Did Mahmoud Abbas outrage Syria’s Palestinian refugees by waiving their right to live?

Mahmoud Abbas outrages Palestinian refugees by waiving his right to return‘ screamed the Guardian headline accompanying a November, 2012 report by Harriet Sherwood.  


Sherwood explained that Abbas was “facing widespread condemnation” in ‘Palestine’ and abroad “after he publicly waived his right of return” – a repudiation, she added, which is “of huge significance for Palestinian refugees”.

She then wrote the following:

After his image was burned in refugee camps in Gaza, Abbas rejected accusations that he had conceded one of the most emotional and visceral issues on the Palestinian agenda, the demand by millions of refugees to return to their former homes in what is now Israel.

He insisted that comments made in an interview with an Israeli television channel were selectively quoted and the remarks were his personal stance, rather than a change of policy.

Abbas told Channel 2 he accepted he had no right to live in Safed, the town of his birth, from which his family was forced to flee in 1948 when Abbas was 13.

The comments sparked protests in Gaza, where people in refugee camps burned images of the Palestinian president. Abbas was denounced on Twitter by pro-Palestinian activists.

This story came to mind when Elder of Ziyon reminded us of news a couple of months later (which the Guardian didn’t cover) that Abbas rejected Israel’s conditional agreement to allow thousands of Palestinian refugees from war-torn Syria to resettle in the West Bank and Gaza.

AP reported the following on Jan. 10, 2013:

The Palestinian president said he has rejected a conditional Israeli offer to let Palestinian refugees in war-torn Syria resettle in the West Bank and Gaza, charging it would compromise their claims to return to lost homes in Israel.

Abbas said he asked U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon last month to seek Israeli permission to bring Palestinians caught in Syria’s civil war to the Palestinian territories. The request came after fighting between Syrian troops and rebel fighters in Yarmouk, the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Syria. About half of the camp’s 150,000 residents have fled, according to a U.N. aid agency.

Abbas told a group of Egyptian journalists in Cairo late Wednesday that Ban contacted Israel on his behalf.

Abbas said Ban was told Israel “agreed to the return of those refugees to Gaza and the West Bank, but on condition that each refugee … sign a statement that he doesn’t have the right of return (to Israel).”

Finally, AP noted Abbas’s chilling response:

So we rejected that and said it’s better they die in Syria than give up their right of return,” Abbas told the group.

Think about this for a moment.  

The Palestinian leader rejected a deal to save the lives of tens of thousands of Palestinians caught in an orgy of violence and deprivation in a neighboring country because they would (reportedly) have been forced to relinquish their ‘right of return’.  

According to Abbas’s own words, he’d rather let them die.

First, as we’ve demonstrated previously, the overwhelming majority of ‘Palestinian refugees’ aren’t even refugees but, rather, are the children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren of Palestinian Arabs who may have once lived in historic Palestine. (Indeed, the number of actual Palestinian refugees from the Arab-Israeli War who are still alive, out of the initial 710,000 or so, is estimated to be roughly 30,000.)

Additionally, everyone – including Abbas – of course knows that, in the event a final status agreement is reached between Israel and the Palestinians, Israel will, at most, only allow a few thousand Palestinian ‘refugees’ in total into Israel – as a symbolic gesture meant facilitate an end to the conflict.

So, here are two questions:

  1. Are Palestinians in Syria and throughout the Middle East – as well as their mouthpieces in the media – outraged by the fact that the Palestinian President decided that tens of thousands of Syrians of Palestinian descent should rather die than give up on the chimera that they will, one day, “return” to a land where they have never lived?
  2. Can anyone at this point refute the argument made at this blog and elsewhere that those keeping the ‘Palestinian refugee issue’ alive are engaged in a supremely cynical exercise meant to demonize Israel, and are not even remotely concerned with the actual welfare of Palestinian refugees and their descendants?

We’re not holding our breath for some sort of mea culpa from pro-Palestinian activists, but we can at least hope that those sympathetic to the cause of ‘Palestine’ will remember Abbas’s cold indifference to the lives of Syria’s Palestinians the next time he waxes eloquently on the plight of the ‘refugees’.

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47 replies »

    • Why does Israel want refugees who are threatened with death in Syria to relinquish their right of return before letting them access Palestine?

      And why does Israel reserve the right to prevent Palestinians from accessing Palestine, their own country?

      All people have written about in the press is Israel’s attempt at imposing preconditions on desperate families.

      • Jmarra, I can assure you that when “4.5” million Arabs show up in the West Bank and Aza after a peace treaty the “local’s” will curse the day the RoR was ever thought of.
        The refugee’s who have lived decades in camps will cause massive social unrest and will pull the entire Pal society down with them.

      • Yes, Jmarra. Criticise the government that WANTS to save Palestinian lives, and let off scott free the “government” that would rather see them die.

