Obama rejects Palestinian 'right of return'

Tuesday, January 29, 2008 |  by Staff Writer

Surging US Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Barrack Obama said in a telephone interview with Israeli and Jewish journalists on Monday that if elected, he will not support the Arab demand that Israel open its gates to millions of so-called Palestinian refugees.

Mr. Obama said he backs a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but said that solution must ensure that one of those states maintains a strong Jewish majority.

The Palestinians, including US-backed leader Mahmoud Abbas, insist there will be no peace until Israel agrees to a "right of return" for those Arabs who fled Israel to make way for invading Arab armies in 1948 and the millions of descendants they now have.

Israeli leaders point out that such a migration would demographically destroy the Jewish state.

Mr. Obama also suggested that he is not as much of a hurry as the Bush Administration to see a final status peace agreement signed. Like his Democratic and Republican opponents, Obama insists that until the Palestinian Authority can demonstrate a true willingness and ability to put an end to Palestinian terrorist attacks on Israel, genuine peace will remain elusive.

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