Fawzi Barhoum, spokesperson of the Hamas movement, stated that the cables published by the Al Jazeera TV in Qatar prove that the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank is acting on voiding the Right of Return of the Palestinian Refugees instead of achieving it. Chief Negotiator, Dr. Saeb Erekat, denies the claims, states Palestinian demands never changed.Barhoum stated that the readiness to drop this internationally guaranteed Right of Return prove that the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank is leading a negotiations process based on voiding national rights instead of acting on achieving them.
Barhoum further stated that the Palestinian negotiators do not represent the Palestinian people and are not authorized to negotiate on their behalf.
On the second day of its dedicated coverage on the refugees files, the Al Jazeera claimed that the negotiators, running under president Mahmoud Abbas, abandoned the Right of Return, and quoted chief Palestinian negotiator, Dr. Saeb Erekat, stating that any referendum on the issue will be conducted only by Palestinians living in the West Bank, Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.
He also allegedly stated that the return of the refugees will only be into the Palestinian state, and not to their cities, towns and villages that were destroyed during the creation of Israel in Palestine in 1948.
UN Special Middle East Coordinator for the Peace Process, Robert Serry, stated Monday that the Palestinian negotiators are committed to securing the legitimate rights of the Palestinian refugees.
Speaking to the Al Jazeera Sunday, Serry stated that the P.A did not offer ceding the Right of Return, and that the Palestinian leadership is committed to the national Palestinian rights, and committed to a peace deal based on International Law and all related United Nations resolutions.
On his part, Erekat stated that the Palestinian demands never changed in all 19 years of negotiations, and that the Palestinians seek the establishment of an independent state along the 1967 border, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
He also stated that the solution to the Refugees’ issue should be based on international legal rights, including United Nations – General Assembly resolution 194.
In related news, the Palestine News and Information Agency, WAFA, the official news agency of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, reported that dozens of Palestinians took off to the streets of Ramallah on Monday to protest the report of Al Jazeera.
The protestors allegedly torched large banner for Al Jazeera and compared the agency to Israel.
WAFA reported that the protestors tried to reach Al Jazeera headquarters in Ramallah but were stopped by the Police and the Security Forces.