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BADIL’s 7th installment of its Survey builds on a decade of research on Palestinian refugees worldwide, especially in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Mandate Palestine. The Survey is a distillation of secondary and primary research of use to practitioners, scholars and activists concerned with refugee and IDP rights. Newly included, is a chapter (Chapter Three) of data from an original opinion poll of refugee camp residents regarding humanitarian services they receive. We are confident to say that although the 2010 – 2012 edition is shorter than previous installments, it is a richer resource.
BADIL’s opinion poll shows that while almost 80 percent of refugee camp residents expressed that UNRWA’s services have decreased over the last three years, almost 90 percent agree on the continuing importance of UNRWA’s role. The condition of public services, infrastructure and camp environments were of prime concern to surveyed refugees. Furthermore, more than three-quarters of respondents considered the areas of employment, health services, cash assistance and food aid to be underprovided. In the absence of effective protection and lack of adequate humanitarian assistance, as well as the failure of the international community and the Oslo peace process, this Survey endeavors to fill gaps of information on, misrepresentation of, or misinformation about Palestinian refugees and IDPs.
Palestinian refugees and IDPs continue to constitute the largest and longest-standing unresolved case of forcibly displaced persons in the world more than 64 years since the Palestinian Nakba (Catastrophe) and 45 years since Israel’s belligerent occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. End of 2011there were at least 7.4 million forcibly displaced Palestinians, representing 66 percent of the entire Palestinian population (11.2 million) worldwide. Displacement is a continuing reality for Palestinians in addition to a historical fact. The status of Palestinian refugees and IDPs are a result of Israel’s policies such as home demolitions, revocation of residency rights and discriminatory distribution of land. ‘Triggers’ of displacement are active on both sides of the green line; in locations such as East Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley, southern Hebron, Southern Gaza, the Gaza Strip buffer zone, as well as locations in Israel, including the Naqab (Negev).
BADIL’s 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 Mandate or historic Palestine while severely restricting the presence of Palestinians in their homeland. In light of this systematic policy and strategy, 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.
BADIL emphasizes the urgency of instituting a human rights-based approach as the main means of ensuring humanity and dignity for all, putting rights into practice and leading to a just and lasting peace. BADIL’s Survey offers a set of recommendations in order to realize these goals.
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