In recent history, Palestinians, more than any other, have been at the bitter end of seismic shifts in the Middle. Starting with the Nakba in 1948 when there was a calamitous change to the political landscape that was implanted on the region, Palestinian have, ever since, been living extremely precarious lives.
In addition to the 7.1 million Palestinian refugees there continues new waves of displacement in occupied Palestine and other parts of the region. In the last decade many more Palestinians have been displaced, some for the third and fourth time. Even now, Palestinians in Iraq continue to experience death, persecution and exile. Their numbers have dwindled to 8,000 from 35,000.
The Palestinian ambassador in Iraq, Daleel Al Qassous, stated a few months ago that the situation of the Palestinian refugees in Iraq is the worst compared to any other group of Palestinian refugees.
The vicious cycle of exile and dislocation follows Palestinians everywhere and the uprising in the Middle East has again highlighted the bitter reality of the Palestinian community in diasporas.
Palestinians in Libya and Syria are the latest to face these traumatic shifts as thousands flee violence into neighboring countries and refugee camps.
Some of the articles in this edition are timely addition to the discussion around Palestinian refugees in a changing Middle East. It is a discussion that’s taking place in many different platforms.
The Palestinian Return Centre in conjunction with Aljazeera organized a seminar with the title “Palestinian Refugees in the Arab World: Realities and Prospects”, in Doha during April 2012. Over two days, experts presented papers on numerous issues including the political and social conditions of Palestinians in the Arab World, Impact of the Arab revolution on Palestine and Palestinians in Syria and Lebanon.
Our annual conference this year, the 10th Palestinians in Europe Conference held in Copenhagen, will be under the theme, “Our Spring blossoms our Return”. The conference will be organized under the auspices of the Tunisian President, Mohammed Monsif al Marzouqi and will reflect on the Arab Spring and its significance for the Palestinian cause.
The Palestinian cause is eternally tied to peace and prosperity for the region. The call for freedom, human rights and justice in the Arab streets is immediately followed by a call for an end to the brutal occupation of Palestine.
General Director of the Palestinian Return Centre and JPRS, Majed Al Zeer
Volume 2, issue 1, Spring 2012, Third Edition Journal of Palestinian Refugee Studies