Rafat Abu Ghali - Al-Shabora refugee camp, Gaza Strip, Occupied Palestinian Territory
My family’s name is Abu Ghali and my family comes from Bir Saba. We used to own 48,000sq meters of cultivatable land. People used to cultivate their land in winter and move to another area called Sidna Ali, near Jaffa. There, they used to rent land lots and cultivate them. During the harvest season they would go back to Bir Saba. In 1933, the British came and expelled the Arabs from Sidna Ali in order to settle Jewish immigrants on their lands. They offered compensation to the land owners. The compensation was one camel, twelve cans of oils, and 20,000sq meters of land with a house built on it in Moqibla area near Jenin. Most people accepted the offer, among them was Khalil Abu Ghali, my grandfather. Those who rejected the offer were expelled by force. A Jewish settlement called Kabus was built there.
Fatima Ahmad Owdeh – Deheishe camp, West Bank, Occupied Palestinian Territory
I was around 17-18 years old when we were expelled from our village, Deir Aban. This was 18 October 1948. We had heard that the Zionists had occupied Akka, Jaffa, and many villages and that massacres occurred, such as in Deir Yassin. We heard that the Zionists had put the dead and injured people into a hole and buried them alive in Deir Yassin, the same day that we heard that Abdelqader Husseini was killed. A street was later built on top of them. We were very afraid and when we heard about the story of Deir Yassin, all the civilians in the village went to hide in the mountains.
Hashim and Samer Al-Huneidi - Oregon, United States
“In a heartbeat.” That is how fast it must have taken 18 year old Hashim and the rest of the Al-Huneidi family to realize after the massacre of 426 residents of their town, Al-Lydd, that they would have to flee to safer ground. “In a heartbeat.” That is also how fast Hashim’s son, Samer, would return to Al-Lydd today—if he only could.
Charles Tarazi - New York and London, United States and England
In 1948, Palestine was beautiful and vibrant. There were fields of olive trees, people everywhere, much commerce, and a thriving society. Palestinian culture was rich in its food, familial traditions, music and dance. Muslims, Christians and Jews lived side by side , all part of the same social fabric.
Hussein and Ghada Mubaraki (father and daughter) - Abu Snaan, 1948 Palestine
What did military government mean? The military rule was made because of the people who fled… If there wasn’t military rule we could have gone home. They made the military government so that all people were [permanently] exiled from their villages. - Hussein Mubaraki
Mahmoud Kaddoura – Toronto, Canada
“Our lives became so much more complicated when Saddam’s Iraq invaded Kuwait” Having been born and raised in Kuwait, Mahmoud’s perception of his being a Palestinian refugee revolved around his father’s stories about their village of Suhmata and its people, the pools, the castle and the stories of his childhood visits to Balbaak’s Thakanet Ghoro (Gouraud) refugee camp. He would also hear about ‘Ein El-Hilweh, the refugee camp in Sidon where his mother was raised. “In Kuwait, it was very normal for you to be Palestinian or Yemeni or Indian, or indeed from anywhere in the world since most of the labor done in that country came from elsewhere.”
Mohammed Awni Obeid – Cairo, Egypt
Mohammed Awni Obeid is one of 70,000-100,000 Palestinian refugees living in Egypt.1 The majority of refugees in Egypt fled Palestine during the 1967 war. In the first years the Egyptian state, under President Gamal Abdel-Nasser, Palestinians were granted equal treatment to Egyptians. But his successor President Anwar Al-Sadat, and to a much greater extent the current President Hosni Mubarak, gradually withdrew the privileges conferred to Palestinian refugees. Now, second and third-generation refugees born and living in Egypt are barred from obtaining permanent resident status in Egypt, and rely on their employment to maintain their residency status.
Dr. Sanaa Shalan - Amman, Jordan
Dr Sanaa Shalan appears immediately as a strong, successful, articulate and proud young woman. Sanaa is a highly respected professor of Arabic literature at the University of Jordan. At only 27, she is a renowned writer who has won 32 awards, among them the Al-Shariqa Award for Arabic creativity for the story The Nightmare and the first Young Author Award of the Abd-Al-Muhsin Qatan Association for her short story collection Aina Khader.
But above all Sanaa is a Palestinian refugee. She has a promising successful carreer in Amman, but she does not forget where she comes from and she strongly speaks about her identity as a Palestinian.
Mohamad and Rawan Al-Bash - Damascus, Syria
My name is Rawan Al Bash and I would like to tell the story of my father since he was displaced in 1948.
My father, Mohamad Al Bash, is from the village of Tiret Haifa in Haifa, on the north shore of Palestine. My father’s family consisted of his father Ibrahim and his mother Ghazaleh and two children when they were exiled from Palestine in 1948; my father, who was only four years old at the time, was the oldest son.
How the unresolved Palestinian refugee question stands for the failure of the international human rights and humanitarian regime
At the beginning of the 20th century, most Palestinians lived inside the borders of Palestine, which is now divided into Israel and the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Today, almost 75% of the Palestinian people are displaced, and Palestinian refugees present the world’s largest and longest-standing unresolved refugee case. Approximately half of the Palestinian people live in forced exile outside their homeland, while another 23% are displaced within the borders of former Palestine.1 Six decades after the first and most massive wave of forced displacement in 1948, Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons (IDP) still lack access to durable solutions and reparations, including return, restitution and compensation, in accordance with international law and UN resolutions. While more Palestinians are being displaced today, effective protection is still not available for them.