Palestinian State Will Not Accept Palestinian Refugees

David Meir-Levi writes and lectures on Middle East topics, until recently in the History Department of San Jose State University.


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In his op-ed to The New York Times on May 16, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told the world in no uncertain terms that Palestinian statehood and UN recognition would not end the conflict:

Palestine’s admission to the United Nations would pave the way for the internationalization of the conflict as a legal matter, not only a political one. It would also pave the way for us to pursue claims against Israel at the United Nations, human rights treaty bodies and the International Court of Justice.

But no one seemed to notice that this admission contradicts the core argument for Palestinian statehood: The Palestinians are fighting for their state, so they have told the world, for their political self-determination, for their national self-realization; so the creation of a Palestinian state is the way to end the conflict.

Now we have a new iteration of this rather awkward contradiction in the words of the Palestinian Authority’s ambassador to Lebanon in an interview with the Lebanese English language newspaper, the Daily Star:

When we have a state accepted as a member of the United Nations, this is not the end of the conflict. This is not a solution to the conflict. This is only a new framework that will change the rules of the game.

And still no one seems to notice the contradiction here.

But in addition to telling the world that even after the so-called Palestinian people have their state they will continue the conflict, Ambassador Abdullah Abdullah went on to say that:

…Palestinian refugees would not become citizens of the sought for U.N.-recognized Palestinian state, an issue that has been much discussed. “They are Palestinians, that’s their identity,” he says. “But … they are not automatically citizens.”

This would not only apply to refugees in countries such as Lebanon, Egypt, Syria and Jordan or the other 132 countries where Abdullah says Palestinians reside. Abdullah said that “even Palestinian refugees who are living in [refugee camps] inside the [Palestinian] state, they are still refugees. They will not be considered citizens.”

The Palestinian Liberation Organization would remain responsible for refugees, and Abdullah says that UNRWA would continue its work as usual.

What an incredible irony. For years, the world has supported the concept of a Palestinian state, and forgiven the endless relentless Palestinian terrorism, on the grounds that Palestinians are stateless people who deserve a country of their own. And now, a senior Palestinian official has announced that once they have received a state, most Palestinians will still be stateless – even those who actually live in “Palestine.”  Moreover, the new state won’t provide these residents with any services: It expects UNRWA – or, more accurately, the American and European taxpayers, who provide the bulk of that organization’s funding – to continue providing their schooling, healthcare, welfare allowances, etc.  So almost half of all the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip will not be citizens of the state that demands to be created in order for these same people to have a state.

It is beyond incredible that a senior Palestinian Authority official feels free to express openly this utterly transparent hypocrisy. The leaders of the Palestinian Authority are abrogating their own supposedly “sacred right of return” (haq el-auwda), their hitherto uncompromisable demand, canonized in the UN umpteen times since 1949, for the end to the statelessness of the so-called “Palestinian refugees.”  That which they have demanded for the last 60 years as a non-negotiable concession from Israel they now nullify with one sentence, and with no explanation, by refusing to offer it to their own.

Even the most obdurately blind to the real intentions of the Palestinian Authority cannot close their eyes to the transparent intentions expressed in this Machiavellian statement of rejection.

Palestinian leaders are not demanding a state so that they can have their “long-denied homeland” for their poor suffering “Palestinian refugees,” all those millions of people who languish in the exile of their so-called “Palestinian Diaspora.” If they were, they could not now deny to some that right that they have so vociferously and self-righteously demanded from Israel.

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  • Anamah

    A great opportunity to the world to see the true objectives of the Palestinian claiming for recognition of their statehood for their refugees. Palestinians demonstrate they have lied all along "claiming for the rights of their refugees". Israel should not accept any of that nor "the right to return" as they seems to ask now.

    • Dana

      The world doesn't care.

  • kafir4life

    Does abbas worship that made up moon doggie (allahahahahaha) that the pedophile mohamat invented after shatting the contents of the terror guide, the koran (aka my toilet paper)? Is he one of those koranimals?

    questions, questions……

    allahu snackbar!!

  • sandykramer

    Abrogation of treaties is a basic tenet of Islam. Unless and until the world accepts the truth about Islamic pretensions, there can be no peace.

  • guest

    50 million of them heading to Israel with a passport. The end of Israel, for sure if they allow this abortion from the UN. Defund the UN!

