Abbas angers leader of Hamas

2012-11-03T00:00:00Z Abbas angers leader of HamasThe Associated Press The Associated Press
November 03, 2012 12:00 am  • 

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - The prime minister of the Hamas-ruled Gaza strip criticized the Palestinian president on Friday for comments given to Israeli media, alleging that they contradict longtime Palestinian territorial demands.

Ismail Haniyeh said Friday that Mahmoud Abbas' remarks, aired on Israel's Channel 2, were "extremely dangerous."

Abbas, who was speaking about borders of a future Palestinian state, said the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem are Palestine - and the rest is Israel.

He said that while he would like to see his birthplace - Safed, now a town in northern Israel - he doesn't want to live there.

"I am a refugee but I am living in Ramallah. I believe that the West Bank and Gaza is Palestine. And the other parts is Israel," Abbas said. "I want to see Safed. It is my right to see it but not to live there," he said.

Palestinian officials did not return calls seeking comment. But Abbas' remarks broadly reflect the official Palestinian position of reaching an agreement whereby refugees will receive compensation while a smaller number would be allowed back.

Gaza's Islamic militant Hamas movement, alongside many other Palestinians, said Abbas' remarks suggested millions of refugees and their descendants would not return to the places they fled in wars with Israel.

"It is not possible for any person, regardless of who he is … to give up a hand's width of this Palestinian land, or to give up the right of return to our homes from which we were forced out," Haniyeh said.

The fate of refugees who fled, or were forced to flee their homes in the wake of Israel's creation in 1948 is one of the most emotional issues at the heart of Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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