Countries that believe Palestinian refugees are a burden on their economies or on others should help Palestinians gain their right of return, Hamas chief abroad said in a statement.
Released on the movement’s site the statement said measures such as those taken by Lebanon which quash Palestinian worker rights are in line with international efforts to displace Palestinian refugees. Maher Salah said as refugees displaced from their homes and country over 70 years ago, Palestinians should not be treated as foreigners by the countries that host them.
The occupation, he continued, is the “root of all evil” in the region and the US is helping Israel restructure the Middle East according to its vision. Washington is doing this by targeting the Palestinian right of return, cutting off funding to UNRWA and unilaterally recognising the occupation’s rights over land it forcibly controlled in wars with its neighbours.
In early July, Lebanon’s Minister of Labour Kamil Abu Sleiman tightened restrictions imposed on foreign workers, including Palestine refugees, to force them to obtain working permits. The move saw shops which employ foreign workers illegally closed.
Palestinians held mass protests against the move, saying the new measures were discriminatory and supported US efforts to force Palestinians to accept the “deal of the century” by reducing their economic independence.
Though Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri called on Abu Sleiman to remove the restrictions on Palestinians, no such decision came.
This comes a time when other Middle Eastern countries are increasing their dealings with Israel and targeting Palestinians. A Saudi columnist last week described Palestinians as a “scourge on the countries that host them”.
In a tweet Mohammed Al Shaikh said: “Palestinians are a scourge on the countries that host them. Jordan hosted them and it was a black September, Lebanon suffered a civil war. Kuwait hosted them and they became soldiers for [former Iraqi President] Saddam [Hussein].”