Global Policy Forum

Abbas to Declare Not All Refugees to Return to Israel


By Arnon Regular and Amos Harel

March 15, 2005

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas will tell Palestinian factions at a meeting in Cairo today that the refugees' right of return should be viewed "realistically," and that not all Palestinian exiles will return to former homes in Israel and the territories, the London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper reported yesterday.

Palestinian sources told the paper that Abbas will tell the parley's participants - Hamas and Islamic Jihad in particular - that the right of return cannot be fully implemented, but that "individuals who ask to return to their homes and receive compensation [instead] will be able to do so."

Until now, the official Palestinian position, touted by Yasser Arafat and subsequently adopted by Abbas, insisted on a collective right of return for all refugees. According to the paper, Abbas plans to explain his shift as stemming from a desire to strengthen the Palestinians' position with regard to other final-status issues such as Jerusalem, the prisoners and the settlements.

Palestinian officials hope that the planned three days of discussions in Cairo will conclude with a declaration of a hudna, or cease-fire, to which all Palestinian organizations, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, will commit. "I hope that the dialogue among all the factions will lead to the desired results, because in my opinion, all the factions are ready for it," Abbas said yesterday.

More Information on the Security Council
More Information on the Right of Return
More Information on Israel, Palestine and the Occupies Territories


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