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PLO to Remain 'Even After Statehood'

The PLO will continue to represent the 'Palestinian diaspora' even after the creation of a PA state 'just like the Jewish agency.'
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 9/13/2011, 5:55 PM

Zakaria al-Ahja
Zakaria al-Ahja
PLO Photo

The Palestinian Liberation Organization will remain the sole representative of the 'Palestinian nation' until statehood is realized and continue to be the representative of the Palestinian Diaspora, according to Zakariyah Al Agha, head of the Palestinian Refugees' Affairs Department.

In an Arabic-language interview Al Agha, also known as Abu Ammar, said the PLO will remain relevant even after statehood just as the Jewish Agency still represents the Jews in Diaspora. The Jewish Agency, however, was a strictly political and administrative body, whereas the PLO has long been an active terrorist organization

Addressing the 'Palestinian diasporta,'Al Agha said the creation of a PA state will not weaken their position. .

"On the contrary, the future state will support them and play a central role in defending their rights wherever they live," he said.

Al Agha insisted it is the fundamental right of each Arab represented by the PLO who lives in diaspora to return to his homeland.

"The issue of the Palestinian refugees is very complicated. Each case will require different types of compensation. Refugees unable to return, refugees who do not wish to return, and documented losses of property of in the 1948 areas will be taken into account."

However, many experts in international law have cautioned a unilateral declaration of a PA state will nullify the so-called 'right of return' for Arabs with PA citizenship to Israeli territory as they could no longer be categorized as 'stateless refugees.'

Many experts have also noted host nations for 'Palestinian refugees' were obligated to grant the now multi-generational 'refugees' residing in their nations citizenship decades ago, but Arab nations have refused to meet those obligations as a means of maintaining diplomatic leverage in their war with Israel.

In Cairo, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told a meeting of Arab League foreign ministers that the recognition of a PA state was "not an option but an obligation."

Erdogan also condemned Israeli policies in his address to a meeting of the Arab League in Cairo on Tuesday.

The Turkish prime minister was visiting Egypt at the start of a North African tour aimed at cementing Turkey's standing in the region following the "Arab Spring" uprisings.