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Thursday, January 03, 2013

PA and Hamas Won’t Take in Palestinian Refugees from Syria


Guest post by Challah Hu Akbar, aka Challah & CHA

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Just a couple weeks ago, Mahmoud Abbas said that he was prepared to take in Palestinian refugees from Syria.
Abbas said he has asked United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to help in bringing the refugees to the Palestinian territories. This could include the West Bank,where Abbas governs, or the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
Yediot Ahronot reports, according to the Times of Israel, that Hamas and the Palestinian Authority are now against the idea.
Hamas and the Palestinian Authority rejected the United Nations’ request that they take in Palestinian refugees who fled Syria during the ongoing brutal civil war, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Thursday. 
…According to the report, head of Hamas in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh told UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, that the Gaza Strip couldn’t take in Syria’s Palestinian refugees due to an ideological issue: If they take in the refugees from Syria, Israel could use it against them when it comes to the Palestinians’ demand for the “right to return” to villages inside present day Israel, by pointing out that the refugees no longer need to return to Israel because they have been relocated to new homes in the Gaza Strip. 
The Palestinian Authority’s refusal stems from a different reason — a financial one. The PA, which, according to the report, initially inquired about absorbing the Palestinian refugees in Syria, has experienced severe budget cuts and has begged Arab leaders for millions of dollars in loans to solve its debt crisis. The PA’s coffers have been hurt following Israel’s decision not to hand over PA tax revenues and other related payments in the wake of President Mahmoud Abbas’s successful UN bid for nonmember observer status in November.
In related news, Hamas recently began a donation campaign for refugees displaced from Syria.