This was the first visit to Lebanon by top PA officials since Israel drove the Palestine Liberation Organization out of Lebanon in 1982. The two leaders emphasized that they will not give up any of the demands made in the past by Yasser Arafat. Arafat’s principles are all “a will that must be complied with by every Palestinian,” Abu Ala told the crowds who came out to hear him. Concerning the so-called “right of return” of millions of Arabs (those who left Israel in 1948 and their descendants), he added, “We will not compromise over this. We will cling to it and we will struggle for it.”
Abu Mazen, winner of the January 9 PA elections, maintained that eastern Jerusalem should be the capital of the new Arab state. “There will be no peace without Jerusalem, and the same goes for all of our legitimate national rights,” he said. Abu Mazen added that the PA is trying to use its quasi government to achieve everything Arafat did not get.
The comments were made shortly after Marwan Barghouti, the jailed murderous terrorist who also ran for the PA presidency, said he would drop out of the race if Abu Mazen would adopt a hard-line stance on Jerusalem and foreign Arabs moving to Israel.
Abu Ala and Abu Mazen visited various Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. Some Arabs have begun to hint that a new round of violence will be the alternative to diplomacy if their demands are not fulfilled. Nabil Amir, former PA information minister, has been quoted as saying that if the Bush administration doesn’t start changing its policy toward the proposed negotiations, “the crisis indeed might worsen in both qualitative and quantitative terms.”
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