The first census of palestinians in Lebanon indicates that UNRWA has been inflating the numbers.
By a lot.
The count was carried out by the government’s Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee in 12 refugee camps and about 150 informal Palestinian communities.
The census figure of 174,422 is lower than many in Lebanon had believed.
“Some people talked about 400,000, 500,000 or 600,000, and these would be used in politics,” Prime Minister Saad Hariri said on Thursday at the announcement of the census result in Beirut. “The record has been set straight now. Our responsibilities toward our Palestinian brothers living in our land should not be subject to tension, and should not become a point of dispute, either among the Lebanese themselves or between the Lebanese and the Palestinians.
“Lebanon has never renounced its responsibilities, and this should be as clear as the sun. There should be no confusion. No window should be opened for resettlement or any other measures which may contradict the right of return or strip them of their identity, the identity of Palestine.”
The census result is also much lower than the 469,331 people registered in Lebanon with the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency.
This difference of almost 300,000 is relevant, because UNRWA gets grants based on their numbers. So it looks very much like they have been lying.
Unless you want to accept their lame excuse.
“UNRWA does not have a headcount of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. What we have are official registration records for the number of registered Palestine refugees in Lebanon,” spokeswoman Huda Samra said.
“If someone registered with UNRWA in Lebanon decided to live outside Lebanon, they don’t notify us.”
That excuse might fly if there was a difference of thousands, not hundreds of thousands.
I should also point out that UNRWA has an unbelievably broad definition of “refugee”, which included those who lived in “Palestine” a minimum of only two years preceding 1948, as well as descendants of these “refugees” (including adopted children). So even 174,000 is a stretch.
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