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        General Assembly
15 October 1955



(pursuant to paragraph 6 of General Assembly resolution 818 (IX))

SUPPLEMENT No. 15A (A/2978/Add.1)

New York, 1955


Beirut, 15 October 1955


Attached hereto is the report made pursuant to paragraph 6 of General Assembly resolution 818 (IX) of 4 December 1954 according to which I was requested:

"In consultation with the Advisory Commission of UNRWA, to study and report upon the problem of assistance which should be given to other claimants for relief, particularly children and needy inhabitants of villages along the demarcation lines."

The procedures for carrying out that request were discussed with the Advisory Commission at its meeting on 1 February 1955. The progress of work was reported to the Commission at its meetings on 31 May and 28 June; and a draft report was presented to the Commission on 28 September and discussed with it on 12 October 1955. The Advisory Commission, having been fully consulted, has asked me to express to the General Assembly the Commission's general agreement with the contents of the report.
(Signed) Henry R. LABOUISSE

The Secretary-General,
United Nations,
New York.

Symbols of United Nations documents are composed of capital letters combined with figures. Mention of such a symbol indicates a reference to a United Nations document.


Special report by the Director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees



1. The Director and the Advisory Commission1 stated in their joint report to the ninth session of the General Assembly2 that 2. In presenting his annual report3 and the joint report to the General Assembly, the Director referred both to the "several thousand children in Jordan who are not receiving rations, although they are recipients of other relief services", and to the "frontier villagers, who are not technically `refugees' because they have not lost their homes", but who have "lost their means of livelihood, such as their lands or in industries which are now in Israel territory".4

3. With respect to the frontier villagers, the Director stated that:

4. With respect to the children, the Director stated that:

5. As regards both groups, the Director stated:

6. At the end of the general debate in the Ad Hoc Political Committee concerning his report, the joint report and a draft resolution, but before the draft resolution was voted upon, the Director stated his understanding of the Assembly's expectations of the Agency in regard to this matter of claimants for relief as follows:

7. There was no dissension in the Ad Hoc Political Committee nor in the General Assembly from the Director's expressed understanding of the position. Resolution 818 (IX) was then passed.

8. As at 30 June 1955, 905,986 refugees were registered with UNRWA. Details of the services available to them (the provision of basic food, health services including supplementary feeding, welfare services, education and self-support projects) can be found in the Director's report to the General Assembly covering the period 1 July 1954 to 30 June 1955.6 Although 905,986 refugees are registered, the number of whole rations being issued as of June 1955 was 835,928.

9. The difference between the number of refugee registered and the number of whole rations distributed is due to several factors. First, no rations of basic foodstuffs are given to registered children under one year of age; they are entitled to receive all other relief services including a distribution of whole milk. Secondly, half, rather than whole, rations are distributed to some frontier villagers registered with the Agency. Thirdly, in Jordan, as explained in section VI below, registered children over one year of age and born since February 1951 receive no rations of basic foodstuffs, though they are entitled to all other services.

10. There are two broad categories of claimants who are seeking relief from the Agency and who do not receive it. One consists of those who suffered serious loss as a result of the troubles in 1948 but who do not fall within the definition of persons eligible for relief as used by the Agency for several years and sanctioned by the General Assembly. The other category consists of persons, particularly some of the children in Jordan, who, although falling within the definition of eligibility, are not receiving full relief services from the Agency. In each of these two categories there are different groups. The most important of these groups are considered in the subsequent sections of the present report in the following order: Frontier villagers in Jordan; The non-refugee population of the Gaza strip; Refugees in Egypt; Bedouins; Children in Jordan.


11. When the Advisory Commission and the Director came to study the implementation of paragraph 6 of resolution 818 (IX) they decided that, for persons to be considered as frontier villagers in need of assistance, they should meet the following qualifications:

12. For the purpose of determining the specific towns, villages and other places to be considered as meeting the intent of sub-paragraph (I) of paragraph 11 above, it was agreed between the Government of Jordan and the Agency that they must fall within one of the following categories:

13. Categories (a) and (c) are self-explanatory. Category (b), on the other hand, includes towns and villages (Arab Jerusalem and Bethlehem, for example) the income of whose populations was largely derived from working in areas now on the other side of the demarcation line or from trade with such areas.

