World Bulletin / News Desk
Sixty-seven years have passed since the Palestinian Nakba and the forced eviction of more than 700,000 Palestinians from their ancestral homes and villages.
Nevertheless, the only UN resolution granting these Palestinians the right to return to their homes and villages continues to be mere ink on paper.
This means that Resolution 194 directly recognized the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and villages, deeming this an important principle of international law.
It also gave refugees the freedom to choose whether or not to stay where they were or return to Palestine.
Years passed and the Palestinians' hope of returning dimmed. Worse still, most of the refugees who were alive when the resolution was adopted are no longer living.
The Nakba generation is no longer alive today for the most part. They left this world holding onto the keys of the homes they left behind when they had to leave their land.
They also died as they waited for the UN resolution to be implemented.
"Every year, the UN General Assembly issues a recommendation for implementing Resolution 194," Raed Abu Badawieh, an international law professor at An-Najah National University in the West Bank city of Nablus, said.
He said the resolution calls for the return of the refugees and for compensating those who do not want to go back to their homes.
Abu Badawieh noted that soon after adopting the resolution, the UN founded two agencies to help the Palestinians, namely, the UNRWA and a mediation committee that sought to find a lasting solution to the Palestinian refugee problem.
"The committee stopped working, however, in the early 1960s," Abu Badawieh said. "This means that the UNRWA is about the only international agency working to help the Palestinian refugees."
He noted that the Palestinian Authority, which rules part of the occupied West Bank, keeps pressuring the international community to implement Resolution 194.
He added, however, that Palestinian refugees started to lose hope when peace negotiations kicked off in 1991, followed by the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993.
"Oslo does not mention that Resolution 194 was one of its references," Abu Badawieh said. "On the contrary, it depends on other resolutions that do not refer to the Palestinians right of return."
Secretary-General of the Palestine Liberation Front, Wasil Abu Youssef, for his part, said the right of return was at the "heart" of the Palestinian issue.
"By the same token, nobody can disregard or abolish Resolution 194," Abu Youssef told.
He said the resolution has never been implemented because of the international community's failure to put pressure on Israel in this regard.
Palestinians use the word Nakba to refer to the destruction of hundreds of cities and villages in historical Palestine and the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their land by what Palestinians describe as Zionist groups and the subsequent establishment of Israel in 1948.
The Israel -Palestine conflict began in 1917 when the British government, in the now-famous "Balfour Declaration," called for "the establishment inPalestine of a national home for the Jewish people."
In 1948, a newly-formed state inside historical Palestine – "Israel" – was established.
The Palestinian diaspora has since become one of the largest in the world. Palestinian refugees are now spread across Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and other countries, while many settled in refugee camps in the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The right to return to their homes in historical Palestine remains a key demand for many Palestinians.Güncelleme Tarihi: 13 Mayıs 2015, 12:57