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PLO official criticizes proposed US bill to reduce the number of recognized Palestinian refugees from 5.2 million to 40,000

Headline: "The American Congress is attempting to eradicate the issue of the refugees"

"PLO Executive Committee member and Director of the [PLO] Department of Refugee Affairs Ahmad Abu Houli said that the American Congress has no right to determine the number of Palestinian refugees. He noted that the one that determines the number of refugees and manages their registration is UNRWA (UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East), as the international body experienced in taking care of them, assisting them, and employing them.
He added that the refugees' right of return includes all of the refugees' descendants, including the refugees that appear and those that do not appear in the UNRWA records.

In a notice published yesterday [July 30, 2018] in response to the activity of some American senators to legislate a new law – which will reduce the number of refugees to just 40,000 instead of 5.2 million – Abu Houli emphasized that the status of ‘refugee’ will continue to be attached to the Palestinians who were uprooted from their lands, their children, and their grandchildren as long as they are prevented from realizing their right of return. He added that this status will only be removed when they return to the lands from which they were uprooted in 1948, in accordance with [UN] Resolution 194."

In July 2018 US Representative Doug Lamborn proposed a bill to limit US money allocated to UNRWA until it works to resettle only the original Palestinian refugees.

UN Resolution 194 (Chapter 11, Dec. 11, 1948) states that "the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return." Palestinian leaders argue this means that all Arabs who left Israel during the war (hundreds of thousands) and their descendants (a few million) have a "right of return" to Israel. Israel argues that the resolution only calls for a limited return and only under certain conditions, especially focusing on the words "wishing to return... and live at peace with their neighbors."
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