Palestinians to UN: Push Israel Into Letting in Refugees From Syria

Palestinians caught in Syrian conflict must be brought into Palestinian territories, ambassador Mansour writes to Security Council, General Assembly, and UN chief.

Residents queue up to receive humanitarian aid at the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk
Residents queue up to receive humanitarian aid at the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk, in Damascus, March 11, 2015. Reuters

The Palestinians are urging the United Nations to pressure Israel to allow Palestinian refugees caught in the Syrian conflict to travel to the West Bank and Gaza.

Palestinian UN Ambassador Riyad Mansour said Israel's "intransigence can neither be accepted nor justified" and should not be allowed "to prevent us from bringing our refugees to safety in their own homeland."

He said in identical letters Tuesday to the Security Council, General Assembly and secretary-general that at least 480,000 Palestinian refugees remain in Syria, with more than half displaced from their refugee camps and 95 percent in need of humanitarian assistance.

Mansour urged the UN and the international community to support the effort to bring the refugees to the Palestinian territories "as a matter of humanitarian, moral and political urgency."

In April, the Palestinian leadership made a similar call when the Palestinian refugee camp Yarmouk near Damascus was under siege by ISIS and the Nusra Front.

Also on Tuesday, senior Palestinian officials said the Palestinian Authority's leadership is preparing for a broad diplomatic campaign whose centerpiece will be an address by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the UN General Assembly later this month.

There is widespread speculation that Abbas wants to stop security cooperation with Israel, renounce the Oslo Accords, including the Paris agreement that governs economic relations with Israel, and dismantle the Palestinian Authority.