Palestinian Arab Refugees



By: Salah Salah

Translated by: Adib S. Kawar


Palestinian Arabs are subjected to continuous waves of uprooting and expulsion that differ from what other peoples around the world usually tend to suffer as a result of natural disasters, search for better economical conditions, trying to escape dictatorial regimes that practice terror, suppression, trying to fetch safe internal refuge, foreign interference and waging hostile wars. All of these are important and dangerous causes for emigration, seeking refuge that causes dangerous results and various problems that an emigrant is exposed to as a result of internal conflicts that a refugee could confront in trying to reach the country he intends to take refuge in. Those, irrespective of the causes of their departure, are willingly leaving their land homes and willingly return to them, they are the masters of their fate and they chose the time of their departure and return to their homeland, but as for Palestinian Arab citizens they were forced under the threat of deadly arms and weapons to evacuate their land and homes and were denied theirinalienable right of return to them, which is due to a long struggle with the Zionist colonialist project, which aimed at the establishment of a “national home for Jews” in Palestine on the account of its indigenous Palestinian Arab population that created the Palestinian Arab refugee problem since 1948. Which is still uninterrupted and continuous with its political, economical, social and security repercussions?

Up till this year 2014 sixty six years had passed since the first big wave of Palestinian Arab emigration, which form the longest emigration case in the world and shall continue for long years to come, because the indigenous population of the Palestinian Arab land insist on their inalienable right of return to their land and homes, Arab Palestine. They are supported by international resolutions issued by the United Nations while the Zionist colonialist occupation refused that.



The 1948 War ended with more than 800,000 uprooted Palestinian Arab refugees who were spread over neighboring Arab states, where some of them took refuge, the majority of them in refugee camps under the patronage of)UNRWA (The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, which gives them relief and necessary services such as health care, education and infrastructure, UNRWA, in addition of giving the refugees only a small percentage of their needs with the excuse that the donning countries do not fulfill their promises to refugees, they use their assistance to exert pressure on them to accept solutions that would keep them away from their homeland and do not fulfill their right of returning to it.

The struggle that started in the early nineteen twenties with the Zionist project adopted and supported by British imperialism developed to a war in 1948 ending with what Palestinians call “Anakbah” in mid May with the establishment of the “State of Israel” on 78% of the land of Arab Palestine, and what was left was shared by Egypt and Jordan. Egypt subjugated the Gaza Slip to self rule while Jordan annexed the West Bank to what it calls ‘The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan”.

The war took its compass among Palestinians, the indigenous Arab Population of Palestine, who started their struggle against British mandate authorities and Zionist immigration, to protect their existence on their own land and stop Zionist Jews from establishing their Jewish Zionist state on Palestinian Arab land, and insure their right of existence on their land Palestine, but the balance of power between Arabs an Zionist Jews was not equivalent, Palestinians were exhausted and weakened to the maximum by British mandate that was imposed on them by the League of Nations in 1927 to impose its power on Palestine, and facilitate the influx of Zionist immigration and colonization of Arab Palestine. The League of Nations which was under the control of the British and the French, helped Zionist Jews to establish their Jewish Zionist state on the account of its indigenous Arab population. At the time most Arab states had newly received their independence from foreign colonialism and were subjugated to foreign colonization, thus they were unable to develop their power to support the struggle of Palestinian national resistance movement, while on the other side the Zionist movement had all the military, political, material/financial support that enabled them to occupy 78% of Arab Palestine.



The Ethnic Cleansing “Delt Plan” 

Zionist forces followed in their battles a pre planned military system known as “Delt Plan” for emptying Palestinian territories they occupy of their inhabitants, to do so they committed massacres against civilians and destroyed over 5oo villages and city quarters and uprooted their inhabitants.

The Jewish author Ilan Pappé of Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine in which he listed many facts and occurrences – relying on the archives of the Zionist movement — that illustrated crimes committed by Zionist forces, under the instructions of its leaders especially the first Zionist Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion against Palestinian Arabs to push them to emigrate and take refuges outside Palestine.

