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'Nakba' Palestinians hope for life outside of refugee camps

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'Nakba' Palestinians hope for life outside of refugee camps


Established one year after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Jalazone refugee camp became home to Arabs from 36 villages in the Lydd and Ramleh areas of what had been central Palestine.

According to UN figures, there are more than 11,000 people living there – including Ibrahim Mahmud.

“After being a refugee for 50-60 years, how do you expect me to feel? We left our villages as 17-year-old kids and today I’m 83. This has never happened in history. From the day God created the world to this day – there’s been no mass departure like this,” Ibrahim said.

Some living at Jalazone wish the Israeli and Palestinian governments would put religion aside, like Hasan Abu-Sharif who said: “Any solution has to address the refugee issue, it’s more important than Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa. Al-Aqsa is a mosque like Mecca. We go for hajj, just 10-12 days. Al-Aqsa is just another blessed location. The prophets passed through all of Syria, Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.”

The UN has counted more than 1.4 million Palestinians, living in 58 recognised refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

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