'The Right of Return to Free Palestine'​: Speech meant to be delivered at 'Palestina Kongress' in Berlin

Salman Abu Sitta
Sunday 14 Apr 2024

This speech was prepared to be given at Palestine Conference** to be held in Berlin on April 12th, organized by Palestine Rights supporters who are Germans including anti Zionist Jews.


The German Govt, acting as the Israeli European tool, gathered 2,000 policemen at the conference venue, and limited the number of participants in the hall, leaving others outside. The police switched off the power and closed the conference after one minute of my talk. Here is the full text of my intended talk.

Thank you for inviting me to Palestine Kongress in Berlin.Thank you for inviting me to Palestine Kongress in Berlin.

Your event is particularly important, not only because of the running Genocide in Gaza but particularly because of the German Government’s past and present policies.

Nobody, absolutely nobody, can ignore what is going on in Gaza today.

There is nothing like it in human history.

There have been in history many massacres and atrocities. We have seen their records carved on ancient walls or in old history books.

We have read accounts of Nero burning Rome, and Hulegu Khan turning the Tigris River red.  We have seen many films and museums about Nazi atrocities in World War Two. We have heard about the Rwandan genocide in Africa.  

But, we have never seen all these atrocities, combined, on TV screens and in the daily news, never seen this savagery enacted before our own eyes.  

We have never seen before in daily news one massacre after another, homes demolished over the heads of their occupants, bodies pulled from under the rubble, a surviving child with all his family killed.

We have never seen before people deliberately denied food and water, children starved to death, and people killed when rushed to get aid.

We have never seen before all means of life, systematically destroyed, hospitals, clinics, schools, universities, libraries, ancient monuments, mosques, churches, cemeteries, bakeries, buildings, shops, water sources and the like.

We have never seen before the criminals, with their blood-stained hands, claiming to be the victims.

We have never seen before waves of humanity, people of goodwill, in the streets of the world, from Chile to New Zealand, in London, New York, Paris and Berlin, calling for this carnage to stop, with no avail.

We have never seen before that despite all this open knowledge, in the days of touted freedom of expression, the voice of the victim is silenced, denied, condemned and vilified.

And yet, we see some Western countries openly helping the criminals, aiding and abetting them, supplying them with bombs to kill, and refusing MANY TIMES to stop this carnage in the UN.

The Western single mission is to free 150 Israeli hostages held in Gaza.   

Did anybody tell you about the other hostages, much larger in number, and much longer in captivity?

They are the Palestinians, held hostages for 76 years.

In 1948, they were driven by Israel, through dozens of massacres, from their homes in 247 towns and villages in southern Palestine.

They are 2.3 million refugees, crammed in a concentration camp called the Gaza Strip. Its area is 365 km2, 1.3% of Palestine. See Map-1

They were not only ferociously attacked daily in the last 190 days. But they were constantly attacked and killed since 1948, for 27,000 days, particularly in 1953, 1956, 1967, 1971, and 1987. They were besieged and blockaded by Israel since 2006 from land, air and sea. Their supplies and movements were severely limited. On October 2023, dozens of young men burst through the barbed wire towards their homes. Israel responded with a war of death and destruction. They call it self-defence.


Let the truth be told. Who was the home defender and who was the foreign invader?  This map of the Palestine invasion explains. See Map-2

The Zionist Invasion of Palestine started in April 1948, with a Zionist European army of 120,000 trained soldiers, formed into 9 brigades, which carried out 38 military operations to conquer Palestine.

They attacked and occupied the red areas here. They depopulated the villages in blue.

In six weeks, this Zionist army attacked and depopulated 220 villages and 11 cities out of an eventual 530 villages and towns. It carried out 22 massacres out of 50 that took place during al-Nakba. Massacres were used as a weapon of ethnic cleansing. Today they are called Genocide.

In 1948, the Zionist attack took place under the watchful eye of the British Mandate, before a state called Israel was declared and before any Arab regular soldier entered Palestine. The news of the massacres inflamed the Arab world. They came to help but it was too little and too late.

