Outcome of the 1967 War
As a result of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war,
approximately 360,000 Palestinians were forced to leave the West Bank and Gaza
Strip for Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt. More camps were constructed to
absorb this large number of refugees.
The military victory scored by Israel against the Arab armies, encouraged it to launch air strikes against Palestinian cities and towns adjacent to the 1948 truce line. the air raids pushed scores of thousands of Palestinians to flee their villages and towns to seek shelter out of the range of Israeli artillery bombardment to more secure areas like Ramallah and Jericho cities. However, the continued Israeli hostilities against civilian targets prompted more people to leave these cities and towns for Jordan, where UNRWA had established camps at Nemrein and Karam village east of the Jordan river. As a result of the war, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 242, which called upon Israel to withdraw from all the Arab territories occupied during the 1967 war.
Israel rejected operations in the occupied territories. The successive Israeli governments refused to accept the return of displaced Palestinians to the West Bank and Gaza Strip. However, Israel announced at a later stage to accept the return of some displaced families to the West Bank provided that a comprehensive peace package should be concluded with all the Arab Countries.
Israel argued that the return of the Palestinian refugees will create more security problems for Israel. The Israeli attitude also applied to all Palestinians who left the country to seek jobs in the Gulf states, USA or Europe. The were denied the right of return by all successive Israeli governments under the pretext of being outside the country prior to June 4, 1967. Israel drafted complicated and difficult procedures for those wishing to apply for family reunification from the civil administration departments. Israel approved one reunification request out of the 200 family reunification requests per year during the past 27 years of Israeli occupation. Approximately 200,000 Palestinians left for Jordan and the Gulf States during the period from 1967-1990, due to the harsh economic conditions caused by the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Moreover, the continued harassment against individuals, the destruction of the infrastructure of the Palestinian society and the imposition of restrictions and military orders have also contributed to the displacement of the Palestinians.
The Declaration of Principles signed by the Palestinians and Israelis in
Washington on Sept. 13, 1993, tackled in the first appendix the issue of
displaced Palestinians. In clause (3) of the first appendix it states, “The
future status of the displaced Palestinians who were registered on June 4, 1967
who couldn’t take part in elections, should not be jeopardized”. Regarding
cooperation with Jordan and Egypt, article (12) states, “The two parties well
extend invitations to the governments of Jordan and Egypt to take part in
establishing more cooperation between the government of Israel and
representatives of the Palestinian people from one side, and the governments of
Jordan and Egypt from the other side, to promote cooperation between them. These
arrangements include the establishment of a committee to decide modalities of
permitting displaced Palestinians from the West Band and Gaza Stripin 1967 to r.
should be made in conformity with appropriate Procedures to prevent public
disorder. The committee will be assigned with relevant matters of mutual
According to article (16), item (2) of the Cairo agreement concluded on May 4, 1994 concerning cooperation with Jordan and Egypt it states, “a committee on refugees represented by the PLO, Israel, Egypt and Jordan mutually agrees on modalities of permitting displaced persons from the West Band and Gaza in 1967 to return home. This should go in harmony with relevant procedures to avoid disturbances and disorder.
In accordance with the enclosures of the above mentioned article, president of the Palestinian Authority, Mr. Yasser Arafat and Israeli Foreign Minister, Shimon Perez, called for a meeting to be attended by the PLO, Israel, Jordan and Egypt to discuss the issue of displaced Palestinians. Before holding this meeting, the Palestinian Authority was engaged in bilateral talks with Jordan, on December 7, 1994 and January 9, 1995, with Egypt on December 26, 1994, in addition to holding a meeting with Egypt, Jordan, and PLO on January 22, 1995. Four main topics were discussed during these meetings, namely:
The Palestinian delegation presented a background paper during these meetings, which included a definition of the displaced, their numbers, coincidence between the return of the displaced Palestinians and schedule of return, promoting Arab coordination, and the role of UNRWA and the international community in this issue. A lengthy debate was made with Egyptian and Jordanian delegations during which the following definition was reached regarding the word “displaced”. According to this definition, “the displaced are those Palestinians who were registered citizens in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Jerusalem on the evening of the June war (June 4, 1967) and lost their residency and were displaced as a result of the war of due to the procedures and practices of the occupation authorities”.
Preliminary statistics derived from Jordanian sources put the number of displaced from the West Bank and Gaza Strip to Jordan at 1.1 million Palestinians. However, UNRWA statistics, duly confirmed by Egyptian sources revealed the number of displaced at 210,000 in Jordan, 125,000 in Syria, and 220,000 in Egypt. These figures cover Palestinian families which left the Gaza Strip and the West Bank including Jerusalem, before June 5, 1967 for study, work, medical treatment, visits, or other purposes. The figures also include the displaced Palestinians to Jordan and Egypt during and after June 5, 1967 as a result of the war, compulsory expulsion cases, former holders of Israeli permits and laissez-passer, who left abroad for work, study, medical treatment or visits and didn’t have these documents renewed due to the complexity of renewal procedures stipulated by the Israeli occupation authorities.