Palestinians 'have no right of return,' says Israeli UN envoy
'This will never happen', according to Gilad Erdan
By Betul Yuruk
UNITED NATIONS (AA) - Israel's UN ambassador said on Thursday that Palestinians "have no right to return" to their homes.
''Let me be clear, there is no right of return. You all know this,'' Gilad Erdan told a UN Security Council meeting.
"The demand of returning millions of descendants of refugees demands to obliterate the Jewish people's right to self-determination, and this will never happen."
There are currently 5.9 million Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, as well as neighboring countries in the Middle East, according to UNRWA, the UN's Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees.
The Palestinian ambassador to the UN said that there are more than 700,000 Israeli settlers in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.
"The Israeli occupation is a settler-colonial occupation," he said. "The only way the international community can end it is to address its settler-colonial nature."
He called for UN resolutions to be translated into an action plan with measures to be taken by every "peace-loving" state to dissuade Israel from entrenching its occupation.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980, in a move never recognized by the international community.
Israeli forces and fanatical Jewish settlers frequently carry out raids at Al-Aqsa Mosque to provoke Palestinians, and recent years have seen the incursions grow larger and more brazen.
Tensions have been running high across the occupied West Bank in recent months amid repeated Israeli raids into Palestinian towns.
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