Palestinians in Gothenburg continue to protest at Gusta Adolf Torg irrespective of the rain and cold. They are protesting against the decision of the Migrationsverket the Swedish Migration Agency which has apparently rejected many of their applications for refugee status that enables them to stay in Sweden, get the Personal Number and leading to permanent residency.
“We do not have an airport, we do not have a country … of course they declared Palestine as a country in Sweden,” said a Palestinian at the camp at Gustav Adolf Torg on condition of anonymity. He said the migration agency is also aware of the difficulties in deporting the Palestinians from Sweden who application for refugee status has been dismissed. He noted, “In reality it is not applicable.”
Palestine does not have a single functional airport. The Yasser Arafat International Airport in Gaza was opened in 1998 but it functioned only till 2000 for it was destroyed by Israeli forces during the second Intifada (Uprising). Anyone who wants to fly to Palestine has to go through another country such as Israel or Egypt.
According to one Palestinian at the camp, there are more than 500 families and about 300 individuals who live in Sweden with uncertainty, and some of them are here for 12 years and they work in black. He said, “They are from Gaza Strip, West Bank, and those living in different camps Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Libya …. These Palestinians have moved away from their country. What happened is … couple of months ago the Migrationsverket started to give systematic reduction to number of new asylum seekers – for Palestinians. As well as refusal of renewal of residency permit. Not only this … They are subject to deportation with no possibility to deport … they say that we will send back … but we cannot deport.” The dilemma for the agency is they want to deport them but they also see the no possibility to deport them.
“We want to get refugee status because we do not have a land to go back … we believe that Palestinians have suffered a lot since seventy years … what can we do? We cannot change politics as public. We expect that Sweden can grant us asylum status and that is the most important issue,” the Palestinian said.
In 2014, Sweden has officially recognised Palestine as a state and it drew cheers from Palestinians but Israel expressed its disappointment by summoning Sweden’s ambassador. Israel maintains that Palestine can be recognised as a sate through direct negotiations between. Other EU members that have recognised Palestine as the state are Bulgaria, Cyprus, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Romania and Slovakia,