14. A list of 111 towns and villages coming within the above definitions was agreed upon by the Government and the Agency. Various governmental records make it clear that more than half the land of frontier towns and villages (i.e. rather more than one million dunums) has been lost as a result of the conflict in 1948, including about 90 per cent of the irrigated land; the land retained is of inferior quality and mostly rain-fed; and the livestock has been reduced by at least three-quarters.

15. The Agency was not able to undertake a census of the inhabitants of these 111 frontier towns and villages and, consequently, cannot state the exact number of persons falling within the definition set forth in subparagraph (ii) of paragraph 11 above. For the purposes of the present report, the whole population of these towns and villages was, therefore, taken into consideration, except that for the larger towns such as Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Jenin and Tuilkarem there was included only that proportion of the population estimated to fall under a strict interpretation of the definition. The total number dealt with was accordingly 181,800. The term "properties" in sub-paragraph (ii) of paragraph 11 was interpreted to include places of business or employment now on the Israel side, as well as land and real estate and livestock. It was estimated that 75 per cent of the inhabitants of frontier villages were either land-owners or derived their livelihood from agricultural work; the remainder were engaged in other pursuits.

16. The population figure given in the preceding paragraph does not include the 65,000 refugees living in the frontier area and who are registered with the Agency. Nor does it include frontier villagers who have left their villages to seek work elsewhere. Unknown numbers of such people are living in East Jordan; and one group of about 200 persons has been reported unemployed and in distress in Syria.

17. "Need of assistance" within the terms of subparagraph (iii) of paragraph 11 above was defined as the situation of persons receiving from all sources (employment, income from property, contributions in kind from the Government, the Agency, voluntary agencies and so forth) less than the assumed minimum basic requirements for living. Minimum basic requirements were considered to be the relief services provided to refugees by the Agency, together with the clothing provided by voluntary agencies.


18. Under the British mandate, the greater part of the economy of Palestine was oriented westwards towards the coast; the troubles flowing from the 1948 hostilities have completely disrupted it. In the seven years since the truce, some parts of the economy of Jordanian Palestine have been able to change their orientation eastwards. But this is not the case of the frontier villages. Most of the inhabitants of these villages along the whole length of the demarcation line between Jordan and Israel were entirely dependent for their livelihood and their basic needs upon the fertile lands to the west. Many of the villages are situated on mountainous slopes, rocky and arid, with their fields and orange groves stretching out below them, either in "no man's land" or beyond. In some cases, the only readily available sources of water are also beyond the demarcation line. The lands and water resources left to these villages are now, in many cases, incapable of supporting more than a small percentage of the population.

19. Great efforts have been made by many of the villagers to eke out an existence from the poor lands remaining to them. Small crops now grow in some places which, seven years ago, were arid fields of rock--this being accomplished by the removal of the rocks and the quarrying and spreading of new earth to create the semblance of a field or garden patch. But there is a definite limit to these possibilities and, in large measure, the villagers must pass their time in enforced idleness because of the lack of opportunity to work.

20. Aside from this most serious economic situation, there is a perhaps more dangerous psychological aspect of the matter. It is generally believed that the man who has lost his home as well as his means of livelihood is in a worse position than his compatriot who has lost only his means of livelihood. This is not always true. There is only a difference of degree between, on the one hand, the situation of the man whose home was on the Jordan side of the demarcation line but whose land is now cut off in Israel, or who worked in what is now Israel Jerusalem, or who sold his produce in the coastal towns or exported it through Palestinian ports, and, on the other hand, the situation of the man who has lost his home as well as his means of livelihood. All of these have lost, in varying degrees, a place in which to work and a way of life. They have that in common. Yet in some cases, the family which continues to reside in its former home, but whose nearby fields are no longer in its possession, may be in a more serious plight. The very proximity of its former possessions--the situation in which the original inhabitants must watch newcomers till their former fields and harvest crops from their former groves--increases the tensions and the psychological strain.


21. The inhabitants of some of the frontier villages which still possess land have received aid of different types for developing and improving that land. One of the most effective and encouraging programmes is that conducted by the Jordan Development Board, through funds made available by the United Kingdom. This programme consists of loans granted to individuals wanting to terrace or otherwise improve their lands. Between October 1952 and June 1955, a total of $1,316,468 was loaned for these purposes, the loans averaging $150 each. Assistance has also been given to the same end by the United States Operations Mission in Jordan and by certain voluntary agencies.

