“. . . stateless people could see . . . that the abstract nakedness of being nothing but human was their greatest danger. . .” (Hannah Arendt*)

Children in the Rafah Camp, one of the eight Palestine refugee camps in the densely populated Gaza strip. Circa 1955. (Photo: UNRWA by M. Nasr)

❶ Israeli forces open fire on Palestinian farmers, bird hunters, and fishermen in Gaza

  • Background: “The Palestinian Refugee Camps: The Promise Of ‘Ruin’ And ‘Loss’.” Rethinking History

❷ Why is Israel tightening the Gaza blockade?
❸ UNRWA Condemns Killing of Four Palestine Refugees, calls for Full Humanitarian Access to Khan Eshieh Refugee Camp in Syria

  • Background: “Refugees And Social Theory: From The Politics Of “Bare Life” To Refugees As Political Subjects.” Acta Academica

*Hannah Arendt, “The Perplexities of the Right of Man” (1951)

` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Ma’an News Agency     
Oct. 22, 2016
Israeli forces Saturday morning opened live fire at Palestinian farmers, bird hunters, and fishermen in the eastern and northern part of the besieged Gaza Strip.
___Witnesses told Ma’an that Israeli forces deployed at the eastern border near the neighborhood of al-Shujaiyeh opened live fire at Palestinian farmers and bird hunters, forcing them to flee the area.
___Meanwhile, Israeli naval forces opened live fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of Beit Lahiya north of the Gaza Strip early in the morning.      More . . .

  • Abreek-Zubiedat, Fatina. “The Palestinian Refugee Camps: The Promise Of ‘Ruin’ And ‘Loss’.” Rethinking History 19.1 (2015): 72-94.   Source.

According to the political theorist Hannah Arendt, a ‘refugee’ is a ‘stateless’ or ‘non-citizen’ person who threatens the nation-state system. Consequently, countries have acknowledged the need for a solution to the refugee problem, whose status is considered temporary, with two possible options: return to the homeland or country of origin, or naturalization in the host country. Historically, both solutions have failed. Arendt views the refugee camp as a ‘final solution’ involving the incarceration of refugees after denying their citizenship. Only then do they become homo sacer in the sense implied by ancient Roman law: destined to die, with their life defined as ‘bare’.
[. . . .]
___ The Palestinian Arab residents who were uprooted, forced out, or compelled to flee from their homes became ‘stateless,’ as Arendt defines it, even before becoming refugees. According to Azoulay . . .  the Arab residents of Palestine should be acknowledged not solely as refugees but as ‘non-governed,’ in a way to link their expulsion from their homeland to the regime responsible to their state within the framework of the new diplomatic, military, and political map of the UN: ‘The U.N. Partition Plan from November 29, 1947 was a crucial moment in the founding of the enterprise of destruction responsible for turning vast sections of Palestine into ruin’.

The Middle East Monitor – MEMO 
October 21, 2016
Let us begin with the facts: Israeli authorities have, over the course of the last year, tightened the long-standing blockade of the Gaza Strip.      ___Even before these more recent restrictions, the Israeli blockade – an illegal policy of collective punishment in the words of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon – was continuing to severely harm the lives of Gaza’s two million residents, furthering the enclave’s de-development.      ___In April of this year, the UN was clear that the most urgent step required for the reconstruction of Gaza remained “the removal of [Israeli] restrictions on the import of building materials, towards a full lifting of the blockade.” Instead, things have gone backwards.       More . . .    

Destruction inside Khan Eshieh camp for Palestine refugees, located south of the Syrian capital, Damascus. (Photo: IRIN, 2015)

Gaza.Scoop.ps – Real Time News From Gaza
Oct. 21, 2016
Four Palestine refugees were killed on the night of 18 October as they attempted to leave the Khan Eshieh Palestine refugee camp, south of the Syrian capital, Damascus, to which access has been highly restricted. Nofeh Mohammed Jarad, who was in her 60’s, her daughter Ibaa Saeed al-Nader, 22, their driver and a one-year old baby were all killed when their vehicle was shelled around 10 p.m. The mother of the baby, a Syrian citizen, also died in the incident.
___UNRWA condemns this attack and the killing and wounding of all civilians including Palestine refugees. It calls on those responsible to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law and demands that the parties to the conflict do their utmost to protect civilian life in accordance with international law.  More . . .   Related . . .   

  • Williams, Christian. “Refugees And Social Theory: From The Politics Of “Bare Life” To Refugees As Political Subjects.” Acta Academica 46.4 (2014): 117-131.   Full article.

Since the mid-twentieth century, nation-states and international organisations have developed an integrated system for governing people displaced from their countries of origin by social upheavals occurring there. This system became standardised in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War when the Allied powers created a constellation of refugee camps, government bureaucracies and legal/moral norms aimed at managing the throngs of people whom the war had displaced in Europe. Among the incipient norms was refugee law, part of the broader field of human rights law emerging at this historical moment. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) (1948) not only compelled nation-states to intervene in the affairs of other sovereign countries committing genocide, but also to grant people “asylum from persecution”. . . . this “right” to asylum . . . became the human rights framework for addressing mass. . .  “refugee problem” across much of the post-colonial world.
___At the centre of this framework and problem stands “the refugee”. With great consistency, human rights law and other bodies of knowledge have presented “the refugee” as a kind of victim – one who has been expelled from a national and natural “home”. It follows that refugees’ problems may be solved through proper management of the international system, including nation-states, United Nations (UN) bodies, humanitarian agencies and the sites where refugees live that they administer . . . .
[. . . .] as early as 1948, Hannah Arendt argued that refugees, the very people whom the then new UDHR ought to protect, are people without rights, because they have been excluded from a nation-state. Without a sovereign government, through which to claim their rights, refugees are rendered “nothing but human.” More recently, Giorgio Agamben captured widespread scholarly attention for drawing connections between “the concentration camp” and “the refugee camp”, both of which are inhabited by people who have been subjected to “biopolitics”, a politics that excludes them from active participation in a political community and reduces them to “bare life” (Agamben G [1998] Homo sacer: sovereign power and bare life).

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