(JNS.org) U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has proposed to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas the return of 80,000 Palestinian refugees to Israel as part of a comprehensive peace deal, a Palestinian official told China’s Xinhua News Agency.
"Kerry's proposal on the return of refugees is the same proposal offered by former U.S. President Bill Clinton during Camp David peace talks held in the United States in 2000," the official said.
However, the official added that Abbas wants to increase the number to 200,000 Palestinians returning to Israel.
As a result of the 1948 War of Independence and subsequent Arab-Israeli Wars, several million Palestinians and their descendants live in surrounding Arab countries. These Arab countries have refused to integrate the refugees, where they are often lack basic human rights.
As part of previous peace negotiations, Israel has discussed allowing a small number return. However, Israel is concerned about the demographic and economic consequences and has called for a more comprehensive solution to the issue that also addresses compensation for Jewish refugees as well.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has flatly rejected Kerry’s proposal.