Palestinian Refugees monthly memo November 2010
The Palestinian Return Centre: This monthly bulletin provides an update on the condition of Palestinian refugees around the world over the past month. It covers stories from the Occupied Territories, UNRWA, host countries, Palestinians in diasporas as well as political commentary on the refugee issue.
CONTENTS1 INTRODUCTION and HEADLINES 1 ISRAEL AND THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES 2 REFUGEES IN THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES 3 UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) 4 LEBANON 5 INTERNATIONAL NEWS 6 COMMENTARY 7 UPCOMING EVENTS INTRODUCTIONFor the past 62 years, millions of Palestinians have been living as refugees in areas of the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT) and in surrounding host countries - mostly in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has described their plight as “by far the most protracted and largest of all refugee problems in the world today”While there is much focus on the Israeli Palestinian conflict on a political level there is very little, if any, mention of the refugees and internally displaced Palestinians who comprise three quarters of the global Palestinian population. There is also very little attention given to the routine demolition and expulsion which continue to swell the number of refugees. The 7.1 Million Palestinian refugees face many difficult challenges which require greater attention from the international community.This bulletin provides an update on the condition of Palestinian refugees around the world over the past month. It covers stories from the Occupied Territories, internally displaced Palestinians in Israel, UNRWA, host countries, Palestinians in the Diaspora and commentaries relating to the refugees.HEADLINES• UNRWA New York Director, Andrew Whitley apologizes for right of return comments• Netanyahu said no peace with 'right of return': • Israeli authorities demolished 18 Palestinian-owned structures across the West Bank• Aid to Palestinians still falls short says UN Chief• Despite Easing Blockade situation still critical says UN Chief• Palestinian Christians struggle to raise their Children in Lebanon1 ISRAEL and the OCCUPIED TERRITORIESPalestinians are continually evicted from their homes in East Jerusalem. Since its occupation in 1967 Israel has boosted its Jewish population to the great detriment of Palestinians. It is estimated that 180,000 or more Palestinians have been evicted from their homes. 1.1 Netanyahu said no peace with 'right of return': WikiLeaksJERUSALEM — The Palestinians will not be a partner for peace until they drop demands for the "right of return," Benjamin Netanyahu said two years before being elected premier, leaked US cables showed on Monday.And a withdrawal by Israeli forces to the pre-1967 borders would only encourage radical Islamic elements, he said during talks with senior US officials in April 2007 when he was leader of the opposition.Read More:http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5g8ETqVO0wckPh8Ktu5uwjHmGiihw?docId=CNG.53075ad2350ca0616102f4e994a06283.3011.2 Gaza and West Bank Unite Through Puppet ShoesYesterday night, the French-German Cultural Center in Ramallah screened a series of short films produced by youth in refugee camps throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The screening was held in coordination with venues in Nablus, Gaza City and Amman, Jordan to commemorate International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.Read more:http://www.palestinemonitor.org/spip/spip.php?article16341.3 Palestinian Law Makers Reject Israel’s Expulsion Order From the Native City Three Jerusalem members of the Palestinian Legislative Council moved into the grounds of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent in East Jerusalem in protest at the Israeli occupation forces' deportation orders. The fourth PLC member from Jerusalem is detained by Israel for refusing the expulsion order.Watch Film:http://palestinevideo.blogspot.com/2010/11/palestinian-lawmakers-reject-israels.html2 REFUGEES IN THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES Refugees are the most vulnerable within the occupied territory. Three quarters of Gaza’s1.7 million, who are still under siege, are refugees, and in the West Bank a quarter of its population are refugees 2.1 UN Report: Protection of Civilians Weekly Report | 10 - 23 November 2010Since 24 November: The Israeli authorities demolished 18 Palestinian-owned structures across the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), as well as a mosque. These actions forcibly displaced 54 people.The Israeli authorities approved the export of a shipment of strawberries and cut flowers from Gaza at the beginning of next week, the first such exports since 18 April 2010.Read More: http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/ocha_opt_protection_of_civilians_2010_11_26_english.pdf3 UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency)UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) provides assistance, protection and advocacy for some 4.7 million registered Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the occupied Palestinian territory, pending a solution to their plight.UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions from UN member states.3.1 Aid to Palestinians Still Falls Short Says UN CheifJohn Ging, Director of Operations for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza spoke with reporters today about the latest update in regards to food and supply aid to Palestinian refugees.