteriorates

Ref: 56/2012


Today, 15 May 2012, marks the 64th
anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba, the anniversary of the uprooting of
hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homeland.  This was the harshest and most brutal ethnic
cleansing in the world, and included systematic and deliberate killings and
displacement.  This was culminated by a declaration
of the State of Israel on the debris of Palestinian cities and villages.


In 1948, Israel occupied large areas in
Palestine, and the Israeli invasions into Palestinian communities resulted in
the expulsion of approximately 700,000 Palestinians who lost their property,
and the destruction of 418 Palestinian villages.


Since Israel took control over Palestinian lands,
the vast majority of Palestinians displaced beyond the 1949 Armistice
Demarcation Line have not been allowed to return to their homes or to restore
their property.  These Palestinian
refugees, whose right to return to their homes is ensured under international
law, still live in refugee camps in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) or
in other countries, and their fate is still unknown.


According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of
Statistics (PCBS), by the end of 2011, the number of Palestinians in the word was
estimated at 11.2 million, including: 4.2 million in the oPt; 1.37 million in
territories occupied in 1948; 4.99 million (44.4% of the total number of Palestinians)
in Arab countries; and 636,000 (5.7% of the total number of Palestinians) in
foreign countries.  This means that 50.1%
of the Palestinian people live as refugees outside of Palestine.  The PCBS also reports that: “While there are
5.75 million Palestinians living in the Historic Palestine with an area of
27,000 kilometers squared, Jews represent 52% of residents and use more than
85% of the total area of lands in Palestine.  Palestinians represent 48% of resident and use
less than 15% of the total area.  This
leads to the conclusion that a Palestinian individual uses one quarter of the
area used by an Israeli individual.”


This year, the anniversary of the Nakba
coincides with Palestinians’ ongoing suffering.  The human rights situation in the oPt continues
to deteriorate due to ongoing Israeli violations of human rights, and Israeli
war crimes committed against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the


West Bank.  Since its creation and through its occupation
of the rest of Palestinian territories from 1967 to date, Israel has continued
to adopt a policy aimed at seizing more Palestinian lands and property.  Israel has escalated settlement activities in
the West Bank and is creating new facts on the ground through the establishment
of dozens of settlements, emptying the land of the indigenous population,
confiscating more property, constructing the annexation wall on Palestinian
land in the West Bank, etc.  Furthermore,
Israel continues to create a Jewish majority in the oPt.  


Israel also continues to adopt policies of
killings, arbitrary arrests, house raids, destruction of civilian property and
objects, restrictions on the right to freedom of movement through more than 500
military checkpoints erected at the entrances of Palestinian cities and
villages, and other violations.  In the
Gaza Strip, despite the 2005 unilateral disengagement plan, the facts show that
Israel still occupies the Gaza Strip and continues to control the Gaza border
crossings.  Israel also continues to
target Palestinians in Gaza by committing various violations against the
civilian population.  


There are approximately 5,000 Palestinian
prisoners in Israeli jails.  These
prisoners continue to endure suffering because of cruel detention conditions
and unjust policies adopted by the Israeli prison authorities, in violation of
international law.  These policies
include solitary confinement, denial of family visitation, administrative
detention, and other illegal and degrading measures.


On the other hand, Palestinians continue to suffer
due to the ongoing Palestinian split.  The
past 5 years have witnessed widespread violations of human rights and serious
attacks on different freedoms, mostly due to the ongoing split in the
Palestinian political structure and in the legislative, executive and judicial authorities.


If the current internal situation remains
unchanged, it will impact the Palestinian cause.  As we have experienced many threats to our
existence and rights, mainly the right to independence, the right to
self-determination and the establishment of the Palestinians State, it is
better for us as Palestinians to be united in order to continue the legitimate
struggle to restore our robbed rights.


PCHR reiterates that Palestinians, individually
and collectively, have the right to return to their lands from which they were
displaced in 1948, and notes that there are dozens of resolutions issued by
several international bodies that ensure this right, and calls for compensation
for these refugees.  The right to return
is an inalienable right that remains applicable at all times.  PCHR also stresses that Israel must be held
accountable for the violations and international crimes it commits against
Palestinians and their property.   


PCHR calls upon:


1. The
international community and the High Contacting Parties to the Fourth Geneva
Convention to fulfill their legal and moral obligations, apply the rules of
international law, and put a just end to the suffering of the Palestinian

2. Hamas
and Fatah movements to put an end to the ongoing internal split, achieve
reconciliation, and give priority to public interests over factional
considerations, in order to achieve the national goals, mainly the termination
of the occupation.