Thu, 02 Feb 2023

New Delhi [India], November 30 (ANI): Israeli envoy to India Naor Gilon on Wednesday commemorated the tragedy of Jewish refugees who were expelled from Arab countries and Iran.

"Today we are commemorating about 850,000 Jewish refugees who had to flee Arab countries and Iran during the 20th century. These people have been living in these countries for hundreds of years or even thousands of years. Many of them were expelled by force and had to leave their home and possessions behind and run for their lives due to the brutality and persecution by their neighbours and their leaders," said Gilon.

The Israeli envoy also highlighted the number of Jewish refugees which is higher than the Palestinian refugees and questioned Arab countries for not giving asylum to Palestinian refugees.

"Their number is significantly bigger than that of Palestinian refugees at the same time. So why don't we hear about these refugees?" he questioned.

Speaking about Palestinian refugees, Gilon blamed Arab countries for using them to maintain them as an issue and a problem.

"Arab countries did not want to receive Palestinian refugees. On the contrary, they wanted to maintain them as an issue and a problem. The story of these Jewish refugees from Arab countries and Iran is a very important chapter in the history of the Jewish people," said the Israeli envoy.

Meanwhile, praising Israel's asylum policy for Palestinian refugees, he said, "Because Israel saw their arrival in Israel as a blessing. And evidently, today, if you look at Israeli society, you would see these refugees from Arab countries simultaneously in all places in Israeli society and politics, economy, and culture everywhere."Palestine refugees are defined as "persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict."As per the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), nearly one-third of the registered Palestine refugees, more than 1.5 million individuals, live in 58 recognized Palestine refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, the Syrian Arab Republic, the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

A Palestine refugee camp is defined as a plot of land placed at the disposal of UNRWA by the host government to accommodate Palestine refugees and set up facilities to cater to their needs. Areas not designated as such and are not recognized as camps. However, UNRWA also maintains schools, health centers, and distribution centers in areas outside the recognized camps where Palestine refugees are concentrated, such as Yarmouk, near Damascus.

The plots of land on which the recognized camps were set up are either state land or, in most cases, land leased by the host government from local landowners. This means that the refugees in camps do not 'own' the land on which their shelters were built, but have the right to 'use' the land for a residence.

Socioeconomic conditions in the camps are generally poor, with high population density, cramped living conditions and inadequate basic infrastructures such as roads and sewers.

On July 22, 2022, India made a contribution of USD 2.5 million towards UNRWA for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.

India is a dedicated donor to UNRWA. Since 2018, it has contributed USD 20 million to support the UNRWA core services to Palestine refugees in the Middle East. (ANI)

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