On Monday 29 June 2020 — the Popular Conference for Palestinians Abroad (PCPA), along with the Kuwait-based Multaqalquds (al-Quds Forum), held a seminar titled: “Refugees and Repercussions of Annexation Plans,” which sought to investigate into the wave of consequences to be effected by the Israeli scheme to annex the Jordan Valley and parts of the West Bank, with a specific focus on refugees.
The seminar was moderated by journalist Israa al-Shaik while a number of researchers and experts in both international law and refugee affairs took turns to comment on the seminar’s chief guidelines.
Dr. Said al-Dahshan, head of the Legal Unit at Multaqalquds for Political and Legal Affairs, addressed the legal description specific to the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In keeping with the Fourth Geneva Conviction, he said: “Any territories taken by the actual force of the occupying powers are considered occupied territories, which applies to the Palestinian lands taken over in 1967. Accordingly, the West Bank and Gaza Strip are both occupied territories as described by all international laws.”
Furthermore, he explained the type of relationship between the occupying power and the occupied territory, saying that the Geneva Convictions have detailed the matter. He also mentioned a few of the principles governing this relationship:
“The occupier power does not gain sovereignty over the occupied territory, rather, it practices it through the power of arms and oppression; the occupations is a temporary state no matter how long it shall last, while it is regulated by laws governed by international relations, ones that must not be violated; the occupying power shall respect the order of law established in the territories it occupied. The laws also prohibit the occupying power from transferring parts of its own population into the territory it occupies.”
Dr. al-Dahshan also explained the legal significance of annexation as a violation of international laws, carried out through “Israel’s” practice of direct legal, judicial and administrative control while considering Palestine its own land, not an occupied land or land of conflict the way all international laws categorize it, in addition to that the Israeli occupation will impose its control on the land without the population.
For his part, the Director-General of Association 302 to Defend Refugees Rights, Mr. Ali Heweidi, addressed the Oslo Accords and how the treaty facilitated for the current state of affairs, namely the deal of the century and the annexation plans, pointing out to the refugees cause, the cuts imposed on UNRWA services and the two latter issues’ relation to the Oslo Accords.
Mr. Heweidi stressed that the Palestinian cause is recording a sufficient progress at the disadvantage of the Zionist project since Oslo Accords were first signed to the date, explaining that Washington and its influence are collapsing and the US President Donald Trump is in a political mess, which might lead to his loss of the next round of elections, adding that the Zionist entity is destined to decay, given its disintegrating economy, unstable security and internal political conflicts.
“The future of the refugees' cause and UNURWA depends on the power and influence of the Palestinian cause’s presences at the UN General Assembly.”
Speaking of UNURWA, Mr. Heweidi accentuated that any who gives up on UNURWA and searches for a substitute is committing treason against the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian people while violating the international law and the UN Charter, hence committing a crime that will be a prelude to settling refugees in their places of residence.
He stated that if the money demanded to resolve the fiscal deficit crisis experienced by UNRWA is not found, serious humanitarian repercussions will ensue.
He added that aborting the annexation and other similar plans affecting the core issues of the Palestinian cause will not be achieved without activating the popular resistance in the West Bank and occupied al-Quds (Jerusalem).
On his turn, Mr. Tareq Hamoud, Executive Director of the Return Center in London, tackled the annexation project and its implications and said that:
"The post annexation years are necessary to evacuate the areas densely populated with Palestinians today, to annex them in the future.”
Mr. Hamoud emphasized that the annexation project not only threatens the Jordan Valley, but also the entire Palestinian entity.
"The annexation process is extended, not new, will not end today or with the implementation of the Israeli plans. It will stretch to include the entire West Bank because it is part of the expansionist ideology of the Zionist entity.”
It is worth mentioning that the seminar is part of the “Down with Annexation” campaign that is also launched by PCPA.