Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas rejected an Israeli offer to allow Palestinian refugees fleeing Syria to enter the Palestinian territories on condition that they forgo their “right of return” to Israel proper, Abbas told the Egyptian press on Wednesday evening.
Following a meeting with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, Abbas said that he had appealed to the UN to intercede on behalf of Palestinian refugees living in Syria and demand that Israel allow them to enter the West Bank and Gaza.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told Abbas that Israel agreed to the request, on the condition that the refugees sign a document in which they forgo the “right of return” to areas within Israel. Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev declined to comment on the report.
Abbas said he rejected that condition.
Palestinians living in the Yarmouk refugee camp south of Damascus have been subjected to government bombardment following the camp’s capture by opposition forces last month. Five Palestinians were killed in the camp on Tuesday.
Syria’s southern neighbor, Jordan, has begun to turn away Palestinian refugees fleeing toward the border, Al-Jazeera reported earlier this week. Previously, Palestinians were allowed to enter the Jordanian kingdom but were kept in a separated refugee camp called Cyber City, located near the Syrian border.
Abbas had arrived in Cairo to discuss political reconciliation with his Palestinian rivals, the Hamas terror organization. On Wednesday evening, a high-ranking Fatah delegation headed by Abbas met with a Hamas delegation that included the group’s political chief Khaled Mashaal and his deputy Moussa Abu-Marzouq.
Abbas told the press that Mashaal had agreed with Fatah on four key points: The vision of two states — “Palestine on the 1967 borders living side by side with the state of Israel”; reaching that end through negotiations; the adoption of peaceful resistance [to Israel]; and the holding of elections, the official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported Wednesday.
According to Egyptian daily Al-Ahram, Abbas said that he was prepared to visit Hamas-controlled Gaza at any time, adding that the issue “is very much on my mind, and has become more urgent.”