Towards Final Status
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Refugees
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Resolving the issue of Refugees
1 - Refugees Under Madrid and Oslo
2 - Background
3 - The Israeli Position
4 - The Palestinian Position
5 - During the Interim Period
6 - Proposals


4 - The Palestinian Position

Palestinians demand the absolute "right of return" into the area of Mandatory Palestine for all Palestinian refugees of the 1948 war. As previously mentioned, this claim is primarily based on the standing U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194. In accordance with this position, Palestinian officials generally oppose the establishment of any projects which imply permanence or encourage Palestinians to remain where they are. In the Palestinian view, such projects would be inconsistent with the claim of the "right of return" and they are not interested in promoting any projects they feel might compromise this claim in the future. Therefore, the Palestinians have generally refused the initiation of any housing projects inside refugee camps. This is not to say, however, that Palestinian officials do not express interest in improving the conditions of Palestinians in refugee camps or enthusiastically encourage financing of permanent housing projects in "non-refugee" communities.

As they approach the final status negotiations, it is clear that the Palestinians will continue to maintain their claim for absolute "right of return." However, most Palestinian officials admit that realistically there would be a need to limit the number of refugees permitted to return to the West Bank and Gaza due to the limited ability of the Palestinian Authority to adequately absorb such massive numbers of people. Therefore, some Palestinian officials have said they could be willing to accept the idea of refugee patriation into Jordan and Syria. Also for this reason, the demand for right of return for displaced Palestinians from the 1967 war has not been as ardent as for those refugees from 1948.

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