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Discuss the “right of return” as related to Palestinian refugees

pproximately 750,000 Palestinians were displaced and became refugees as a result of the 1948 war which led to the founding of Israel. None of these displaced persons were ever allowed to return to the homes or communities from which they were displaced and the Palestinian refugee population has continued to grow in the time that has passed since 1948. Today there are more than 7 million Palestinian refugees scattered around the world. The reality of Palestinian forced displacement is at the core of the Palestinian experience and the Palestinian refugee issue is at the heart of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.  This paper provides background information on the history of the Palestinian refugee issue and the politics of the right of return.    

Who are Palestinian refugees?

A Palestinian refugee is any Palestinian who fled, was expelled, or was forced into exile from his/her home in the area of historic Palestine or who has been refused reentry to their home in historic Palestine after having traveled abroad during the period between 1948 and today.[i]  The Palestinian refugee population now includes over seven million people. 

The largest group of Palestinian refugees is made up of Palestinians who fled or were expelled from their homes as a result of the partition of historic Palestine in 1948 as well as their descendants. As of 2014 this included approximately 5 million refugees who are registered with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency and an additional one million Palestinians who were displaced in 1948 but who could not or did not register with UNRWA for assistance.[ii] 

The second largest group of refugees is made up of those Palestinians who were displaced for the first time from their homes and communities in 1967 as well as their descendants. There are approximately one million Palestinian refugees from 1967.