Tuesday, June 12, 2007

No justice without right of return

Dr. Mona El-Farra, The Electronic Intifada, 12 June 2007

The following is a speech made at a special meeting at the United Nations headquarters in New York marking 40 years of occupation by Israel of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip:

"......How many UN resolutions must be passed by the UN? How many years of calling for two states before there is an understanding that Israel continues its aggression on the ground against women, children and men, the demolition of thousands of homes and the continued building of the apartheid wall?

Let us not just speak of the Palestinians in the West Bank [and] Gaza. We must never forget those who live as second-class citizens inside Israel and most of all, those who were forced from their homes and lands in 1948.

Now is the time to call for a real peace, with justice for all the children in the region. This can only be accomplished by supporting the right of return of all Palestinians.

Now is the time to acknowledge that the two-state solution is not the answer.

From Gaza I came, where the children of my country have no safe homes, no safe streets, no proper and adequate health facilities, no proper food, clean water, or regular electrical power, no recreational activities and no good education. The list of deprivation of their basic needs is too long to count.

I lived this occupation as a child, and am still living it as an adult. I can see it in the eyes of my daughter when she is afraid, tired, restless and exhausted because of the unsafe and unpredictable quality of life in Gaza under occupation. I saw it as soon as we crossed the borders on our way to Egypt, where she sensed something new and different: freedom, safety and space. Gaza is like a big, unsafe prison. And it is a very small place for 1.4 million people, half of whom are children......"

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