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Prominent campaigner criticises ambassador’s statement on refugees’ right of return

May 24, 2018 at 4:34 pm

Dr Salman Abu Sitta seen at Middle East Monitor’s ‘Jerusalem: Legalising the Occupation’ conference in London, UK on 3 March, 2018 [Jehan Alfarra/Middle East Monitor]

Prominent Palestinian campaigner Dr Salman Abu Sitta has criticised statements made by Palestine’s representative to the United Nations in Geneva about refugees’ right of return, Safa has reported.

Ibrahim Khraishi said in a TV interview that the return of “five million refugees [to their homes] in Israel is unrealistic and impossible.” There are “political solutions” for this, he claimed.

Abu Sitta is the General Coordinator of the Right of Return Congress. He called on Palestinians and supporters of the Palestinian cause to denounce such “shameful” stances that not only contradict the Palestinians’ legitimate right of return but also conflict with international law. He warned against the consequences of such statements.

In a related development, Israel’s ambassador at the UN in Geneva told Swiss TV that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) prolongs the refugee problem and it must be abolished. The Israeli diplomat added that the Palestinian refugee problem must be referred to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees instead. According to Dr Abu Sitta, the Palestinian diplomat’s statements are consistent with his Israeli counterpart’s.

In a move critical of the current Palestinian leadership in Ramallah, the veteran campaigner called for the election of a new Palestinian National Council that truly represents the people of Palestine and defends their rights. “It is from such a council,” added Abu Sitta, “that a new, loyal leadership will emanate.”

A refugee’s journey from 1948 to the 2018 Great March of Return