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Abbas: Israel agreed to let refugees into West Bank from Syria

Jan. 21, 2013 6:55 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 23, 2013 4:34 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israel agreed to allow 150,000 Palestinian refugees in Syria to return to the West Bank, President Mahmoud Abbas said in an interview with Al-Mayadeen satellite channel on Monday.

The offer was reportedly made last week, but Abbas rejected an Israeli condition which would force refugees to sign a statement saying that they would give up the right of return to Israel, according to The Associated Press.

The president said it was better to die in Syria than give up the right of return, The AP reported.

In a two-hour interview Monday with the Beirut-based Al-Mayadeen, Abbas said efforts were ongoing to return secretary-general of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine Nayif Hawatmeh from Syria to Palestine.

The president also discussed veteran Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat and said there were plots to kill the PLO official. Israel has exerted great efforts to get rid of Erekat, who "knows more information than he should know," Abbas said.

Abbas also defended his doctoral thesis about the relationship between Zionists and the Nazi party in Germany, saying he "challenges anyone who can deny that the Zionist movement had ties with the Nazis before World War II."

Speaking about his own party Fatah, Abbas said the movement should awaken.

The Palestinian people, said Abbas, have waited long, and in return they were awarded meagerly. "The question of Palestine is a big question to the world, a great question to the Arabs, and a question of life and existence to the Palestinians."
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