The Dilemmas of Local Development and Palestine Refugee Integration in Jordan: UNRWA and the Arab Development Society in Jericho (1950–80), by Jalal Al-Husseini
Jalal Al Huseini, « The Dilemmas of Local Development and Palestine Refugee Integration in Jordan: UNRWA and the Arab Development Society in Jericho (1950–80) », Jerusalem Quarterly 93, 61-79 | online [https://www.palestine-studies.org/en/node/1653831]
In this article, Jalal Al Husseini analyzes the relations UNRWA maintained over three decades (1950–80) with the Arab Development Society (ADS), a Palestinian philanthropic nongovernmental institution specialized in agricultural development and vocational/ technical training operating in Jericho, West Bank. Based on ICRC and UNRWA archives, it first provides a novel insight into the internal debates that unfolded among Palestinians, both refugees and non-refugees, about how to envisage refugee socioeconomic status between, one the one hand, minimal integration in the name of the right of return for refugees (as championed by camp refugees), and quasi-assimilation (as promoted by local assistance institutions, UNRWA, and their international donors) on the other. It also highlights the ideological and operational commonalities between UNRWA and the ADS that allowed for joint working partnerships. Assessing the modalities of such partnerships, the author shows how financial, operational, and political challenges (mainly the refugees’ opposition to any initiative likely to threaten their right of return and interim refugee status) limited their outcomes before finally bringing them to an end. Overall, this article explains why, despite UNRWA’s embeddedness in the local context, its ties in the local institutional context have remained limited.
This article was written in the framework of the ITHACA project.