Problematizing a Palestinian Diaspora

  • Citation: Peteet, Julie. “Problematizing a Palestinian Diaspora.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 39, no. 4 (2007): 627–46.
    • Topics:
    • Country and Regional Studies
    • Keywords:
    • Palestinian diaspora
    • refugees
    • United Nations
    • status

The year 1948 marks the beginning of al-ghurba (exile or diaspora) and al-nakba (disaster or calamity), words intensely resonant in the Palestinian lexicon. After this decisive date, one can affix “pre-” or “post-” as markers of an apocalyptic moment. In this cultural and political orbit, a new spatial world took shape. Violently crafted and maintained borders that locked Palestinians in and kept them out became features of quotidian life. In 1948, through a combination of expulsion and flight, around 750,000 Palestinians became refugees in neighboring Arab countries. About 100,000 Palestinians remained in their homeland. The core issue, however, is not conditions of departure but denial of an internationally recognized right of return, as elaborated in United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194.

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