On a blog posted on 20 June to mark World Refugee Day, Britain's woman in Lebanon, our old friend Frances Guy (pictured, with a certain notorious Hezbollah cleric she admired, the late Sheikh Fadlallah), writes, inter alia:
"A timely reminder too this morning on the BBC that the world's biggest refugee problem is here in the Middle East; 5 million Palestinians, who technically don't yet have a home to return to. (A troubling thought and arguably unique in refugee situations, where refugees, however traumatised can dream of going home one day). The UNRWA spokesman argued vigorously that there can be no peace in the Middle East until the refugee situation is dealt with. There has been a tendancy [sic] to say that other issues need to be dealt with first. But these refugees deserve better.
They also deserve better treatment in the interim, as I have argued before. I hope the new Lebanese government will take its responsibilities seriously and make a commitment to granting Palestinian residents in Lebanon full rights; including above all, access to work." [My emphasis] http://blogs.fco.gov.uk/roller/guy/entry/refugeesI assume Ambassador Guy, in the phrase "technically don't yet have a home to return to," is envisaging a future Palestinian state as the destination of these "refugees" and not hinting that Israel should take them in.
I recommend this post to her: http://daphneanson.blogspot.com/2010/09/in-contrast-to-palestine-partitions.html and remind her of all the hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees who fled Arab countries.
Her post has attracted a lone comment, from a pro-Palestinian activist, who writes:
I could not agree with you more. We need to find a solution to the 5,000,000 Palestinian refugees. How long have we being saying this? Why have we 5,000,000 Palestinian refugees? Where did they come from? Why are they not allowed to go home?
It is good that you bring it to our intention but surely after 60 years we expect something better from the FCO. The FCO keep on saying that we need to support the dialogue between Israel and the Palestinains. We have not been honest brokers in these communications. We do not speak to all the representatives of the Palestinains [sic]. Moreover, we bend over backwards to support Israel. The Human Rights report in 2010 produced by the FCO demonstrates clearly that Israel is no friend of democracy and theferore [sic] should be no friend of the UK.. Israel treat their arab citizens terribly. They already run apartheid policies against there own citizens, never mind the millions they hold under occupation.
It's disappointing that such a comment has been accepted for publication on the FCO website, with no attempt at rebuttal.
|More disturbing is the fact that Frances Guy expresses with impunity her own views on foreign policy rather than doing what as an ambassador she ought to be doing - strictly reflecting the official views of the elected government of the day.|