An event on past and current experiences faced as refugees will take place on the 30th September. Events like these are important as it highlights the fact that there are still to this day 7.2 million Palestinian refugees, a figure that makes them the biggest refugee group worldwide.
Mehdy C Ortiz
Palestinians will always remember 1948 as ‘al-Nakba’ (catastrophe), where 85% of them were either killed or forced to flee their homes to make way for the creation of the state of Israel.
They became internally displaced among refugee camps in the West Bank and Gaza, and also in surrounding countries in the Middle East. To this day, Palestine is not legally recognised as a state and only has non-member observer status in the United Nations.
This means that Palestine only has limited rights in the international arena and it also creates problems for Palestinians who because of this status, face more human rights violations and less protection under International law.
Conditions in refugee camps have been continuously deteriorating. Civil war is currently taking place in Syria, widespread violence has been reported in refugee camps in Lebanon and for those still in Gaza, there has been limited humanitarian intervention.
Ghada Karmi, a Palestinian refugee who fled to the UK recounts that she remembers “growing up with a sense that life in England was temporary and there would come a time when we would all be going ‘home.'”
This ‘home’ however is everyday become more and more unlikely. Israel’s continuation of violating international law by creating more and more settlements in Palestinian areas and the continued increase in tensions and hostility by both sides is adding to the unlikeliness that a two state solution would ever happen and that a cessation of conflict towards peace and stability would take place.
Even the current Prime Minister, Netanyahu, has rejected a two state negotiation and Palestinians displaced around the world are denied their right to return which because of political obstacles directly leads to an attack on their rights as refugees.
What has been seen however, is an increased in awareness of the issues faced by the refugees and many events take place yearly in the UK to increase their support and awareness.
Because of the importance of the crisis and the need to raise public awareness, the Palestine Museum and Cultural Centre, Bristol , a “permanent exhibition of Palestinian heritage, cultural and political life”, will be holding the “Palestinian refugee event (in Britain and in the Palestinian Refugee camps). Their pledge for protection ad safety” to discuss the refugee crisis and what is taking place.