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The Political Implications of Palestinian Refugees : A cross-national case study

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posted on 2023-08-03, 12:17 authored by Christie L. Valentine

Increasingly, Arab-Israeli peace talks envision a large role for Arab host countries to absorb Palestinian refugees. This paper undertakes a cross-country case study of the three largest host countries: Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. Through examining the history, current living situations of refugees, and political concerns refugees pose for each country, I examine the viability and willingness of each country to integrate Palestinian communities. Each community has vastly different political implications: In Jordan, integration poses concerns for economic well-being and national identity. In Syria, absorption threatens the ruling elite and politicians arewary it may be seen as a concession to Israel and the West. Finally, Palestinian integration in Lebanon poses a threat to the demographic makeup of the country and the political system based on demographic composition. There is no over-arching solution that can account for the unique characteristics of these communities and countries. Each must be examined independently, keeping in mind the rights of all parties involved.IntroductionPeace in the Middle East is a security concern for the entire world. Refugees are a symbol of instability and volatile politics. Scholars agree that the three major impediments to an Arab-Israeli peace treaty are the questions of territory, Jerusalem, and the Palestinian refugees. While territory claims, settlements, and the question of Jerusalem are at the forefront of public discussion, refugees are often less emphasized. The peaceful conclusion to the decades old Arab-Israeli conflict cannot possibly be approached until there is consensus on the future of the Palestinian diaspora. Often considered the most complex and pervasive conflict, the Palestinian refugee crisis is rooted in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, continued through the 1967 Six Day war.



American University (Washington, D.C.)




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