        Golda Meir’s sad prophecy is proven truer every day. You know, the one about peace only being possible when the Arabs learn to love their children more than they hate Israel?

        • Oh come off it. The Palestinian government does not want to see their people dead. And the Israeli government is hardly desperate to save them.

          And the Golda Meir “prophecy” is hate speech. Sorry to see you agreeing with it.

          • Get off it yourself. No other army warns the citizenry of an impending invasion and send its own soldiers into danger instead of just carpet bombing. Ever hear of a place called Jenin? It’s also completely disingenuous (no surprise for you) to ignore Palesintians firing rockets from schools and hospitals.

            On the other hand, you may have missed the news about Palestinians sacrificing their own people in events known as “suicide bombings” and then glorifying the action afterwards.

            Golda Meir was exactly right.

            • Michael “Arabs lie as a matter of course” trying to lecture others on morality!

              Just another bigot, egged on by bigots.

              • Oh yeah, I hate Arabs. Notice that I talked about Israeli soldiers, not just Jewish ones, all of whose lives are more valuable than your pathetic excuse for one.

                Now, why don’t you be a good little sanctimonious hypocrite and look for some news of a Palestinian who was able to attack someone due to Israel’s relaxed security. On the other hand, maybe you can drown your sorrows knowing that Israel doesn’t always kowtow to the Guardian and thus prevents terrorist attacks.

                • You’ve never denied saying “Arabs lie as a matter of course”.
                  At least you’re an honest bigot!!

                  Still interesting to see so many mental midgets giving you the thumbs up.
                  On a site whose mission statement is about challenging bigotry – what a hypocritical hoot you people are!

                  • Yes, i did write that and I have also written that it didn’t come out right as I immediately qualified it as saying that I was thinking of Arab leaders. It’s not the only typographical or otherwise awkwardly-worded sentence I’ve written here and most others have given me the benefit of the doubt. It’s quite clear that I’ve actually given you some purpose in an otherwise meaningless life as you’ve obviously saved that for future use.

                    To your own credit, you’ve never denied being a sanctimonious hypocrite, as I’m sure many others have told you in the past and not just on this site.

                    Your comment that I get a lot of support, whereas you don’t simply furthermore demonstrates your sanctimony with your “I’m right and everyone else is wrong” attitude.

                • This 12 year old per-pubescent Michael is an absolute idiot.
                  NO formal training in politics, no University degree, no sources, no human rights or humanitarian organization who support his viewpoint.

                  Just racism spewing from his Arian pie-hole.

                  Quality stuff, truly.

                  • So why don’t you list your qualifications or are you just as much of a sanctimonious hypocrite as Pretzelberg?
                    Methinks that you can’t, considering that you never back up what you say. It’s just mindless parroting of what you find in the Guardian. It’s not surprising coming from some ignoramus who just wants to graze on the low-hanging fruit with rest of the libero-fascist herd.

          • “The Palestinian government does not want to see their people dead.” P-berg
            “it’s better they die in Syria than give up their right of return,” M-Abbas
            Are you illiterate?

            • Are you intellectually retarded?

              Go ahead and swallow the propaganda and shit it straight out undigested. It’s all you and many other posters do here anyway.

              • It’s “propaganda” that Palestinians have used suicide bombers and fire rockets from schools, playgrounds, and hospitals. That, despite the video evidence and their own statements of pride in doing so.

                Not just a sanctimonious hypocrite, but also a stupid and ignorant one.

          • Golda Meir was right. The Palestinians (well, certainly their leaders) prove her right all the time. Using women, children, ambulances etc as human shields and human bombs; launching rockets at Israeli civilians from schools, mosques, playgrounds and football pitches; saturating their media and education systems with propaganda and hate speech; it goes on and on.

            Characterising an accurate observation as “hate speech” is pandering to the racism of low expectations. You should be ashamed.

            • Characterising an accurate observation as “hate speech” is pandering to the racism of low expectations.

              Oh God, Not you too. Just look at the rubbish you’ve just written in your desperation – desperation to justify a statement that if applied to another people would be judged as “libelous!” by many here.

              • What have I said, specifically, that is inaccurate or prejudiced, pretz? I’m genuinely puzzled!

              • It’s all too true that Palestinian leaders, Abbas et al, as well as the Arab states have used the lives of civilians to further a politics that is none too pretty. I agree with Labenal wholeheartedly. Labenal is certainly no racist nor is she ignorant.

                “desperation to justify a statement that if applied to another people would be judged as “libelous!” by many here.”
                That would depend on which people, or more accurately, which political culture you are referring to and how you back up such an assertion. If you consistently say and do things that are f_____ up, then you are f_____ up.

        • Labenal, Meir’s comment on “Arabs” not loving their children would be considered hate speech today.

