The Present Absentee

Palestinian Refugees in Israel Since 1948


Hillel Cohen

Publisher Van Leer Institute Press
Language Hebrew
Year of Publication 2000
Series The Institute for Israeli Arab Studies

The refugee issue is one of the most important topics in the current talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders. That is why it is drawing so much attention from the media and from academic studies, both in Arabic and in Hebrew. In contrast, the issue of the Palestinian refugees is shunted aside within Israel, except for the case of the residents of Ikrit and Biram in the Upper Galilee. In recent years there has been a great increase in activity by the refugee associations in Israel. This study by Hillel Cohen is the first to document and analyze the creation of the problem of the "internal refugees" after the 1948 war and the various incarnations of this complex and sensitive problem over the past fifty years. Solving this problem will be important for achieving the historic reconciliation and normalization of relations between Israel and the Palestinian people, and especially for the development of egalitarian relations. As a pioneering work on this important topic, Cohen's book is required reading for anyone interested in the subject of refugees in general and of the Palestinian refugees in Israel in particular. Cohen's approach to the history of the Palestinian refugees in Israel as part of the relations of the state and the Jewish majority to the Arab minority since 1948 make the book of interest to the general public.

Hillel Cohen is a doctoral candidate and teaches in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Department of Middle Eastern Studies. He was awarded the Rabin Prize in Israel Studies in 1999 for this study.

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