Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on Arab countries to grant citizenship rights to Palestinian refugees, saying that the move would not undermine the refugees’ right of return.

In a TV interview with Dubai Satellite TV today, Abbas said that Palestinian refugees have a right to return home and should be included in any future agreements, even if they carry Arabic or foreign nationalities.

Abbas also said that the Arab League does not prohibit governments from granting Arabic nationalities to the Palestinian refugees. It issued a non-binding recommendation against naturalization in the early 1950s, said Abbas, “but some countries are using this recommendation as an excuse in order to avoid giving residency rights to the refugees.’

The Palestinians and their leaders demand that Israeli implement Security Council Resolution Nr. 194, which recognized the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland, or to receive compensation if they do not wish to return.

However, Israel has challenged the resolution and refused to repatriate the refugees. Israel’s admission to the UN in 1949 was conditional upon accepting UN resolutions, including resolution Nr. 194.