It is time to clarify some crucial points: the term “refugee camp,” which is often associated with Gaza, has its origin in 1948, in a context where Gaza was part of Egyptian territory since the consolidation of Egypt as a state in 1922.
Refugee camps, designed as provisional solutions after forced displacement, seek to facilitate the eventual resettlement of those affected. However, war brings territorial and demographic changes that sometimes complicate this process.
The 1948 UN Palestine Arab Refugee Agency (UNRWA) adopted an atypical policy: the refugee status of the 700,000 displaced Arabs became hereditary. This is, without a doubt, an anomaly in the management of the refugee situation since it contradicts the intrinsic mission of resettling those affected.
Today, the number of “Palestinian refugees” has risen to more than 5 million due to the hereditary transmission of said status. This uniqueness not only perpetuates refugee status but also expands the financial responsibility of the United Nations, which must periodically increase its budget to assist a growing population.
In the case of Jabaliyá, it must be understood that beyond the name of “camp”, we are talking about a city where basic services such as electricity, water and education are provided at no cost, financed by international support destined to those “refugees.”
Regarding the recent media coverage of an Israeli attack in Jabaliya, it is necessary to clarify: the magnitude of the damage was due to the collapse of a Hamas tunnel located under the homes and not from a direct offensive on the town. This tunnel, when it collapsed, caused adjacent houses to be damaged, harming more people.
One should not ignore the fact that Hamas governs the territory of Gaza, and the decisions of that government directly affect the population, who, without an official Israeli presence in Gaza, is under an autonomous administration that they themselves elected.
What is a refugee camp, and how did they emerge in Gaza?
Refugee camps are temporary solutions established to assist people who have been forcibly displaced from their homes. In the case of Gaza, the notion of a “refugee camp” dates back to 1948, when the region was under Egyptian jurisdiction following the consolidation of Egypt as a state in 1922.
Why are the refugee camps in Gaza different?
In an unprecedented situation, the UN Palestine Arab Refugee Agency of 1948 (UNRWA) implemented a policy where refugee status is hereditary. This has resulted in an expansion of the number of refugees from the original 700,000 to more than 5 million today.
How does the hereditary refugee policy affect Gaza?
The hereditary transmission of refugee status has perpetuated this condition and increased the financial responsibilities of the United Nations, which must constantly increase its budget to maintain assistance to a growing population.
What services are offered at the Jabaliya refugee camp in Gaza?
Jabaliyá, although called a “camp”, is actually a city with basic services such as electricity, water and education, which are provided free of charge thanks to international financial support for refugees.
What really happened during the Israeli attack on Jabaliya?
Recent media coverage of an attack in Jabaliya must be understood in context: the damage resulted from the collapse of a Hamas tunnel under civilian buildings, and not from a direct attack on the town. The collapse of the tunnel caused damage to adjacent houses, affecting the civilian population.
How does being labeled “refugees” affect Gazans?
Although they are known as “refugees,” Gaza residents have become accustomed to a lifestyle supported by international subsidies, which has even encouraged population growth due to the child subsidy.
Who governs the territory of Gaza and how does this affect its population?
The territory of Gaza is governed by Hamas, a government elected by its own population and which exercises autonomous administration without an official Israeli presence. Hamas’ decisions have a direct impact on the living conditions and well-being of its inhabitants.