“There are a number of materials that still remain on the banned list,” Ging said. “The water situation is a crisis, 90 percent is unfit for human consumption. And the ten of thousands of homes damaged and destroyed during Operation Cast Lead (December 2008) are still not built.” Read More: http://www.talkradionews.com/news/2010/11/30/aid-to-palestinians-still-falls-short-says-un-chief.html3.2 Secretary General’s Message on the international Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People Every year on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, we reflect on the situation of the Palestinians and consider what more we can do for peace.Read More:http://www.unrwa.org/etemplate.php?id=8473.3 PLO Donates US$2 Million for Nahar al Bared ReconstructionThe Palestine Liberation Organization announced a new donation of $2 million for the reconstruction of Nahr el-Bared camp in north Lebanon.On this occasion, PLO representative in Lebanon, Dr Abdallah Abdallah, said: "This donation reflects our commitment to our people in Nahr el-Bared and to their needs. It also demonstrates the support of the PLO and its President Mahmoud Abbas to the return of Nahr el-Bared displaced to their reconstructed homes as a first step towards their return to their free and sovereign country Palestine." Read More:http://www.unrwa.org/etemplate.php?id=8453.4 Despite Easing of Gaza Blockade, Situation Still Desperate UN Official WarnsDespite encouraging developments in Gaza since Israel eased its blockade in June, with shops now full of consumer goods, the economic, humanitarian, and physical situation is still extremely bleak, John Ging, UNRWA’s director of operations in Gaza, said yesterday, calling for speedy moves to revive the territory’s economy.Read More: http://www.unrwa.org/etemplate.php?id=8493.4 UNRWA's Whitley apologizes for 'right of return' comments AMMAN- UNRWA New York Director Andrew Whitley apologized and retracted his "inappropriate and wrong" comments on the right of return.He reiterated in a statement, a copy of which was obtained by Petra, that the comments he made don't represent the views of UNRWAIn his October 22 remarks, made at the National Council on US-Arab Relations in Washington, Whitley said that Palestinian refugees should abandon the hope that they will be granted a right to return and that Arab countries should look for places to resettle them.Read More:http://en.ammonnews.net/article.aspx?articleNO=105033.5 UNRWA strike closes schools, clinics in West Bank campsWASHINGTON: Schools and clinics are shuttered, and garbage has been piling up on streets across the West Bank’s 19 refugee camps, as some 5,000 striking employees of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) have brought critical public services to a halt in a pay dispute.Read More: http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article192056.ece4 LEBANONLebanon's estimated 400,000 Palestinian refugees live in appalling social and economic conditions - most of them in crowded camps that lack essential infrastructure. In 2001, Parliament passed a law prohibiting Palestinians from owning property, a right they had for decades. Lebanese law also restricts their ability to work in many areas. In 2005, Lebanon eliminated a ban on Palestinians holding most clerical and technical positions, provided they obtain a temporary work permit from the Labour Ministry, but more than 20 high-level professions remain off-limits to Palestinians.4.1 Palestinian Christians struggle to raise their children in LebanonDbayeh is the only all-Christian Palestinian refugee camp remaining in Lebanon.Although the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees officially lists the camp's population at 4,000 people, camp leaders said there probably are only about 2,000 there today. Most of the others are living abroad.The school at the 21-acre camp was heavily damaged during the 1975-1990 Lebanese civil war and never reopened. Although most of the children and more than half of the people registered as living in the camp were born in Lebanon, they are not Lebanese citizens.Read More:http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1004629.htm4.2 Palestinians in Lebanon Hold Little Hope for ReconstructionFor more than three years, about 10,000 Palestinian refugees in Lebanon have been living in the barracks, after their camp was destroyed in a three-month-long battle between the Lebanese Army and an Islamic militant group known as Fatah al-Islam.Read More:http://www.voanews.com/english/news/middle-east/Little-Help-and-Less-Hope-in-Nahr-el-Bared-107290593.html4.3 $280,000 ROTA grant for refugees in LebanonWashington: Reach Out To Asia (ROTA) has awarded a $280,000 grant to the American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) to advance the scope of training for Palestinian and Lebanese refugees.Read More:http://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/qatar/132420-280000-rota-grant-for-refugees-in-lebanon.html5 INTERNATIONAL NEWS. News and articles selected from across the globe that relate to the question of refugees.5.1 Host Arab countries of Palestinian refugees meet in AmmanAmman, November 28, (Pal Telegraph) – The representative of the Arabian countries which host Palestinian refugees conduct Sunday a preparation meeting in Amman with the participant of The Arab League.The participants will discuss the financial status of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and the means of facing the difficulties it faces in providing its services for the Palestinian refugees, the Palestinian affairs department reported.Read More:http://www.paltelegraph.