Nov. 6, 2012
Abbas spokesman: "The purpose of the interview on Israeli TV was to
influence Israeli public opinion."
Abbas: "I never gave up and never will give up the right of return."
What was said about Safed was "a personal position."
Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
p:+972 2 625 4140 e: email@example.com
f: +972 2 624 2803 w: www.palwatch.org
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was recently interviewed on
Israeli TV (Channel 2), where he talked about the final status agreement
with Israel. During the interview, he said that the future borders of a
Palestinian state should be the 1967 borders (i.e., before the Six Day War).
He also stated that he would like to visit his hometown of Safed, but that
he has no desire to live there since it is part of Israel. These statements
contradict the messages that are repeated again and again by senior
Palestinian officials and transmitted by the government-controlled PA media.
Following the interview, Abbas' spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeina, said that "a
TV interview does not mean negotiations. The purpose of [Abbas'] interview
on Israeli TV [Channel 2] was to influence Israeli public opinion."
The official PA newspaper reported that Abbas himself was quick to clarify
what he said. In an interview with an Egyptian TV channel, he stressed that
he "never did - nor will he ever - give up the right of return [for
Palestinian refugees]" and that what he said about Safed was his own
Palestinian Media Watch has documented the Palestinian Authority's policy of
denying Israel's right to exist.
Click to view Abbas' interview with Israel TV 2 (cited parts are in
The following are the translations of Abu Rudeina and Abbas' statements, as
reported in the official PA daily:
"The president's [Abbas'] spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeina... said: 'The
President and the Palestinian leadership will not agree to a state with
temporary borders, and those who agree to a temporary state forsake the
right of [Palestinian refugees'] return (he hints at Hamas, -Ed.), do harm
to national principles, and bring disaster for Palestinian generations in
In a press release yesterday, Abu Rudeina added... that the right of return
and the refugee issue are among the still outstanding final-status issues to
be negotiated with the Israelis, as are the questions of borders and water.
He noted: 'We are committed to the national principles as confirmed by the
[Palestinian] National Council (the legislative body of the PLO, -Ed.) in
this matter. There is nothing new in our position on this matter.'
Abu Rudeina noted that 'a TV interview does not mean negotiations. The
purpose of [Abbas'] interview on Israeli TV [Channel 2] (broadcast on Nov.
3, 2012) was to influence Israeli public opinion.'"
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Nov. 4, 2012]
Headline: "The President: I never gave up on and never will give up on the
right of return. The attack on me began even before the interview."
"President Mahmoud Abbas said that he never did - nor will he ever - give
up the right of return [for Palestinian refugees], and the attack on him
based on parts of his statements in an Israeli Channel 2 interview Friday
[Nov. 3, 2012] began before the interview was broadcast in full.
Interviewed from the Jordanian capital on the Egyptian Al-Hayat channel
yesterday, Saturday, President Abbas said, 'All the reactions and commentary
came before the interview was broadcast. The attack on me began before
anyone saw the interview in full. That's a biased approach used by some in
the media, especially Al-Jazeera and some factions who go 'fishing in
I'm no hypocrite, and what I say to the Palestinian people is no different
from what I say to Israeli people or Americans or anyone else.'
The President added: 'In 1988 the Palestinian National Council (the
legislative body of the PLO) recognized UN resolutions 242 and 338, and that
decision has been confirmed time and time again... All Palestinians agree to
the two-state solution with a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders.
Hamas and the [Islamic] Jihad agree to that. In the most recent
reconciliation agreement [between Fatah and Hamas] in Cairo, the 1967
borders were agreed upon, as was the process of non-violent, popular
resistance, and holding elections... There is no problem in agreeing to June
1967 borders and to East Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian State.
All Arab and Islamic states are agreed on this.'
The President explained: 'What I said about Safed was my own personal
position, and it did not mean giving up the right of return.
No one can give up the right of return, since all international records and
Arab or Islamic resolutions speak explicitly of a fair and agreed upon
solution to the refugee problem, in accordance with resolution 194.
The expression 'agreed upon' means [agreed upon] with the Israeli side.'
He added: 'The six core issues, the refugee issue being one of them, will be
put on the table in the final stage [of negotiations], in accordance with
the principles of international bodies.
The refugee issue [will be dealt with] on the basis of Resolution 194, and
it will be brought to a referendum. The people will either approve it or
Resolution 194 speaks explicitly of the right to return or - for those who
choose not to return - to receive compensation.
The [right to] return, then, is fundamental.
Also, the Arab peace initiative speaks explicitly of a just and agreed upon
solution to the refugee problem, in accordance with the resolution mentioned
The President went on to say: 'From its beginning, I thought the second
Intifada (PA terror campaign 2000-2005 against Israel) was a mistake, and
that we should not continue it because it was armed.
At the time, my opinion ran counter to popular opinion, and when I ran for
election I stated that I opposed the armed Intifada and supported
negotiations and peaceful resistance. To this day I believe there should be
no armed Intifada.
All factions have agreed to popular resistance, and even in Gaza they shoot
at those who fire missiles... The use of weapons is a violent act, and I do
not want to use violence because I don't believe in that. That's a lost
battle against Israel, but popular resistance has a positive effect in
building world solidarity with us.
I've said it over and over, and I say again: There is no armed Intifada
during my administration...
Our nation has agreed, by way of its representatives, to peaceful popular
resistance, including representatives of the [Palestinian] movements in
Damascus like Ahmed Jibril, As-Sa'iqa and the others, as well as it includes
Hamas and the [Islamic] Jihad. They all stress peaceful popular resistance.
And should the people decide otherwise, I'll either accept it or not....'
The President stressed that the Palestinian leadership will apply for
non-member state status at the U.N. in spite of American threats and heavy
pressure, during the current month (November 2012), or after the sixth of
the month, to be more exact. He stressed that he is convinced that this
step will prove successful, based on the fact that most countries in the
world recognize a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders - a fact that angers
Israel and those who stand with it."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Nov. 4, 2012]