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Press ReleaseIsrael/Middle East
ADL Says Arab League Statement on Refugees Slams Door on the Peace Process

New York, NY, January 4, 2001 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called an Arab League statement on the right of return of Palestinian refugees, "anathema to the larger goals of the peace process."

Glen A. Tobias, ADL National Chairman, and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

In calling the Palestinian right of return "sacred" and fundamentally non-negotiable, the Arab League foreign ministers are effectively slamming the door on peace negotiations with Israel. To reject out of hand the various alternative proposals for compensating refugees that have been discussed is anathema to the larger goals of the peace process.

At Camp David and in recent talks with U.S. officials, Israel has made it clear that it is ready to make very difficult compromises in the pursuit of peace with the Palestinians on the issues of Jerusalem, borders and settlements. It is becoming unmistakably obvious that the Palestinian Authority and the leadership of the Arab world are unwilling to make the same difficult compromises in the pursuit of peace with Israel.

The return of potentially millions of Palestinian refugees to Israel is an unrealistic demand. The right of return would create an untenable situation for Israel, with an increase in risks to national security and irreversible changes to the dynamics of a Jewish democratic state.

The government of Israel is ready to cooperate toward a solution of the problem, including the resettlement of many refugees in a Palestinian state, consider cases of family reunification, and contribute to an international fund to compensate the refugees. For more than 50 years, the Arab world has used these refugees as pawns in their battle to deny Israel’s existence. From its origins to this very day, the refugee issue has been tied to this goal and thus no effort has ever been made by the Arab states to ameliorate the refugees’ conditions or resolve their situation.


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