Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, September 2008
Abbas and Olmert reach a 12-point agreement framework, Hamas slams Abbas for giving up the Right of Return
Abbas and Olmert reach a 12-point agreement framework
A Qatar based newspaper published on Saturday a 12-point document said to be agreed upon between the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
Al-Sharq newspaper said that the document is a framework for an agreement to be signed before the end of 2008 or even prior to the United States elections in November.
Among the important points of this document is that Palestinians would give up the right of return for the Palestinian refugees who were dispossessed from their land in 1948 by the Jewish prestate militias.
On the other hand, Ahmed Qurie, the chief Palestinian negotiator and Dr. Sa’eb Ereikat, chair of the negotiations’ department stated that no agreement has been reached and this is meant to absorb the expected rejection of such an agreement.
The document explains that only 15 to 20 thousand refugees will be allowed back to their land on a 10-year timetable, however, they are not allowed to return with their children and grand children.
This means that people aged 60 – 80 would constitute the majority of the returnees. According to the newspaper, Abbas told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, “We understand that if we demand that all the five million refugees return to their land, Israel will collapse, therefore we must reach a compromise on the issue and we need to know the number of returnees that can be acceptable by Israelis.”
“We must also stress that Israel must live up to its responsibility for the refugee problem before we can discuss the refugees issue. Besides, those who will not return to Israel may return to Palestine, and if they decide not to return, they must be compensated wherever they are,” Abbas added.
The second highlight issue was the borders. Israel demands to keep 5 percent of the West Bank land under its control, in exchange of a road to connect the West Bank with Gaza Strip. The percentage does not include Jerusalem, which means that Israel will keep control over Jerusalem and 5 percent of the West Bank.
As for settlements, Israel will keep the major settlement blocs (built illegally on Palestinian lands), especially Ma’ale Adumim, east of Jerusalem, in exchange, Palestinians will get some land, in the Negev desert to be annexed to the Gaza Strip.
As for Jerusalem, Israeli Minister of Defense Ehud Barak refused to discuss Jerusalem, while Olmert agreed to allow the establishment of a Palestinian capital on some of the Jerusalem neighborhoods on the eastern side of the city.
Such points were a result of pressure by the US secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who has recently visited the region. According to the newspaper, Abbas added “We do not want one state for two people”.
He described those who call for one state as “desperate.” Abbas added that Israelis should recognize the Palestinians as partners in everything and that they are human, if this is not the case, and if Israelis would not end the military occupation in Palestine, no Israeli would feel safe.”
The Palestinian president stated that Gaza and the West Bank should be unified politically but this will not happen by force.
Abbas is scheduled to meet with US President George W. Bush in on September 26 in Washington. Abbas, says the newspaper, will not leave office after his term is over in January 2009.
According to the Palestinian constitution the president should be elected every four years. Abbas was elected president in January 2005, nine years after the first presidential election in which the late President Yasser Arafat was elected in 1996.
Hamas slams Abbas for giving up the Right of Return
The Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, slammed the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, for not demanding the Palestinian Right of Return in a framework he reached with Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, in which it states that the Palestinians would give up the Right of Return to their homeland which they were displaced from by Zionist militias in 1948.
The movement said that any agreement which disregards the basic rights of the Palestinians, and their internationally-guaranteed Right of Return will not be accepted by the Palestinian people.
Fawzi Barhoum, Hamas media spokesperson, said in a press statement on Saturday that voiding the Right of Return is the result of secret talks with the “Zionist enemy” and completely nullifies the Palestinian struggle and sacrifices over the years.
Barhoum added that no one is allowed to void the Right of Return or any fundamental issue which affects the Palestinian people, and added that the refugees have the right to return to their homeland.
“Abbas is turning his back to millions of displaced Palestinians”, Barhoum said, “Abbas is turning his back on the national consensus and is going with the American-Zionist agendas”.
The Hamas leader also said that the outcome of the secret or non-secret talks with Israel is very dangerous and will not be accepted by the Palestinian people who will resist and foil these agendas”.
He considered the talks between Abbas and Israel as a “crime against the Palestinian people” and added that the Palestinians will not recognize the outcome of these talks.
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