PLO official responds to US official’s statement, refugees should return “to their homes from which they were expelled in 1948”
Headline: “Dr. Abu Houli: The American peace plan has become a thing of the past and will not receive international acceptance or cover”
“PLO Executive Committee member and Head of the [PLO] Department of Refugee Affairs Dr. Ahmad Abu Houli emphasized that the just resolution of the refugees’ issue lies in implementing [UN] Resolution 194 (see note below –Ed.), which determines their return to their homes from which they were expelled in 1948.
In a press release that was published yesterday [July 5, 2019], Dr. Abu Houli responded to the statements of American President Donald Trump’s Advisor Jared Kushner, according to which: ‘The American peace plan is likely to call for permanent naturalization of the Palestinian refugees in their places of residence, instead of their return to territories that have currently become the State of Israel’ (PMW was unable to find reports of this exact statement; see note below –Ed.). Abu Houli rejected all of the plans and solutions that deviate from what the UN resolutions have confirmed and bypass the right of return.”
When asked about the Palestinian refugees by a journalist on July 3, 2019, US Presidential Advisor Jared Kushner said: “You do have a situation when this whole thing started when you had 800,000 Jewish refugees that came out of all the different Middle Eastern countries, and you had roughly 800,000 Palestinian refugees. What's happened to the Jewish refugees is they've been absorbed by different places, whereas the Arab world has not absorbed a lot of these refugees over time… I also think that the refugees, the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, who are denied a lot of rights and who don't have the best conditions right now, would also like to see a situation where there's a pathway for them to have more rights and to live a better life. We'll address that when we get to the political plan.”
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."