Palestinian Refugees

Palestinian Refugees

Palestine refugees (per United Nations Resolution 194) includes Arabs whose normal places of residence were in Israel and Jews who had their homes in Arab Palestine, such as the those from the Jewish quarter of the Old City. Their right of return was recognized in United Nations Resolution 194 of 1948.

In the hostilities of 1948, 85% of the Palestinian Arab population left their homes, either driven by force or by fear, fleeing to the West Bank and Gaza, and to the contiguous countries of Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. They, and their descendents, who are also entitled to registration, are assisted by UNWRA in 58 registered camps, 10 of which were established in the aftermath of the Six Day War in 1967 to cope with new Palestinian refugees. Including unregistered, displaced persons and refugee descendents, the Palestinian Arab refugee and displaced population is the largest in the world. Their conditions of life are precarious. Citizenship or legal residency in host countries is denied in Lebanon where the absorption of Palestinians would upset a delicate confessional balance, but available in Jordan where approximately 40% of UNWRA-registered Palestinian refugees have acquired full citizenship rights. Resolution 194 was adopted by the General Assembly on 11 December 1948, calling for the return of refugees from the ongoing Arab-Israeli hostilities. It forms one basis for the Palestinian Arab claim for a 'right of return'.

Though the 1948 refugees and their descendants are broadly defined as "refugees" (laji'un), Palestinian Arabs make several distinctions. The PLO especially those who have returned and form part of the PNA, but also Palestinian refugee camp residents in Lebanon repudiate this term, since it implies being a passive victim, and prefer the autonym of 'returnees' (a'idun). Those who left since 1967, and their descendants, are called nazihun or 'displaced persons', though many descend from the 1948 group.

An independent poll conducted in 2003 with the Palestinian populations of Gaza, West Bank, Jordan and Lebanon showed that the majority (54%) would accept a financial compensation and a place to live in West Bank/Gaza in place of returning to the exact place in modern-day Israel where they or their ancestors lived (this possibility of settlement is contemplated in the Resolution 194).

Read more about Palestinian Refugees:  Refugee Statistics, Positions On The Right of Return, The Oslo Accords, See Also, Further Reading

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