What you need to know about Palestinian Refugees and IDPs
By: BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights
2008

Who is a Palestinian refugee?

Generally, the term Palestinian refugee refers to those Palestinians who were displaced from their places of origin in British Mandate Palestine (today Israel and the 1967 occupied Palestinian territory) and are unable to exercise their basic human right to return to their homes and properties.

The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which provides basic health, education and relief services, has a working definition of Palestine refugees. This definition, however, does not fully encompass the range of Palestin- ians displaced by the Palestinian-Israeli conflict; it only includes 1948 Palestinian refugees who are entitled to register for assistance with UNRWA.

QWho is a Palestinian internally displaced person or IDP?

Internally displaced persons are persons or groups of persons who have been forced or obliged to flee or leave their homes as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, and violations of human rights, and who have not crossed an internationally-recognized state border.

Most of the refugees of the 1948 Nakba (Arabic for ‘Ca- tastrophe’) were displaced to Arab states and the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which until Israel’s 1967 occupation were under Jordanian and Egyptian control, respectively. But at the end of the war, some 150,000 Palestinians re- mained in the areas of Palestine that became the state of Israel. Around 40,000 of these were internally displaced. Like the approximately 800,000 Palestinian refugees
who were displaced beyond the borders of the new state, Israel refused to allow these IDPs to return to their homes and villages.

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