Why are there Palestinian refugees in Jordan?
Seventy-two years ago, the Nakba – ‘catastrophe’ – occurred. This was the destruction of 500 towns and villages, the expulsion of over 750,000 people from their homes and the creation of the Palestinian refugee crisis.
Unlike a natural catastrophe, the Nakba was the result of a military plan to establish the state of Israel. During the 1948 war, Israel took control of many Palestinian towns, villages and cities, and many Palestinians were forced to move to safer areas. Most of them went to either the West Bank or to Gaza, as these were the safest locations. They settled there temporarily, hoping to return back to their houses, but have been there ever since.
Since its creation in December 1949, UNRWA began responding to the humanitarian needs of the 750,000 Palestinian refugees who fled or were expelled from their homes during the Nakba. Today UNRWA still provides education, healthcare and social services to over 5 million refugees. They make up the vast majority of refugees in Jordan.
Palestinians have lived and struggled with the ongoing catastrophe of displacement, occupation, economic deprivation, violence and denial of their rights. The Naksa (occupation of Palestinians territories in 1967), the Lebanese Civil War and Sabra and Shatila Massacre, as well as the bombardments of Gaza and conflict in Syria are some of the shocking events that Palestinians have endured.
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