Lebanon Insists Palestinian Refugees must not Stay for Good
Lebanese President Emile Lahoud on Sunday denounced any potential change in the Palestinian position on refugees' right of return, insisting that refugees in Lebanon must someday leave.
“According to our information, Israel is ready to make concessions on the issues of Jerusalem and settlements in exchange for the Palestinian side accepting to delay an examination of the refugee issue and their right of return," Lahoud said in a statement.
"Faced with our firm position, Israel is putting pressure on Lebanon and Syria to accept Palestinians' (permanent) implantation by threatening to strike them militarily," he said.
Lahoud denounced recent statements made by the Palestinian representative to the Arab League, who has said that refugees could be given a choice between the right of return and compensation.
“This attitude ignores the decisions of Arab summits, including the (October) one at Cairo, and Islamic summits, especially the (November) one at Doha," Lahoud said.
Speaking on the eve of renewed US-brokered negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians, Lahoud said peace could not be achieved without the return of Palestinian refugees.
Lebanon hosts some 350,000 Palestinian refugees, nearly half of whom live in squalid conditions in a dozen camps around the country.
The bulk of the Palestinians either fled or were driven out when the Jewish state was created in 1948 or are descendants of those refugees -- BEIRUT (AFP)
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