The Palestinian right of return
Sir, – Jackie Goodall of the Ireland Israel Alliance tells us that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (Unrwa) “is regarded by many as an organisation whose sole raison d’être is to perpetuate the Palestinian refugee crisis and use it as a propaganda tool against Israel” (Letters, January 15th). She neglects to point out that the “many” in question are the state of Israel itself and its diehard supporters, for whom the fate of Palestinian refugees is an irrelevance.
Ms Goodall further states that Unrwa “operates in such a way that ensures the Palestinian refugee issue can never be resolved”. But in reality it is the refusal of the state of Israel to grant Palestinians their inalienable right of return that has prevented such a resolution and hence perpetuated the existence of Unrwa.
As a general principle the right of return is enshrined in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the 1948 Fourth Geneva Convention, and in the specific case of the Palestinians it is enshrined in UN General Assembly Resolution 194 of 1948.
If Israel had accepted this right, the Palestinian refugee problem would not exist today, and Unrwa would long since have been disbanded. – Yours, etc,