For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
Arlene Kushner Center for Near East Policy Research 03 September '10
Of primary interest when examining the position of the Palestinian Authority with regard to the “right of return” is the stand of Mahmoud Abbas (aka Abu Mazen), president of the PA.
Abbas’s position on the matter is of long-standing and far precedes his presidency.
In 2000, as Secretary General of the PLO Executive Committee, he wrote about the issues confronted in Camp David. As to the “right of return,” he said:
“We encountered, and will encounter in the future, fierce resistance on this subject from the Israeli government, because the bottom line is that [the return of refugees] means altering the demographic character [of Israel] that the Israelis hope to preserve.
“...It is noteworthy in this matter, and this is also what we clarified to the Israelis, that the Right of Return means a return to Israel and not to the Palestinian State... When we talk about the Right of Return, we talk about the return of refugees to Israel, because Israel was the one who deported them and it is in Israel that their property is found...”
In 2003, he told heads and leaders of the Popular Councils in the Gaza Strip Refugee Camps:
"Peace will not be achieved without the refugees getting back their sacred rights, which cannot be touched... It is the individual right of every refugee, and no one can reach an agreement in this matter without his consent."
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"