Photo: AP
Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh
Photo: AP

Palestinian PM says no compromise on refugee rights

Haniyeh urges Arab leaders meeting at Riyadh summit not to compromise on Palestinian refugees’ right to return to homes in what is now Israel

Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh urged Arab leaders meeting at a summit in Riyadh on Wednesday not to compromise on the Palestinian refugees' right to return to their homes in what is now Israel.


Haniyeh, who is also leader of the Islamist Hamas movement, told Reuters in an interview, his group would not oppose an Arab peace initiative which the summit is expected to relaunch, but would not give in on the Palestinian refugees' right of return.


"What concerns me more than anything else ... is not to compromise on the fundamental Palestinian rights, foremost being the right of return.


"I expect the Arab summit meeting in Riyadh to reiterate the Arab countries' commitment not to compromise in any way on the Palestinian refugees right of return under any circumstances," Haniyeh said ahead of the summit meeting due to open shortly.


Haniyeh also said that there has been “a lot of progress” with regards to the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.


“Everyone who has met with our representatives, including the Russians and the Norwegians, insisted on the Shalit issue, and we are complying with their appeal,” Haniyeh said. 


A final draft resolution calls for a "just solution" to the problem of Palestinian refugees who fled their homes in 1948 but avoids any mention of the phrase "right of return" for Palestinian refugees, which Israel has strongly argued against.


At the summit, Arab kings and heads of state will revive an Arab plan for peace with Israel in an effort to end a conflict with Israel seen at the heart of the region's problems.


The peace plan is set to offer the Jewish state normal ties with all Arab countries if it fully withdraws from land it occupied in 1967, accepts a Palestinian state and agrees to a "just solution" for Palestinian refugees.


פרסום ראשון: 03.28.07, 12:43
 new comment
This will delete your current comment