The Palestinian refugee question, resulting from the events surrounding the birth of the State of Israel seventy years ago, remains one of the largest and most protracted refugee crises of the post-Second World War era. Numbering over six million in the Near East alone, Palestinian refugee's status varies considerably according to the state or territory 'hosting' them, the UN agency assisting them, and political circumstances surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict these refugees are naturally associated with. Despite being foundational to both the experience of the Palestinian refugees and the resolution to their plight, international law is often sidelined in political discussions concerning their fate.
Francesca Albanese's and Lex Takkenberg's new book Palestinian Refugees in International Law offers a clear and comprehensive analysis of the Palestinian refugee question in light of various areas of international law, shedding light on: the distinctive regime set up for them, their status and rights (as refugees, often stateless persons, protected at times of war and internal displacement) but also their actual treatment in about fifty countries. It ultimately probes the relevance of international norms to the provision of international protection for Palestinian refugees and their quest for durable solutions.