Saturday, November 3, 2012

Abbas aides say Hamas outrage over right of return unfounded

"Where, after all, do universal human rights begin?"

Abbas aides say Hamas outrage over right of return unfounded
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas' aides hit back Saturday against accusations from Hamas that the president had given up on the right of return in an interview with Israeli TV.

As Hamas premier Ismail Haniyeh reiterated his condemnation of Abbas' remarks, political adviser Nimr Hammad noted that Haniyeh's party also accepted the two-state solution.

Abbas was asked by Israel's Channel 2 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, in the interview broadcast on Friday.

"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."

Hamas immediately criticized the comments as undermining Palestinian refugees' claim to their land, from which they were driven or fled during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

After Friday prayers, Haniyeh again slammed Abbas' remarks as dangerous.

"Abbas doesn’t have the right to surrender a Palestinian, Arabic and Islamic state which is still under Israeli occupation," he said in Gaza.

"No one has the right to surrender one span of Palestinian land and the right of return to our homes."

But Hammad said Abbas was referring to his project to establish a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, which Hamas has also indicated that it supports.

The right of return is sanctioned by international law, and the status of refugees after Palestinian independence will be decided in peace talks with Israel, he said.

"What was said is what is going to happen when the state of Palestine is established alongside Israel, and therefore the president never mentioned the word giving up the right of return," he told official PA news agency Wafa.

He criticized Hamas for "selling illusions to our people" by protesting Abbas' comments about Safed.

He urged "the reasonable and nationalist leaders in Hamas not to let the illusion-sellers play with the fate of our people, because they are looking for any excuse to maintain the division (between Hamas and Abbas' Fatah party)."

Meanwhile, presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudaineh said in a Ma'an TV interview that Abbas' point was that he will not accept a state with temporary borders, hence speaking clearly about the borders of a future Palestinian state.

"To accept a temporary state means to give up the right of return and national principles," he said.

Abu Rudaineh also had harsh words for Hamas, blaming them for stirring up trouble to cover their own "secret" political strategy, as he described it.

"This storm has been created by certain groups who want to provoke public opinions in order to overthrow the legitimate government and create an internal conflict," he said.

"This will only benefit certain groups who negotiate with Israel secretly and then come on TV to accuse the Palestinian leadership, just to cover up what they themselves are doing in secret."

Abbas' interview with Israeli TV was a not a negotiating table, but rather aimed to influence Israeli public opinion, the spokesman said.

My letter to the Independent RE Palestinians furious with Abbas for giving up refugees’ right to return

RE: Palestinians furious with Abbas for giving up refugees’ right to return

Dear Sir,

I firmly believe that a fully secular two state solution to once and for all end the Israel-Palestine conflict and the very real plight of the Palestinians is the best way forward... and within that framework full respect for every refugee's right to return is crucially important.

I think it is wrong to use the right of return as a weapon of war. The right of return should be- must be an instrument of peace and justice: The right to return is a very civilized and compassionate universal basic human right- and so is the right to leave.   If Palestine's President Abbas said he planned to return to live in Safed, the hill town in the northern region of Galilee, where he was born in 1935, he'd be applying for Israeli citizenship rather than building a Palestinian state.

Palestine's President Abbas has the right to return and he has the right to resettle elsewhere and he has the right to think for himself and come to his own conclusions about what kind of future he wants to build, and where he wants to invest his time and talents.  I think he sets a good example by investing in Palestine.

Anne Selden Annab


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The Office of International Religious Freedom ( the U.S. commitment to religious freedom, and to the international covenants that guarantee it as the inalienable right of every human being, the United States seeks to:
Promote freedom of religion and conscience throughout the world as a fundamental human right and as a source of stability for all countries

"Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home - so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world."Eleanor Roosevelt

The Golden Rule... Do unto others as you would have them do unto you

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Balfour Declaration of 1917

".... it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine..."