Mahmoud Abbas: Right to return quote was 'personal view'


Stung by mounting criticism – including a rally in Gaza where protesters set fire to his portrait – the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, back-pedalled yesterday on his historic compromise over the "right of return" for Palestinian refugees – a major sticking-point in Middle East peace-making.

In a TV interview last week, Mr Abbas said he no longer had an automatic right to return to live in Safed, in northern Galilee where he was born in 1935, now part of Israel.

"It's my right to see it, but not to live there ..."

Following the criticism, Mr Abbas told Egyptian television he had been expressing his personal views, not official policy. "What I said about Safed is my personal stance."