PA Denies Voting Rights to Refugees for Political Purposes (PMW-PALESTINIAN MEDIA WATCH) by Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook 06/30/04)
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A striking decision by the Palestinian Authority (PA) will deprive
Palestinian occupants of refugee camps of their basic democratic
right to vote in the upcoming local elections. This is another step
in the long history of Arab leaders abusing camp residents as pawns
for political gain.
Since Israel’s creation the Arab world has actively prevented a
humanitarian solution for Arab refugees who left Israel during
Israel’s War of Independence. For example, Lebanon still prohibits
camp residents from owning homes or businesses outside the camps,
condemning them to perpetual economic and social hardship.
According to the PA leadership this denial of the right to vote is
being done to highlight the “unique status” of the refugee camps.
The following statement in the PA daily by the Supreme National
Committee for the Protection of the Right of Return also reiterates
the PA policy of preventing the integration of the refugee camps into
urban housing units, calling it a "danger".
... “The Supreme National Committee for the Protection of the Right
of Return – announced yesterday that it opposes the participation of
the refugee camps in the local elections that are expected to take
place in the Palestinian territories. The committee justified its
objection as protecting the unique status of the refugee camps in
Gaza and the West Bank, considering them testimony to the crime that
the occupation state made against our nation for 56 years. The
committee warned of the dangers of integrating the refugee camps into
the urban housing units...” [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, June 29, 2004]
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