Refugee crisis: Palestinians are still on the list

Cover credit: Aljazeera

Cover credit: Aljazeera

After the Syrian refugee crisis, the world is forgetting about the long list of other refugees.

Palestinian refugee families around the world are facing a long and overwhelming challenge. They live in overcrowded camps and have to deal with discrimination, isolation and social exclusion.

In the course of Israel's creation in 1948 and its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza in 1967, more than half the Arabs of pre-1948 Palestine are thought to have been displaced.

“Forgotten people”

The Palestinian refugees often refer to themselves as “forgotten people” and feel they are living in a hostile environment where their basic human rights are not represented or protected. Caught in the middle of an unsettled political conflict beyond their control, they manage to survive with limited resources and a restricted legal, economic and social system.

Four million UN-registered Palestinian refugees trace their origins to the 1948 exodus. About 750,000 people belong to families displaced in 1967, with many for the second time.

Where do Palestine refugees live?

Nearly one-third of the registered Palestine refugees, more than 1.5 million individuals, live in 58 recognized Palestine refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, the Syrian Arab Republic, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

Socioeconomic conditions in the camps are generally poor, with high population density, cramped living conditions and inadequate basic infrastructure such as roads and sewers.

What about their future?

Israel consistently argues that all refugees should give up any aspirations to return to what is now its territory, and instead be absorbed by Arab host countries or by a future Palestinian state.

But that view is at odds with U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194 and Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Resolution 194 asserts the refugees' unconditional right of return to live at peace in their old homes or to receive compensation for their losses.