Why Arabs insist on “right of return”.

Analysis: Why the Arab summit will not accept Israel’s demand to modify the 2002 peace plan

By KHALED ABU TOAMEH, JPOST

It’s highly unlikely that the Arab summit in Saudi Arabia later this month will accept Israel’s demand to “modify” the section in the 2002 Arab peace plan that calls for the right of return for all Palestinian refugees “in accordance with United Nations Resolution 194.” The reason: The Arab governments want the refugees out – and the sooner the better.

Almost half of the 4.3 million Palestinian refugees registered with UNRWA live in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, where they have long been suffering from severe and inhuman restrictions involving residency rights, freedom of movement and employment, as well as property ownership rights.

[WHAT CHANCE IS THERE FOR PEACE?]

The PLO claims that the number of refugees, including those living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, is almost double that figure because not all are registered with UNRWA.

Jordan has almost 1.7 million registered refugees, while in Syria the who are registered with UNRWA exceeds 400,000. Lebanon also hosts more than 400,000 refugees.

“The Arab countries don’t want to absorb the Palestinian refugees,” said an official with the PLO Department of Refugees. “They are eager to get rid of the refugee camps in the Arab countries. That’s why they are insisting that the Palestinians should return to their homes.” CONTINUE

March 5, 2007 | 6 Comments »

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