Palestinian leader rejects deal on Syria refugees

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he rejected a conditional Israeli offer to allow Palestinians from war-torn Syria to resettle in the West Bank and Gaza.

Palestinians in Syria are descendants of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who fled or were expelled in the war over Israel's creation in 1948.

The fate of Palestinians uprooted by Israel's creation is an explosive issue. Israel worries that a mass influx of Palestinians could destroy the notion of a Jewish state.

Last month, Abbas asked the U.N. to seek Israeli permission to bring Palestinians caught in Syria's civil war to the Palestinian territories.

Abbas said in comments published Thursday that Israel linked its acceptance to refugees relinquishing claims to returning to what is now Israel.

Abbas says "we rejected that."

Israeli officials declined comment.

©2014 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.