"The tragedy of the people of Palestine is that their country was 'given' by a foreign power to another people for the creation of a new state. The result was that many hundreds of thousands of innocent people were made permanently homeless. With every new conflict their numbers increased. How much longer is the world willing to endure this spectacle of wanton cruelty? It is abundantly clear that the refugees have every right to the homeland from which they were driven, and the denial of this right is at the heart of the continuing conflict. No people anywhere in the world would accept being expelled en masse from their country; how can anyone require the people of Palestine to accept a punishment which nobody else would tolerate? A permanent just settlement of the refugees in their homeland is an essential ingredient of any genuine settlement in the Middle East."
- Bertrand Russell, statement to the International Conference of Parliamentarians, 3 Feb 1970; cited in Palestine and the Palestinians: A Social and Political History by Samih K. Farsoun & Naseer Hasan Aruri (second edition, p.370).
Photo: A young Palestinian refugee walks near her school wall at al-Baqaa refugee camp, outside of Amman, May 15, 2008. The graffiti reads: 'I will not stay a refugee forever'. (Muhammad Hamed/Reuters)