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Abbas: Let Palestinians Die in Syria Rather than Give Up ‘Right of Return’

January 11, 2013 2:19 am 15 comments

Mahmoud Abbas. Photo: World Economic Forum.

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas has said he has rejected a United Nations’ brokered deal with Israel to allow Palestinian refugees living in Syria to resettle in the West Bank and Gaza.

Speaking to a group of journalists in Cairo, Abbas told them that in December he reached out to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to contact Israel on his behalf to resolve the status of Palestinians caught in the Syrian civil war.

Abbas, however, said that Israel conditionally agreed as long as the Palestinian refugees forfeit claims to “return” to Israel, which he rejected.

“So we rejected that and said it’s better they die in Syria than give up their right of return,” Abbas reportedly told Egyptian journalists, the Associated Press reported.

The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office and Foreign Ministry declined to a comment to the Associated Press.

As part of the 1948 War of Independence, more than 700,000 Palestinian Arabs became refugees as a result of the conflict they initiated. Today, the refugees and their descendants (estimated to be around 5 million) remain largely stateless in refugee camps throughout the Arab world.

The UN’s typical policy is that only those who flee their countries themselves are considered “refugees,” not their descendants. However, the UN makes an exception for descendants of Arabs who fled Israel.

In Syria, it is estimated that about 150,000 Palestinians have fled the country as a result of the civil war.

Israel has called for the Palestinian refugee situation to be resolved as part of a comprehensive regional peace deal, while Palestinian leaders have maintained calls for the unconditional return of all refugees to the pre-1948 homes inside of Israel.


  • Audrey Williams

    IsraelI govt are war criminals ! The whole world knows it now and we are all passed. #freepalestine

    • I feel so sorry for you. It is very sad to see what has happened. I can only hope that you get through the day peacefully.

  • what about the 900,000 Jews from Arab countries that were made refugees – where is their “right of return”?

  • Otto Waldmann

    What a lovely national leader who prefers to have his people dead against a “principle” which will NEVER be implemented.
    Who are we to object !!!

  • In a sane society the 700,000 Arabs who left Israel in 1948 would have been absorbed into the 20+ Arab countries. Many were absorbed into the Kingdom of Jordan which occupies 77% of Mandatory Palestine. In Ottoman times Palestine was also known as Southern Syria. THere was no country called Palestine. In 1948 800,000 Jews were pushed out of Arab countries where Jews had lived since Bible times, a thousand year or more before the Arabs and Islam arrived. Israel accepted any Jews who came and the UK and France accepted many Jewish refugees.Jews did not allow fellow Jews to remain in displaced persons or refugee camps. The UN created a permanent UN department to look after Arab refugees inside Arab countries. Palestinian refugees have been sinned against by the Arab countries and the UN who have supported permanent refugee status and refuseed to integrate them.

  • גולדה מאיר: שלום יבוא כאשר הפלסטינים יאהבו את ילדיהם יותר משהם שונאים אותנו.

    • בדיוק. אבל ברור שלא אוהבים את ילדיהם. הם מרעילים את מוחם מלידה, ולא רוצים שיגדלו באושר, ואין שאיפה להשכלה, או לתרום משהו לעולם. הם רוצים שיהיו שהידים!! והאידיוטים במערב חושבים ואומרים שכל הורה רוצה אותו דבר בשביל ילדיהם. באמת? יש עוד אמהות בעולם שרוצות לחגור את ילדיהם בפצצות? מספיק עם השטויות

  • I think Israel is insane to offer these “Palestinians” the opportunity to live in Judea and Samaria.
    There are already too many Arab occupiers there.

  • howard henick

    More proof that Abbas is not really interested in peace as “the right of return” is an absolute non starter for if Israel agreed to it that basically terminates the Jewish state.

  • About the same time as these Arabs, or at least their ancestors as there are very few of the original refugees, became refugees several million Germans from the Sudetenland, East Prussia and Silesia became refugees, they were absorbed by Germany. At about the same time several million Hindu and Moslems became refugees during the partition of India, they were absorbed by either India or Pakistan. About the same time over 700,000 Jewish refugees from Arab nations were absorbed by Israel. It is only the Arabs who have allowed their fellow Arabs to fester in refugees camps. If the UN stopped supporting these camps with much of the money coming from the US, these camps would have vanished long ago.

  • Important to know about Abbas

  • “Palestinian leaders have maintained calls for the unconditional return of all refugees to the pre-1948 homes inside of Israel.”

    Pre-1948…67+ years ago. How many 70 years old people remember where they lived when they were 2 or 3. How many 70 years old people want to move back there from back when.

    This tells me the Palestinian leaders could care less about the people. It may be a sensitive issue, but to whom and based on what? It is strictly political and does nothing for the people.

    What is the leadership doing about anything that is truly good for the people today. Have they eradicated poverty? Have they stopped teaching hate? Would a simple uncomplicated peace work for the Palestinian people. You bet it would.

    Check out the Mid-East Peace Plan on facebook.

  • Could you site this AP story, please? I cannot find it.

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