 توزيع وإعداد اللاجئين الفلسطينيين

Distribution and numbers of Palestinian Refugee

الفلسطينيين العرب مجموع السكان

 Palestinian Arabs total population

Regions with significant populations

– West Bank


– Gaza Strip





1,658,000[2][a 1]







Saudi Arabia




United States




United Arab Emirates










El Salvador














United Kingdom














مقالات أكاديمية حولDistribution and numbers of Palestinian Refugees

… in the social identity ofPalestinian refugees in the West … – Bisharat – تم اقتباسها في عدد: 78

Refugees and the spread of civil war –Salehyan – تم اقتباسها في عدد: 393

The Palestinian Refugees in Jordan 1948-1957 – Plascov– تم اقتباسها في




The war stopped in 1948 and “Israel” concludedtruce agreements with neighboring Arab states (Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon), but these states didn’t recognize “Israel”; so Zionist acts of aggression didn’t end, the most dangerous of which was the 1967 war the Zionist enemy used to occupy the rest of Palestine (the Gaza Strip and the West Bank). The Zionist enemy repeated what it committed in 1948 and after it of massacres, and crimes resulting in a new wave of ethnic cleansing, and forced a new wave of Palestinian Arabs to emigrate estimated at 300.000 Palestinians citizens who mainly took refuge in Jordan and Egypt, they were called “expatriates” because their residence in these Arab states is temporary, and they can return to their homes after their temporary residence in these two Arab states after the execution of UN resolution 242, which condemns “Israel’s occupation of other people’s land and demanded its withdrawal from it immediately, but as usual “Israel” didn’t abide to the agreement.

After the truce agreements signed by Egypt (Camp David), The Palestine Liberation Organization (Oslo) with “Israel” it was decided to form a biquadrate committee formed of representatives from Egypt and Syria, but it failed Egypt, and Jordan, ‘Israel” and Palestine, whose duty is “allowing individuals (expatriates) who were expelled from the West Bank and Gaza 1967 to return to their land and homes”. The committee held several meetings but failed in executing it duties, because of ‘Israel’s” stalling and evading attending meetings.

This new expansion in occupation proves that the Zionist Movement is surely not satisfied with the establishment of the “State of Israel” on the land it occupied in 1948 and the Partition Plan of 1947 it is still insisting in proceeding to occupy all Palestine.

For this the Zionist enemy refuses to be satisfied with what Iit occupied and abide with international resolutions that demand its withdrawal from the land it occupies, it even refused to abide to the Oslo agreement aiming at reaching a political solution to reaching a political agreement with Palestinians, it doesn’t stop from confiscating Palestinian Arab land to build on them only Jewish Zionist colonies. Its leader continue on claiming that all Palestine within its historical borders is a historical right for them, and they shall not give back a square inch of it, and shall not allow a single Arab refugee to return to it.



Emigration and Refuge Waves Renewed

Palestinian Arab emigration/uprooting was not limited to what they suffered in 48 and 67. But they suffered too other expelling that caused many pains and tragedies..

Pslestinians were exposed to various waves of emigrations, which could be classified under two topics.

FIRST: Temporary emigrations from the countries they they took refuge in 1948 and 1967 to oter countries such as Saudi Arabia. Kuwait, Arab Gulf countries, Libya and other foreign counties in sarch of better job opportunities.

SECOND: The sufferings due to obligatory emigration that was imposed on Palestinians due wars and local struggles in the countries they took refuge in is not less than what they suffered during the 1948 and 1967wars; Massacres were committed against them… Many were kidnapped and their camps were destroyed.

Of the examples:

KUWAIT; About 40,000 Palestinian were working in Kuwait who participated in its development and its economic. Civil and cultural evolution the government e in other Arab counties xpelled 35,000 of them after the invasion of the Iraqi forces in 1990, most of who emigrated to Canada.

IRAQ: After the war waged by the United States on Iraq and defeating its Baath regime about 15,000 Palestinians were out of 25,000 who were living there since 1948 were expelled and settled in temporary camps under inhuman conditions in desert areas on the borders of Syria that refused them entry to their territories, then were resettled in Brazil, Chili and Australia. Those who remained in Iraq were obliged to move to other places were security an work opportunities were available.

LEBANON: Palestinian were exposed to many unbearable moral and material disasters, lost many martyrs, missing people and captives as a result of repeated Zionist areal ,sea and land raids on many sites in Lebanon among which are Palestinian refugee camps. Also due to the civil war in Lebanon that lasted 15 years, followed by what is known as the war on refugee camps, resulting destruction of three camps, which the Lebanese government didn’t give the permission to rebuild, the last camp to be destroyed lm 2007 that its repair was the Nahr Al-Bared camp.


