Initiative Jachad

Die Situation der Palästinenser in Syrien

Syria

In 1919, the first Palestinian Arab Congress convened in Jerusalem. The convention decided that Palestine, just conquered by the British, is part of Southern Syria – an inseparable part of Southern Syria. The idea of a Greater Syria including Mandatory Palestine was expressed by the involvement of Syria in the 1936-1939 Arab Revolt and the Syrian forces which were involved in the Israeli War of Independence. The refugees, then, were not foreigners – politically, religiously or ethnically. Quite the opposite, in fact. Their fate should not have been substantially different than other refugees who arrived in a country where their brethren were in the majority.

Between 70,000 and 90,000 refugees arrived in Syria – most from Safed, Tiberias, Haifa and Akko. In 1954, they were granted partial rights, though not political rights. In 1968, they were barred from owning property.[1] Syrian law allows any Arab citizen to become a Syrian one, as long as he regularly resided in Syria and can maintain himself financially. But the Palestinians were excepted from this law, so even if they are permanent residents and people of means – they still can’t become citizens.[2]

Only 30% of those who for some reason are still considered “Palestinian refugees in Syria” still live in camps. In fact, they should have been considered full-fledged Syrians a long time ago. They were part of the Arab Nation, they had Syrian family ties, and they should have been integrated into the economy. Despite this, due to political brainwashing, they remained a foreign body in the Syrian state, dreaming of return and perpetuated in their inferior status. Most of them were put on the bottom track of the economy, in the fields of services (41%) and construction (27%).[3] The field of education is a great indicator of their status: 23% don’t even attend elementary school, 32% graduate elementary school, and only 3% graduate university.[4]

 

[1] <http://www.forcedmigration.org/research-resources/expert-guides/palestinian-refugees-in-syria/fmo017.pdf>

[2] Citizenship Law no. 276, 1969: <http://www.forcedmigration.org/research-resources/expert-guides/palestinian-refugees-in-syria/fmo017.pdf>

[3] <http://www.badil.org/en/al-majdal/item/518-profiles-palestinian-refugees-in-syria>

[4] Ibid.



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