Eventually, the Zionist control of Palestine's land increased from 6% under the British to 78% in 1948. Now Israel occupies all of Palestine.  

Not one acre of this land was obtained by legal means under any line in international law.

This is Al-Nakba. Three maps - See Map-3

That is where they lived, That is how they were expelled. That is where they became refugees.

So, who was the aggressor, the invader and who was in self-defence?

Today there are 9 million Palestinian refugees. Their homes are occupied by Israelis.  Not a single Israeli occupant of their homes has a legal title deed of the property he sits on.  94% of land in Israel is Palestinian property.

For 76 years the Palestinians never stopped claiming their Right to Return home.

The UN resolution number 194 affirming the Right of Return has been affirmed by the UN more than 130 times, the longest in UN history. International law and a myriad of UN conventions are supporting the Right of Return.

Shall I tell you some of these?

Fourth Geneva Convention art 4. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights art 8 and 13. The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, art 7 and 8. The International Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, art 5 and 6. … and many more.

This short history begs the question:

Why are the Palestinians still not allowed to return home?

Because the original perpetrator of the crime and his cohorts are still doing it. These are the countries which recently vetoed the ceasefire resolutions. They are supplying Israel with bombs to kill.

The original crime is still going on.

But Palestinians are defiant and resolute.  They have no intention of giving up their Right of Return. They do not want to remain refugees forever.
So we have a duty: to plan for the return.  

First, we see who and where the refugees are. See Map-4

Next, we see who occupies their land in Israel.

We made a detailed study, village by village, city by city, to find how many Jews live in Palestinian lands and where.

We found a startling result.

There are 246 Palestinian village lands which have no Jews today. There are 272 village lands which have few Jews, less than 5,000 Jews. See Map-5

These village lands are shown in green. Beer Sheba district is practically empty except for repopulated Palestinian cities.

Jewish land during the Mandate is shown in blue and is today fully populated. Cities (whether mixed or not) are shown in brown. Unlike villages, Israel's destruction of cities was limited to old quarters.

The Palestinian village lands which have more than 30,000 Jews are shown dotted. That is where the Jews are the majority over the returnees. It is a tiny area.

So, if we now repopulate Palestinian villages by the return of the refugees, we do not find any appreciable problem of Jewish displacement. In Galilee, the Little Triangle and Beer Sheba, there is already a sizable Palestinian population, ready to welcome their kith and kin.

Then, where are the Jews in Israel?

Generally, Jews live in 924 listed localities with a total population of 5,509,778 (the year 2020) within the armistice line of 1949. But that may be misleading. Only 14 of them have a population of over 100,000; 12 have a population between 50 and 100,000, and 29 localities between 20 and 50,000.

That means that 87% of Jews live in 55 localities or five percent of the total number of localities. The area they occupy is 1,400 km2 or 6% of Israel’s area. 

It is worth noting that the area where the majority of Jews live today is almost the same area they lived in during the British Mandate.

The remaining settlements are very small. The Zionist purpose of these small settlements was and is to hold the land and set roots for settlements in the Palestinian land to prevent their return.

CONCLUSION: The return is feasible and of course legal. To Palestinians, it is sacred and inevitable.

Now let us plan the route of Return. 

We start with Al Buss Camp in Lebanon as an example. See Map-6
This map shows the original villages of refugees now residing in this camp. It also shows that you need to travel only 5 km to reach your first village in Palestine.

We can repeat this for all refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Gaza and the West Bank. No return route would take more than 45 minutes to arrive home.

When the refugees arrive home, they will find only the debris of their destroyed houses, buried under the parks planted by the Jewish National Find (JNF).  As you know, JNF participated in the 1948 war crimes of population transfer and village destruction. Now, JNF controls 20% of land in Israel. Oddly, JNF is classified in Europe and the USA as a tax-exempt charity dedicated to improving the environment.

Next task, Palestinians have to rebuild their houses again.

