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In an interview with LBC TV , Lebanese Forces MP Antoine Zahra said in response to Jumblatt’s proposal during the parliament session yesterday by saying his bloc was not against granting Palestinian refugees in Lebanon their civil rights, but that the matter cannot be swiftly approved by the parliament.

During yesterday’s parliament session Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt proposed a bill that grants Palestinian refugees their civil rights and allows them to own property in Lebanon.

Hezbollah and Amal MPs as well as Hariri’s al Mustaqbal bloc voted in favor of Jumblatt’s bill, while the Phalange , Lebanese Forces and Change and Reform bloc MPs voted against it.

Jumblatt was upset with the way the rightists voted and said : ‘The rightists are dumb and the Lebanese rightists are the dumbest’.

Zahra said: “If defending the Lebanese state is stupid, then we are proud of being stupid.”

He added that a month period was enough to review Jumblatt’s proposal by the parliamentary committee. He was responding to the action taken by Speaker Nabih Berri who transferred the bill to the Justice and Administration parliamentary commission for review and recommendations.

Zahra said “No one will accept to grant the Palestinian workers the same rights as the Lebanese workers, but I am for giving priority to the Palestinians over any foreign worker,”

Chamoun

In a related development National Liberal Party leader Dory Chamoun refused to comment on Jumblatt’s proposal because he said: “Jumblatt may change his mind before we respond to him”.

In an interview with Central News Agency (CNA) Chamoun said: “Why should Lebanon grant Palestinians their rights , while they don’t recognize the Lebanese state ?”

He added; Once the Palestinian refugees start respecting the Lebanese laws and once the Lebanese security forces will be able to enter the refugee camps then we will be in a position to offer them their rights ” .Chamoun stressed that “the way we treat the Palestinians is not any different from the way Syria and the other Arab countries treat them”

Chamoun however warned: “Granting the Palestinians their rights in Lebanon could lead to their resettlement in Lebanon which is a violation of their right of return to their homeland in Palestine.”

In response to a question about how the parties voted Chamoun said: “Some are more sympathetic to the Palestinians than to Lebanon.”

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