Palestinian Refugees and Peace

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VOL. 24


No. 1
P. 5
Palestinian Refugees and Peace

Far from inaugurating a "new way of working with other nations to deter aggression and achieve peace," the New World Order has on the contrary coincided with a drastic increase in the number of stateless people and refugees in various parts of the world. Rough estimates put their number at 18 million worldwide, and the figure increases almost daily. Eleven million of those refugees originated from the Middle East, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Somalia, and other third world countries. The Gulf war alone produced in its initial phase five million refugees, including internal refugees in Iraq, the expellees from Kuwait (of whom more than 300,000 were Palestinians), and some 800,000 Yemeni workers expelled by Saudi Arabia. Concerning the Palestinians, more than two-thirds of the close to six million estimated worldwide are refugees and displaced persons (tables 1 and 2), whose refugee status is the result of the 1948 and the 1967 wars, compounded by the 1970 civil war in Jordan, the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, and the Gulf war.

Elia Zureik, a professor of sociology at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, attended the first three sessions of the Multilateral Refugee Working Group as a member of the Palestinian delegation. An earlier version of this paper was presented in April 1994 at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. The tables presented here were originally prepared by the author and included in Facts and Figures about the Palestinian People (Washington, D.C.: Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine, 1993).