UNRWA and the Palestinian refugees: a history within history

It is difficult to conceive a sustainable, long-lasting solution to the Palestinian– Israeli conflict without examining the refugee issue and identifying a just solution to it for both sides. Over time, and beside its emotional dimensions, the refugee issue has been increasingly regarded as a “problem” for the Israeli and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)/Palestinian Authority (PA) leaderships, who have generally taken uncompromising positions. The international stakeholders have been unable to suggest compromises acceptable to the parties concerned.

This introduction aims to provide a background to the contributions included in this special issue. In the first part, some short historical information on UNRWA and the Palestinian refugees helps to outline a number of characteristics of the two main actors under consideration. In the second part, some present challenges facing UNRWA and relevant future research topics are grouped in transversal themes that take into account the relationships between UNRWA and its clients

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