Tuesday, May 07, 2002
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By Our Special Correspondent
"While it is true that every Palestinian shall have the right to return to an independent Palestine, this should not be misinterpreted by readers to mean relinquishing the right of return for refugees.''
According to the ambassador, "the right of return of refugees is a sacred right that has been enshrined in all norms and conventions of international law. Palestinians are no exception to that, as no Palestinian can negate this sacred right without individual consent.''
"Every Palestinian'', he said, "shall have the right to return to the State of Palestine, once it is established, and as he chooses. But this right should not pre-empt the principle of the right of refugees to their indigenous homes, again if they decide to choose so.''
Recognition of the right of return of Palestinian refugees as reaffirmed in international laws and conventions and endorsed by the UNGA resolution 194 (1948) is a pre-requisite to any settlement of the refugee problem.
This resolution resolved that "the refugees wishing to return to their homes, should be permitted to do so at the earliest...and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return.''
"On the basis of these two principles: Repatriation and compensation, modalities can be worked out through a well-constructed and time framed mode of negotiations to reach a final settlement without necessarily altering the Jewish character of Israel'', he said.
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