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Land of Blue HelmetsThe United Nations and the Arab World$
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Karim Makdisi and Vijay Prashad

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780520286931

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520286931.001.0001

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An Agency for the Palestinians?

An Agency for the Palestinians?

Chapter:
(p.301) Thirteen An Agency for the Palestinians?
Source:
Land of Blue Helmets
Author(s):

Jalal Al Husseini

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520286931.003.0014

This chapter examines the interplay between humanitarian/developmental concerns of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the political interests of the donors, host countries, and the refugees themselves. UNRWA has been tasked to provide educational, medical, social and relief, microfinance, and camp upgrading services to the “Palestine refugees” in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank. The chapter first considers the dynamics behind the creation and the evolution of UNRWA's mandate in terms of institutional and operational development, along with the impact of its assistance programs. It then discusses the political dimensions attached to the concepts of community participation and of protection that UNRWA has recently mainstreamed across its various activities. It also analyzes the impact of UNRWA's roles on the Palestinian refugees and the overall Near East context. The chapter suggests that UNRWA has become a site of conflicting claims its staff has had to reconcile for the sake of preserving the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

Keywords:   humanitarian assistance, UNRWA, Palestine, Near East, West Bank, community participation, Palestinian refugees, United Nations, Lebanon, Syria

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