Monday, 19 March 2018
Thousands of Palestinian refugees hold a protest rally in southern Lebanon to mark the hundredth day since the US president recognized Jerusalem al-Quds as the "capital" of Israel.
The rally was held Sunday in the city of Sidon which hosts Ain al-Hilweh, the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, Lebanese paper The Daily Star reported.
US President Donald Trump recognized Israel’s claim to the city last December, and set in motion a decades-long frozen plan to relocate the American embassy from Tel Aviv to the occupied holy city.
The announcement triggered an international storm and later that month, more than 120 countries voted at the United Nations General Assembly in favor of a resolution calling for the United States to drop the recognition.
Trump's announcement came as Palestinians prepared to observe the 70th anniversary of Nakba Day, or the "day of catastrophe" on which Israel was created.
"They deliberately chose a tragic day in Palestinian history, the Nakba, as an act of gratuitous cruelty adding insult to injury," senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi tweeted then.
Addressing the Sunday rally, Hamas political leader in Lebanon Ahmad Abd al-Hadi said Trump's decision had become a “weak point” of the US foreign policy.
“We believe that Lebanon’s position is to support the right of return” for Palestinian refugees, he said.
He also slammed recent remarks by Lebanon's Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil who proposed some Palestinian refugees lose their refugee status.
Under the plan, the Palestinians who stay outside the Lebanese territory for long or obtain foreign citizenship should be stripped of the status in order to "ease the financial burden" on UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.
On January 16, the US State Department announced that Washington would hold back $65 million it had earmarked for UNRWA -- more than half its planned contribution this year -- and demanded that the agency make unspecified reforms.
In an earlier tweet, Trump said Washington had given the Palestinians hundreds of millions of dollars a year, but got “no appreciation or respect.”