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PA Foreign Minister: Right of return “cannot be relinquished”

Headline: “The [PA] president welcomed the UN vote by an overwhelming majority on renewing UNRWA’s mandate”

“[PA] President Mahmoud Abbas yesterday evening [Nov. 15, 2019] welcomed the UN’s important historical decision to renew UNRWA’s (UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) mandate by an overwhelming majority of 170 states, as opposed to two states – the US and Israel – who voted against…

[PA] Minister of Foreign of Affairs and Expatriates Dr. Riyad Al-Malki also welcomed the international consensus… and emphasized that it is important to uphold these decisions and work to carry them out in a way that will contribute to protecting our people’s rights until achieving national independence, ending the occupation, and achieving the rights that cannot be relinquished, foremost among them our people’s right to self-determination and the refugees’ right of return to their homes based on [UN] Resolution 194 (see note below –Ed.).”

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."