US will no longer accept Palestinian refugees’ right to return to occupied territories

Press TV – Washington is set to announce that it will no longer recognize millions of Palestinian refugees’ “right of return” to the Israel occupied territories, Israeli media reports.

According to Israel’s Hadashot News on Saturday, the administration of US President Donald Trump will make the announcement over the next few days, in which it will claim that only around one million Palestinians are eligible for refugee status.

The claim will contradict UN statistics which classify over five million Palestinians as refugees.

Earlier this month, the American magazine Foreign Policy obtained emails written by Jared Kushner, Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, to senior US officials in which he pressured Jordan to remove the refugee status of millions of Palestinians in a bid to disrupt UNRWA’s work.

Washington has on multiple occasions voiced opposition over treating the descendants of Palestinian refugees as refugees themselves.

In January, the US government announced that it would withhold $65 million of a $125 million aid installment to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

On Friday, the United States also canceled over $200 million in funds for the Palestinian Authority.

Also on Friday, the UNRWA head suggested that the US had slashed the agency’s budget to punish the Palestinians for their criticism of Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “capital.”

“I can say with a great degree of confidence that the decision was not related to UNRWA’s performance because in November I had received very constructive and openly positive feedback on those issues,” Pierre Kraehenbuehl told the Associated Press.

“A few weeks later, tensions increased around the question of Jerusalem [al-Quds],” he added. “It appears that the humanitarian funding to UNRWA got caught up in the deep polarization around that question.”

US-Palestine ties deteriorated last December, when Trump declared Jerusalem al-Quds as the “capital” of Israel and announced plans to transfer the embassy from Tel Aviv to the occupied city.