Peres hails Abbas refugee comments

2012-11-03 21:45

Jerusalem - Israeli President Shimon Peres on Saturday saluted as "courageous" remarks by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in which he appears to relinquish Palestinian refugees' right to return to their former homes in what is now Israel.

"Abu Mazen's courageous words prove that Israel has a real partner for peace," Peres said in a statement, using the name by which the Palestinian president is informally known in Arabic.

In an interview broadcast on Friday night by Israeli commercial TV station Channel 2, Abbas said that he had no intention of trying to regain his childhood home in the northern town of Safed in Galilee, today located inside Israel.

"I want to see Safed," he said in English. "It's my right to see it but not to live there."

In a direct pitch to Israeli viewers, apparently aimed at assuaging their concerns ahead of a Palestinian bid to seek upgraded UN status, he reiterated his acceptance of the Israeli state within the borders that preceded its occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day war.

"Palestine for me now is '67 borders with east Jerusalem as its capital," he told Channel 2. "This is Palestine for me. I am a refugee, I am living in Ramallah, I believe that the West Bank and Gaza is Palestine and the other parts are Israel."

Abbas was born in Safed in 1935 in what was then British-ruled Palestine. With the founding of the Jewish state in 1948, he fled into exile along with hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs.

"These are significant words," Peres said. "We must all treat them with the utmost respect.

"These positions stand exactly in line with those of Israel and with the clear majority of the population, which supports the solution of two states for two peoples. This is a brave and important public declaration."

The militant Islamic group Hamas, which has said that it will never recognise Israel, has condemned Abbas's comments and called for protest rallies later on Saturday throughout the Gaza Strip.

  • fred.fraser.12 - 2012-11-03 22:30

    The fewer unelected dictators there are in the region, using the Palestinians for their own internal political ploys, the greater the chance for peace.

      ali.asgar.58323 - 2012-11-03 23:13

      Hosni mubaarak was an unelected dictator and the greatest friend of israel among the traitors in the arab world. Israel is still crying over his loss. I think what you mean is that you want dictators if they can serve israel. That's why you are hell bent on destroying Syria because Syria is the LAST ARAB CASTLE still standing.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-11-03 23:48

      You assume based on your own prejudices and mid perceptions. It's more than tragic that you would want Syrians and their families to be detained, tortured, raped and killed by a brutal, unelected dictator trying to hold onto unelected power.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-11-04 02:57

      As a South African, you should know better than to support the brutal oppression of the Syrian people by a minority, unelected, self-serving government. The castle you see in Syria, like the Apartheid castle, is rotten to the core, destined to fall, to the benefit of the Syrian people and Arabs the world over.

  • fidel.mgoqi - 2012-11-04 07:22

    This Right of Return (RoR) issue is confusing . A Caucasian Jew from Poland, Australia or Canada whose family has never set foot in Israel, has a right to return to Israel, but an Arab Semite whose roots to the Holy land dates back thousand years, some still holding keys and title deeds to their homes stolen by the invading Europeans is not allowed to return to his home. Good morning Larry and Adam.Jackson!

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-11-04 09:03

      How silly of me to think that the comments section beneath an article about the Right of Return was the appropriate place to post comments about Right of Return. I apologise unreservedly! - 2012-11-04 09:15

      Those pictures of 'keys' are nothing more than mocked propaganda... The fact that some local Arabs lost property in a war that was started by Arabs and won by Israel, is sad, but that is life.. One can not start a war then cry once their gamble to murder and drown all the Jews of Israel does not succeed. Many Arabs hover did not leave their homes as they were asked by the invading Arab armies who promised to kill the Jews. Those Arabs who did not leave are the ONLY Arabs in the Middle East who have been voting in Israeli elections (or any elections) the last 60 years and will continue to, because they are part and parcel of what is the democratic state of Israel. Some of these Arabs serve in the IDF, some are lawyers, Judges, Knesset members, fire-fighters, police-men, taxi drivers and business owners. Jews, Muslims and Christians share full rights and freedoms under Israeli law - even though Israeli law is tested over and over by murderous Arab regimes and racists like you fidel, however there is no doubt that if you ask any Arab where he/she would rather live they will undoubtedly tell you that they prefer Israeli democracy to the dozens of Arab regimes that surround Israel in the same way as Muslim asylum seekers try and get into Israel rather then the 50 Muslim countries on planet earth – Lastly I too salute Abbas on his decision to look to a peaceful path to peace between the two states rather then a murderous one like Hamas. - 2012-11-04 10:03

