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Jan 31, 2020
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Former Lebanese Minister Sejaan Azzi: Forget about the Right of Return - We Should Either Repatriate Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon or Disperse Them to Other Countries

#7783 | 02:30
Source: Al-Manar TV (Lebanon)

On January 31, 2020, former Lebanese minister Sejaan Azzi participated in a panel that aired on the Hizbullah-affiliated Al-Manar TV (Lebanon). Azzi discussed the Palestinian right of return, saying that it collapsed with the Oslo Accords and that it cannot be implemented. He suggested that the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon should be dispersed to other countries that have the resources to provide them with livelihoods. Azzi added: "You have to choose between their repatriation [in Lebanon] and dispersing them once again."

 

Sejaan Azzi: "The issue of the Right of Return collapsed with the Oslo Accords. This is not my analysis. There are documents to that effect.

 

[...]

 

"So the Right of Return has collapsed and there is no way to implement it.

 

[...]

 

"I am telling you that the Lebanese are not in agreement over the repatriation of the Palestinians [in Lebanon]. The survey that showed that there are 185,000 [Palestinians in Lebanon] is not true.

 

[...]

 

"Where have the 500,000 [Palestinian refugees] we used to talk about gone? These are not my figures or the figures of Imad here... These are the figures provided by UNRWA, the Interior Ministry, and the General Directorate of General Security. Where have they gone?"

 

Panel Participant: "But who among the Lebanese supports the repatriation? Nobody dares to even talk about it in public."

 

Sejaan Azzi: "Perhaps nobody supports repatriation, but nobody has the courage to offer a solution that will enable our Palestinian brothers to continue living in Lebanon without being given Lebanese nationality.

 

[...]

 

"Has the presence of our Palestinian brothers in Lebanon – a few kilometers from the land of Palestine – led to the recapturing of Palestine and to their return? So their continued presence in Lebanon is not their path to Palestine."

 

Panel Participant: "So what do you suggest?"

 

Sejaan Azzi: "I suggest to examine with Arab and non-Arab countries – with the consent of the Palestinians themselves... Lebanon is incapable of providing livelihood for [the Palestinians], but there are countries that are less densely populated – they have oil, money, vast territories, and capabilities – and they are capable of providing [them] with livelihoods. The circumstances..."

 

Panel Participant: "You are calling to expel the Palestinians once again! You are calling to expel the Palestinians once again!"

 

Sejaan Azzi: "What? You think they are here to stay? Forever?"

 

Panel Participant: "No, but..."


Sejaan Azzi: "Look, you have to make a choice, and I have the courage to talk about it. You have to choose between their repatriation [in Lebanon] and dispersing them once again. As for the Right of Return – you should forget about it."

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