RAMALLAH, West Bank – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has told some 300 young Israelis visiting him in the West Bank that he does not want to "drown Israel with millions of (Palestinian) refugees to change its nature."
Abbas' comment Sunday was his most conciliatory yet on the fate of Palestinian refugees who were uprooted from homes in what is now Israel, including in the 1948 war over Israel's creation.
Today, the refugees and their descendants number about five million people. In Israel, there is broad consensus against accepting a large-scale resettling of these refugees in any future peace deal with the Palestinians, amid fears the returnees would dilute Israel's Jewish majority.
Abbas told his Israeli visitors he seeks a "creative solution" for refugees, suggesting he is not demanding a blanket "right of return."