Contemporary Palestinian asylum seekers raise fundamental questions regarding the relationship between the institution of asylum and struggles for national liberation. Underlying the legal framework that applies to them is an assumption of inverse correlation: the more Palestinians obtain access to individual asylum claims, the less secure are the fundamental Palestinian claims of self-determination and return. But is this trade-off acceptable today? Comparable dilemmas animate other large-scale displacements, but scholars seldom discuss their full implications for international legal theory. Rather than providing a definite answer to the question, this article maps out four major aspects of how individual protection and self-determination are interrelated, or, indeed, bifurcated, in international law. The new Palestinian refugees are important to consider not only because their continued displacement is foreseeable but also because their exceptional plight invites a reconsideration of the political foundations of refugee law.
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ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Political Science and International Relations