Are the octuplets Palestinian refugees?

There’s been a lot of discussion about who will pay the bills (estimated to be in the millions of dollars) for the octuplets born to Nadya Suleman, who — as everyone knows — already has six children.

One solution to the problem that may be open to them will be to apply for Palestinian refugee status and let UNRWA foot the bill. Here’s the official definition:

Under UNRWA’s operational definition, Palestine refugees are persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948, who lost both their homes and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict. UNRWA’s services are available to all those living in its area of operations who meet this definition, who are registered with the Agency and who need assistance. UNRWA’s definition of a refugee also covers the descendants through the male line of persons who became refugees in 1948. The number of registered Palestine refugees has subsequently grown from 914,000 in 1950 to more than 4.6 million in 2008, and continues to rise due to natural population growth. — UNRWA

Nadya’s father, Ed Suleman, is reported to be “a Palestinian immigrant who hails from Jerusalem”. If it can be shown that he counts as a refugee, then so does Nadya.

However, UNRWA does not grant refugee  status to the children of Palestinian women married to non-Palestinians — although a Palestinian father conveys such status even if the mother is non-Palestinian (making it possible for there to be someone who is legitimately both Jewish and a Palestinian refugee). Feminist KPFA-listeners please take note.

I don’t know what the UNRWA policy is for children of unmarried Palestinian women when the father is unknown (Suleman’s sperm donor has not been identified).

But keeping in mind UNRWA’s generosity, which has allowed the original 550,000 -700,000 refugees to grow to 4.6 million,  and the generally-accepted need to keep families together, I’m sure something could be worked out. What’s another 15 when you already have 4.6 million?

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One Response to “Are the octuplets Palestinian refugees?”

  1. Shalom Freedman says:

    The UNRWA definition of ‘refugee’ which is different for Palestinian Arabs than for anyone else is both sign and proof that the United Nations has aggravated the problem, rather than helping to solve it.
    If they continue counting this way it may be by the year 2050 Palestinian refugees will outnumber the people of India and China taken together.

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