Imperiled Gazans Do Have Somewhere to Go

The place where they can go, writes Sam Husseini, is back to the homes in what is now Israel, from which they were forced out in 1948.

Palestinian key, symbolizing the right of return, at a Nakba Day demonstration in Berlin, May 2015. (Montecruz Foto, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0

By Sam Husseini

Many professing solidarity with Palestinians — including alleged legal experts — being slaughtered in Gaza have said they have “nowhere to go.” 

It’s not true. 

They do.

Somewhere they actually should go. 

Their homes in what is now Israel.

The majority of families of Palestinians in Gaza were forced there by Israel in 1948.

See this great thread by Hanine Hassan

“Who told you that the 1.5 million displaced Palestinians sheltering in Rafah have nowhere left to go? My family, now in Rafah, has a home in Jaffa, from which we were expelled by a fascist German family. The majority of our people in Gaza have homes to go to, all over Palestine.” 

As Professor John Quigley has noted: “

“They are entitled to repatriation under international law, including the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination which Israel has signed and ratified.” (See his writing on this subject here and here.) 

And of course there’s U.N. Resolution 194 of Dec. 11, 1948 which

Resolves that the 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…”

The extremely pro-Israel U.S. president, Harry Truman, would state the following year that if

“Israel continues to reject the basic principles set forth” in that U.N. resolution, the U.S. government “will regretfully be forced to the conclusion that a revision of its attitude toward Israel has become unavoidable.” 

U.N. mediator Count Folke Bernadotte would report on Sept. 18, 1948: 

“It would be an offence against the principles of elemental justice if these innocent victims of the conflict were denied the right to return to their homes, while Jewish immigrants flow into Palestine, and, indeed, at least offer the threat of permanent replacement of the Arab refugees, who have been rooted in the land for centuries.” 

Actually, Bernadotte wouldn’t report that, because the Stern Gang shot him six times the day before his report was issued. They shot his French assistant no fewer than 17 times. No one was ever brought to justice for killing the mediator. 

Folke Bernadotte, foreground, in 1948. (Slowking4, Wikimedia Commons, Public domain)

The prospect of Palestinians going back to their homes continues to bring out the most murderous impulses in Israeli officials. reports:

“Israeli Minister of National Security Itamar Ben Gvir said on Sunday that Israeli forces should shoot Palestinian women and children in Gaza if they get too close to the Israeli border. … ‘We cannot have women and children getting close to the border… anyone who gets near must get a bullet [in his head],’ Ben-Gvir said during an argument with Israeli Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi about the IDF’s open fire policies, according to The Jerusalem Post.

“After his comments leaked to the press, Ben Gvir doubled down. In a post on X, the Israeli minister said he ‘does not stutter and does not intend to apologize. All those who endanger our citizens by getting near the border must be shot. This is what they do in any normal state.’”

Indeed, in 2018 the “Great March of Return” began, as Palestinians in Gaza tried to simply walk back to their homes. 

On Aug. 31, 2023, The Palestine Chronicle reported: “Gaza to Resume Great March of Return Protests.”

Palestinian Key symbol over the entrance to the Aida refugee camp, near Bethlehem, 2018. (Jj M ?tp, Wikimedia Commons, CCO)

Maureen Clare Murphy at The Electronic Intifada noted in September

“Protests along the Gaza-Israel boundary resumed in August. Massive demonstrations dubbed the Great March of Return were held on a regular basis for nearly two years beginning in early 2018.

The protests were aimed at ending the Israeli siege on Gaza and allowing Palestinian refugees to exercise their right of return as enshrined in international law. Some two-thirds of Gaza’s population of more than two million people are refugees from lands just beyond the boundary fence.

More than 215 Palestinian civilians, including more than 40 children, were killed during those demonstrations, and thousands more wounded by live fire during those protests between March 2018 and December 2019.

A UN commission of inquiry found that Israel’s use of lethal force against protesters warrants criminal investigation and prosecution and may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Excessive use of force against Great March of Return protests is expected to be a major focus of the International Criminal Court’s Palestine investigation, should it move forward.”