      A Caucasian Jew from Poland, Australia or Canada whose family has never set foot in Israel, has a right to go to Israel as much as a Jew from Morocco, Iraq or Iran because there is only one State that is ‘Jewish’ on the planet. There are around a hundred Christian states, fifty Muslim states, a few Buddhist and Hindu ones too some even claim atheism - there is only one Jewish fidel – we know you want them to suffer but they are stronger then you today – and they make sure they stronger then you by developing the most amazing scientific, biological and industrial advancements that assures they remain on the cutting edge of technology and progress. The Jews have roots to the land 3000 years before Arabs discovered Islam. Jews have every right to call Israel home. One does not ask questions of British Muslims or Australian Muslims when going to Mecca right? Well only racists ask those questions of Jews when going to Israel, racists like you fidel. Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Koran once – yet it is mentioned in the Jewish Torah hundreds of times. It is racists like you who make the following statement true; If Holocaust, pogroms and radical Islam is the question, then Israel is the answer. The ONLY answer. Have a good weekend fidel.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-11-04 10:42

      This perpetual trauma and victimhood mentality by most Jewish commentors is pathetic, and is always accompanied by accusations of anti-Semitism, racism and the rest of the nonsense about how Jews "invented walking upright". It serves only one purpose, to stifle debate and divert attention away from the points being discussed, in this case, the Right of Return. It's an interesting grief coping mechanism that am sure future generations will study and marvel at how a strong country like Israel was able to pull this of. Have a good weekend as well Doberman, whatever is left of it!

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-11-04 15:05

      Fidel, having your superior upbringing and free education in a Jewish home, as one of the kids while your mommy did the dishes and ironing, what is your coping mechanism now that your childhood friends and benefactors have moved on and you are now alone in the world?

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-11-04 16:07

      Nothing relevant to add to the thread then?...makes a change.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-11-04 16:12

      Israel was created in 1948 from 52% of the land formerly occupied by the Jewish and Palestinian people, and Palestine 43%. Most of the Israeli territory was the Negev Desert. Jerusalem fell into neither territory.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-11-04 16:13

      The issue that is most confusing is that you believe Nelson Mandela is a phony, a lackey of the West, a modern-day Uncle Tom.

  • raf.gangat.5 - 2012-11-04 12:07

    HERE IS MY TAKE ON THIS ISSUE....and as a South African I live in the Holy land of Conflict.

  • Rashida Patel - 2012-11-04 12:08

    Abbas another idiot of arab leader. ....why say anything true when he has good life with apartheid money bribes..he never cared for his people anyway. At haniyyah does

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-11-04 16:13

      Israel was created in 1948 from 52% of the land formerly occupied by the Jewish and Palestinian people, and Palestine 43%. Most of the Israeli territory was the Negev Desert. Jerusalem fell into neither territory. Palestinians with their unelected, self-serving neighbors declared war on Israel the very next day. In the 1960's they even invaded Israel twice. Full military invasions. The result: Israel survived and pushed them back, gaining territory in the process. This is the origin of what you wrongly call "stealing land". There have been almost daily attacks by Palestinians, incited by their self-serving unelected backers. Palestinians even teach their children at Kindergarten to attack Israel, rather than be peaceful. Children. Kindergarten. From day one, and even today it's wage war on Israel. Israel defends herself. Yes sometimes going too far, which is unacceptable, but self-defense nonetheless. All that needs to happen is for Palestinians to choose peace side by side with Israel. This is more likely going forward now because the unelected dictators are being removed from power by their people, one by one. They will no longer use the Palestinians for their own internal political ploys.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-11-04 16:14

      The chances that there'd be peace with you as a leader would be strongly negative.

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