22. Relief assistance has been given to a large number of the frontier villagers by voluntary agencies and by the United Nations Relief for Palestine Refugees, the predecessor agency of UNRWA. Beginning in 1949, about 17,000 frontier villagers were given by UNRPR half the monthly ration given to refugees, and 14,000 poor persons in Arab Jerusalem (the population of which at the time was about 25,000) were given similar assistance by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

23. When UNRWA was established in 1950, it continued to distribute half-rations to the 17,000 frontier villagers, and has done so ever since. It also selected 2,600 of the most needy from among the Jerusalem poor, and put them on full rations. In 1951, the Government of Jordan requested that further assistance should be given to frontier villagers, but no increase in the Agency's relief grants was possible. Help from voluntary agencies has increased somewhat, however, and now includes medical aid, infant feeding, milk distribution for children and distribution of clothing. On the whole, each public and private agency concerns itself with one form of assistance, and an effort is made to see that any one person does not get the same form of assistance from more than one source.

24. The present situation regarding the relief of poverty from public funds is that, aside from the whole and half rations distributed by the Agency, a gift of United States Government surpluses was distributed by voluntary agencies in co-operation with the Government of Jordan. This one-time distribution of 1 kilogram of cheese and 0.5 kilogram of butter was made to the most needy among the population of the frontier villages. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) gives a daily ration of 40 grammes of milk (the same as the Agency's ration to children) to 44,000 children and, under a two-year programme due at present to end on 31 December 1956, a quarterly issue of food to 45,000 children.

25. Regarding relief provided by voluntary agencies, the Near East Christian Council assists about 83,000 persons annually. This number is made up of 50,000 assisted through the agency of the Lutheran World Federation and 33,000 through branches of the International Christian Committee. In addition, some 25,000 are assisted by the Pontifical Mission, and about 8,000 through the Save the Children Fund, these last being mainly children concentrated in six villages. This assistance consists largely of second-hand clothing (usually one parcel to each family per annum), medical services, meals for children and irregular issues of small food parcels.

26. It is not possible at the present time to state the full extent of the assistance required by the frontier villagers. A fair and accurate estimate could be made only if there were a general census of those villages. This has not as yet proved possible from the point of view of time and expense. Moreover, it has been feared that, even if the traditional aversion to a complete census could be overcome and such a census made, hopes for UNRWA relief would be raised which the Agency might not be placed in a position to fulfill. However, in order to give some indication as to the order of magnitude of the assistance required by the inhabitants of the frontier towns and villages, the Agency has conducted a partial survey, taking a random sample of 3 per cent of the families in the area. This permitted a detailed study of the economic condition of 1,008 families. In each case, a questionnaire was completed to show the economic status of the family in 1947-1948 and again in 1955, its means of livelihood lost as a result of the conflict of 1948, its average monthly income and expenditure during the year ending May 1955, and the average assistance received monthly during that period. On the basis of facts thus ascertained, the type and amount of assistance required by each family to attain a minimum standard of living was estimated. Relief given by governmental and voluntary agencies was valued at figures given by the agencies concerned. For the purposes of the study, it was assumed that a family of five was not in need if its income from all sources, including relief, exceeded JD 9 monthly in the case of families living in small villages, JD 10 for those living in large villages, and JD 14 for those living in towns (1 Jordanian dinar (JD 1)=$2.80). These incomes are based on those used by the Agency to determine whether or not refugees should be regarded as self-supporting. There are, of course, families in Jordan who live on lower incomes. But, as the Government of Jordan has no standard income scale to determine eligibility for governmental relief for the non-refugee population, it was thought best to use figures closely related to the scale that had previously been adopted by the Agency and the Government for determining the point at which relief services for refugees would be withdrawn.

