News Release

Mideast Talks at Camp David

LAMIS ANDONI
An independent analyst and journalist who has covered the Mideast for nearly two decades, Andoni said today: “U.S. officials are apparently presenting a package to the Israelis and Palestinians, hoping that will become the basis for negotiations instead of international law. U.S. officials have been making references to achieving an agreement that will address the Israeli desire to end all Palestinian claims. Arafat is certainly the weak party, but he cannot accept something that prevents Palestinians from acquiring their rights in the future, especially since Palestinians are very disillusioned with the Oslo Accords.”
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SUSAN AKRAM
Associate professor at Boston University School of Law teaching immigration and refugee law, Akram has just returned from a year-long Fulbright fellowship in Jerusalem researching durable solutions for Palestinian refugees. She said today: “Refugee issues are the lynchpin to a lasting peace in the Middle East. The world community has ignored implementing the rights of Palestinian refugees for over 50 years, the longest and largest refugee population. There is neither a moral nor a legal justification for failing to apply the same standards that are applied to all other refugees in the world to the Palestinians. The most important are those articulated in UN Resolution 194: rights of return, restitution and compensation. Israel is attempting to force an agreement that will extinguish individual Palestinian refugee claims to those rights.”
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SAM HUSSEINI
Communications director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, Husseini said today: “The administration waged war last year against Yugoslavia proclaiming that ethnic cleansing must be stopped; now it is putting its political weight behind solidifying the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.”

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN
Author of Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict and The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering, Finkelstein said today: “The figure that Israel will withdraw from 90 percent of the West Bank is deceptive. Expanded ‘Jerusalem,’ plans for long-term leases in the Jordan Valley, the dubious promise of future redeployments as well as bypass roads make it more like 60 percent. More importantly, it is not contiguous and thus resembles Bantustans more than a sovereign state… Israel will have the last word on external security (including immigration and emigration), trade and crucial water rights.”
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PHYLLIS BENNIS
Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and author of Calling the Shots: How Washington Dominates Today’s UN, Bennis said today: “The key challenges will be Jerusalem and refugees. However Barak and Clinton may try to finesse the language, Palestinians know full well that Abu Dis is not Jerusalem. It would be the equivalent of expanding the city limits of New York to include Newark, New Jersey, and then announcing Newark could be called ‘New York.’ A limited agreement to allow some handpicked Palestinians back home, based on ’empathy’ rather than international law, stands in direct violation of the U.S.-backed UN Resolution 194 defining the right of return and compensation for all refugees from 1948.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167