NEWS

Restricted return of refugees is foreseen in document

Your text makes no mention of the right of return of Palestinian refugees. Isn’t this a major concession on your part, but also from the point of view of international law? When we agreed to the «two-state solution» 20 or 30 years ago, we recognized that the future Palestinian state would be the homeland of Palestinians and Israel the homeland of the Israelis. This was the «historical compromise.» That means that the Palestinian state should assume its basic responsibility for solving the problem of the refugees, with the support of international community and of Israel. We tried to find a practical and pragmatic approach to the question of the refugees. Ours is the first document which mentions Security Council Resolution 194, accepted by both sides, and the Arab League initiative in Beirut that is in favor of an agreed-upon solution to the refugee question. Our plan provides for the return of a limited number of refugees to Israel and a return to the Palestinian state. In addition, within the framework of the exchange of territories with Israel, we have planned the creation of a new town, near Gaza and Hebron, to help absorb a certain percentage of Palestinian refugees. Of course it is a very difficult problem, a very difficult compromise, but I believe that the solution we propose is the best that can be achieved. Israel, even with the best Israelis we have, would not accept anything more than this solution.