Policy paper calls for Palestinian refugees to return only to PA

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October 4, 2007 07:23

Five former State Department and Pentagon officials are proposing Israeli and Palestinian capitals in Jerusalem and excluding Arab refugees from returning to Israel as part of an Middle East accord. In a six-page policy statement submitted to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, they also suggested a series of peace conferences following the one she hopes to convene next month, probably in Annapolis, Maryland, near Washington. The militant Hamas group, which controls Gaza and about one-third of Palestinian-held land, has not met US terms for attending. Those conditions are recognizing Israel's right to exist and abandoning violence against the Jewish state. But the ex-officials suggested Hamas might be drawn to attend a second conference, which implicitly would accept the first one and Israel's existence. They called the role of Hamas the most difficult issue in peacemaking.


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