Gebran Bassil
Gebran BassilReuters

Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil on Saturday stressed the need to work for the return of “Palestinian” and Syrian refugees residing in Lebanon to their countries of origin.

Speaking at an Iftar meal at the conclusion of the daily Ramadan fast, Bassil said that Lebanon is determined to thwart any plan aimed at naturalizing the “Palestinian” and Syrian refugees in its territory.

“The danger of resettlement has expanded today and there is a clear desire that they remain in our country, while our duty is to return them to their country after the difficult period passes," added Bassil.

Earlier on Saturday, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah claimed that the US peace plan could see “Palestinian refugees" permanently settled in host countries across the region.

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.

"Palestinian refugees" in Lebanon have limited work options and are refused citizenship.

In recent years, the refugee camps in Lebanon have been the scene of armed clashes between rival groups, resulting in the deaths of some of the camps’ residents.