The Right of Return: Nakba at 70

The care of aliens and strangers is a biblical imperative and therefore advocacy on behalf of refugees is a priority for Peacemaker Trust.

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“There shall be one law for the native and for the stranger who sojourns among you.” (Exodus 12:49)

“When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 19:33-34)

“You shall allot it as an inheritance for yourselves and for the sojourners who reside among you and have had children among you. They shall be to you as native-born children of Israel. With you they shall be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel. In whatever tribe the sojourner resides, there you shall assign him his inheritance, declares the Lord God.” (Ezekiel 47:22-23)

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” (Matthew 25:37-40)

In May, the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) held a meeting in the House of Commons to commemorate the 70th year of the Nakba (catastrophe). In 1948 over three-quarters of the Palestinian population became refugees in the neighbouring countries to make way for the creation of the state of Israel.

On December 11th, 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 194 (III), resolving that “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 equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.”

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Tommy Sheppard MP, Scottish National Party for Edinburgh East, chaired the event. The speakers were:

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Andy Slaughter MP, Labour for Hammersmith

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Ghada Karmi, is a doctor, author as well as academic, and is an honorary research fellow and an assistant lecturer at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies.

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Professor Nur Masalha, is a Palestinian historian and formerly Director of the Centre for Religion and History at St. Mary’s University, Twickenham. He is Editor of “Journal of Holy Land and Palestine Studies”

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Ben White, is a journalist, analyst, and author. Over the last decade, Ben has had some 400 articles published by a variety of media outlets, and has appeared as a guest expert on television and radio. His new book, ‘Cracks in the Wall: Beyond Apartheid in Palestine/Israel’, is published May 2018 by Pluto Press.

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Leanne Mohamad, Leanne Mohamad is a 17 year old young British Palestinian who won the Redbridge Regional “Speak out” challenge in May 2016. She delivered a speech entitled ‘Birds not Bombs’ based on her country and her passion, Palestine in which she was calling for  an end of the injustices Palestinians are facing, especially children

Walk for Justice for Refugees (Australia)

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The Suffering Church in Exile