The Palestinian “Refugee” Diversion – Einat Wilf
The vast majority of the millions of people who are called Palestinian “refugees” are descendants of the original refugees, and would not have been eligible to receive such a status had the conflict involved any other country but Israel. According to the guidelines of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, refugee status cannot be inherited from generation to generation. Only the Palestinian refugees, who have their own UN agency, UNRWA, can do so.
According to UNRWA, anyone born in Gaza to parents who were born and lived their entire lives there, who were also born to parents who were born and lived their entire lives in Gaza, is still considered a refugee from “Palestine.” Middle-class Palestinians living in Ramallah as citizens of the Palestinian Authority, who were also born to parents from Ramallah, are also labeled refugees.
Instead of a mere tens of thousands of refugees, who indeed lost their homes during the war in 1948 and are still alive, there are today 5 million “refugees.” Moreover, the use of the term “refugees” implies recognition of the idea of letting them return. The accurate term for most of these people is “descendants,” who are not the same as refugees.
The writer is a senior fellow with the Jewish People Policy Institute and a former member of the Knesset. (Israel Hayom)