It is not only the Trump administration that wants to alter, to the point of negating, the Palestinian right of return. On Tuesday, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas made statements that conform to the scheming of Israel and the US. Apart from insisting upon a future demilitarised Palestinian state, Abbas also clarified that he does not envisage a Palestinian right of return that would alter Israel’s demography.
The comments were made during a meeting organised by the PLO’s Palestinian Committee for Interaction with Israeli Society, in which influential Israelis were present, including retired Mossad officer Ari Shuali, according to the Times of Israel. Abbas’s comments were said to have been confirmed by a Palestinian official who asked to remain anonymous. The only contention raised by the PA official was over the terminology used by Abbas who, he said, “Does not want to ‘drown’ Israel with refugees” as opposed to the previously reported “destroy Israel”. The end result, which remained obscured from reports, is the destruction of the Palestinian right of return.
Abbas’s remarks are not without precedent. On several occasions, he has sought to downplay the importance of Palestinian refugees, eliminating the fact that it is the forcibly displaced population which embodies Palestinian history and memory. In 2014, he also considered the deployment of NATO forces on the borders of a hypothetical future Palestinian state. Now, Abbas has stated that he “supports the deployment of American forces along the borders between Israel and a future Palestinian state.” Read more.