Palestinian Refugee Youth and the Legacy of Right of Return


In 1948, 726,000 Palestinian people were uprooted from their homeland by Israeli military forces and pushed into refugee camps. In December of that year, the United Nations passed Resolution 194 acknowledging the refugees right of return to their homeland. It is now sixty years and three generations later, the Palestinian refugees number close to 7 million, and they are still prohibited from return back home.

This paper examines the interconnection of identity, social action, and land rights among Palestinian youth in occupied Palestine and in the Diaspora. It explores the question

“What is the relationship of Palestinian refugee youth in refugee camps in Palestine and in the Diaspora to the legacy of the Right of Return?”

Using data from interviews and surveys of 44 Palestinian youth, 26 from a refugee camp in the West Bank and 18 refugee youth who have grown up in California, the paper documents their understanding of their rights as refugees, knowledge of the past and their hopes for the future. Youth thoughts, feelings and experiences shed light on the continuing struggle for peace in the Middle East.

This research finds that young Palestinians, whether under military occupation in the refugee camps in Palestine or living in the USA, continue to struggle for their Right of Return to their homeland. The study concludes that enforcement of the Right of return is key to peace and justice in the region.


Other Social and Behavioral Sciences | Peace and Conflict Studies | Regional Sociology

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