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Citation Information

Type Conference Paper - Irregular Migration in the Occupied Palestinian Territories
Title Irregular Migration into and through Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Countries
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2008
City Florence
URL http://cadmus.eui.eu/handle/1814/11296
Covering the issue of irregular migration in the oPt must take in consideration four main issues, namely; Palestinian refugees, Palestinian labour force in the Israeli labour market, Palestinian residents in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (oPt) without having a Palestinian identity papers and the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank including Jerusalem.
There are variations in the definition of different irregular migration categories mainly between Palestinians and Israelis. This paper relied on different sources to measure the different types of irregular migration in the oPt. It relied on official records of many organizations; it also relied on data that available from official surveys. Palestinians around the world are about 10.5 millions; 60-70% of them are refugees living in the oPt, neighboring Arab countries and other countries all over the world. According to that, Palestinian refugees share more than one third of refugees all over the world and it is the largest and longest-standing refugee population. In relation to the Palestinians who live in the oPt without Palestinian identity papers, there are more than 50 thousand cases, and the Israeli side deal with them as illegal persons.
Palestinians in the oPt also faced migration issues mainly Palestinian labour flows to Israel that were crucial for integrating the economy of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip into the Jewish state. But after 1991, the Israeli policies towards Palestinians changed and it were behind the phenomenon of Palestinian workers in the Israeli labour market without permits. In the first quarter 2008, there are no workers in the Israeli labour market from Gaza due to the siege, while there are 74 thousands workers from the West Bank, only 20 thousands of them have permits. From another side there are around half a million Israeli Jew settlers in the West bank including east Jerusalem living in 149 settlements.
A number of interrelated factors contribute to the generation of Palestinian migration. Some of them are structural and are related to the historical and political conditions of Palestine, mainly occupation and the coercive displacement and uprooting and the absence of an independent state, while others can be considered policy- related and are linked to the Israeli policies and measures since its occupation to the West Bank and Gaza Strip including Jerusalem in 1967 up to now. From other side, there are some internal policy- related factors that relate to the economic and social policies adopted by the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). In general, Palestinian migration can be considered irregular migration case with distinction and the Israeli occupation and the absence of an independent Palestinian state will remain the main pushing factors in the oPt. Resolving the issue of irregular migration requires removing historical and structural causes that was behind the creation of it. This means the end of occupation, building independent Palestinian state that guarantee the control of Palestinians of their land, borders and resources, removing Israeli settlements from the West Bank and demolishing the annexation and expansion wall.

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