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PFLP condemns Abbas remarks on return

Nov. 3, 2012 10:52 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 4, 2012 2:01 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine joined Hamas on Saturday condemning remarks by President Mahmoud Abbas to an Israeli TV channel.

The leftist faction said Abbas' apparent surrender of his right to return to his childhood village Safed conflicted with PLO resolutions affirming the right of return and self-determination.

PFLP leader Rabah Mhanna said: “Abbas doesn’t have the right to surrender on these principles ... Abbas with his remarks lives in a dreamland and tries to beg for the American and Israeli position to hope to gain something”.

The PFLP official called on the PLO executive committee and central council to rebuke the president.

He said the Palestinian people would hold to their principles of the right of return and self-determination and to establish a democratic Palestinian state.

Abbas was asked by Israel's Channel 2 TV whether he wanted to live in Safed, his boyhood town in the Galilee region of what had been British-ruled Palestine and is now northern Israel.

"I visited Safed before once. But I want to see Safed. It's my right to see it, but not to live there," Abbas answered, speaking in English from the West Bank city of Ramallah.

"Palestine now for me is '67 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. This is now and forever ... This is Palestine for me. I am (a) refugee, but I am living in Ramallah. I believe that (the) West Bank and Gaza is Palestine and the other parts (are) Israel."

Palestinian refugees demand that as many as five million of their compatriots be granted the right to return to lands in Israel that they fled or were driven from in 1948.

Israel rules this out, and argues the refugees should resettle in a future Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, territories it occupied in the 1967 war.

In Gaza, Hamas denounced Abbas, saying he spoke only for himself.

"No Palestinian would accept ceding the right of our people to return to homes, villages and towns from which they were displaced," said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri.

"If Abu Mazen (Abbas) does not want Safed, Safed would be honored not to host people like him."
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