The continuing refugee crisis in Palestine: from Nakba of 1948 to Gaza to sheikh jarrah in 2022
According to the data of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Palestinians remain one of the largest and longest-suffering groups of displaced people, and they are the second-largest refugee population worldwide.
The Palestinian refugee crisis began with the declaration of the establishment of the State of Israel on the occupied Palestinian territories in 1948. The creation of Isreal in 1948 was a violent process that involved forcing hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes.
By the first half of 1949, at least 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly expelled from their homes. Palestinians call this mass eviction the Nakba (catastrophe).
most Palestinian refugees lived in refugee camps across Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the west bank, and Gaza strip, refugees lived in 59 registered camps ten of which were established after the 6 days war in 1967, as a result of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, another wave of displacement occurred. The Israeli army expelled 460,000 Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, according to Arab League data, and about 230,000 of them were refugees in 1948, who lived in refugee camps in the West Bank and Gaza.
Unfortunately, the loss of the Palestinian homeland and the theft of their property continues in 2022, while the world stands by and does nothing. Here we review some details for those who are not familiar with the current displacement issue.
The sheikh jarrah neighbourhood
Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood is considered one of the most important residential areas in occupied Jerusalem it’s located north of the old city of Jerusalem. It was built in 1956 under an agreement signed between UNRWA and the Jordanian government (the West Bank was under the control of the Jordanian state at the time). After the Nakba of 1948, 28 displaced families settled in Sheikh Jarrah in 1956, hoping that they would never be forced to leave their homes again and face the same fate they faced in 1950 Nevertheless, the Israeli courts approved the decision to evict several families from the neighbourhood as a new kind of Nakba on a daily basis.
Now, more than 3,000 Palestinians are in danger of being displaced from their lands again.
Israeli settlers started taking over sheikh jarrah’s homes. This violation did not stop yet. In May 2021, the Israeli District Court in East Jerusalem approved a decision to evict six Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, in favour of Israeli settlers. Consequently, the Palestinians are displaced over and over again. The Palestinians are already aware that this continued “legal” violation will force them all to leave their homes and move elsewhere.
The Negev desert occupies 40% of the area of historical Palestine. In the Negev desert, there are 7 recognized Arab communities. The Negev desert lacks the infrastructure of health, roads, education, electricity and water.
As part of the attempts to survey the Palestinian presence in the Negev, the authorities of the Israeli government granted the Bedouins in the Negev Israeli citizenship but did not recognize their ownership over the 13 million dunams owned by the Negev residents. Stealing their lands and erasing their identity.
The Negev is subjected to continuous attempts of displacement. With the establishment of the State of Israel and the Palestinian Nakba in 1948, the occupation forced nearly 100,000 Bedouins to leave the Negev region, and most of them turned into refugees in Jordan, the besieged Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank areas, especially the areas of Hebron, the Jordan Valley and Jerusalem.
In 1976, Ariel Sharon, who later became Prime Minister of Israel, established a special governmental unit “Green Patrols” whose goal was to make life difficult for Bedouins in the Negev and was part of the Ministry of Agriculture and was formed to guard “state lands, protect them from the Bedouins, and control them.”
This special unit came to fight the Palestinian Bedouins in the Negev. These “green patrols” confiscated the Bedouins’ livestock, demolished their tents, and imposed fines on them under the pretext of grazing in a “closed military zone”.
The impossibility to obtain building permits in Jerusalem
Unfortunately, Israel did not stop stealing Palestinian property, but it began to make it difficult for Palestinians to live in Jerusalem, to force them to leave.
A large number of Palestinians tend to build homes, shops and other facilities on their lands in East Jerusalem without obtaining a building permit from the Israeli municipality, Then the municipality gives the Palestinians two options either they demolish their own house themselves, or the municipality demolishes their homes at the expense of the Palestinian.
According to the Jerusalem municipality, 44 homes were demolished in East Jerusalem by the first half of the year, including homes demolished by their owners. While the figures of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the occupied Palestinian territory indicate the demolition of 81 facilities in the east of the city in the same period, 44 of which were demolished by their owners.
The Palestinians say that the demolition policy aims to force them to leave the city of Jerusalem.
Airstrikes and destroying houses in Gaza
In Gaza strip, the situation is different Israel is targeting Gaza strip with bombardment Gaza is not only one of the most densely populated areas in the world, but is already under the weight of a humanitarian catastrophe, one of the causes of which is the siege imposed by Israel for 14 years on two million Palestinians, Gaza who live in extreme poverty, While Israel bombs residential facilities, schools and hospitals in Gaza, which kills civilians, including children, women and defenceless elderly.
Young people are leaving Gaza City and seeking refuge in European countries in search of a safer, more stable and dignified life
The methods of displacing the Palestinians from their land vary, but the goal is the same, which is to increase the number of Israeli settlers on Palestinian lands.