Palestinian leaders stressed Thursday that they will not waive the right of return in peace negotiations with Israel following reports suggesting the White House is working on an outline for a Middle East peace plan.
According to the New York Times, the key principles on which the plan will be based are: A Palestinian state without the right of return, Jerusalem as the capital of both states, and an emphasis on Israel's security needs.
"We oppose any US peace plan which wants us to waive one of our most basic rights and that is the right of return for refugees," Fatah Central Committee Member Nabil Shaath said.
He also pointed to the lack of communication between Washington and the Palestinian Authority and lamented the postponement of the Quartet meeting. "Washington felt the Quartet statement would be in the interest of the Palestinians and decided to postpone the meeting to an unknown date," he added.
Other Palestinian leaders claim the problem lies in form rather than content. "It's not an official plan from Obama, it's nothing more than a speculation," PA spokesman Ghassan Khatib said. "We want to see something official," he stressed. Khatib said that Obama himself must come out with the plan.
Clinton and Obama. 'Plan must come from him directly' (Photo: Reuters)
The Palestinian spokesman also welcomed the leftist rally in
Tel Aviv held Thursday in which Israeli artists and academics called to welcome the Palestinian declaration of independence. "It's certainly a positive and important initiative which we are happy to see but one mustn't forget that the rightist government in Israel is doing other things – it does only what it wants."
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's call for
Israel and the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table has not been met kindly. Saeb Erekat responded by blaming Israel for the stalemate and said the US administration must stop treating it as if it were above the law.
Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of the PA to the United Nations addressed the Security Council recently and said that Israel had chosen to avoid consensus and is working in violation of international law while undermining the two-state solution.
During the debate, French ambassador Gerard Araud said a
number of European countries were considering recognizing a Palestinian state.