Home inContext Egypt’s New Palestinian Refugees

Egypt’s New Palestinian Refugees

Jonathan Schanzer

AFP reports that up to 4,000 Palestinians fled to Egypt after factional fighting killed more than 110 people in Gaza earlier this month.

“We have effectively three or four thousand people … who fled the violence and the assassinations in Gaza,” President Hosni Mubarak said. “The group which we have here are in one camp. We’re taking care of them and the army is in charge of them.”

Mubarak, who has urged the rival Palestinian factions to talk to each other about their differences, said the refugees could stay in Egypt “until the situation is calm and they can return to their homes.”

Since 1948, Egypt has always turned Palestinian refugees away, making the festering Palestinian refugee problem an Israeli public relations nightmare, as Palestinians call for the “right of return.”

Mubarak has now demonstrated Egypt’s willingness to offer protection to Palestinian refugees. The only difference is that these are not refugees of Palestinian-Israeli violence.