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Title: Palestinians to citizens : is citizenship a solution to the Palestinian refugee problem?
Authors: Khalil, Asem
Keywords: Citizenship - Palestine;Refugees, Palestinian Arab - Arab countries
Issue Date: 2014
Source: Khalil, Asem. “Palestinians to Citizens: Is Citizenship a Solution to the Palestinian Refugee Problem?” 6 Middle East Law and Governance 3 (2014), 204-224.
Abstract: In this paper, I first argue that, since the British mandate, citizenship regulations in Palestine contributed to dispossession of the rights of Palestinians, thus preparing for the Palestinian refugee problem and eventually its consolidation. I then argue that citizenship regulations in host countries were exclusionary towards refugees in general, and Palestinians in particular, making it impossible for Palestinians to integrate in host societies. The so-called “Arab Spring” did not bring about any change in that sense. Finally, I argue that the narrative of statehood, although often separated from that of the “right of return”, constitutes but one narrative, and one at a completely different angle than the narrative of a “right of return”, where the ‘just solution’ creates to the possibility of establishing a homeland for Palestinians where they, and in particular the stateless refugees, can be converted into full citizens. What was part of the problem for refugees is presented as part of the solution. This discussion is very important in today’s Palestine that was just recently accepted at the UN General Assembly as a non-member observer state. The importance of that move is the official Palestinian insistence on the need of a state on the 1967 borders, and the willingness to accept the formula of a two state solution. Discussion related to citizenship and refugee status, and the right of return, are all back to the center of political and legal discussions.
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