Des Palestiniens déplacés se précipitent à Khan Younis suite au retrait de l’armée israélienne © Quds News Network

International Day of Solidarity with Refugees

In 2024, everywhere in the world, ever-increasing conflicts are causing massive population displacements.

Millions of people are forced to flee because their lives are in danger. Refugees or displaced within their country, they all have the right to protection guaranteed by international law, ensured by the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) or byUNRWA (UN Office for Palestine Refugees).

Since 1948, the Palestinians have been experiencing a unique situation, which is getting worse and must be strongly denounced on the occasion of this International Day.

The Palestinian refugees of 1948, as well as those of 1967 and their descendants, number today nearly 8 million, mainly distributed in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza. The State of Israel refuses to implement UN Resolution 194 on the right of return. Palestinian refugees live in precarious conditions, without Palestinian nationality, without civil rights.

In the Gaza Strip, which has been under brutal siege for 17 years, more than 70% of the population is made up of refugees, descendants of Palestinians dispossessed and displaced during the 1948 Nakba.

The Israeli offensive, which followed the violent Hamas attack on October 7, 2023, plunged the entire population into a dramatic humanitarian crisis. Constrained by “ evacuation orders » successive, around 1.7 million people – out of 2.2 million inhabitants – had to leave their homes, moving several times without the possibility of returning home.

They live in makeshift homes, under bombs, and are deprived of food, water, electricity and medicine. No place is safe, the possibility of fleeing hardly exists. UNRWA is the only institution mandated and capable of providing protection and emergency humanitarian aid, but it is itself a victim of deadly and destructive Israeli military operations.

The Gazan Palestinians, who managed to cross the border at Rafah, are the prey of smugglers who take advantage of their absolute precariousness.

International institutions (UNHCR and UNRWA) must be reinforced in their missions to protect Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons wherever they live; they remain guarantors of respect for their fundamental rights.

UNRWA is the target of the State of Israel which is actively working towards its disappearance, with the intention of liquidating the refugee question and therefore their right of return.

After the discredit campaigns which led several States to cease their financial contribution to the functioning of UNRWA, after the attack and burning of its headquarters in Jerusalem by heavily armed settlers, a further step has been taken.

On Wednesday, May 29, the Israeli Parliament adopted two bills at first reading, one aimed at revoking the immunities and privileges granted to UNRWA, the other at designating it as a terrorist organization.

France must not only reaffirm its financial commitment to UNRWA, but increase it to enable it to carry out its missions with Palestinian refugees.

Because everything must be done to put an end to the exile of refugees as quickly as possible, France must contribute to the search for a political solution which will put an end to this injustice: work for the implementation of resolution 194 and promote the self-determination of the Palestinian people.

In the immediate future, France must also welcome with dignity and without reservation all Palestinians and their families who have come to seek refuge on our territory, and grant them protection.

The National Office of the AFPS,
June 20, 2024