The Six-Day War
In 1967, following the war between Israel and its neighbours, both the Gaza Strip and West Bank became occupied by Israel. At this time, a further 350,000 Palestinians became refugees, some for the second or third time. In a normal situation, a person will carry refugee status for a short period, however, Palestinians who were expelled from their homes when the state of Israel was formed have been refugees for the last 60 years. Countless children have been born in refugee camps and Palestinian refugees constitute the longest-standing refugee population. The total number of refugees now stands at almost 5 million.
Palestinians living in refugee camps suffer the worst forms of social deprivation. In the Gaza Strip, prior to the December 2008/January 2009 war, 20% of the refugees living in refugee camps were not connected to sewage or water systems. Because of this, raw sewage and waste was passing in open channels in the streets. This situation has become considerably worse since Israel’s embargo against Gaza and its military onslaught.