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ISLA 210 (51)
Lecture

Palestine in Exile

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Department
Islamic Studies
Course
ISLA 210
Professor
Laila Parsons
Semester
Winter

Description
MARCH 12, 2012: Guest Lecture by Katie Kalemkerian (TA)- “Palenstine in Exile” Structure of Lecture: 1. Geography of exile 2. Conditions in exile 3. Shifts and dispossession 4. The image of Palestine 5. Two experiences of exile: Abu-Lughod and Said  Jordan: 10 official refugee camps, and 1,999,466 registered refugees  Lebanon: 12 official camps, and 455,373 registered refugees  Syria: 9 official camps, an 495, 970 registered refugees  West Bank: 19 official camps, and 848,494 registered refugees.  Reliable statistics are generally very difficult to find and are not always reliable.  There are also large communities in the United States, Canada, Denmark, Switzerland, Latin America, other parts of Europe, etc.  There have been continuous upheavals since 1948 that caused Palestinians to be displaced: o 1967: Israel occupied West Bank and Gaza, as well as East Jerusalem. The PLO started to build itself up into a serious movement and in 1969 Yasar Arafat becomes PLO leader. o 1970: “Black September” when King of Jordan expelled the PLO and Arafat from Jordan. Many were killed, and many Palestinian refugees were forced to move to Lebanon. o 1982: Israeli invasion of Beirut, Lebanon. The PLO arrived in Lebanon in the early 1970s, and the country was already on the verge of civil war. The Palestinian’s presence antagonized Lebanon and tensions were heightened, and a complication in relations between Israel and Lebanon was the result because Israelis wanted the PLO out of Lebanon. Palestinian refugee camps were left in a very vulnerable state (no food, no water, no medical supplies, etc.- led to a process of dispossession). The figures of Palestinians killed vary greatly in the Palestinian’s claims and the Israeli’s claims. o 1990: Kuwait and the Gulf War. Before 1990, there were 400,000 Palestinians living in Kuwait. There were far more Palestinians than Kuwaitis, and Palestinians had been flooding in since the oil boom. They weren’t granted citizenship, but occupied good positions in the economy so didn’t challenge this. Kuwaiti authorities started with regulated to control the influx of Palestinians, such as restricting their employment and access to public education. Palestinians couldn’t attend public schools, but received a subsidy from the government to attend private schools. When Iraq invaded Kuwait, the situation changes. Both Iraq and Kuwait had funded and backed the PLO since its creation in 1960s. Arafat took the side of Iraq and Saddam Hussein, and Palestinians in Kuwait became bery divided on the issue. The consequences of the invasion were disasterious- many Palestinians fled during the invasion and were not allowed to return afterwards and many who stayed were expelled. Some went back to Jordan, others to occupied territories, and other emigrated to North America.  Dispossession and expulsion has become a trend for Palestinians over the years.  What is life like for Palestinians in exile? o In Lebanon, the situation is particularly bad. They are not granted Lebanese citizenship, just a travel document. They are treated as foreigners, even if they were born there (cannot invest, no employment, cannot own property). The lack of citizenship denied access to health care and education. They cannot attend state schools. o In Syria, they also do not get citizenship and are restricted in ownership, but have more access to employment opportunities and government services. o In Jordan, Palestinians are 60% o
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