Palestinian Refugees: Challenges of Repatriation and Development

By Rex Brynen; Roula El-Rifai | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3
Living in provisional normality: The living conditions of
Palestinian refugees in the host countries of the Middle East

Jon Hanssen-Bauer and Laurie Blome Jacobsen, Fafo Institute for Applied International Studies, Oslo, Norway


INTRODUCTION

The majority of Palestinian refugees who left Israel in 1948 as a consequence of the war found themselves in neighbouring host countries, where they and their offspring lived out their lives. Others who went to the West Bank became further displaced during the 1967 war and moved to the East Bank of the Jordan River. After living for more than 50 years as refugees, they are still awaiting a political solution to the Israeli–Arab conflict that would enable them to see their life-situation restored to normality. While these populations are still suffering from having a provisional status in which their rights to return or compensation have not yet been satisfied, our studies of their living conditions show that their livelihoods have stabilized after three generations and their basic living conditions resemble those of the host country populations.

The government of Norway has funded surveys by Fafo Institute of Applied International Studies and Fafo partners in these host countries throughout the 1990s and early 2000s (see Table 3.1). The surveys were primarily household and individual nationwide surveys covering various population groups (camp refugees, non-camp refugees, refugees living outside of camps in homogeneous settlements or 'gatherings', and some survey data on non-refugees). The Fafo surveys collected information on a wide range of health, education, labour market and housing issues, as well as other political, religious and social attitudinal information based on data collected at

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