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100,000 Palestinian refugees will stay where they are

Sep 10,2019 - Last updated at Sep 10,2019

Many people heard the news coming from a local Lebanese news network, saying that Canada will take 100,000 Palestinian refugees from Lebanon and Syria. This local news network spread hope of life for the "unchosen ones”. If I was one of them, I would have immediately dropped what I was doing and run for the embassy, paid whatever they requested, maybe mortgage my assets, if not sell them, and just put that application in. Imagine if almost 50 per cent of Palestinian refugees had hope, plans. Also, this would definitely solve a big problem for the hosting countries, but it would not solve or help the main problem, the Palestinians’ right of return.

No need to imagine anything; the news is false, and the Canadian monitoring office denied the story in its entirety. One wonders who would spread such information, how could this be useful and to whom?

First of all, let us talk about the legal implications. False news must be denied by whoever it is attributed to, Canada denied (check); spreading false news should be criminalised, in Lebanon it is a crime (check). The Canadian government must use its legal rights to sue the local news network that made this false news that had a negative impact on all the legitimate future campaigns of Canada, not to mention Canada's position on the two-state solution.

Canada denied, but the harm was done, refugees almost saw the light, in the moments between when the false news was published and the official denial.

We do not have the Canadians every time anyone tries to manipulate the public with false news or on social media with dubious campaigns. Sometimes there is no one who will deny them or can deny them. No matter how much we try to avoid the cliché of “Who can control the Internet”, sometimes we find we are forced to use it. The Internet, not only in the Middle East, has become a tool for whoever is interested, and, sadly, the public is falling for the tricks  every time.

Let us make a movement that all social media ambassadors get together and counter false news across the Middle East, using opinion leaders, then Canadian delegations all over the Middle East can spread their message to the public through this movement.

For today, thank you Canada, but for tomorrow, God help us.

 

The writer is an attorney at law and a scholar at the Jordan Strategic Forum (JSF). He contributed this article to The Jordan Times

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