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Palestinian Refugees

Palestinian refugees in Gaza, 1978 / Photo Keystone/HH
Palestinian refugees in Gaza, 1978 / Photo Keystone/HH

Sixty years after their exodus, Palestinian refugees constitute the ‘oldest’ and most numerous refugee population in the world. Estimated at over 720,000 in 1949, they and their descendants today represent a population of over six million. Two-thirds are currently registered with the UNWRA, a United Nations humanitarian agency devoted especially to catering for their basic needs. The refugees’ attachment to their ‘right of return’ is often considered a major stumbling block in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Yet, for all their public exposure, available information about the Palestinian refugee issue is fragmented at best, contradictory at worst.