On his blog Pressure Points, Elliot Abrams points out the bizarre way the U.N. defines Palestinian “refugees”:
More than a third of Palestinian “refugees” in Jordan were born after 1997. That is either thirty years (if after the 1967 war) or almost fifty years (if they fled when Israel was established in 1948) after their parents or more likely grandparents arrived in Jordan. Those in Jordan have full Jordanian citizenship and vote in Jordan, which means this: a young Jordanian of Palestinian origin, whose family has lived in Jordan for thirty years and who has himself or herself always lived in Jordan, is still considered a “refugee.”
This is bizarre, and the new statistics are a reminder of the unique definition applied to Palestinian “refugees.” For every other category of refugees in the world, the 1951 UN Convention on the status of refugees clearly applies to the refugee only and not subsequent generations. This is the definition used by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees today. Only in the Palestinian case does a separate organization, the UN Relief and Works Agency, count not only those who actually left their homes but those in succeeding generations, presumably forever, and regardless of whether those progeny were born and are settled elsewhere with full citizenship.