Henry R. Labouisse, Director of UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency), answered the question as to why UNRWA cannot help the refugees to settle and work in the countries where they are:

“The answer lies in the realm of politics and in deep-seeded human emotions … it cannot overcome the fact that the refugees as a whole still insist upon the choice provided for them in General Assembly Resolution # 194, this is, repatriation or compensation.  In the absence of that choice, they bitterly oppose anything which is even the semblance of permanent settlement elsewhere.  Officials of the host governments, with but few exception, openly support the refugees in this position and oppose large-scale resettlement projects.  Unscrupulous political agitators have consistently exploited the understandable bitterness of the refugees.”

Some 10,000 persons are employed by UNRWA, the largest majority of whom are Palestine refugees.  The others represent some 20 nationalities.

Refugees are supplied by UNRWA with rations amounting to 1500 calories per day in the summer, and 1600 calories in the winter.

There is no serious malnutrition among the refugees; the death rate is lower than among the indigenous population.  Although education is not compulsory, most of the children are being taught.

Source:  Regional Development for Regional Peace: A New Policy and Program to Counter the Soviet Menace in the Middle East, Washington, DC: Public Affairs Institute, 1957