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DFLP: PA contacts Israel to allow exiled chief to return

Feb. 3, 2013 10:00 A.M. (Updated: Feb. 4, 2013 5:29 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority has asked Israel to allow the exiled secretary general of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine to return to the West Bank from Syria, a DFLP official said Sunday.

Senior DFLP leader Qais Abdel Karim, or Abu Leila, told Ma'an that Israel has not responded so far to the PA's requests to allow Nayif Hawatmah to return to the West Bank.

Hawatmah is the last veteran PLO leader still in exile.

Karim dismissed reports that Israel had stipulated that the DFLP renounce armed struggle before Hawatmah could return, adding that the DFLP chief has a Palestinian identity card which should allow him entry to the West Bank, but Israel refuses to activate it.

"Most Democratic Front members who have Palestinian identity cards are living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and a number of them abroad and they all have a national number and can return whenever they wish," Karim said.

Hawatmah, 84, co-founded the Arab Nationalist Movement and played a major role in initiating the Palestinian revolution. He founded the DFLP in 1969 and was known as the "philosopher of the Palestinian revolution."
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