Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 August 2020

The Palestinian people have an undeniable right to return to their ancestral lands

Our readers have their say about the Palestinian right of return, the UAE's Everest climbers, and the Congress party in India

A protester in the West Bank waves a Palestinian flag. EPA
A protester in the West Bank waves a Palestinian flag. EPA

I write to you in reference to Ali Adam’s opinion piece Israel is responsible for Hamas – and for Gaza’s suffering (May 20).

In 1948, following the creation of the Israeli state, hundreds of Palestinian towns were overrun by the military. This resulted in the exile of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homeland. Today, millions of Palestinian refugees worldwide still hold hope of one day returning to their ancestral land. The right of return is a basic principle in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which guarantees a person’s right to return to his home country.

Over the past seven decades, these millions of refugees have scattered around the globe. Most still live in countries surrounding Palestine and in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. They all face immense challenges that vary from one country to another.

A total of 4.75 million Palestinians currently live in historic Palestine under some form of Israeli control. They endure harsh challenges, with many still living in overcrowded refugee camps that lack the basic requirements for decent human living. In fact, Gaza has one of the highest population densities on Earth. So much of the land has been used to build Israeli settlements, leaving Palestinians with only a fraction of their ancestral land. Most Palestinian refugees, estimated at more than eight million people, actually live outside historical Palestine. Many suffer from an array of major challenges that vary depending on the host country. One common challenge is their inability to set foot on their homeland. The idea of the Right Of Return remains a distant dream but one they refuse to surrender.

International law states that every person has the right to have a country of his own. It also prohibits the forceful eviction of populations from their homeland classifying such actions as crimes against humanity. Unfortunately, the international community has no appetite to enforce its own laws.

Amjad Almuti, 15 years old, Abu Dhabi

Congratulation to the UAE’s courageous Everest climbers

I write to you in reference to Patrick Ryan’s article Two women climbers from Dubai conquer Everest (May 26).

I was very excited to read about UAE residents Fatima Deryan and Dolores Al Shelleh’s successful climb on top of mount Everest.

Congratulation to the two brave women for daring to take up this challenging and perilous journey.

K Ragavan, Bengaluru

Change in leadership crucial for Congress to bounce back

I write to you in reference to the report To reverse decline, must India’s Congress party ditch its dynasty? (May 27).

Congress must take stock of their overwhelming defeat and find an alternative outside of the Gandhi family’s leadership. It would be good if Shashi Tharoor were to lead the party. Mr Tharoor is an excellent diplomat and orator and I believe he could win the hearts of Congress supporters.

Ramachandran Nair, Muscat

Updated: May 29, 2019 08:07 PM



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