Israeli Land Grab and Forced Population Transfer of Palestinians: A Handbook for Vulnerable Individuals and Communities,
First Palestinian Conference on Population Transfer
Ramallah—The BADIL Resource Center on Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights (Bethlehem) hosted the first Palestinian conference on forced population transfer at the Red Crescent Society, Ramallah, on 4 June 2013. The conference entitled “Forced Population Transfer-Elements and Responsibilities” was the first of its kind publicly addressing the issue of the forced population transfer of the indigenous Palestinian population as a subject of international law, and exploring local, national and international interventions to prevent and remedy displacement. At the conference BADIL launched Israeli Land Grab and Forced Population Transfer of Palestinians: A Handbook for Vulnerable Individuals and Communities, a guide to understanding the linkage between Israeli land regime and forced population transfer.
The conference was organized into four sessions with interventions from internationally renowned experts in related fields, Palestinian human rights organizations, and international organizations. Prof. Joseph Schechla of the Habitat International Coalition’s Housing and Land Rights Network (Egypt) opened the conference by probing the historical developments of “The Crime of Population Transfer in International Law: Prohibition, Prosecution and Impunity.” BADIL Resource Center, Adalah-The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, and the Palestinian Authority, represented by the Wall and Colonization Portfolio, presented strategies and practices of “Local Intervention” (Session II). The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA), the Office of the United Nations the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) outlined “International Interventions” (Session III). IN the fourth and last session, “Practical Approaches and Recommendations,” Prof. Michael Dumper of the University of Exeter (England) outlined the parameters of reparations and restitution and Prof. Susan Akram of Boston University (USA) provided a summation of the conference and practical options in moving forward with adherence to international law and the realization of the right of return for Palestinian refugees.
The conference was attended by dozens of Palestinian human rights organizations, several academic institutions, community-based organizations, representative offices and international organizations, totalling over 130 Palestinian and international participants. Participants expressed the view that the conference was long overdue and essential to addressing practice of the “ongoing Nakba” and its consequences as crime, and the rights of victims to reparations. Both participants and speakers voiced the need for follow-up conferences and public education that would further examine the issue of forced population transfer as an international crime, its consequences, practical measures required to end and deter population transfer, and prospective just and durable solutions that adhere to international law.
For more information on the conference, go to http://www.badil.org/en/press-releases/144-2013/3812-press-eng-18.