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Monday, May 16, 2005
Full Israeli Withdrawal Not Enough -"Palestinians Would Never Give up 'Right of Return'"

Abbas Calls for Just, Agreed upon Solution of Refugee Issue
PM Qurei: Palestinians Would Never Give up 'Right of Return'
16 May 2005

Palestine Media Center - PMC [Official arm of PA]

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on May 15 called for "a just and agreed
solution to the issue of refugees in line with (UN) Resolution 194,"
rejected resettlement of refugees in host countries, reminded that the "PLO
is still clinging to the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people," and
stressed the importance of creating a Palestinian state in accordance with
the UN resolutions.

"Peace must be based on the U.N. resolution that ensures the establishment
of a Palestinian state and a just solution to the refugee problem, as was
determined by the Arab peace initiative as well," he said.

"Peace, security and stability in the Middle East hinges on finding a just
solution for a just cause based on international legitimacy, (which is) the
right of our people to establish an independent state with Jerusalem as its
capital and to find a just and agreed solution to the issue of refugees in
line with (U.N. General Assembly) Resolution 194, (of 1949)" said Abbas in a
broadcast speech recorded before his current trip abroad.

Abbas rejected proposals to resettle Palestinian refugees in host countries.

"PLO is still clinging to the inalienable rights of the Palestinian People
and our people in refugees camps reject today, as in the past, all forms of
resettlement," WAFA quoted him as saying in a televised speech, in
commemoration of the 57th anniversary of Nakba.

"Palestinians reject the proposal of resettling the refugees in Arab
countries and their presence there is temporary," he added.

However Abbas called on the host countries to ensure basic civil rights for
the refugees, demanding they are granted the basic human rights to work and
travel freely.

"The Nakba and the disaster forced upon our people a life in refugee camps
without an identity, in the midst of oppression, despair, poverty, and
disease," Abbas said, adding: "The Palestinians have a homeland and it is
called Palestine."

Insisting that the Palestinian people will not accept the "historical
injustice," Abbas said that: "Our people will never forget and the
generations will never forget," that on 14 May 1948 "a crime was committed
against a people, who were uprooted from their land and whose existence was
destroyed and who were forced to flee to all areas of the world."

"The Palestinian people will never forget their sufferings inflicted by
Israel's destruction of their homes and denial of their right of return," he

Warning against the dangers of not solving the issue of refugees, he said
that: "The international community should understand the dangers of keeping
millions of refugees without hope and future."

Abbas also honored the memory of the Palestinian martyrs "who have irrigated
our homeland with their pure blood" and the "heroic Palestinians that are
behind bars as a result of their struggle for Palestine's independence."

Abbas is himself a refugee, born in the town of Safed in what is now
northern Israel.

Separately Abbas pledged in Japan Sunday "to fight all the plots aimed at
dismissing our nation and the Palestinian refugee issue from the Middle

The Palestinian leader arrived in Tokyo Sunday from Chile. Abbas on Saturday
left on a foreign tour to Brazil, Chile, Japan and China. His Asian tour
will reportedly include visits to Pakistan and India.

He is also scheduled to meet with the United States President George W. Bush
on May 26.

PM Qurei: We Would Never Give up Right of Return

Thousands of Palestinians took to the streets in the Gaza Strip and West
Bank Sunday to commemorate the 57th anniversary of the Al-Nakba
(Catastrophe) Day.

The Palestinian National Council (PNC) called for keeping national unity to
counter the Israeli occupation and aggression.

Echoing the PNC's appeal, Farouk Qadoumi, Secretary General of the ruling
Fatah movement, vowed to secure the refugees' right of return, and the
release of some 8,500 Palestinians held in the jails of the Israeli
Occupation Forces (IOF).

Meanwhile, addressing a special session of the Palestinian Legislative
Council (PLC) to commemorate the Nakba, Prime Minister Ahmad Qurei similarly
said that the Palestinian people would never give up the right of return and
also criticized the Arab world for its lack of support for the Palestinian

"Today we face a political battle against the silence of the Arab world and
the international indifference to our cause," Qurei told deputies.

"Our wound is still bleeding 57 years later," with hope for a solution
fading as Israel had ruled out any refugee return and is tightening its
occupation of the West Bank, he added.

"We will never give up the legitimate right of having a fair solution to the
issue of the refugees based on UN resolutions. We will never surrender our
legitimate right to end the Israeli occupation and aggression, stop
(Israeli) settlement expansion and the construction of the separation wall,"
he confirmed.

"Jerusalem is under occupation, facing great danger, (West Bank) settlements
are expanding daily, the separation wall is strangling our land and peace
(hopes) are faltering," Qurie told the Palestinian parliament.

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