Eleven million Palestinians scattered around world



Agence France Presse

Published — Thursday 20 December 2012

Last update 21 December 2012 12:28 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

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.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

Arab News Editor in Chief Mohammed Fahad Al-Harthi hosted a banquet for editors in chief of local print and online publications, Shoura Council members, representative of the Ministry of Culture and Information, prominent writers and columnists in Je...
JEDDAH: Health workers from Riyadh’s National Guard hospital would not be allowed to perform Haj this year, or work at the holy sites, the Ministry of Health has announced.Hail Al-Abdali, head of the ministry’s infection control unit, was reportedly...
RIYADH: Construction on the multibillion-riyal Riyadh Metro is well under way with several giant drilling machines working overtime to ensure that underground tunnels for the project are completed on schedule.The Arriyadh Development Authority (ADA)...
JEDDAH: Officials from the Saudi Ministry of Haj have been holding meetings with their counterparts from Arab and South Asian nations in preparation for this year’s pilgrimage.Abdulrahman bin Ali Al-Nafei, assistant deputy minister of Haj and in char...
RIYADH: Four polling stations in Tabuk have stopped registering voters for the Dec. 12 municipal elections in the region.Ibrahim bin Ahmed Al-Ghabban, undersecretary at the Tabuk municipality and member of the local committee for the election of a mu...
JEDDAH: Many prospective candidates running for seats on the country’s municipal councils have been using Twitter to boost their election campaigns.Many have been using religious expressions in their messages, such as “In the name of God,” and “If He...
DAMMAM: There has been a flurry of activity on the Kingdom’s highways as service companies race to meet the Jan. 19 deadline for the revamp of dilapidated gas stations.The Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs has previously handed out rehabilitati...
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and Germany have signed an agreement on mutual protection of classified information to provide a legal framework for enhanced cooperation in the defense sector. The pact was signed by Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Aish, assistant mini...
JEDDAH: While Saudi Arabia has now arrested the main suspect in the 1996 bombing of the Alkhobar Towers residence at an American military base in the country, the hunt continues for three others, according to reports in the local media on Thursday.Ah...
AL-AHSA: Located in the western part of Al-Qara Mountain is a workshop for the pottery industry, molding clay in plastic forms that are given permanency by the use of intense heat. This art form became one of the major attractions in Al-Ahsa Archaeol...
RIYADH: A newborn baby boy, who appeared to be just hours old, was found lying in the grass, covered with a blanket, in an abandoned field in Jazan on Tuesday morning.According to local residents, a family passing by heard the baby crying and rushed...
TAIF: Several schools in Taif have recorded a lack of schoolbooks for primary and intermediate classes for the first time in 15 years, a local publication reported.This has resulted in many boys and girls not turning up for classes. A source said tha...
RIYADH: Justice Minister Walid Al-Samaani said that directives from Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman to protect the rights of citizens and public properties are being strictly implemented.“All legal measures are being taken to hold accou...
RIYADH: Najran region has retained its veritable unique cultural heritage and attractions, which include old mud buildings constructed some 300 years ago.While the laid-back ambience in many areas is gone due to modern life brought about by contempor...
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia, under Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman’s wise leadership, has witnessed an accelerated pace of economic growth with improved living standard of its people, says Uzbekistan Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Alisher Kadirov....

Stay Connected

Facebook