Obama peace plan ‘rules out right of return’ 21Apr11 April 22, 2011

Ma’an News Agency -  21 April 2011

White House officials are working on drafts of a possible peace proposal in which Palestinians would have to accept that they would not get the right of return, American media reports said Thursday.

If US President Barack Obama puts forward an American plan in the coming days, it will likely include four principles, or terms of reference, built around the final status issues, The New York Times reported.

According to the report, the terms of reference could call for Israel to accept a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders. For their part, the Palestinians would have to accept that they would not get the right of return, to land in Israel from which they fled or were forced to flee. Jerusalem would be the capital of both states, and Israeli security would have to be protected, according to officials who spoke to the daily.

Also Thursday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on Israel and the Palestinians to resume peace talks immediately, Israel Radio reported. Washington believes the only way to reach a two-state solution is by means of negotiations, and a return to the negotiating table is in both sides’ interest, she said.

In a television interview, Clinton said that the US administration did not support a unilateral Palestinian step to ask the UN for recognition, rejecting assertions by President Mahmoud Abbas, the radio said.

In Tunis, Abbas reaffirmed Tuesday his intention to seek UN recognition of statehood by September, saying he believed he would have the backing of the US. The president said he would shortly ask his American counterpart “if he is capable of honoring his promise [for a Palestinian state in September] or not.”

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