UNRWA and the Palestinian Nation-Building Process

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VOL. 29


No. 2
P. 51
UNRWA and the Palestinian Nation-Building Process

This paper focuses on the political dimensions of UNRWA's mandate and activities through an analysis of its relations with the Palestinian national movement. The evolution of the UNRWA-PLO relationship, from uneasy coexistence to active partnership, parallels changes in each of the two bodies: UNRWA's movement toward greater politicization, and the PLO's gradual embrace of developmental goals associated with the state-building process. The article ends by touching on the problems inherent in the new development approach, particularly with reference to the refugees' right of return.

Jalal Al-Husseini, a Ph.D. candidate at the Graduate Institute of International Studies (Geneva), is currently associated with the Centre d'ٹtudes et de Recherches sur le Moyen-Orient Contemporain (CERMOC) in Amman. An earlier version of this paper, the research for which was funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, was presented at the Middle East Studies Association conference (December 1998).