The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, is facing widespread condemnation and anger in the Palestinian territories and abroad after he publicly waived his right to return to live in the town from which his family was forced to flee in 1948, a repudiation of huge significance for Palestinian refugees.
After his image was burned in refugee camps in Gaza, Abbas rejected accusations that he had conceded one of the most emotional and visceral issues on the Palestinian agenda, the demand by millions of refugees to return to their former homes in what is now Israel.
Abbas told Channel 2 he accepted he had no right to live in Safed, the town of his birth, from which his family was forced to flee in 1948 when Abbas was 13.
“I visited Safed before once, he said. “But I want to see Safed. It’s my right to see it, but not to live there.”
( Excerpt from the Guardian)
So what we have here is the so called ‘legitimate’ representation of the Palestinian will waving away the fundamental right all hold dear. As a man in a position of power Abbas would of course know the implications of such a statement. It is not enough he is backtracking now claiming ‘Abbas’s comments had been misconstrued’ or that it was but a ‘personal opinion’. The fact remains it did have and is having wider implications.
Shimon Peres president of Israel, said Abbas’s comments were a “brave and important public declaration”.
Israel’s defense, minister Ehud Barak, described Abbas’s remarks as courageous and clear.
When the enemy of your people is pouring praise on your supposed leader there’s a serious problem at hand, one Gazan citizens headed by venting frustration by demonstrating and burning posters.
The only shred of sanity, reason or even logic came from the legitimate authority in Gaza
Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas ruler in Gaza, said the issue was not about Abbas’s right to return to Safed but “the rights of 6 million Palestinians”.
He said in a statement: “No one has the right, whoever he is – a common man or president, organisation, a government or authority – to give up an inch of Palestinian land.”