Friday, July 05, 2024

  • Friday, July 05, 2024
  • Elder of Ziyon

There is an intriguing footnote in the latest UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) report for 2023.
The 6 million Palestine refugees under UNRWA’s mandate are in Gaza, West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. In addition, there are 41,100 Palestinian refugees under UNHCR’s mandate in other countries. This represents a decrease of 63,300 from end-2022 as the estimated number of Palestinian refugees under UNHCR’s mandate in Egypt was revised downwards. UNRWA defines Palestine refugees as “persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict.”
This would seem to mean that UNHCR counted 104,400 Palestinian refugees under its remit in 2022, and this was reduced to only 41,100 in 2023.

Apparently, something happened in Egypt. It is unclear if it happened because of a change in Egyptian policy or UNHCR policy. 

At first one might guess that Egypt changed their status from official refugees to something else. I reported last week that Egypt does not recognize Palestinians as refugees at all. Yet that was the case before 2023 as well; the Palestinians fleeing Syria to Egypt were never regarded as refugees like the other Syrians were. 

Yet this footnote seems to indicate that at least some Palestinians in Egypt were once or are considered refugees by UNHCR.

The last sentence in the footnote seems to be out of place. What does UNRWA's definition have to do with the status of Palestinians outside UNRWA's fields of operations?

Could it be that UNHCR used to consider all Palestinians in Egypt to be "refugees" and since then only consider the ones who are actual refugees, say from Syria, and not the ones who had been there since 1948? The reduction of 63,300 in the number of Palestinian refugees in Egypt roughly corresponds with the number of Palestinians whose ancestors lived in Egypt in 1948. 

In its 2010 report, UNHCR said that there were 93,299 Palestinian refugees under its mandate, of whom 12,596 were being assisted by UNHCR. 

Whatever the reason, it shows that UNHCR tries to take people out of refugee status, while UNRWA wants the number of refugees it is responsible for to keep growing forever.

(h/t Irene)

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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