          • Typical libero-fascist attempt to distort. What she said was that there will be peace when the Arabs love their children more than they want to kill ours.

              • BS. How it can be that they would sooner sacrifice their own children than protect them. If that were isolated incidents among a population that regards such a practice with disdain, if not horror, then Meir’s comment could be termed hate speech. Considering how widespread the practice is (at least in attempt) as well as its societal acceptance, even glorification, it’s simply the sad truth.

      • Why are you still arguing about something that was supposedly settled 66 years ago? Why are you completely incapable of reading up on the history of the region– the actual HISTORY, and not some washout professor’s attempt at generating money for his sorryassed self by resorting to proclaiming that personal opinions of what happened 66 years really matters? Why are you such a flippant moron that decades can pass and you still claim some sort of victimization? How can we all supposedly witness Oslo and the Camp David accords, while one side breathlessly awaits a countproposal to peace proposal made 14 years ago? WHY ARE YOU SUCH A WORTHLESS SACK OF CLUMP THAT YOU NEED THIS CONTROVERSY? TO GIVE YOURSELF LIFE? IS THAT IT?

        There is nothing more pathetic than listening to whiny, pathetic, Israel bashing asshats. Except, of course, being one.

      • Jamrra – what you, Pappe, Sherwood, Abbas and others consistently fail to understand is this. No refugees, not even Palestinian ones, have the “right to return” unless the state to which they seek to return chooses to give them such a right.

        Even the UN, which is so saturated with anti-Israel hatred, recognises that there are THREE “durable solutions” to refugee crises. One is return to their place of origin. The other two, which many millions of refugees have availed themselves of since WWII, are resettlement and integration.

        Nobody has yet explained why, alone of all refugees in history, the only people who refuse to even consider these other two options are the Palestinians, and more pertinently, why Israel should have to pay the price for their self-imposed obstinacy.

        • Labenal, would you then say that Cubans who fled their country after Castro’s successful coup have no right of return to Cuba and do not have the right to be compensated for the loss of their properties?

          Can you please go and explain this to the US Congress? Thanks.

          • One can argue that the ones who fled Cuba have that right. However, no one has advocated that their descendants born in Miami and New Jersey have that right. That privilege is uniquely reserved for Palestinians.

          • Jmarra,
            Israel is not their country. Get it through your thick skull already and stop with the transparent subterfuge of a non-existent right. Let me straighten you out – you’re not “special.” Stop trying to dump your own problems on everyone else.
            Learn to love your people and then learn to love thy neighbor, because your bullshit has already proven itself to be a long-term one way ticket to nowheresville.

          • *sigh*. There have been literally millions of refugees from dozens of countries for a multitude of reasons (famine, war, persecution etc) in the 69 years since WWII. All of them (bar the Palestinians) have either returned, integrated or resettled within a few years. None of them (bar the Palestinians) have insisted on som phantom “right” to return – many have expressed a DESIRE to return, which is wonderful, (as Jews have done in their prayers for 2,000 years and more) but they haven’t put their people’s lives on hold until that dream becomes a reality.

            Let me ask you this – who is better off? The Cuban who has become an American citizen and lives a normal life while campaigning against the Castro regime and for compensation? Or the Palestinian, denied citizenship, the right to own land, the right to work, festering in a “refugee camp” in Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Gaza, being kept in poverty and reliant on welfare while their leaders and their Arab League “brethren” insist on some “right” which is NOT going to materialise in the foreseeable future?

  1. The Sodastream controversy clearly shows that pro-Palestinian activists very readily sacrifice any others for the chance to demonize Israel.

  2. Adam,

    Another great effort. One correction of language usage:

    The word “chimera” is not a synonym for “mirage” or “illusion” which seemed to be the concept were aiming for. “Chimera” refers to an unnatural fusing of disparate elements. Such as the original chimera from Greek mythology which was a monstrous mixture of goat, lion and snake..

    all the best,

    rafi schutzer

    >________________________________ > From: CiF Watch >To: >Sent: Monday, March 10, 2014 7:13 AM >Subject: [New post] Did Mahmoud Abbas outrage Syria’s Palestinian ‘refugees’ by waiving their right to live? > > > > >Adam Levick posted: “‘Mahmoud Abbas outrages Palestinian refugees by waiving his right to return’ screamed the Guardian headline accompanying a November, 2012 report by Harriet Sherwood.   Sherwood explained that Abbas was “facing widespread condemnation” in ‘Palestine’ an” >

  3. Abbas has no mandate to lead (he’s an idiot and not recently elected at that!) so therefore his actions in the eyes of the international community and Palestinians, are worthless.

    Kerry’s initiate will never be accepted by the Palestinians, expect a 3rd intifada….

    • Oh, and you’re suddenly a spokesman for Palestinians as well as the international community? It’s amazing how often libero-fascists do that.

      It’s just more of your sanctimony talking.