20 June 2014

Palestinians in exile dream of return

In this Monday, June 16, 2014 photo, Palestinian refugee Shaher Alkhateeb, 73, who witnessed what the Palestinians call the "Nakba," or “catastrophe” referring to their uprooting in the war over Israel's 1948 creation, poses for a picture in front of a wall painted with a mural depicting a prisoner jailed in Israel, in Kalandia refugee camp, between Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Ramallah. Alkhateeb was 6 years old when he and other 7 members of his family were forced to leave their village of Al-Burj, near the central Israeli town of Ramla and took shelter with his family in the Kalandia refugee camp.
A lifetime has passed since hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were forced out their homes in the Mideast war over Israel's 1948 creation.
Today, those who were uprooted and their descendants number more than 5 million people, scattered across the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

The Palestinian refugee problem is one of the most entrenched in the world, with a solution linked to an elusive Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. About one-third of the refugees still live in camps, or tent cities that have been transformed into crowded urban slums. Some families live in the camps for the fourth generation.
In this Tuesday, June 17, 2014 photo, Palestinian refugee Nayfeh Abu Sbaa, 70, poses for a picture in front of a mural depicting late leader Yasser Arafat, right, and her late son Akram, who was killed in 2007 by Israeli troops, in the West Bank refugee camp of Jenin. Nayfeh was 4 years old when she and 3 other members of her family were forced to leave their home in the Israeli city of Haifa. The plight of millions of refugees everywhere is marked Friday on World Refugee Day.

The plight of millions of refugees everywhere is marked Friday on World Refugee Day. The United Nations refugee agency says that at the end of last year, more than 50 million people have been forced from their homes worldwide, the highest figure of displaced since World War II.
More than 700,000 Palestinians fled or were driven out in the 1948 Mideast war, according to U.N. figures. The war began after Israel declared its independence and surrounding Arab nations invaded. Tens of thousands more Palestinians were displaced in the 1967 war in which Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, lands the Palestinians seek for a state.
The fate of the Palestinian refugees is one of the most explosive issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with Israel saying it cannot accept a mass return because that would dilute the state's Jewish majority. Palestinian negotiators say each refugee has the right to choose between return and resettling, whether in a future state of Palestine or a third country.
In this Wednesday, June 18, 2014 photo, Palestinian refugee Layla Afaneh, 67, poses for a picture in front of a wall painted with a mural in the Kalandia refugee camp between Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Ramallah. Layla was a year and a half old when she and seven other members of her family were forced to leave their village of Barfeelia, near the central Israeli town of Ramla, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were forced out their homes in the Mideast war over Israel's 1948 creation.

In the Jenin camp in the northern West Bank, murals express the hardships of life in exile and the yearning to return to what is now Israel. Some old-timers there cling to hopes of return of going back.
Fatimah Jalamneh, 85, spends her day sitting by the doorway of her house in an alley in the camp. She was in her late teens when her family fled from the village of Noures near what is now the Israeli town of Afula.
"Until death takes me away, my only dream is to go back to my village and sit under a tree in my home which was taken away from me and my children," said Jalamneh, a great-grandmother.
She had tears in her eyes when she spoke and held what she said was a key to her old family home.
In this Wednesday, June 18, 2014 photo, Palestinian refugee Mohammed Emtair, 85, poses for a picture in front of a mural depicting the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in the Kalandia refugee camp between Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Ramallah. The United Nations refugee agency says that at the end of last year, more than 50 million people have been forced from their homes worldwide, the highest figure of displaced since World War II.