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7591:Host-Arab-countries-of-Palestinian-refugees-meet-in-Amman&catid=60:palestinian-refugees&Itemid=1365.2 Human Rights Group Call for Equal Rights for PalestiniansIsrael stands in violation of 65 United Nations Resolutions relating to the Palestinian right of return of refugees, the status of Jerusalem, Israel's borders and assaults on Israel's neighbours. Israel continues to build (so-called negotiations notwithstanding) a wall that annexes ever more Palestinian land and it has never stopped the expansion and population growth of its illegal colonies. All this contravenes the UN Charter and the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. Israel refuses to recognise the right of return of Palestinian refugees solely upon the grounds that these refugees are not Jewish.Read More:http://www.voxy.co.nz/politics/human-rights-group-calls-equal-rights-palestinians/5/718415.3 Fourth Committee, Concluding Main Part of Session, Extends Mandate of Palestinian Relief Agency until 30 June 2014, Forwards Total of 27 Texts to General AssemblyRecorded Votes Needed to Approve Package of Nine Drafts on Middle East Issues, Which Includes Demand for Immediate, Complete Halt to Israeli Settlement Activity.The General Assembly, gravely concerned by the critical humanitarian situation and socio-economic conditions of the Palestine refugees in the Gaza Strip, and underlining the importance of emergency assistance and urgent reconstruction efforts, would decide to extend the mandate of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) until 30 June 2014, by one of nine draft texts approved today by the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization), as it concluded the bulk of its work for the main part of the session.Read More:http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900sid/VVOS-8B9RLP?OpenDocument5.4 Ex-British MP lashes outFormer British MP George Galloway lived up to his "controversial" reputation last night with a blistering attack on the Canadian government, its failed attempt to "muzzle" him, and its policies on Israel and Afghanistan. He contrasted Israeli settlements in the West Bank as actual cities, while thousands of Palestinians live in squalid refugee camps."People in the refugee camp in Jenin with the use of a telescope can actually see their own houses, their own gardens," he noted. The answer to the conflict would be to allow "5 million" Palestinian refugees and their descendants to return to the homes and lands they had to leave in 1948 and 1967.Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/British+lashes/3846184/story.html#ixzz16rmbLzie5.5 Italian foreign minister visits Gaza StripGAZA CITY — Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini briefly visited the Gaza Strip on Wednesday on the last day of a short trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories.Frattini visited a hospital administered by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which assists Palestinian refugees, in Gaza City.Read More:http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jvxiZ7r_jGcVTRXZP-wAAuvWvd3Q?docId=CNG.959a26e73137f8ead5aabc416d1f4967.915.6 Israeli minister adamant no right of return for PalestiniansDuring his visit to London last month, Minister for Minority Affairs, Avishay Braverman, reiterated Israeli policy of no right of return for Palestinian refugees to their homes in Israel. “Israel is the state for Jewish people and equality for all its citizens. We will never allow the right of return of Palestinians because then there will not be state for Jewish people,” Braverman told The Muslim News in an exclusive interview in Westminster, central London. Read More:http://www.muslimnews.co.uk/paper/index.php?article=49276 COMMENTARY and ANALYSISThe Commentaries are taken from blogs and articles. They are all selected for their significance to the moral legal and political debate on the plight of refugees. PRC does not necessarily agree with all the views and opinions held by the authors.6.1 The Right of Return is the Heart of the Arab Israeli ConflictUNRWA official in New York Andrew Whitley has reportedly called on Palestinian officials to prepare refugees for "the near certainty that they will never return to Israel." This is an outrageous statement by every standard of imagination. To begin with, Whitley has no right to make such a tendentious and manifestly pro-Zionist statement with regard to millions of refugees, brutally uprooted from their ancestral homeland in order to create a "national homeland" for the followers of Judaism.Read More: http://www.ptimes.org/main/default.aspx?xyz=BOgLkxlDHteZpYqykRlUuI1kx/VDUOFo%2Ba7PDIMFnEf5v68zwYmiPQR5PiV0QzrXLLDbkX1Tx/5eWPnnNa/J5K2z0bYSoWNqbaBFDhdBDillcefyXKl48mHvYsDsy5OWnZP/oFA9Aj8%3D6.2 Separation Without Separating—a Friendly Divorce for Palestine and Israel The Israeli-Palestinian peace making process is stuck in a conundrum: psychologically, the only way to resolve the conflict is by separation: two-states for two people. The separation paradigm led originally by Yitzhak Rabin and then adopted by former Prime Ministers Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert took hold on the Israeli public. Its obvious manifestation is the construction of the barrier in the West Bank and the unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. Physically, however -- and anyone visiting the West Bank including East Jerusalem can see this very clearly -- separation is increasingly, if not already, impossible.Read More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/amjad-atallah/separation-without-separa_b_781097.html?ir=PoliticsUPCOMING EVENTSA. International Conference in London on the ‘The Ongoing Nakba’.Date: 15th January 2011Venue: Brunei Gallery SOASAddress: School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XGB. PALESTINE MEMORIAL WEEKDate: 15th January 2011 – 22 January 2011Venue: Week of Events all across the UK. Please visit our website www.prc.org.uk for more details
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