​Let us start with one village:  Al-Qastal - Jerusalem district.

Al Qastal rebuilding (See Map -7,8)


First, we locate Al-Qastal from our rich data. 

Second, we chart the route of return, from the refugee camp to the village of origin. 

Third, we shall reconstruct the new Qastal in the same location. This task is completed by one young architect Yazan Nasrallah, a refugee from Qastal.  He drew these plans for his grandfather’s house. He won the first prize for the design of the new Qastal in our annual competition for the reconstruction of destroyed Palestinian villages.

Now the competition is in its 8th year.  So far 270 young Palestinian architects won awards for the reconstruction of 60 destroyed villages.

The future of Palestine is promising.

Gaza, Gaza, the defiant, the Stalingrad of Palestine. The largest Concentration Camp on earth, the home of defiant resistance. Its land is soaked with the blood of children.

This 2014 picture (See Picture-1) tells who they are. 

These young people are determined to return home. They wish to break free from the concentration camp. It has a density of 8000 persons/km2.  Their homes are occupied by settlers at only 7 persons/km2.

That is why some of them penetrated the fence on October 7.

Who is occupying their land? See Map-11 

Those settlers live in 212 tiny settlements. Their total population is 150,000 in all southern districts, 12,500 km2. This is the land where Gaza refugees came from.

There you have it. 150,000 settlers in the land of two million Palestinians, crammed in the Gaza Strip. The number of all these settlers is comparable to one refugee camp in Rafah (133k).

What a travesty of justice!

Now Israeli military wants to displace them again, to new refugee camps of no return, to throw them away in the Sinai desert forever.

If you believe in humanity, if you believe in justice, you must seek a legal and just solution.

I ask you: should the Palestinians remain refugees in camps or should they return home? The answer is obvious.

The settlers in the Palestinian land could either rent land or move to Jewish areas in and around Tel Aviv.

We tested this exercise if they decided to move north. See Map-12

We grouped them into 9 convoys. They could travel north in buses or their cars. The journey will take 45 minutes to one hour. In one day or two, they will be gone. And two million Palestinians from 247 villages can return home.

At last. After waiting 76 years.

Justice will be made at last.   


But all this needs the implementation of one cardinal principle.  This principle is essential, just, non-negotiable and inevitable. That is the abolishment of Zionism and all its components: war crimes, dispossession, occupation, Apartheid, racism, discrimination AND GENOCIDE.

I have faith, unshakeable faith, that the march of Justice will reach its destination.

I have faith that this child will return home. See Picture-2

Despite all the overwhelming power against defenceless Palestinian people,

Despite unprecedented Genocide,  committed by Israel, daily, plainly, savagely, in cooperation with colonial governments, given the silent world,

I believe the future is for justice in Palestine,

But you, every one of us, have a duty.

At your own home, teach your children that Palestine is and will always be their home. 

In your daily life, speak for Palestine, day and night, never stop and do not be intimidated.

In your German life, tell your German Govt to do what is right. Tell them Palestine does not want you to send them nuclear submarines as you give to Israel.

Palestine does not want you to give them billions of euros for WMD research as you give to Israel.

Palestine does not want you to vote for them but only wants you to stop voting against them.

Palestine wants you only to be silent and not send Palestine death and destruction.

This is the least Germany could do for its historical record.

On the world stage, spread the truth about Palestine. 

Who is afraid of the truth? Only the guilty, the criminal.

Palestine shall be free from the river to the sea.

Make this your unshakeable duty.
Thank you. 


**On Saturday, the German authorities shut down a pro-Palestinian three-day event in the capital Berlin, 'Palestine Conference 2024',  where the speech was scheduled to be delivered and barred some guest speakers from entering the country. Authorities said they were concerned over potential "antisemitic" remarks and "glorified violence."

*The writer is a Palestinian researcher. Abu Sitta, who was expelled from Palestine as a child in 1948, has dedicated his life to the Palestinian cause.

Short link: