Palestinians: Eight Million Refugees Must Return to Israel – Khaled Abu Toameh
PA President Mahmoud Abbas is facing criticism from Palestinian refugees for saying that he does not want to “flood” Israel with millions of refugees. Dr. Esam Udwan, an expert on refugee affairs, said, “Who said that there are only five million refugees? The real number is eight million. Abbas mentioned the five million who are registered with UNRWA and benefit from its services. But there are millions of others who do not receive services from UNRWA and are not registered with it. This does not mean that they should be denied the right of return.”
Ali Huwaidi, another expert on Palestinian affairs, said, “Our refugees will not accept any alternative to their right to return to their homeland and we do not care what Abbas’ position is.” Many Palestinians said that Abbas was not authorized to make any concessions or speak on behalf of the refugees.
The reactions to Abbas’ statements show that any agreement that Abbas reaches with Israel under U.S. pressure will not signal the end of the conflict. They also show that millions of Palestinians continue to believe that one day they will be allowed to move to Israel, regardless of whether or not a Palestinian state is established in the West Bank. (Gatestone Institute)
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