Eleven million Palestinians scattered around world

Updated 21 December 2012
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Eleven million Palestinians scattered around world

RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories: There are some 11 million Palestinians scattered around the world, including more than five million refugees living throughout the Middle East.
Their plight has made headlines in Syria, where the UN agency for Palestinian refugee UNRWA says as many as 100,000 Palestinians may have fled the Yarmuk refugee camp in Damascus in recent days because of fighting.
Thousands returned to the camp on Thursday despite sporadic gunfire.
On Wednesday, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas urged the international community to help those refugees fleeing fighting in camps in Syria to enter the West Bank and Gaza.
The fate of Palestinian refugees and their descendants is one of the most sensitive issues in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
It remains an emotive issue for Palestinians more than 60 years after many first fled during what they call the “Nakba” or “catastrophe” of their exodus during the fighting that followed Israel’s creation in 1948.
Around 760,000 fled or were forced from their homes during that time, followed by several hundreds of thousands more who left during the 1967 Six-Day War in which Israel captured east Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.
The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics earlier this year put the Palestinian population living in the Palestinian territories at 4.29 million, with 2.65 million in the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, and 1.64 million in Gaza.
Another 1.4 Palestinians live in Israel and are often referred to as Arab Israelis. They have citizenship and now make up 20 percent of the Jewish state’s population.
Hundreds of thousands live in countries throughout the world, with large communities in the United States and several countries of Latin America.
According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), there are another five million Palestinian refugees and their descendants in the Middle East.
The number includes 850,000 in the West Bank, 1.2 million in Gaza, two million in Jordan, 525,000 in Syria and 450,000 in Lebanon.
Their living conditions and rights differ vastly from place to place, with Jordan the only Arab country to grant the population nationality.
In Lebanon, many professions are off-limits to Palestinians, who live in difficult conditions in refugee camps. Their situation in Syria had been comparatively comfortable, before the outbreak of violence in the country.
Palestinians are also present throughout much of the Gulf, where they began moving in the 1960s lured by the opportunity of employment.
The right of return for Palestinian refugees remains a key issue in peace negotiations with Israel.
UN General Assembly Resolution 194, adopted on December 11, 1948, stipulates that “the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date.”
It says that compensation should be paid for the property of those who do not want to return.
The Palestinians — backed by the Arab world — want Israel to recognize the principle of the right of return, with a detailed solution to be negotiated subsequently.
But Israel fears that this would open the door for a massive influx that could chance its character as a Jewish state.


At least 8 killed, 20 wounded in attack on military parade in southwest Iran

Updated 10 min 22 sec ago
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At least 8 killed, 20 wounded in attack on military parade in southwest Iran

  • Paramedics could be seen helping someone in military fatigues laying on the ground
  • Saturday's attack comes after a coordinated June 7, 2017 Daesh assault on parliament and the shrine of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Tehran

TEHRAN: Gunmen attacked a military parade in the southwest Iranian city of Ahvaz on Saturday, killing at least 8 members of the elite Revolutionary Guard and wounding 20 people, state media said.
The state-run IRNA news agency reported that the wounded included a woman and a child but did not elaborate.

The report described the assailants as "Takifiri gunmen," a term previously used to describe Daesh.

The semi-official Fars news agency, which is close to the elite Revolutionary Guard, said two gunmen on a motorcycle wearing khaki uniforms carried out the attack.

State television showed images of the immediate aftermath. In it, paramedics could be seen helping someone in military fatigues laying on the ground. Other armed security personnel shouted at each other in front of what appeared to be a viewing stand for the parade.

The semi-official ISNA news agency published photographs of the attack's aftermath, with bloodied troops in dress uniforms helping each other walk away. The attack struck on Ahvaz's Quds, or Jerusalem, Boulevard.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Saturday's attack comes after a coordinated June 7, 2017 Dash assault on parliament and the shrine of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Tehran. That attack had at that point been the only one by the extremists inside of Iran, which has been deeply involved in the wars in Iraq and Syria where the militants once held vast territory.

At least 18 people were killed and more than 50 wounded in the 2017 attack that saw gunmen carrying Kalashnikov assault rifles and explosives storm the parliament complex where a legislative session had been in progress, starting an hours-long siege. Meanwhile, gunmen and suicide bombers also struck outside Khomeini's mausoleum on Tehran's southern outskirts. Khomeini led the 1979 Islamic Revolution that toppled the Western-backed shah to become Iran's first supreme leader until his death in 1989.

Ahvaz is the capital of Iran's oil-rich Khuzestan province. The province in the past has seen Arab separatists attack oil pipelines.

The assault shocked Tehran, which largely has avoided militant attacks in the decades after the tumult surrounding the Islamic Revolution.