28 January 2010 - BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights is proud to announce the release of its biennial Survey of Palestinian Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons 2008-2009.
More than 61 years since the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe) and 42 years after Israel's belligerent occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the issue of forced displacement of Palestinians from their homeland remains an ongoing phenomenon that fails to receive the attention it deserves.
At the end of 2008, at least 7.1 million Palestinians, representing 67 percent of the entire Palestinian population (10.6 million) worldwide were displaced persons. Among them are 6.6 million refugees and 427,000 IDPs. This makes Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) the largest and longest-standing case of displaced persons in the world today.
Forced displacement of Palestinians is as much a part of the Palestinian present as it is about their past. By 2009, Palestinian communities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) at particular risk of forced displacement include communities in the path of the Wall (498,000 Palestinians in 92 communities), Palestinian Bedouin, Palestinians residing in the Jordan Valley, eastern Jerusalem, Hebron, Southern Gaza and the Gaza Strip buffer zone. Among Palestinian citizens of Israel, the Bedouin in the Naqab (Negev) and Palestinian communities in the Galilee and the so-called "mixed cities" are particularly vulnerable to forced displacement.
Excessive and indiscriminate use of force, home demolition and forced evictions, attacks and harassment by non-state actors, revocation of residency rights, closure and segregation, confiscation and discriminatory distribution of land, and settler implantation, have been identified as Israeli policies and practices which constitute the main “triggers” of forced Palestinian displacement on both sides of the Green Line (Israel and OPT).
In light of the historical continuity and systematic character of Israeli policies and practices that displace and dispossess Palestinians within Israel and the OPT, a holistic framework is required for the analysis of Israel's regime, identification of root causes of forced Palestinian displacement, and effective remedies.
The 2008-09 Survey illustrates how Palestinian displacement and dispossession are not the result of incidental or isolated occurrences, but rather the consequence of an over-arching Israeli policy designed to consolidate a "Jewish state" in historic Palestine, while severely restricting Palestinian territorial presence in their homeland. In light of this agenda, Israel's contemporary regime of control over the Palestinian people, those in Israel, the OPT and in exile, should be understood as one that combines occupation, colonization and apartheid.
The lack of political will by states and the United Nations to protect Palestinians and to hold Israel accountable for gross violations of international human rights and international humanitarian law contributes to more forced displacement of Palestinians.
In the absence of effective protection of their rights to return, restitution and compensation by governments and the United Nations, Palestinian refugees and IDPs have continued to protect and affect these rights by themselves. Campaigns of Palestinian civil society have gained ground, particularly the Campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it abides by international law.
Parallel efforts have been undertaken by local and international human rights organizations and lawyers for accountability to international law and ending Israeli impunity. These initiatives in UN fora and in domestic courts under universal jurisdiction have so far failed to achieve substantive investigation or prosecution. They have, however, succeeded to convey the message to Israel and the Palestinian victims that impunity will not prevail in the long term.
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Survey of Palestinian Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons 2008 – 2009
193 pages. 30 cm
Read what people are saying about the Survey of Palestinian Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons 2008 – 2009:
"Perhaps the greatest injustice of the post-World War II period, and certainly the most long-standing, is that which has been perpetrated on millions of Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons driven from their homes by ethnic cleansing, war and wall-building in the course of Israel's insatiable demand for Palestinian land, and forgotten by the international community in its determination to appease the state of Israel. Israel's recent assault on Gaza - Operation Cast Lead - has resulted in the further displacement of nearly 100,000 persons but again there has been no serious response from the international community. In the past sixty years, norms of international law designed to punish war crimes and crimes against humanity and to protect refugees have been forsaken in the case of Palestinians. BADIL`s Survey of Palestinian Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons seeks to create an awareness of the plight of Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons by providing an account of the history of Palestinian displacement, describing the factual situation of Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons, and considering the legal framework in which a just solution may be achieved. Hopefully this Survey will go some way towards reminding the international community of a forgotten people and of the injustice in which it is complicit."
Professor of International Law and Former Special Rapporteur to the UN Council on Human Rights on Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory
"The BADIL Research Center's overview of the situation facing Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons is reliable and invaluable. It provides readers with facts, interpretation, legal and political analysis, and policy recommendations. Anyone who doubts the relevance of the refugee dimensions of the Israel/Palestine conflict needs to read and ponder this admirable presentation of this vital material."
Special Rapporteur to the UN Council on Human Rights on Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory
"This is a unique and precious volume. With the Survey's publication, BADIL have provided an immeasurable service to scholars and the general public alike. The dispossessed, the hidden from view and the disenfranchised have been restored to their humanity and dignity. Numbers and statistics are transformed, through scrupulous and painstaking work, into the embodiment of the Palestinian spirit. Every refugee is here returned to their status as a bearer of inalienable and sovereign rights under international law."
"BADIL's most recent Survey of Palestinian Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons continues that organization's tradition of painstaking documentation and penetrating analysis of the condition of displaced Palestinians. What is particularly striking about this edition is the commitment to a wide-angle perspective - one that seeks to make sense of Israel's policies toward Palestinians within its own putative borders and other territories under its control, as well as of the impacts on displaced Palestinians of regional developments, such as the U.S. invasion of Iraq. This work will prove to be an invaluable resource to journalists, researchers, and activists who seek understanding of what remains the central dynamic in the century-long confrontation between Zionism and the Palestinians: the displacement of the indigenous Palestinian population and the clearing of space for exclusively Jewish settlement."
University of California, Hastings College of the Law