« Managing Palestinian Refugees in Syria: A Socio-historical Overview of UNRWA’s Relationship with Syrian Authorities, 1950–70 », by Valentina Napolitano
Valentina Napolitano, « Managing Palestinian Refugees in Syria: A Socio-historical Overview of UNRWA’s Relationship with Syrian Authorities, 1950–70 », Jerusalem Quarterly 94, 48-64 | online [https://www.palestine-studies.org/en/node/1654248]
Based on a study of previously unexplored UNRWA archives covering a period from the 1950s to the 1970s,
this essay examines the relationship between the UN agency and the Syrian government agency PARI (Palestine
Arab Refugee Institution) in managing Palestinian refugees in Syria. It offers insight into this decisive phase during which refugee camps were constructed and the Syrian host policy was developed.
By contributing to the debates on humanitarianism in displacement, the author sheds light on divergent visions
and economic and political interests, but also on the negotiations that arise between international humanitarian actors and local authorities in the management of refugee arrivals. More precisely, it argues that PARI’s policies aimed to support Syria’s political line on the Palestinian cause in general, and were
also designed to attract international aid to the country. From its side, UNRWA attempted to take maximum advantage of the favorable socio-economic conditions that Syria conferred on the refugees to offload some of its responsibilities and save on its budget intended for them.
This article was written in the framework of the ITHACA project.