Abduljalil Al-Noursi, 70, sat in front of a large mural showing a ship and the words "We will return" written on the sail. In Palestinian refugee art, a ship is a common symbol of the hopes of return
Al-Nursi was 4 years old when he and 19 relatives fled with just the clothes on their backs. "I won't let go of my right of return," he said.
Here are a series of images by Associated Press photographer Muhammed Muheisen of some of the oldest Palestinian refugees in the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank on World Refugee Day. 
(AP)
In this Sunday, June 15, 2014 photo, Palestinian refugee Sabhah Abu Latifah, 85, poses for a picture in front of a wall painted with a mural depicting prisoners jailed in Israel in Kalandia refugee camp between Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Ramallah, were she has lived with her family since they fled during the war over Israel's 1948 creation. She was 19 years old.
In this Tuesday, June 17, 2014 photo, Palestinian refugee Ameenah al-Saadi, 90, poses for a picture poses for a picture at the entrance of her home in the West Bank refugee camp of Jenin. She was 24 years old when she and her husband were forced to leave their home in Zarin village near the the northern Israeli town of Beit Shean. More than 700,000 Palestinians fled or were driven out in the 1948 Mideast war, according to U.N. figures.
In this Wednesday, June 18, 2014 photo, Palestinian refugee Mahmoud Almansi, 79, poses for a picture in the West Bank refugee camp of Al-Amari, where he has lived since the age of 13. A lifetime has passed since hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were forced out their homes in the Mideast war over Israel's 1948 creation. Today, those who were uprooted and their descendants number more than 5 million people, scattered across the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
In this Tuesday, June 17, 2014 photo, Palestinian refugee Fatimah Jalamneh, 85, poses for a picture at the doorway of her home decorated with posters of militants killed by Israeli troops and others jailed in Israel in the West Bank refugee camp of Jenin. Jalamneh was in her late teens when her family fled from the village of Noures near what is now the Israeli town of Afula, along with hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were forced out their homes in the Mideast war over Israel's 1948 creation. “Until death takes me away, my only dream is to go back to my village and sit under a tree in my home which was taken away from me and my children,” said the great-grandmother.
In this Wednesday, June 18, 2014 photo, Palestinian refugee Ibraheem Fayaleh, 80, who witnessed what the Palestinians call the "Nakba," or “catastrophe” referring to their uprooting in the war over Israel's 1948 creation, poses for a picture in Kalandia refugee camp between Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Ramallah. He was 14 years old when he and 11 other members of his family were forced to leave their village of Saris, and took shelter with his family in Kalandia refugee camp.
In this Tuesday, June 17, 2014 photo, Palestinian refugee Ali Abu Jabal, 73, poses for a picture in front of a wall painted with a mural depicting the holy land, in the West Bank refugee camp of Jenin. The man was 7 years old when he and his parents were forced to leave their home in the Israeli city of Haifa during what the Palestinians call the "Nakba," or “catastrophe” referring to their uprooting in the war over Israel's 1948 creation.
In this Wednesday, June 18, 2014 photo, Palestinian refugee Abdul Ghafour Abdulrahman, 85, who witnessed what the Palestinians call the "Nakba," or “catastrophe” referring to their uprooting in the war over Israel's 1948 creation, poses for a picture in front of a wall painted with a mural depicting the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the Kalandia refugee camp, between Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Ramallah. Today, those who were uprooted and their descendants number more than 5 million people, scattered across the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
In this Tuesday, June 17, 2014 photo, Palestinian refugee Latifah al-Sayis, 76, poses for a picture in front of a wall painted with a mural in the West Bank refugee camp of Jenin, where she has lived since she was 10 years old when she and 8 other members of her family were forced to leave their home in al-Sendyaneh village, near the Israeli city of Haifa with nothing but the contracts of their lands. In the Jenin camp, murals express the hardships of life in exile and the yearning to return to what is now Israel. Some old-timers there cling to hopes of return of going back.
In this Tuesday, June 17, 2014 photo, Palestinian refugee Abduljalil Al-Noursi, 70, poses for a picture in front of a wall painted with a mural showing a ship and the words “we will return” written on the sail, in the West Bank refugee camp of Jenin. In Palestinian refugee art, a ship is a common symbol of the hopes of return. Al-Nursi was four years old when he and 19 relatives fled with just the clothes on their backs during the the Mideast war over Israel's 1948 creation. “I won't let go of my right of return,” he said.
In this Tuesday, June 17, 2014 photo, Palestinian refugee Jamilah Shalabi, 70, poses for a picture in front of a wall painted with a mural in the West Bank refugee camp of Jenin, where she has lived since she was 4 years old when she and her parents were forced to leave their home in Zarin village, near the in the northern Israeli town of Beit Shean. More than 700,000 Palestinians fled or were driven out in the 1948 Mideast war, according to U.N. figures.

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