RAMALLAH, May 31, 2012 (WAFA) – Head of the PLO refugees’ affairs department Zakaria al-Agha strongly criticized in a statement on Thursday a bill submitted by the US Senate Appropriations Committee on Palestinian refugees.
The bill, which was proposed by Republican Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois and approved by the committee, would limit the status of refugees to only the displaced Palestinians who left their homes in 1948.
Those number about 30,000 people as compared with a count by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) of 5,000,000, which includes descendents of the displaced refugees.
Agha described the bill as “a conspiracy to liquidate the issue of refugees and UNRWA’s role,” warning of serious repercussions in the region if the bill is approved as it aims to drop the Palestinian right of return and end the function of UNRWA as caretaker of the Palestinian refugees.
Under the bill, the funding to those no longer considered refugees would not necessarily end; they could be defined as poverty cases. But only the 30.000, instead of five million would still be designated as refugees.