The Palestinian Authority announced Saturday that its president, Mahmoud Abbas, has not relinquished Palestinian refugees’ “right to return” to their former homes inside Israel.In other words, they were employing taqqiya and hoping the Israeli public would buy it all within an instant.
The statement came after Abbas told Channel 2 on Thursday that he did not want to return to his former hometown of Safed and that a Palestinian state would be established only within the pre-1967 lines.
Abbas’s remarks drew sharp criticism from many Palestinians, including Hamas, who accused him of giving up the refugees’ “right of return.”
PA officials explained over the weekend that Abbas’s position regarding the refugees had not changed.
“The position of the Palestinian leadership remains fixed,” said Nabil Abu Rudaineh, a spokesman for Abbas. “The refugees and the right of return are among the final-status issues that will be negotiated with the Israelis. We are committed to the Palestinian principles as endorsed by the Palestine National Council [the PLO’s parliament-in-exile].”
[...] Abu Rudaineh said that the interview with Channel 2 was aimed at “affecting Israeli public opinion.”
The prime minister already sensed Abbas was up to no good and was right to dismiss his statements as lies:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu quickly responded to Abbas' clarifications, saying that the Palestinian president had tried to deceive the Israeli public in his interview with Channel 2.Nor will it be the last. The main problem is the PLO's adherence to the Religion of Peace, and so long as they go by it, they'll continue on that brain-insulting path.
"I watched President Abbas' interview, and have heard that since then he's already managed to go back on his words," said Netanyahu. "This only underscores the importance of direct negotiations without preconditions."
Netanyahu also told ministers at the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem that he was ready to sit down for negotiations with Abbas as soon as the latter wanted. "Ramallah is seven minutes away, and I am ready to begin negotiations today."
Lieberman, too, dismissed Abbas' clarifications: "What's important is what Abu Mazen [Abbas] tells his own people in Arabic, and not what he tells the Israeli public in English."
At the cabinet meeting, Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar echoed criticism that Abbas was attempting to interfere in elections: "This isn't the first time the Palestinians have done this," he said.