Abbas Sparks Protests With Israel Comments
Seemingly innocuous remarks stir right of return passions
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Nov 5, 2012 9:45 AM CST
Palestinians march during a protest against president Mahmoud Abbas in the Jabaliya Refugee Camp, northern Gaza Strip, Nov. 3, 2012.   (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

(Newser) – Protests broke out across the Gaza Strip this weekend, with angry Palestinians burning Mahmoud Abbas' picture in protest, as pundits and rival politicians denounced him as a traitor, all over what, to an outside observer, might sound like less-than-outrageous remarks. In a Friday interview on Israeli TV, Abbas was asked if he'd want to return to the northern Israeli city he was born in. Only to visit, Abbas replied; he wouldn't want to live in Israel.

Palestinians read the remark as a concession on the emotional "right of return" issue, the New York Times explains—Palestinians want the right to return to their pre-1948 homelands. Abbas yesterday clarified that he was speaking personally, and that the rights of refugees were "a sacred matter," but the topic had already caught fire, and could complicate his bid for UN recognition. Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed the remarks as unimportant, the Jerusalem Post reports. "This only proves the importance of direct negotiations without preconditions," he said. "I am ready to start negotiations today."

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Nov 5, 2012 6:20 PM CST
The reason that Israel is delaying the peace agreement is that they want more time to occupy more Palestinian land and build more settlements so that when the negotiations start, they will have more settlements and more land in Palestinian territory that will belong to them. Scumbags
Nov 5, 2012 1:11 PM CST
dear PLATO we always act in accord with our Am best this case, you dislike Israel so you think we are not doing so. On the other hand, what has your statement to do with the post itself? Am policy may be behind this in part but specifically this has to do with Abbas, his people, and his statement.
Nov 5, 2012 1:03 PM CST
It would be in the best interest of our country {U. S.} to seriously reevaluate our relationship with the country of Israel. All of our governments efforts should be toward the best interest of U. S. citizens.