Daily Israel Report

Arab Anger over Kerry’s ‘Secret Term’ on 'Right of Return'

Jordanian MP warns that secret clause of Kerry proposal would limit – but not negate – Arab demands for ‘right of return.’
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 2/12/2014, 9:27 AM

UNRWA in Refugee Camp
UNRWA in Refugee Camp
Flash 90

An alleged secret clause in United States Secretary of State John Kerry’s proposed agreement framework for Israel and the Palestinian Authority is likely to cause upset on both sides.

A Jordanian Member of Parliament has claimed that one of the secret terms in Kerry’s proposal would limit the Arab demand for the “right of return” – the term Arab states use in support of the “return” to Israel of millions of Arabs born outside the country who claim descent from those who left pre-state Israel during the War of Independence.

The United Nations continues to recognize such descendants as “Palestinian refugees.”

Kerry’s proposal would mean that people claiming “Palestinian refugee” status who hold other citizenship would not be eligible for “return,” Jordanian MP Mohammad Al-Qatatsha told the Bethlehem-based Maan news.

Qatatsha said Kerry had discussed the ongoing Israel-PA talks with Jordan’s King Abdullah, who in turn will discuss his thoughts on the process with United States President Barack Obama during a meeting this weekend.

Jordan is opposed to limiting the “right of return,” he said. The alleged clause is expected to cause outrage in the PA, as well; the official policy of the Palestinian Authority is to demand repatriation of the descendants of Arabs who fled Israel in 1948, to their original homes in Israel, thus flooding the Jewish state with Arab refugees and effectively erasing Israel from the map.

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has declared that the “right of return” remains “a holy cornerstone… that cannot be signed away.” This demand stands behind the PA’s ongoing refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.