WASHINGTON – The Trump administration will oppose Palestinian claims to a “right of return” for the descendants of refugees from modern-day Israel, according to an Israeli television report broadcast on Saturday.
The Channel 2 report claims the White House will announce its stance on the refugee matter – one of the core sticking points in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – some time in the next few days, ahead of the start of the UN General Assembly in New York.
Administration officials did not respond to requests for comment on the veracity of the report.
But the report claims that the administration will state fewer than one million Palestinians should classify as refugees, diverging dramatically from United Nations Relief and Works Agency statistics claiming more than five million Palestinians qualify for refugee status.
MK Israel Katz commended President Trump upon hearing the Channel 2 report. "I congratulate Donald Trump on his decision to retract his recognition of UNRWA and ipso facto cancel the recognition in the Palestinian right of return," said Katz. "This measure joins the historic decision to transfer the US embassy to Jerusalem and as such annuls two UN resolutions. This is a great victory for the State of Israel."
US President Donald Trump’s peace team has repeatedly questioned UNRWA’s mandate, and accuses the organization of perpetuating the conflict by treating the descendants of refugees as refugees themselves.
Palestinian Authority officials have warned in recent days that Trump seeks to end the refugee issue. Israel has long held that the Palestinians seek two Arab states – an Arab state of Israel and an Arab state of Palestine – by flooding the Jewish state with the descendants of refugees under claims of a “right of return.”
Washington’s longstanding position has been to support “two states for two peoples” – one Jewish state, and one Arab state.
The Trump administration has not taken a position on the two-state solution.