Fatah stresses: we're not giving up 'right of return'.
If anyone had any doubts about what Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas meant when he met last week with members of the Israeli leftist party Meretz, an official statement from his Fatah party on Sunday made things clear.
After Thursday's meeting, members of Meretz said that Abbas had reassured them that if a peace agreement is reached with Israel, it would bring an end to his people's demands of the Jewish state. "I know your concerns, but guarantee that at the conclusion of successful negotiations, we undertake to end all the demands. We will not ask to return to Yafo, Akko and Tzfat," he reportedly said.
Members of Meretz said that Abbas told them a "fair agreement" will end the conflict with Israel and that a "peace agreement with Israel will be final and binding." He did not, however, specify what is meant by a fair peace agreement and did not commit to the fact that the PA would give up its demand for the "right of return", which would see millions of Arabs who fled Israel in 1948 and their descendants flood Israel.
On Sunday, Abbas chaired a meeting of the Central Committee of the Fatah movement, at the conclusion of which Fatah spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said in a statement that "the main goal of the negotiations with Israel is to establish an independent Palestinian state within the [pre-]1967 borders with its capital Al-Quds (Jerusalem -ed.), and the return of refugees in accordance with resolutions by international legitimate institutions and the Arab Peace Initiative."
Abu Rudeineh stressed that "all issues related to the permanent status agreement are on the negotiating table, within the time frame of the nine months that was agreed upon with the U.S. government." He added that the settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria "is an obstacle to reaching a just peace based on the rights of the Palestinian people that cannot be canceled."