The recently slain Palestinian writer Refaat Alareer noted on Oct. 8, 2023:

“The very Israeli snipers that gunned down hundreds of Palestinian marchers in the Great Return March in 2018/19 were neutralised by Palestinian freedom fighters.”

In a recent piece in The New York Review of Books — “Gaza: Two Rights of Return — Most Palestinians in Gaza are now displaced at least twice over. They have a right to choose where to return” — Sari Bashi from Human Rights Watch writes as a Jewish woman married to a Palestinian man whose family was forced from their homes in 1948 and again during the current assault:

“I’ll be relieved if my in-laws are merely allowed to return to northern Gaza and receive support to rebuild a house there.” 

Israel is great at that. Committing so many crimes such that some people are relieved that the most recent may be alleviated. In fact, such a posture may well facilitate a festering of chronic injustices — and an incentive for Israel to continue its criminality. 

(See also this piece which contains my own family’s story of the Nakba in my recent interview with Kim Iversen.) 

Sam Husseini is an independent journalist based near D.C. He is on Twitter: @samhusseini

This article is from the author’s Substack. 

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

6 comments for “Imperiled Gazans Do Have Somewhere to Go

  1. Vera Gottlieb
    February 17, 2024 at 05:24

    How much longer is our so-called ‘civilized’ Western society going to let israel get away with murder…literally? Is it a matter of RACISM? I am deeply ASHAMED of my Jewish background – want NO part of the Jewish side of my family and have broken off with them.

  2. February 16, 2024 at 15:09

    If enough people clamber for Israel to release popular sober Marwan Bardgoti from prison to negotiate with Israel instead of Hamas it may stop the slaughter

    • Dylan Hunter
      February 16, 2024 at 18:39

      I’ll presume you meant ‘clamor’.

      If so, please present a list of ongoing genocides that have been stopped by ‘clamor’? I suspect it is a very short list. I believe history teaches that it takes a lot more than ‘clamor’. Usually the sort of people who are willing and indeed driven to commit genocide, are not the sort of people to stop just because someone asks them to stop. But, I could be wrong, so I’d ask for a list from history of genocides that have been stopped in progress by people asking nicely, or even raising their voice to a ‘clamor’.

      Or maybe you did mean ‘clamber’, or to “climb awkwardly or with effort especially by using both the hands and the feet. “, but this seems to be an even less likely to stop the genocide, although I suspect that it is used by the Palestinians as they try to move around the rubble of Gaza.

      For a contrasting method, you might look up the method that successfully shut down the gas chambers at Auschwitz. Nothing like tanks and an artillery barrage to make a ‘clamor’ that can’t be ignored.

  3. Drew Hunkins
    February 16, 2024 at 13:15

    When Herzl started the Zionist project c. 1895 the Jewish population of Palestine was about 6%.

    Ergo, the Zionist supremacists should all go back to Brooklyn, Philly, Russia and Europe!

    • mary-lou
      February 17, 2024 at 14:16

      as they say, the devil’s in the details: while the term ‘Jewish’ refers to a culture, the terms ‘zionism’, ‘zionist’ refer to a political entity (similar to: ‘colonialism’, colonialist’; ‘industrialism’, ‘industrialist’; ‘socialism’, ‘socialist’; etc).
      “zionism”/ “zionist” should therefore not be written with a capital -Z- : the zionist project, the zionist state.

    • Voltaria Voltaire
      February 18, 2024 at 09:59

      Thank you Sam for always stating the obvious so simply and beautifully. The obvious which others work so hard to obfuscate. I dream of the Palestinians having their homes. The most beautiful homes. Those that are cheering on the genocide should be given penalties of turning over their own homes to the now homeless. The organized criminals who have taken over the governments of the world don’t want International Laws and Human Rights. They would supplant these with shady loophole “agreements” no sane people can really agree to, such as the “Patriot” Act. They would get rid of the entire UN because of a few infiltrators. They would get rid of UNRWA because of a few ALLEGED infiltrators. The politicians who say protesters should have their finances investigated should have THEIR OWN financial crimes investigated.

Comments are closed.