TEL AVIV – Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah on Saturday warned that a long-anticipated Trump administration peace plan is likely to put an end to the so-called “right of return” for Palestinian refugees and their descendants.
Ahead of next month’s U.S.-led economic peace conference in Bahrain, Nasrallah said the deal was “ominous” and “aimed at eliminating the Palestinian cause.”
He added that the peace plan, dubbed “the deal of the century,” would see the resettlement of Palestinian “refugees” in their host countries across the Middle East.
The Bahrain workshop, the terror chief said, “may open the door wide open to the question of naturalizing the Palestinian brothers in Lebanon and the countries where they are located.”
The right of return is a core issue at the heart of the conflict, in which Palestinian refugees — i.e. those who fled or were forced out of their homes after the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 — in the diaspora and their millions of descendants will have the right to move back to their ancestral homes in Israeli proper, something that has always been a red line for Israel since it would spell the end of the Jewish state by demographic means.
According to a Lebanese census from 2017, 174,000 Palestinians live in Lebanon. However, UN estimates put that number far higher.
Palestinians in Lebanon are second class citizens and are not allowed to work in many professions. The Palestinian refugee camps suffer from extreme overcrowding and poverty.
During an address marking the 19th anniversary of Israel’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon, Nasrallah said, “It’s not enough to say we’re all against naturalization — the danger of naturalization is approaching.”
He called for Palestinian officials in Lebanon to convene to “develop a plan to confront the danger.”