US migration offer enrages Palestinians

PressTV – Tue Jan 25, 2011 5:28PM

Some Palestinian refugees still keep the original keys and title deeds to their homes occupied by Israel.
Palestinians have condemned a US suggestion to settle Palestinian refugees in Argentina and Chile rather than letting them return to their homes in the occupied West Bank.

The Palestinians argued that shipping displaced Palestinians from the Middle East to a new homeland across the Atlantic clashes with their fundamental right to return.

“It’s completely unacceptable. It contradicts our inalienable right to return to our own homeland,” the Guardian quoted Daniel Jadue, vice-president of Chile’s Palestine Federation, as saying on Tuesday.

“That right cannot be renounced. To make this suggestion shows the mediation was not honest. It was clearly tilted in favor of Israel. This is extremely grave,” he added.

The controversial proposal was reportedly floated by the Bush-era secretary of state Condoleezza Rice back at a meeting on with US, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in June 2008 in Berlin, according to al-Jazeera.

The predominantly Christian Palestinians in South America opposed the suggestion, arguing it aimed at siphoning refugees from the Middle East to reduce the pressure on Israel to give up the Palestinian land which has been under its occupation since 1948.

The Federation of Palestinian Organizations in Argentina condemned the US proposal for violating affirmations by the United Nations of refugees’ right to return home.

“This is an extension of a long campaign of ethnic cleansing, of clearing people from their own homelands,” said Tilda Rabi, the head of the organization.

“In the camps people still have keys to the homes they left behind,” she noted.

Incumbent US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton downplayed the importance of the documents in her first comments on the revelation.

“I don’t think it comes as any surprise what the issues are between the Palestinians and the Israelis,” she told reporters in Mexico on Monday.

“They have been well known for 20 years or more. They are difficult issues. They do not lend themselves easily to compromise.”

However, US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley earlier acknowledged that the leak would have affected efforts to get derailed talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) back on track.

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Robert Serry urged both parties to “show their readiness for a negotiated peace based on a two-state solution, and to deliver on the ground.”

He said it was to “the genuine credit” of the Palestinian Authority to do so.

PA’s chief negotiator Saeb Erekat and other officials in Ramallah were enraged at the release of the documents on the internet, saying the leaked documents were taken “out of context and contain lies.”

“We don’t have anything to hide, and I reiterate that al-Jazeera’s information is full of distortions and fraud,” Erekat said.

MRS/PKH/AKM

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