Hezbollah: US plan could naturalize Arab 'refugees'

Hassan Nasrallah speaks out against US peace plan, urges Lebanese officials to 'confront the danger' of naturalizing Arab refugees.

AFP, Arutz Sheva Staff,

Hassan Nasrallah
Hassan Nasrallah
Flash 90

The head of Lebanon's Shiite terrorist organization Hezbollah on Saturday said a long-delayed US peace plan could see Palestinian Authority (PA) "refugees" permanently settled in host countries across the region.

Speaking days after the US announced a May conference in Bahrain to lay out economic aspects of its long-awaited Israeli-Palestinian Authority peace plan, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said it is an "ominous deal aimed at eliminating the Palestinian cause."

He claimed the conference's focus on economic issues "may open the door wide open to the question of naturalizing the Palestinian brothers in Lebanon and the countries where they are located."

The PA demands Israel allow over 700,000 refugees who fled the area during the creation of the State of Israel in the late 1940s -- and uniquely, their descendants -- to return to Israel under the "right of return."

According to a census by national authorities in 2017, an estimated 174,000 "Palestinian refugees" live in Lebanon.

The UN estimates there are tens of thousands more. However, even though the international definition of "refugee" does not include refugees' descendants, the when it comes to "Palestinian" refugees, the definition has been unilaterally expanded in order to ensure the numbers continue to grow.

Last year, the true number of "Palestinian" refugees was estimated to be around 20,000.

Hezbollah has long championed the "refugees'" cause, but the "refugees'" presence is controversial in Lebanon, where many blame them for causing the bitter civil war that ravaged the country between 1975 and 1990.

Lebanon's still-temporary refugee camps suffer poverty, overcrowding, unemployment, poor and dangerous housing conditions and a lack of infrastructure.

Today, "it's not enough to say we're all against naturalization -- the danger of naturalization is approaching," Nasrallah said during a televised address marking the 19th anniversary of Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon.

He called for an urgent meeting between government and Palestinian Authority officials in Lebanon to "develop a plan to confront the danger."

The PA leadership has said it will boycott the June 25-26 meeting in Manama, where the declared aim is to promote PA prosperity as part of Trump's "deal of the century."

The Trump administration is expected to unveil its long-awaited plan possibly as early as next month.

The Bahrain conference could see large-scale investment pledges for the PA but is unlikely to focus heavily on the political issues at the core of the conflict, such as the question of the so-called refugees.




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