Palestinians seek return of all 400


February 06, 1993|By Doug Struck | Doug Struck,Jerusalem Bureau

JERUSALEM -- Israel has given to the Red Cross a list of 101 Palestinian deportees who can return from their exile in southern Lebanon. A spokesman for the Palestinians said none will go.

The list of names, which includes 13 men who are ill, was prepared as part of the agreement announced this week between Israel and the United States. It is intended to end the controversy over 415 Palestinians deported without trial Dec. 17.

"None of [the deportees] would like to go home leaving his rTC brothers behind," Aziz Dwiek told a Reuter reporter at the Palestinians' camp. "Everybody is showing signs of solidarity."

Israeli soldiers removed mines to permit a Lebanese driver to cross to the Palestinians with the list of names yesterday. But the deportees refused to accept the envelopes with the list, and took an oath not to return unless all returned, according to Reuters.

Israel agreed to repatriate 100 of the approximately 400 Palestinians who remain at the camp and cut in half the 2-year deportation term given to most of the others.

Israeli officials said yesterday that Palestinians who return will be held and interrogated and may be charged or jailed under Israel's administrative detention procedures.

The deportees have said those on the list will not go back in order to keep international pressure on Israel to fulfill U.N. Security Council Resolution 799, which requires all the deportees to be returned immediately.

Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin said it is "their problem" if the Palestinians do not accept the offer.

As part of the deal, the United States promised to try to prevent further United Nations' actions against Israel and to restart the Middle East peace talks.

But Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the U.N. secretary-general, said the return of 100 deportees should be just the first step to repatriating them all.

Two polls conducted for Israeli newspapers showed continued strong support for the deportations. A poll for the Hebrew Yediot showed 77 percent of the Israeli public backs the deportations. That poll and another for Ma'ariv show 61 percent and 54 percent, respectively, oppose the compromise allowing any to return.

The chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Ehud Barak, said the Hamas fundamentalist Islamic group "is badly beaten at this stage. The initiative is in our hands." But he warned, "Nonetheless, we shouldn't delude ourselves. Hamas hasn't evaporated and we will continue to encounter it in the future," said the newspaper Davar.

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