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Palestinian scouts rally across Middle East for right of return
Published Monday 24/02/2014 (updated) 05/03/2014 10:07
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(MaanImages)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian scout groups from across the Middle East rallied over the weekend in a unified event to demand the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

The event, "Scouts Lead the Way, The Camp is Our Address, Return is Our Choice," was organized by by the Palestinian Scouts' Association and saw activities organized in Balata refugee camp, Shufat camp in Jerusalem, Ein al-Hilweh in Lebanon and Yarmouk camp in Syria.

It was the first time Palestinian scout groups have organized across borders to march in unity for national Palestinian issues of concern and the events were connected via a video link.

After playing the national anthem and holding a moment of silence for Palestinian victims of the conflict, head of the Palestinian Scout Association in Palestine, Muhammad Jamil Sawalmeh, opened the events by emphasizing how the scout movement had preserved Palestinian culture across a generational and geographic divide.




In the besieged Yarmouk camp, scouts gathered in front of the Palestine Hospital with signs reading: "The right of return will always be the principle we hold in our hearts." Groups also held signs expressing the "readiness of the Scouts to serve the sons and daughters of Yarmouk through our ordeal".

In Balata camp near Nablus, scout groups chanted: "I am a refugee from Jaffa, and I live in Balata camp. I demand my right, and the right of my brothers and sisters in Syria and Lebanon to return to our homes. And we are certain to return! Our heart beats with Yarmouk!"

Secretary of the Palestinian Scouts Association in Ein al-Hilweh camp in Lebanon, Khaled Awad, reiterated the solidarity of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon with refugees in Syria and criticized attacks on Yarmouk camp by armed forces.

In Jerusalem, head of the scout movement Maher Muhsin declared solidarity with refugees in Yarmouk, while in Lebanon's Ein al-Hilweh camp scout leader Khaled Awad condemned all armed attacks on the besieged Damascus camp.




Taysir Nasrallah, a member of the Palestinian National Council, highlighted the concerted efforts of Palestinian communities to raise funds and campaign for Palestinian refugees in Syria, calling for immediate intervention to end the siege of the camp.

The Palestinian scout movement is older than the state of Israel, and Palestinian scout leaders participated in jamborees in Britain in 1929 and in Budapest in 1933.

The first global recognition of Palestinian scouts was in 1928. In the 1936 revolution, scout leaders were considered the core of the Palestinian army.

More than 760,000 Palestinians -- estimated today to number 4.8 million with their descendants -- were pushed into exile or driven out of their homes in the conflict surrounding Israel's creation in 1948.

Around 160,000 Palestinians, who remained in Israel after 1948, now number around 1.36 million people, or 20 percent of the country's population.


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1 ) Arnold / Canada
24/02/2014 21:18
What a wonderful world this would have been if the Palestinians would have accepted their state on the borders issued to them in 1947. It would have been the West Bank including East Jerusalem and Gaza. Everything they are willing to accept today.

2 ) Tibi / Tubas
24/02/2014 21:26
Palestinian scouts can rally across Middle East forever, but
Never will there be a "return", whether it's a "right", or not.


3 ) JoeUSA / USA
24/02/2014 22:45
The Right of Return is a Right. Only the Palestinians can wave it away. Dreams become reality if they insist on realizing their dreams. The Jews worked to create a state out of nothing. The Palestinians can regain their country back. It is not impossible.

4 ) Violet Haversham (Miss) / Great Britain
25/02/2014 00:06
What an inspiring story, these scouts are a tribute to the scout movement. I'm sure the late Baden Powell would be proud of them. Now imagine if other international scout groups linked with them too Together they could convey solidarity and also get the message of peaceful resistance across. What a wonderful sight and powerful message it would give to the world. I hope they get the chance to come to Britain and take part in another jamboree.

5 ) Tibi / Tubas
25/02/2014 04:29
1- Peaceful Rallies for "right of return" will change nothing, and Violent "Rallies" will hurt Palestinians, far more than they hurt Israelis, so 2- Scouts should stop wasting their time with "right of return" rallies, and they should start using their time more constructively with * PEACE NEGOTIATION RALLIES.

6 ) What have the BOY SCOUTS / to do with ISLAM?
25/02/2014 08:57
are there boy scouts in Saudia or Iran?

7 ) Wikifan / Usa
26/02/2014 00:22
@6) - FYI, yes, there are scouts in both Saudi Arabia and Iran! Also in lots of other countries too.

8 ) Manuel Monteiro / East Timor
02/03/2014 09:32
We in East Timor, expressed solidarity with the comrades scout and civil society in Palestine. And we pray that a stressful situation can gradually recovered so that his friends could all go back to their homes. Let us unite our struggle against injustice in the world .......!!!

9 ) Outlier / USA
06/03/2014 20:19
Except in a limited way, i.e. return of ONLY those who left in 1948, it will never happen. Time to be pragmatic and stop wasting time and energy on a broad "right of return."

10 ) Johnny benson / USA
16/03/2014 22:28
In 48...700k...Arabs left what was to be Israel...between 700 and 800 Jews got kicked out of Arab countries,,,so the Arab Palestinians can replace the Jews in those countries..as the Jews sure don't want to go back....so it s settled
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