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Erekat: 'No one can remove refugees from the negotiations table'

Aug. 30, 2018 3:41 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 2, 2018 11:18 A.M.)
JERICHO (Ma'an) -- Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization's (PLO) Executive Committee, Saeb Erekat, said on Thursday that no one can remove the files of Jerusalem, refugees and settlements from any future negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel.

Erekat's statement came during his separate meetings with foreign lawmakers and diplomats at his Jericho office; his statement referred to United States President Donald Trump's announcement of a suspension of funding to the United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) and the rejection of the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

The Secretary General said that that Trump administration's attempts, along with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government, to liquidate the Palestinian cause through their dictates will not succeed and are doomed to failure.

US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, had also questioned the actual number of Palestinian refugees during an interview at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, last week.

"There will be no peace without East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine on the 1967 borders, without resolving the refugees' issue in all its aspects as per United Nations Resolution 194 and before recognizing that all Israeli colonial settlements are illegal."

Erekat called upon the international community to reject the US administration's attempts to abolish the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), but to preserve it and provide it with the financial support it needs to fulfill its responsibilities towards Palestinian refugees until their cause is resolved by all its aspects.

He also pointed out that Palestinian reconciliation is critical in the Palestinian strategy, saying that without national unity it would be impossible to face and thwart the 'Deal of the Century.'

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