Spaces of Refugee Flight in the Eastern Mediterranean
Edited by Natalia Ribas-Mateos
Chapter 8: Palestinian refugees and the current Syrian conflict: from settled refugees to stateless asylum seekers?
The Syrian conflict has had profound consequences for the Palestinian population in Syria. While Palestinians in that country enjoyed access to education and the labour market without particular discrimination before 2011, the conflict that began that year returned the Palestinians in Syria to their stateless status and forced more than 70,000 of them to seek asylum in neighbouring countries. This chapter analyses the specific treatment of Palestinians from Syria in the context of a broader discussion about the selectivity of migration policies in Middle Eastern states vis-à-vis Palestinians. The current forced migration of Palestinian refugees, which is largely overshadowed by the magnitude of the Syrian refugee crisis, raises many questions regarding the status of refugees forced to leave their countries of first asylum to seek refuge in a third country outside any international protection framework. This chapter is based on a study of the movement of Palestinian refugees since the mid-1990s and an exploratory field study carried out in December 2013 in southern Lebanon, which revealed the strong relationship between secondary migration and other forms of international Palestinian migration, as well as the local effects in Lebanon.
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