Saturday, May 14, 2011

Abbas: Palestinians will never neglect "right of return"

Ahead of planned Nakba Day protests, PA president says every Palestinian "has the right to see Palestine and return to the homeland."

The Palestinian Authority leadership would never neglect the “right of return” for Palestinians to their original homes inside Israel, PA President Mahmoud Abbas declared on Saturday.

His declaration came as Palestinians prepared to mark Nakba [catastrophe] Day in protest against the creation of Israel in 1948.

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Abbas said that the PA would continue to take “practical steps” toward achieving the “right of return.”

Every Palestinian, he added, “has the right to see Palestine and return to the homeland because the homeland is our final destination.”

Abbas said that when the Palestinian signed the Oslo Accords, the case of the refugees was the basic final-status issue. “Of course, the other side [Israel] does not want to discuss the issues of refugees, Jerusalem and water and that’s their business,” he said. “Does this mean that we should surrender to what they want? Of course not.”

Abbas also stressed that the Palestinians would not accept a Palestinian state that does not include Jerusalem as its capital.

“Our message to the world is that we want a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders and a just solution on the basis of the [2002] Arab Peace Initiative,” he continued. “But we won’t accept at all a Palestinian state that does not have Jerusalem as its capital.”

He claimed that while the Palestinians have accepted the two-state solution, Israel remains opposed to the idea.

“We believe in the principle of a two-state solution and we have recognized it for the past 17 years,” Abbas said. “But they [Israel] don’t agree to the two-state solution.”

With regards to the reconciliation between his Fatah faction and Hamas, the PA president said that the two sides were now working toward establishing a government of technocrats that would have no political affiliations.

He said that the Palestinians’ dream of establishing a state could not be achieved unless the “two parts of the homeland are reunited” – a reference to the split between the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Also marking the occasion of Nakba Day, the Fatah leadership issued a statement in which it said that the “right of return” was a “sacred” right does not vanish with the lapse of time.

The Palestinians are determined to achieve the right of return because it’s a natural and historic right, Fatah said.


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