Courses of Palestinian Refuge

It is natural that these long years of internal struggle and external aggression to oblige about 150,000 Palestinian refugees to take external refuge in countries that opened their doors such as Germany, Denmark, Sweden and England, in addition to 6000 families that that had to resort to internal freee migration within Lebanese territories where they had to take refuge in unhealthy livig quarters, that are not fit for their children to live in and go to free UNRWA schools located within the camps.

SYRIA, where all its inhabitants live under daily scheduled full destruction, and its suns and daughter are exposed to unstoppable bleeding… that include Palestinian refugee camps some of which were also exposed to destruction and other to siege, also some uprooted Palestinians are exposed to murder arrest kidnapping and loss of work opportunities, which obliged some 60,000 of them to emigrate to outside Syria and 200,000 to displacement inside Syria. For sure these figures are subject to increase as long as the strife, war and fighting are continued.

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Protection and the Legal Status quo of Uprooted Palestinians 

Palestinian Arabs do not enjoy any international protection nor they are dealt with according to 1951 agreement related to the status of refugees nor to its “1967 amendments”, because Arab states insisted on exempting Palestinian refugees to protect privacy and the particularity of their cause “being the cause of a people who should enjoy the right of return and decide its fate, according to international law the United Nations resolutions – resolution 194”, Evdn the Arab League didn’t unify its stance regarding dealing with Palestinian refugees, as they left the right to each Arab state to subjugate them to them to its own laws and special legislating, and most of them do not respect the values and rincipes of human rights such as:

Palestinian refugees in Jordan, are dealt with according to two standards: those who took refuge in the kingdom moved to it from The West Bank. They are given all the rights of Jordanian citizens… but as for those who refuge to it form Gaza they are dealt with as refugees they are subjected to the custody of UNRWA.

REFUGEES IN THE WEST BANK AND GAZA: They enjoy the citizenship of the Palestinian Authority after its establishment and as per the Oslo agreement, and they suffer as all those residing in Gaza and the West Bank including Jerusalem as result of siege and terrorism of “Israeli” forces and colonialists (settlers). There is n protection, laws or deterrent laws the prevent “Israelis” from confiscating lands, building sJewish only colonies, daily arresting and cold blooded murders even of babies and children.

In Syria the parliament (the people’s court) took a decision to grant Palestinian refugees all rights and obligations with exception: of the nationality, running for elections for the people court, but they have no protection for what they are exposed of killing, destruction in their refugee camps by terrorist groups, and security systems.

As fo Lebanon: Palestinian Refugees are fully from enjoying any rights, they have no work rights, property ownership, nor health securities or social rights. Most of these camps are subjected to security siege and no non Palestinians are allowed to enter e in dealing with Palestinians residing in Lebanon.

In Egypt and Iraq regulations and laws change in dealing with Palestinians with the change of every ruler in both countries, and under the present ruler Palestinian live under the worst conditions.

sameIn foreign countries Palestinians refugees livethe same problems that Palestinian communities live in the other countries and are exposed to dangers such as drawning in the sea, arrest and exile.


In “Israel” there are 1,658,000 holding “Israeli” citizenship as per “Israeli” official statistics living mostly in special quarters and villages, who were subjected to military laws for 20 years after the announcement of the establishment of the Zionist state, and they are still treated of 2nd class citizens under strict security control.

There are about 300,000 what are so-call Palestinian?””Israelis” who had to leave their villages and move to nearby cities that are more secure and they had been trying to return after 1948 to their villages but “Israel’ allow them though they are only few kilometers away. Few years ago a committee was formed from Dispales Palestinians within occupied Palestine demanding the right of return to their homes and exploit their “properties homes and lands, and raised cases but without use, because ‘Israeli” laws doesn’t provide them with the protection to recover their properties (Houses and agricultural lands).

The common thing that Arab states that host Palestinian refugees share is:

*Allowing them to obtain a refugee document from the state he is taking refuge in to be able to use for traveling, but he has a great difficulty to get a visa to amother county.

*To deal with a Palestinian as a security case represents a danger against the internal conditions where he resides that exposes him for termagant control and arrest.

