PA Leader: "No Peace Without Jerusalem"

Palestinian Authority leaders Abu Mazen and Abu Ala visited Lebanon yesterday, reiterating their demand for Jerusalem and the right of millions of Arabs to live in Israel.

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, | updated: 11:56

This was the first visit to Lebanon by top PA officials since Israel drove the PLO 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 yesterday. Concerning the so-called "right of return" of millions of Arabs and their descendants who left Israel in 1948, he added, "We will not compromise over this. We will cling to it and we will struggle for it."

Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), the favorite to win the upcoming Jan. 9 PA elections, also maintained that eastern Jerusalem should be the capital of a 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 is also a contender for the PA presidency, said he would drop out of the race if Abu Mazen would adopt a hard-line stance of Jerusalem and foreign Arabs moving to Israel.

Abu Ala and Abu Mazen visited various 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 towards the proposed negotiations, "the crisis indeed might worsen in both qualitative and quantitative terms."