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The Nationality of Denationalized Palestinians

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One in three refugees in the world today is Palestinian. The majority of these refugees have no nationality because they were denationalised by Israel's Nationality Law in 1952 after they had fled or been expelled from their homeland in 1948. Israel has refused to allow the majority Palestinian refugees, being displaced in 1948, the right to return to their homes in contravention of U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194 (III). Israel has also refused to allow the majority of Palestinians displaced in 1967 the right to return to their homes despite appeals from the International Committee of the Red Cross and despite calls from the UN Security Council. Since then Israel has manipulated the laws of occupation by transferring its civilian population into the territory it occupies whilst subjecting the indigenous Palestinian population to military law. In 2003, Israel enacted racially discriminatory legislation in the form of the Nationality and Entrance into Israel Law which the U.N. Human Rights Committee has specifically requested Israel revoke. This legislation restricts nationality and residency rights for Arabs resident in the Occupied Palestinian Territories whilst specifically excluding Jewish settlers from its application. These are some examples of the lengths to which the State of Israel is prepared to go – in order to maintain a Jewish majority in the country – even if they violate international law. This paper will examine whether the forced displacement and denationalization of Palestine's original non-Jewish inhabitants – including an examination of Israel's Nationality and Entrance into Israel Law (2003) – are compatible with the basic principles of international law today.

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