Knesset Votes to Make Return of Palestinian Refugees Harder
The Knesset (Israeli parliament) passed on Monday a bill put forward by the right-wing opposition aimed at making it harder for Palestinian refugees to return home in the event of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, public radio reported.
According to this law, an absolute majority of 61 out of the 120 members of the Knesset will be needed to authorize the right of return of Palestinian refugees to Israeli territory in the context of an eventual peace deal.
The text stipulates that a government will not be able to sign a deal, which contravenes this new law.
The bill was presented by Yossi Katz, a member of the Likud right-wing opposition, and was passed on a third and final reading by 56 votes to 12. It was adopted in its first reading in November.
The law also stipulates that the minister of defense can authorize the return of Palestinian refugees to Israeli territory only for "humanitarian reasons."
The Palestinian Authority demands that Israel recognizes the right of return of 3.7 million refugees who fled their homes during the Israeli-Arab war of 1948, which resulted in the creation of the state of Israel.
Resolution 194 of the United Nations General Assembly recognizes the right of return of the Palestinian refugees of 1948 "wanting to live in peace" to the lands making up the state of Israel, or else the right to compensation.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak has said on several occasions he is categorically opposed to the application of the right of return in the context of any Israeli-Palestinian agreement -- JERUSALEM (AFP)
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