Dynamics of Humanitarian Aid, Local and Regional Politics: The Palestine Refugees as a Case Study
32 Pages Posted: 25 Jul 2012
Date Written: 2009
The article explores the Palestine refugees’ legal status in the Near East: Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. Combining findings of recent surveys with information drawn from primary and secondary sources, it seeks to highlight the continuous interplay of humanitarian, socioeconomic, and political considerations that have shaped the refugees’ status in the Near East during two distinct phases of their history, namely before and after the signing of the “Oslo Accords” between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in September 1993. In this respect, the Palestine refugee experience offers a textbook example of how the relationships between humanitarian agencies, donor and host authorities and refugees evolve in such a way as to maintain over decades, and despite widely diverging agendas, a status quo predicated on the hypothetical advent of a regional peace. The article also sheds light on the potential lines of fragmentation and cohesion that have appeared amongst Palestinians during the “Oslo process” over such crucial issues as the very meaning of the “right of return” and the role United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East ought to be called upon to play pending the achievement of a lasting Arab–Israeli peace process.
Keywords: Humanitarian aid, legal status, integration of refugees, refugee camps, right of return, peace process, refugee identity, discrminations
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