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How Many Refugees

Elliot Abrams, June 21, 2012

How Many Refugees? - Elliott Abrams
Today the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics commemorated World Refugee Day by releasing new statistics on Palestinian refugees. Therein lies a tale. The PCBS reported that there are now 5.1 million Palestinian refugees.
More than a third of Palestinian “refugees” in Jordan were born after 1997. That is either 30 years (if after the 1967 war) or almost 50 years (if they fled when Israel was established in 1948) after their parents or more likely grandparents arrived in Jordan. Those in Jordan have full Jordanian citizenship and vote in Jordan, which means this: a young Jordanian of Palestinian origin, whose family has lived in Jordan for 30 years and who has himself or herself always lived in Jordan, is still considered a “refugee.”
This is bizarre, and the new statistics are a reminder of the unique definition applied to Palestinian “refugees.” It is not surprising that the Appropriations Committee of the U.S. Senate on May 31 adopted an amendment defining Palestinian “refugees” the way all other refugees are defined, and rejecting the definition that produces the number 5.1 million today. (Council on Foreign Relations)

 
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