US President Donald Trump and PA leader Mahmoud Abbas.
(AP/Evan Vucci, File)
President Donald Trump will announce the US rejection of the Palestinian “Right of Return” in the next several days, Israel’s Hadashot TV reported Saturday.
The Palestinians claim refugee status for five million people, which includes millions of descendants of the approximately 700,000 original refugees who were living in British Mandatory Palestine, or what is now the State of Israel, and were displaced during the 1948 War of Independence.
These descendants of refugees, supported by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (UNRWA), live in Judea and Samaria, the Gaza Strip, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
The majority of the original refugees are no longer alive.
“UNRWA is unique in terms of its long-standing commitment to one group of refugees. It has contributed to the welfare and human development of four generations of Palestine refugees, defined as ‘persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict.’ The descendants of Palestine refugee males, including legally adopted children, are also eligible for registration,” the Agency states on its website.
The Trump administration has challenged UNRWA’s mandate, suggesting that UN funding instead go to the UN body responsible for all other refugees.
In a recent statement to the Israeli cabinet, echoing the US administration, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it an “absurdity” that “there are already great-grandchildren of non-refugees” supported by UNRWA.
The Right of Return has been one of the sticking points in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Israel has a population of close to nine million and sees the influx of five million “refugees” as a threat to its existence.
Trump’s announcement on the Right of Return will be made ahead of the next session of the UN General Assembly in September, the report said.