Israeli media reports on Sunday said that the US is set to announce its rejection of the Palestinian refugees’ right of return to Palestine.
According to Israel’s Hadashot News on Saturday, the Trump administration 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, who in turn described the cuts as political blackmail.
According to the definition of UNRWA, Palestine refugees are defined as “persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict.” When the Agency began operations in 1950, it was responding to the needs of about 750,000 Palestine refugees. Today, some 5 million Palestine refugees are eligible for UNRWA services.