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Democratic Front to Come to Palestinian Self-rule Areas

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The head of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine an some 100 members are to travel within three weeks from Damascus to the Palestinian autonomous areas, supporters of the group in the West Bank and Gaza Strip said this week.

The announcement comes after Israel said members of the Democratic Front, which opposes the Israel-Palestine Liberation Organization peace accords, could return to the self-rule areas to participate in a session of the Palestine National Council to revoke the clauses in the charter calling for Israel’s destruction.

DFLP founder Nayef Hawatmeh, in an interview with Israel Radio from Damascus, said he was ready to come to the autonomous areas.

He also said he was ready for a comprehensive peace with Israel.

However, it was not clear whether the Democratic Front members would support amending the Palestine National Charter when the votes takes place.

“Returning home is a legitimate right to all Palestinians,” he reportedly said. “It is our goal which we have always sought to achieve, but that should not be linked to changing the national charter.”

Hawatmeh, 61, a Christian born in Jordan, founded the Democratic Front in 1969, in a split from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which is led by George Habash.

Habash has rejected the offer to come to the self-rule areas for the vote on the charter.

Hawatmeh is blamed for the 1974 Ma’alot massacre in which 25 people, including 21 schoolchildren, were killed.

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