Palestinian Refugees - Today

Palestinian Refugees - Today

Today the number of Palestinian total approximately 4.7 million persons, of which 3.4 million are registered with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The largest concentration of Palestine refugees is in Jordan, representing more than 40% of those refugees registered with UNRWA, and the refugees in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, represent 38% of UNRWA’s registration, Lebanon and Syria each host about 10% of the registered refugees and the remainder live in neighboring countries, including Egypt, while others have migrated to Europe, the United States, Canada and South America.

Since the creation of the State of Israel in Palestine, the Middle East has been hot point of conflicts interrupted by full-scale wars that threaten the peace of the world. For this reason alone, not to mention principles of right and justice, it is an obligation upon every state and individual to exert the limit of their influence to secure a lasting and just settlement of this conflict. This requires the restoration, to the Arab States, of their territory and to the Palestinian people their legitimate and national rights in their country. It is Israel's denial of these rights that form the fundamental cause of this whole conflict.

Bertrand Russell, in his last words before he died, spoke of these rights in his message to the International Conference of Parliamentarians held in February 1970: "The tragedy of the people of Palestine is that their country was 'given' by a foreign power to another people for the creation of a new state. The result was that many hundreds of thousands of innocent people were made permanently homeless. With every new conflict their numbers increased. How much longer is the world willing to endure this spectacle of wanton cruelty? It is abundantly clear that the refugees have every right to the homeland from which they were driven, and the denial of this right is at the heart of the continuing conflict."

No people anywhere in the world would accept being expelled en masse from their own country; how can anyone require the people of Palestine to accept a punishment which nobody else would tolerate? A permanent just settlement of the refugees in their homeland is an essential ingredient of any genuine settlement in the Middle East."

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