27. It appeared from the sample studies that some 20,000 persons (11 per cent of the frontier population of 181,800 referred to in paragraph 15 above) were fully self-supporting; that about 11,000 persons (6 per cent of the population) were moderately in need--they lacked from 1 to 20 per cent of the resources assumed to be necessary to provide the basic minimum standard of living; that about 98,000 persons (54 per cent of the population) needed a considerable amount of assistance--21 to 60 per cent of the basic minimum; and that 53,000 persons (29 per cent of the population) were almost fully needy--lacking from 81 to 100 per cent of the basic minimum. It is believed that this latter group has managed to survive largely by virtue of assistance from friends and relatives, the extent of which could not be measured. It should be stressed that a sample as small as 3 per cent is likely to result in some error; this percentage was taken because of the difficulty, cost and delay of interviewing a larger number of families. It may be that the survey indicates a need for relief greater than would in practice be necessary. But, bearing in mind various imponderables, including the difficulty of determining both a precise standard for self-support and the exact income of the persons concerned, it is considered that the above summary gives a reasonably accurate picture of need in the frontier villages.

28. Qualitatively, the survey made it quite clear that basic food, or the money to buy it, was the most pressing need, assuming that present governmental and voluntary services continue. There can be no precise estimate as to the size of this need in monetary terms, but an indication of the order of magnitude of the minimum additional funds which would be required can be given. Based on the 3 per cent sampling referred to above, the Agency estimates the order of magnitude of the total cost to individuals of the basic food-stuffs alone, if bought through normal distributive channels, to be $3,200,000. The cost of buying and distributing the same food-stuffs in bulk is estimated at about $1,700,000.

29. In addition to the great need for the minimum basic requirements of life, there is an urgent need to expand the medical and educational facilities of the area. The following is a comparison of the availability of public facilities in the frontier villages with the Agency's standard for the same size of refugee population:

Needed to bring up to UNRWA standard
Boys' schools
Girls' schools
Ration distribution centresa
Milk and supplementary feeding centresa

aCentres in the last two categories are those conducted by UNRWA and the voluntary agencies.
30. The Agency estimates that the construction and establishment of the additional facilities mentioned in the previous paragraph would cost $180,000, and that the annual bill for the provision of educational and medical services such as would be provided to refugees by the Agency would be about $175,000.

31. In addition, shelter at an estimated cost of $250,000 was found by the Agency's survey to be necessary. The need for clothing was also found to be most serious.

32. There can be no doubt as to the great need for assistance to the frontier villagers. The only question is what can be done about it. One obvious means for providing the necessary food-stuffs would be to make ration distributions, or to give cash grants, to those in need. This, however, would not be a simple task, for the needs of the individuals vary considerably. But this difficulty could be overcome with sufficient staff and administrative machinery.

33. The situation could be somewhat improved by expanding land development through such means as the loan programme now conducted by the Jordan Development Board. However, because of the lack of available land and water resources and because of the time element, this would fall far short of meeting the situation fully.

34. In the final analysis, if the material needs of the population are to be adequately met and if, at the same time, the human tensions and psychological strains are to be alleviated, political decisions must be made which will permit rectifications of the demarcation line and provide opportunities for work by other means.

35. It is not for the Agency to suggest which, if any, of the different courses of action are practical possibilities. The intention of paragraph 6 of resolution 818 (IX) was that the present report should appraise the situation as it is today. It is, however, the duty of the Director to stress the exceptional material and moral hardships suffered in the last seven years by the inhabitants of the frontier villages of Jordan and to indicate that these hardships, if not at least partially remedied, are bound to have serious effects on the younger generation in the frontier villages, as well as a depressing influence on the whole refugee population in the care of the Agency.

36. The Gaza strip, a coastal section of south-western Palestine, is about 25 miles long and from 3 to 5 miles wide. It is under Egyptian military administration. The following general description of the strip is taken from the annual report of the Director to the tenth session of the General Assembly:

37. The present area of the Gaza strip is about 340,000 dunums (4 dunums equals 1 acre), of which about 120,000 are cultivated: 40,000 dunums of good land planted with trees and crops, 45,000 of medium class agricultural land, and 35,000 of poor saline land. The present population is about 309,000 of whom 214,000 are refugees registered with the Agency.

38. By itself, the Gaza strip is economically not viable. From available data, the Agency understands that in 1954 imports into the Gaza strip were worth (4,11)E 1,700,000 and exports from the strip (4,11)E 248,000 (1 (4,11)E=$2.88). These figures include the Agency's imports. The present gross national product of the strip, which includes the yield of citrus plantations, vegetables, cereal crops and small cottage industries (hand-loom weaving of textiles and carpets, household utensils, etc.) is estimated at about (4,11)E 790,000.

