Palestinian refugees make up the largest refugee population in the world, yet humanitarian diplomacy with regards to these refugees has been lacking since the start of the creation of the refugee problem. Even early on, many Western countries preferred to resettle the Palestinians in neighboring countries. While this proved to be unsuccessful, there was still no representation of Palestinian refugees or negotiation on their behalf because the early goal was the liberation of the whole of Palestine, which would consequently mean the return of the refugees. While there were some efforts on the part of the UN Conciliation Commission for Palestine to convince Israel to readmit some refugees, this proved to be fruitless. Moreover, in current times, the refugee issue is overshadowed by Israel’s actions in the Occupied Territories. Statehood in the Occupied Territories has also sidelined the refugees, many of whom are from within the borders of present-day Israel. Thus, it is the academics, activists, non-governmental organizations and, most recently, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement which are the main actors that preserve and advocate for the refugees’ major demands: the right to return to their homes and to be compensated for their losses.
- Perceptions Summer 2016
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