Human Rights

Uprooted by Israel, abandoned by the world The plight of Palestinians in refugee camps

Palestinian refugees uprooted by the conflict in Syria have found themselves barred from entering Jordan and Lebanon. While those countries have signed an agreement with the UNHCR on offering refugee protection to Syrians, the deal does not apply to Palestinian refugees. Nearly one-third of the registered Palestine refugees, more than 1.5 million individuals, live in 58 recognized Palestine refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, the Syrian Arab Republic, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Palestinian refugees are exposed to the lasting consequences of an occupation now approaching 50 years. In a camp run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (UNRWA), Palestinian refugees receive basic assistance: a monthly food subsidy, education and medical services, but they do not receive the protections to which refugees are entitled under international law. In Gaza, a decade-long blockade and repeated cycles of conflict has rendered the majority of the population dependent on aid to meet basic needs. Unemployment rates in the small coastal strip are among the highest in the world, particularly for women and youth. In the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, violence and operations by Israeli security forces, access restrictions, forced displacement, demolitions, and other rights violations increased significantly. As a result of this intensified protection crisis, as well as the impact of long-term military occupation, Palestinian living standards are undermined, and the demand for humanitarian assistance interventions has remained high. In 2016, UNRWA needs US$ 403 million to meet the minimum humanitarian needs of Palestine refugees in the occupied Palestinian territory.