Egyptian president, Husni Mubarak, stated Thursday that ‘no one can amend the Arab peace initiative or even remove the clause that affirms Palestinians’ right to return’.

Mubarak, whose country was the first to sign peace treaty with Israel in 1979, was speaking to reporters at an inauguration ceremony of Alexandria’s port development project yesterday.

“The Israelis are attempting to amend the Arab peace initiative, but no one can amend it or remove the clause involving the Palestinians’ right to return”.

In late March, Arab countries re-endorsed a peace proposal, first drafted by Saudis in 2002, calling for resolving the Israeli-Arab conflict on the basis of land for peace formula; full Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories in return for normal ties between 23 Arab states and Israel.

The proposal also calls for finding a fair solution for the Palestinian refugee problem in accordance with the United Nations resolution 194, which presses for the return of Palestinians, displaced by Israel in 1948, to their homeland of Palestine and compensation for the loss they have sustained due to Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Israel has refused the peace initiative and expressed unreadness to resolve the refugee problem, calling for an amendment that is ‘compatible with new developments’.

In 1948 Israel occupied historical Palestine, displacing its indigenous Palestinians to neighboring Arab countries and in 1967 it occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, Syrian Golan Heights, Jordan valley and the Egyptian peninsula of Sinai.

Currently, there are 4.2 million Palestinian refugees in the said areas, according to United Nations Agency for Works and Relief of Palestine Refugees.