'We don't back Bush's refugee proposal'

Abbas aide says Palestinians not committed to accepting compensation instead of "right of return."

Palestinian refugees 224 (photo credit: AP)
Palestinian refugees 224
(photo credit: AP)
"The Palestinians aren't committed to [US President George W.] Bush's proposal for monetary compensation to Palestinian refugees," Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's political adviser Nimer Hammad was quoted as saying Saturday. On Thursday, Bush said that new international mechanisms, including compensation, must be examined in order to resolve the refugee issue. In a speech summing up his trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories, Bush said a future Palestinian state would be a homeland for the Palestinians, just as Israel is a homeland for the Jews, indicating a rejection of the Palestinian demand for a "right of return." However, in an interview with Asharq Alawsat, Hammad said this was "merely the personal view of the US president." Hammad told the London-based newspaper that the proposal agreed upon by Palestinians for resolving the refugee issue and the "right of return" was UN resolution 194, which gives the refugees the right to decide between returning to their former neighborhoods and monetary compensation.