International Resolutions about the Refugee Problem

The British mandate forces withdrew from Palestine after handing its strategic positions to Zionist forces and left them huge quantities of arms and ammunitions resulting deteriorating conditions, unbalanced struggle intensified between Zionist forces and Palestinian resistance, Massacres were committed by Zionist gangs against Arab civilians and hundreds of thousands Arab Palestinians were expelled from their cities, towns and villages and demolishing more than 500 villages and towns. The news of massacres started to break out. This means whole cities, towns and villages were ethnicly cleansed, that is hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs were uprooted and thrown from all over Palestine thus the Palestinian refugee problem was created and still without solution up till today’s date.

Facing these pressures the United Nations General Assembly met in mid May 1948 and took a resolution to appoint Count Folk Bernadotte as an international mediator to reach a peaceful solution for and end the struggle.

In 16/9/1948 Count Bernadotte submitted his report, which was the cause of his assassination by Zionist gangs. It only told half the truth. “Depriving innocent victims (Palestinians) from their right of return to their homes, and permitting Jewish immigrants to come to Palestine are considered as aggression on the basic principles of justice. Actually they at least threaten to replace Palestinian Arab refugees who built and planted this land for millennia.


In tribute to Count Folk Bernadotte and what he submitted in his report and its agreement on its content it took its important and most famous of its international resolution regarding the Palstinian cause, which is resolution 194 of Decemer 11th 1948 clearly stating on the necessity of the return of Palestinian Arab refugees to their homes and properties, which they were forced out of them, and live in peace with their neighbors, those who doesn’t intend to return should be compensated for all what is lost damaged, when it is cessary, according to justice and principles international law loss for that or damage on the part of governments or responsible authorities.” Along with this inalienable there are two other laws.

FIRST: Formig what was called “Reconciliation Committee for Palestine” that is formed of representative from the United States, France and Turkey the duty of which the of resolution 194 and taking the following steps neccessary for that.

SECOND: Forming )UNRWA (The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees for insuring housing and supplyingnecessary services in countries of “refuge” up till their return to their properties from which they expelled from.

Responsible researchers confirmed that it was confirming the resolution regarding the return of refugees 120 times by various UN bodies.

In addition to that “Israel” was refused as a UN member in May 1949 except after its commitment to resolutions 194 regarding the return of Palestinian refugees and 181 regarding the establishment of The State of Palestine according to the 1948 of the Partition of Palestine.

In spite of passing 66 years since Al-Nakbah and up till 2014 the Zionist entity is still refusing to fulfill the two resolutions.


(UNRWA) The United Nations Relief and Works Agency Palestinian Refugees

The United Nations established (UNRWA) in December 1949 to be responsible for helping Palestinian refugees to overcome the tragedies of their expulsion from their homes and land. The resolution for its establishment on “granting them help without injustice regarding the contents of article of the UN resolution 194.

(UNRWA) started its work with giving services in 1950 that is about one year after the issuing of the c of its establishment. It depends for its budget on donning countries, especially the United States, the European Union, Japan, and Scandinavian countries. Canada and some Arab countries. These countries do not give(UNRWA) enough support so as to be able to use that to be able to pressurize to accept projects that contradict their right of return, and amalgamate them in the countries they took refuge in any other countries that would accept them, Free services given by(UNRWA) which are basically health, education, emergency social services and infrastructure in camps..


Settling, Expulsion and Nationalisation

Under the shadows of dispair and frustration that overwhelmed Arabs after the Nakbah, and as a result of “Israel’s” refusal to recognize it and permitting Palestinian Arabs to return to their land not caring for UN resolutions, and in the absence of any international pressure to oblige it to execute these resolutions, the United States believed that it has the chance to neglect resolution 194 and other UN resolutions supporting the return of Palestinian Arab refugees, and started proposing projects to settle Palestinians and nationalize them in countries they took refuge in or in other countries that accept them.

Proposing such projects didn’t stop since the beginning of the 1950s up till now, many European countries participated in calling for them and pay for their financing them, but they all failed, because Palestinians were aware of the dangers behind them in relation to their national identity and their right of return. They strongly and stubbornly opposed them starting with mass efforts (strikes, sit downs and demonstrations) then developed to armed revolutions in the mid sixties, which heated up after the 1967 war, then the uprising (intifadah) against Zionist occupation in 1987, To confront the intifadah Zionist forces used all types of repression and terrorism but failed to oppress it up till 1993 when the leadership of PLO accepted the international initiative to negotiate with “Israel” to reach a political solution that produced the “Oslo agreement”!!!


