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US Congress to discern 'actual' number of Palestinian refugees

July 30, 2018 4:43 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 6, 2018 1:17 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A new bill was introduced in the United States Congress this past week which several US senators are attempting to pass into law that recognizes only 40,000 Palestinian refugees instead of 5.3 million refugees.

The newly introduced bill would ensure that the contributed to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) would go towards the resettlement of Palestinians displaced by the Arab-Israeli war of 1948, and not their descendants – who are a total number of 5.3 million people.

The bill was initiated by Republican Congressman, Doug Lamborn, who entitled it as "The UNRWA Reform and Refugee Support Act."

Lamborn said in a statement that the "refugee status is not something that can be handed down from generation to generation," referring to the descendants of Palestinian refugees who were born and are living in other countries.

The bill was introduced to differentiate between the original Palestinian refugees, who have the right to return after being displaced from their homes, from their descendants.

Following the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the UN created UNWRA, to help resettle nearly 600,000 Palestinians after the war; UNRWA says that there are 5.3 million Palestinian refugees in the world.

UNRWA included descendants of the original Palestinian refugees in its total sum of refugees who fled or were expelled from their homes after the 1948 war, as well as those refugees who fled during the 1967 Six Day war.

Lamborn demanded that UNRWA "figures out the actual number of true Palestinian refugees" emphasizing that the total is not correct.

Lamborn said that "this is an important first step to help Palestinians who are truly in need. Palestinians in Gaza are not refugees; they are a population suffering under the Hamas terror regime, whose leaders take aid money and instead of building schools and hospitals, build terror tunnels and send rockets hidden under UNRWA schools in Gaza into kindergartens in Israel."

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