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Abbas hardens his stance on Palestinian ‘right of return’ Read more: Abbas hardens his stance on Palestinian 'right of return'


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hard-line-speech-from-abbas-marks-turn-from-position-in-talksThe Times of Israel:

In overlooked weekend speech, Palestinian leader also declares that ‘millions of heroes are marching to Jerusalem’

Elhanan Miller

January 13, 2014


In a significant hardening of the stated Palestinian negotiating position on the right of return, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said that he could not negotiate away the absolute right of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to return to sovereign Israel.


Speaking to a crowd of Palestinians from East Jerusalem on Saturday, in an address largely overlooked because it coincided with the death of former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, Abbas also voiced a hard-line regarding a number of other matters on the negotiating table. He stated that no peace agreement would be possible without East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital. He also refused to recognize Israel’s self-definition as the state of the Jewish people, a principle endorsed on Sunday by Arab foreign ministers. But while those two positions were not new, his tougher line on the refugees was

The traditional Palestinian position on the “right of return” follows the language of the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, which stipulates a “just and agreed upon solution based on UN resolution 194.” This formula was used by Abbas in his speech at the UN last September, as well as at his speech at the World Economic Forum in Jordan last June. But in his speech Saturday, Abbas made no reference to the international decisions pertaining to the matter.



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