Senior PLO official: Releasing terrorists is a precondition for peace
“Secretary-General of the PLO Executive Committee [and Fatah Central Committee member] Dr. Saeb Erekat… said in a speech he gave at the Palestinian National Security Summit held in Gaza that … in regard to everything related to the peace process, ‘We are striving for peace and interested in peace, but everybody must understand that our peace will not be at any price,’ as eternal President Yasser Arafat said and [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas says today. The peace is based on Israel’s retreat to the borders of June 7, 1967 (sic., June 4, 1967), with East Jerusalem as our capital, a solution to the refugee issue according to [UN] Resolution 194, and the release of the prisoners at the time of the signing of the agreement.'”
UN resolution 194 (Chapter 11, Dec. 11, 1948) states that "the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return." Palestinian leaders argue this means that all Arabs who left Israel during the war (hundreds of thousands) and their descendants (a few million) have a "right of return" to Israel. Israel argues that the resolution only calls for a limited return and only under certain conditions, especially focusing on the words "wishing to return... and live at peace with their neighbors."