Endless Injustice PALESTINIAN REFUGEES 66 Years On

March 1, 2014


On 15 May 2014 Palestinians will mark 66 years since the Nakba, a term that literally means catastrophe. It refers to the establishment of the state of Israel on over half of historic Palestine, the expulsion and dispossession of hundreds of thousands of native Palestinians, and the destruction of much of their property. While Palestinians continue to be displaced by Israeli policies and practices on an almost daily basis, the fate of Palestinian refugees, one of the world’s largest and most enduring refugee populations, remains a complex issue the resolution of which is critical to ending the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Despite the fact that Israeli “new historians” have presented material on the 1948 Nakba and the origins of the Palestinian refugee problem that reveal that the expulsion of the Palestinians was a deliberate goal pursued by the founders of the Jewish state, Israel consistently denies any responsibility. Only a tiny number of Palestinian refugees have been allowed to return under family reunification procedures, but the majority still await justice. This bulletin presents basic facts and figures about Palestinian refugees: who they are, how they became refugees, their numbers and where they live, their rights under international law, Palestinian-Israeli negotiations on the issue to date, the positions held by both sides, and what solutions, if any, are thinkable to resolve this seemingly intractable issue.