How to apply for asylum in Palestine

You cannot officially apply for asylum in Palestine. You can seek support at the local office of The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). UNRWA is a UN agency that supports the relief and human development of Palestinian refugees and other eligible persons. You can get registered with eUNRWA.

The state of Palestine is roughly compounded by two administrations in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

You can travel to Palestine without a visa if you can travel to Israel without a visa. Most countries in Europe, Oceania, and the Americas have visa-free access to Palestine. Most citizens from countries in Asia and Africa need a visa.

If you want to enter the Gaza Strip, you want to seek authorization from local authorities. You need to have authorization from neighboring national authorities if you enter Palestine from Jordan or Egypt.

Most websites linked in this article are in Arabic or English. Use a translation app if you need it.

Refugees in Palestine

The State of Palestine is not a party to the UN Refugee Convention. Palestine has no law on refugee protection.

Palestine hosts over two million refugees. Most refugees are mainly Palestinians from Israel or occupied territories of Palestine. But many refugees from Eritrea and Sudan also live in Palestine.

In 2019, more than 2 million refugees were estimated to live in Palestine. That is almost 40% of the total population. Almost a quarter of a million of internally displaced persons (IDPs) also live in Palestine. High rates of unemployment are seen among refugees (13% in the West Bank and 50% in the Gaza Strip refugee camps). When refugees are locked up in camps, they can’t join the rest of society. They usually live with ten or more people in small areas meant for only one. Refugee households are more likely to have not enough food compared to other households in Palestine. However, many refugees get help from international organizations or the Palestinian government.

In 2019, 828 000 refugees were registered with UNRWA in the West Bank. About 261,600 of these refugees lived in 19 camps in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Palestinians in the West Bank, especially in Area C, where 62% of all refugees in the West Bank live, and in East Jerusalem, especially in refugee camps and Shuafat camp in particular, live in a hostile environment that makes them move and puts them at risk of being moved against their will. The Israeli government makes it almost impossible for Palestinians to get building permits in East Jerusalem and Area C, which is the West Bank and is completely under its control. Because this was impossible, many Palestinians built homes without permits to get around the problem, which led to the homes being torn down. People in the West Bank and East Jerusalem had to leave their homes because they were kicked out, their property was taken away, or they were hurt.

The Gaza Strip is home to approximately 1.9 million people, including 1.3 million Palestinian refugees.
Over half a million Palestine refugees in Gaza live in the eight approved Palestine refugee camps, which have one of the highest population densities in the world.

Sources: Integral Human Development on the Holy Land

The cover image is somewhere in Jerusalem. Photo by Levi Meir Clancy on Unsplash