Humanitarian Dilemmas for the Palestinian Refugees & the Question of Return
thesisposted on 08.06.2021, 08:15 by Lina Smoum
This paper examines the situation of Palestinian refugees who have been living in Arab host countries as a result of the 1948 and 1967 Arab-Israeli wars. Although their right of return was recognized by the UN Commission on Human Rights, 7 million refugees and 450,000 internally displaced Palestinians continue to live under unfavourable conditions, constituting about seventy percent of the entire Palestinian population worldwide (10.1 million) (BADIL, n.d, para1). During the refugee experience, Palestinians have suffered from all kinds of human rights violations in different countries. However, they considered the denial of their right of return as the most significant source of grievance. The right of return has become a major political goal and mobilizing influence of Palestinian nationalism. In this paper, I will use Iraq as a case study to demonstrate the continued instability and discrimination that Palestinians face in host countries and difficulties for stable settlement in exile. The experience of Palestinian refugees in Iraq between 1948 and 2008 indicates that even in countries where Palestinian refugees had seemingly favourable conditions, changes in political climate and their lack of citizenship rights make life in exile a perilous experience. Recognizing the issue of return as a legal and political matter, I will argue in this paper that based on the Palestinian refugees’ experience in various Arab host countries, securing the right of return should also be seen as a viable humanitarian solution. In the case of Palestinian refugees from and in Iraq, the right of return should be considered an emergency measure.