My Father’s Note: Our Inalienable Rights


By Midhat Ayyad | Palestine Chronicle | Aug 29, 2011

Recently I obtained a note entitled ‘Dangerous Lookout’, written in Arabic by my deceased father, Mohammad Ibrahim Ayyad (May he rest in peace). The note resembles a legal document; and I say this because translating it proved to be a difficult task. This note was written during the years when my father was employed as a secretary and as an accountant at the township where my family resides. And this was at least a decade ago, so it may reflect different circumstances.

The note addresses the Palestinian refugees, and its points are of relevant importance. One point in this note is a warning, which I will elaborate over in the conclusion part of this article. As for the note in its entirety, I did the translation myself. I could have spent more time interpreting and connecting the note to this article, or even gotten professional translation, but due to a conflicting schedule I decided not to. The following is a digest of the note.

The Note:

Now days especially, land agents compete with each other intensely. They do not have offices, or even contact addresses. The smartest brokers are those keen on selling land in quantity, or by selling land expensively. The lands they buy from belong to exiles and refugees—those unable to return to their native homeland, in Palestine. The brokers in question purchase lands at abnormally low prices, then they sell the land properties and generate ridiculous profit.

The refugees who fled, and forced to flee during the war days, and exiles that have been gone before war time, are patiently waiting to return to their homeland; this is not to mention various forms of statelessness humiliation. The brokers, on the other hand, attempt to buy their land properties as cheap as possible—in order to become wealthy at the expense of the refugees. To clarify once more, the brokers purchase lands belonging to the refugees at low prices, then try to sell the lands and make profit more than double.

Afterwards, these brokers head to Jordan where most refugees are—in a sort of business commute to get the refugees to sell their lands. The ultimate goal for each broker is to convince the largest number of exiles and refugees to sell their land properties in Palestine; indeed attempting tirelessly to convince the land owners that the offers on the table are almost too good, given the circumstances. The broker’s negotiation style tends to make the refugee feel as a winner. But the broker’s goal is not to help the refugee. It is, instead, to gain a more favorable financial and social status. The brokers tell the refugee that the offer is a golden opportunity; this is certainly short of honesty.

Everyone knows that the Palestinian refugees demand their inalienable right of return. And they wait for that day; never mind the struggle. This is what the Palestine Authority is for. This is what the United Nations have been trying to accomplish. In short, this is a national pillar; no questions asked. Those refugees remember their homeland—their pain is indescribable. But if they don’t sell their land properties, then do what? Where to go? What to do? How will they know that they will one day be allowed to return? What is it that keeps them patiently waiting?

Make no mistake: if the refugees are to return one day, they will need a piece of land, a house to accommodate their families. But when they sell their lands, they would forget about their right of return. They will give up on their homeland.

The brokers attempt to complete a transaction with just about anyone, without any idea of who they are selling it to; no background check. This is dangerous. This is obviously not a good thing.

I don’t intend to zero in on land agents, whether individually or collectively. I am not attempting to infiltrate into this s kind of business. But my message is loud and clear; it is intended as a warning. No one can accurately predict the outcome of this development. And I hope that the Palestine Authority puts an end to this.

Conclusion

If the refugees sell their lands in Palestine, they sell their right of return—if not legally, then morally. The refugee will ask himself: I just sold my land in Palestine, what am I waiting for? This is the idea. This is what makes this development dangerous.

The note points out that the Palestine Authority should intervene. This makes sense. If the Palestine Authority doesn’t intervene, who will? This is bad for the refugees. This would eventually weaken the Palestinians drive for statehood when the number of refugees demanding their return decreases. In short, weakening the number of Palestinian refugees is like weakening nationalism of Palestine.

– Midhat Ayyad contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.

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