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The authors believe that the current state of affairs with respect to the Palestinian refugee question requires a fundamental rupture with the political approaches so far pursued amounting to a fundamental paradigm shift. This would hinge on a necessary liberation of the debate from the political stalemate, a more purposeful involvement of the UN, supported by a multi-stakeholder process (hinging first and foremost on the refugees themselves), a greater emphasis on international law and related obligations towards the rights of the refugees, and, finally, a move away from the ‘politics of suffering’ that has held many refugees hostage over the decades. The authors suggest that the 2016 New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants provides a new opportunity to reengage the UN with respect to solutions for Palestinian refugees, for firmly placing this within an international law framework, and for pursuing solutions for Palestinian refugees more holistically. Guided by the Declaration, they propose the elements of a Comprehensive Response Framework for Palestinian Refugees as well as the route towards its development.



Working paper


Refugee Studies Centre

Publication Date



RSC Working Paper Series 135

Total pages