  • stern

    There's another irony that even this column misses completely. There are "Palestinian refugees" in the West Bank and Gaza??!!!??? As my son would say, WTF?!

    So for over 63 years – yup, this has to go back to 1948 – even the Palestinians have refused to settle THE PALESTINIANS!

    Actually, my surprise here is feigned because this is something I already knew. I was horrified to discover a few years ago that Palestinians living in refugee camps inside the West Bank receive far fewer services than their brethren living right next door, outside refugee camps. I'm not talking about Israeli Arabs, but about Palestinians in Ramallah etc. These poor folks get less clean water, less garbage clean up, less education, less of everything. And now, even when the new "country" they live in is declared, they will continue to be discriminated against.

    Remind again, which country is supposed to be the apartheid state?

  • Carol Katzman

    And where is the main stream media? Crickets chirping in one….two….three….

  • g_jochnowitz

    State shmate. If the Palestinians had a state, they would have not only independence but wealth, since the world would shower them with money. But virtue always takes precedence over need and greed. What is virtue for the Palestinians? It is dying in a jihad while killing Jews.
    The world loves Palestinians for their selflessness.
    Hitler too was selfless. Had he not been committed to anti-Semitism and genocide, Germany could have been the first country on earth to develop nuclear weapons. Hitler could have enjoyed Mahler's music, which he would have loved had not Mahler been born a Jew.

  • Marty

    For a change, the palestinian leadership is being honest. Ending the refugee problem would simply further reduce the veracity of the nonsense that the refugees must return to what is Israel and end the existence of the Jewish state and of any hope for democracy in the middle east. Instead, we will get to witness the spectacle of the emergence of the newest dysfunctional and tyrannical arab state. abbas and his mob want to rid their new corrupt state of all Jews and they aren't particular how this is to be accomplished. The new palestine will be violent and destructive. There is no arab spring, but, rather, a long nightmarish arab winter that will continue to waste American money on weapons imported to destroy Israel. Let's save several billion a year by leaving the un and eliminating all aid to regimes such as the palestinian authority that want us dead.

  • Brujo Blanco

    I suspect that if the so called Palestinians get a homeland they may look for military allies. It would not surprise me if they obtain military assistance from allies outside the Mideast. During the past conflict a French war vessel locked onto Israeli aircraft. The French claimed that they did so because they were there to protect the Arabs from the Israelis. In other words Lies have been told so long about Israel that Israel is seen as the aggressor by a number of non Muslim states.

  • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

    Wow! Amazingly Palestine:

    Doesn’t exist.

    Never existed.

    Is an apartheid state.

    Must recognize Israel before it is allowed to exist.

    Will never sit down with Israel.

    Can not go it alone.

    Doesn’t want a state.

    May not unilaterally declare a state.

    Is Judenfrei.

    Is Palestinianfrei.

    It’s official: Israelis are full of it.

    • stern

      I'm confused. Everything you say is correct, but you seem to have made a bit of a Freudian slip in the last line. As always, your finger pointed the wrong way.

    • stern

      Tell me, Flipside, what part of the Palestinians own words did you not understand?

      • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

        It is an uphill battle not to believe the Levant needs to be nukes out of existence. You’re not helping.

        • stern

          ? What?

          • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

            I am saying, what do you think the world thinks of this deformed two headed baby in Israel-Palestine and the horrific garbled sounds it has been making for over half a century? Don’t you think the thought occurs weekly to just pitch the beast off a cliff?

          • Rifleman

            I get it, you want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, and then the Syrians, Egyptians, Jordinians, and Lebanese can move in.

  • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

    Awww, the baby could just ride the bathwater over to Egypt, whore out his wife as his sister, eat all their food and come back 600,000 strong. It's been done before.

  • Clare

    This should put the final nail in the coffin between the other final nails, of the Philistine Pals claim, if there is still room to nail yet one more.

  • Rifleman

    I think so. Of course, then it would just default back to dar al islam once the radiation levels dropped enough, soin the end, he's just saying give it to the muslims.

  • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

    I am definitely saying that that occurs regularly to people who read the news and who are neither Jewish nor Palestinian.

    "Once upon a time there were two groups of people who never could get along and who fought so much and so bitterly that people gathered from all the lands and got rid of them."

    I bet many, many people tell themselves this story as relief from hearing or reading about Israel and Palestine every day for decades.