Saturday, October 14, 2006

Palestinian displacement: a case apart?

The September 2006 issue of Forced Migration Review, the in-house magazine of the University of Oxford's Refugee Studies Centre , includes a major feature on Palestinian displacement. Twenty-eight articles by UN, Palestinian, Israeli and international human rights organisations examine the root causes of the displacement of Palestinians and the consequences of the failure to apply international humanitarian law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

The articles discuss how failure to address the Palestinian refugee crisis represents perhaps the gravest shortcoming of the UN since its foundation. The international community has not exerted sufficient political will to advance durable solutions consistent with international law and Security Council resolutions requiring Israel to withdraw from Palestinian territory it occupied in 1967. Durable solutions for displaced Palestinians have been discussed without reference to the legal norms applied in other refugee cases. Refugee rights, entitlements to compensation or restitution and the rights to protection of those Palestinians living under continued military occupation were not central to the now-moribund Oslo peace process, nor are they part of the subsequent US-sponsored Å’Performance-Based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution‚. Creeping annexation continues unchecked. Upon completion of Israel's Wall, Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip will be restricted to a series of non-contiguous enclaves which constitute an eighth of the area of historic Palestine. Despite pro-democracy rhetoric, Western response to the internationally-validated Palestinian legislative elections in January 2006 has sparked a politically-induced crisis and crippled the Palestinian economy. Ordinary Palestinians are suffering as donors freeze funding required to maintain humanitarian assistance and development programmes.

Three-quarters of the Palestinian people are displaced. Approximately one in three refugees worldwide is Palestinian. More than half the Palestinian population are displaced outside the borders of their historic homeland.

Full texts of all articles are online . The magazine is available free of charge. Please email for a copy.

Posted by Mehreen

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