Lebanese politician Omar Harfouch said in a January 23, 2023 show on Al-Jadeed TV (Lebanon) that denying Lebanese citizenship to Palestinian refugees in Lebanon is a "racist and inhuman" apartheid policy. He said that four generations of Palestinians have been born in Lebanon yet remain undocumented even though Lebanon is all they know. He also said that they have no country or identity of their own.
Omar Harfouch: "I told [American officials] about my 'Third Lebanese Republic' plan. I listed many clauses. Some they cared about and others they did not.
"For example, they were interested when I said that in Lebanon we have four generations of Palestinians, who were born in Lebanon, and all they know is their refugee camp and Lebanon, but there is an apartheid system, because they are not documented. Personally, I prefer, and I wish, that they will be granted Lebanese citizenship. When I told [the Americans] this, I saw their eyes immediately light up. They were interested in this, and scheduled second and third meetings with me. They said this was the first time they heard someone saying this."
Interviewer: "But are you serious in this, or were you just trying to get your foot in the door...
Harfouch: "No, I'm very serious. The [Third] Lebanese Republic plan is the only plan that can save Lebanon. I am very serious about it."
Interviewer: "But you know that the resettlement of [Palestinian refugees] is a taboo in Lebanon. It's like saying to these Palestinians: 'Settle here, you cannot return to your country.'"
Harfouch: "Lebanese people can go to America to give birth there, so that their children will have U.S. citizenship, right?"
Harfouch: "At the same time, people who are born in Lebanon, are denied Lebanese citizenship. Whenever someone is granted Lebanese citizenship in Lebanon it becomes a scandal."
Interviewer: "This is the system in this country."
Harfouch: "This is a racist and inhuman system. You talk [against] the resettlement of Palestinian refugees, because what you care about is the issue of Israel and other issues. What I care about is the human aspect.
"How can I possibly accept living in my country and having a Lebanese passport, when four generations [of Palestinians] who were born in Lebanon and have no country, no identity, and Lebanon is all they know, yet we talk to them about refugee resettlement and demographics..."
Interviewer: "I, for example, want them to return to Palestine."
Harfouch: "What you want is not important. Human rights are important."