Palestine Arab Refugees

January 8, 1958

Report Outline
Arab Refugees and Middle East Peace
Political Effects of Arab Displacement
United Nations Activities for Refugees
Prospects for Solution of the Problem
Special Focus

Arab Refugees and Middle East Peace

Burdens and Dengers in Arab Refugee Problem

Almost a million Palestine Arab refugees, living in camps and villages along the borders of Israel, present a continuing threat to the precarious truce between Israel and its neighbors. The situation has been in deadlock for nearly a decade. The Arab states refuse to abandon their economic boycott of Israel and to negotiate a general peace settlement until the refugees have been repatriated or compensated for loss of property, and until the present boundaries of Israel have been adjusted; Israel refuses to consider these issues except as part of a general peace settlement.

Barred from their former land holdings in Israel, and for the most part unwilling or unable to support themselves in neighboring Arab countries, the refugees have been wards of the United Nations for ten years. Now the funds of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East are running low. U.N.R.W.A. Director Henry R. Labouisse pointed out on Oct. 4, 1957, that the agency needed $40.7 million to feed and care for the refugees at present levels in 1958 and an additional $8 million to replenish working capital. The United States made an initial pledge of $23 million, and other nations smaller sums, but around $19 million remained to be subscribed when the General Assembly adjourned in December. The importance of the work of the agency had been emphasized during the session by action to make the raising of its funds the direct responsibility of Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold.

General Assembly President Sir Leslie Munro of New Zealand declared on Dec. 12 that “U.N.R.W.A. is one of the prices—and perhaps the cheapest—that our assembly of nations is paying for its present inability to solve with equity the political problem of the refugees from Palestine.” Appealing for financial support of the agency, Munro added: “Not only are the lives and future of these people at stake, but there is also involved the peace and stability of the Near East because of the profound impact the physical welfare, the morale, and the passionate feelings of these 900,000 refugees have on the tranquillity of the area.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Refugees and Asylum
Jan. 17, 2020  Global Migration
Jun. 26, 2018  Refugee Crisis
Aug. 16, 2017  Refugees
Jul. 31, 2015  European Migration Crisis
Mar. 2009  Aiding Refugees
Jul. 09, 1999  Global Refugee Crisis
Feb. 07, 1997  Assisting Refugees
Oct. 27, 1989  The Politics of American Refugee Policy
May 30, 1980  Refugee Policy
Aug. 26, 1977  Indochinese Refugees
Apr. 11, 1962  Cuban Refugees
Feb. 25, 1959  Doctrine of Asylum
Jan. 08, 1958  Palestine Arab Refugees
Oct. 12, 1954  Assimilation of Refugees
May 03, 1950  Right of Asylum
Nov. 27, 1946  Immigration of Refugees
Apr. 14, 1938  Resettlement of Refugees
Middle East Conflicts
Regional Political Affairs: Middle East and South Asia
War and Conflict