The Oslo Agreement and the Right of Return

Among the basic critical comments about the Oslo Agreement is that it did not contain a solution for the Palestinian refugee problem. This sensitive problem along with other causes was that are not less important –are to be dealt with in final stage, that were supposed to be dealt with after five years

After signing the agreement. It is clear now (after 21 years) that after 21years that the consecutive “Israeli” governments had been evading to discuss the cases of the final stages, and Zionist leaders in many occasions that The Oslo Agreement doesn’t mean anything for them, and that they consider Palestine within all its border lines are all the borders of the state of “Israel”, and that unified Jerusalem is the capital of unified “Israel”, and there is state for Palestinians. As for Palestinians they shall accept no other choice other than hol ding to the right of return to their homes and properties from which they were uprooted, because of the ethnic cleansing po


Why Insisting On the Right of Return for Refugees

Palestinians insist on their right of return because Palestine is their homeland in which they lived in for thousands of years, and on its land their culture and values within their unified homogenous society that doesn’t differentiate between its citizens because of race, descent, color or sex, and it is no body’s or side’s right under any particular historical conditions, or suit table balance of power to expel the indigenous population from their homes and land to be replaced by European invaders as a part of a colonialist plan aiming at controlling the Arab homeland. Palestinians are not responsible for the persecution of Jews; the Jewish problem should not be solved on the account of Palestinians by expelling them to confiscate their land and settle Jews in them. Palestinian Arabs became the victims of the meeting of interests of colonialism and the Zionist project by “establishing a Jewish homeland in Palestine”. It is not fair at all for Palestinian Arabs to be victims for what the Jews used to be exposed to in Eastern and Western Europe of persecution and Anti Semitism. The Zionist movement was established with the aim of finding a solution for the Jewish problem, various ideas were discussed, among which: taking the Jews out of their Gatos where they live alone and encourage them to amalgamate with other sectors of the society of the countries they live in, Herzl the founder of the Zionist movement to the Gatos saying: “I understand Anti Semitism. We Jews kept ourselves as a foreign body among various nations, and we won in the Gatos various unsocial characteristics” as the Zionist movement also discussed other suggestions about the possibility of settling in Uganda, Argentina, Cyprus, Sinai and Al-Arish besides other parts of the world


 Why did Zionism and Colonialism Chose to Establish “Israel’?!

The leaders of the Zionist movement settled at the end on choosing “Palestine”, for establishing the state they aim at. This choice is based on two basic reasons that are necessary for its success:

1)  Utilizing religion, as it insures success or political national Zionism except if we mean its first place its spiritual side, and stired in that and stirred the religious sense side with Judaism, and whether there it fits to achieve all of this in Palestine?” (As per Wiseman one of the most outstanding Zionist leaders), because Palestine as they claim is the promised land that was given by God to the Abraham “God gave this land from the river of Egypt to the big river of the Euphrates”> As per this Biblical text (سفر التكوين 18:15)the border of the state of “Israel’ that they aim at is not limited to Palestine but it extends from the Euphrates to the Nile, that is why they refuse to withdeaw from the Syrian Golan Heights and the Lebanese Shibaa farms.

For this reason too “Israelis” refuse a peace agreement with Palestinians that allows the establishment of a Palestinian state (on part of Palestine).

2)  The second reason for the Zionist movement to chose “Palestine” as the site of the Jewish state is the alliance that reaches the limit of partnership between the Zionist movement and colonialism that is based strategic interests between the two parties in the Arab homeland, especially England the master of the world at that time, which believes that who controls the area can dominate all the new world, that is why European colonialism should not allow the Arab masses to unite, and prevent them from exchanging liberal ideas, and to try to create conflict among them, and to establish near the Suez Canal a strong foreign human barrier, which should be a supporter for imperialism and an enemy for the inhabitants of the region”. (Lieberman’s report – British Prime Minister 1905 – 1908

Thus Jewish state (“Israel”) is the common factor, ‘The human barrier”. On this basis, The British government undertakes what is called the ill-omened Balfour Declaration 1917 as declared by its Foreign Minister “who looks with sympathy on establishing a homeland for the Jews in Palestine” on the basis that nothing should be done tat harms the civil interests of non Jewish parties that live in Palestine”. ((Lieberman’s report – British Prime Minister 1905 – 1908


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