39. A survey of non-agricultural employment made by the Agency in 1953 showed 4,900 refugees and 2,000 non-refugees in work. Of them, 3,240 were employed by the Agency and the Government. The average monthly wage of employed refugees was (4,11)E 6.39 and of non refugees (4,11)E 10.69. Of those employed, 2,280 persons received a monthly wage of (4,11)E 2 or less. At that time, average monthly wages in Egypt were rather over (4,11)E 7. No survey of agricultural employment has been made.


40. Of the total present population of 309,000, only about 95,000 are not registered with the Agency as refugees. The occupations of these non-refugee residents of the Gaza strip before 1948 were as follows:

41. The extreme poverty of the overcrowded Gaza strip after 1948 made it necessary for the Egyptian authorities to institute relief measures for the non-refugee population. Of their number, 70,000 have been registered with the Egyptian authorities as possibly needful of relief. For administrative purposes, the 70,000 fall within the following categories:
42. Not all the non-refugees in the Gaza strip would seem prima facie to be in a situation similar to that of the present frontier villagers in Jordan described in section II above. However, because of the unique situation in the Gaza strip, it was decided to include in the Agency's study of frontier villagers persons in all the categories (enumerated in paragraph 41 above) registered with the Egyptian authorities. The study was made with the assistance of the Egyptian military authorities, and the basic facts are taken largely from Egyptian records.

43. The Agency made a survey of the pre-1948 situation of the 70,000 non-refugees registered for relief with the Government. Owing to the impossibility of interviewing each family separately, a 10 per cent random sample of each registered category was taken. It was found that 90 per cent of the land-owners had depended on land outside the present Gaza strip for their living; that all the farmers had been share-croppers on property outside the strip; that all the merchants and contractors had been dependent on trade with the British Army, the Mandatory Government and civil bodies; that half the skilled labourers had been working with the British forces and half had been employed by Gaza firms but working outside the strip; and that half the unskilled labourers had been employed outside Gaza.

44. In the case of the Gaza strip, nearly the whole population is therefore in need as a result of the establishment of the demarcation line and of the impossibility of moving goods and persons across it legally. Even the wages of persons employed in Gaza (as well as the price of local produce) have been depressed as a result of the influx of so many refugees.

45. Of the 70,000 non-refugees registered as possibly needful of relief by the Egyptian authorities, 59,000 are assisted in some way. The remainder are considered self-supporting. Of the 59,000, nearly 15,000 are classified as incapacitated; a quarter of these are widows, orphans and aged persons dependent on employed relatives even before 1948, and three-quarters were mostly unskilled labourers now incapacitated due to old age.

46. To the whole 59,000, the Egyptian Government gives a monthly distribution of 7 kilograms of flour. UNICEF and the Government provide supplementary feeding for 2,000 school children, and UNICEF gives a daily ration of whole milk to 1,100 infants under one year of age and a monthly ration of I/2 kilogram of rice to nearly 27,000 children. United States Government supplies of surplus food are distributed by the voluntary agency CARE in the amount of I/2 kilogram of cheese, butter and milk powder (each) monthly to the whole 59,000, a daily ration of liquid skim milk to 20,000 persons and a monthly ration of milk powder to 3,000 persons (children of one to 15 years, nursing and pregnant women). The distribution of liquid milk by CARE began on 1 July 1955, and that of other commodities (which is at present an eight-month program only) began on 1 September 1955.

47. It appears likely that few persons in need are not reached by the above measures. But the regular monthly issues of flour, butter, cheese and milk given by the Egyptian and United States (through CARE) Governments provide only a basic 1,050 calories per person per day (compared to the Agency's basic provision of 1,500 to refugees in summer). Further, it appears that little clothing is distributed. If the ration were to be increased to 1,500 calories, the additional cost would be of the order of $400,000 per annum, assuming bulk buying and distribution.

48. As to public services, the Agency and the Government make health services available to refugees and non-refugees alike; and the Government provides for non-refugee education. It should, of course, be observed that the cost of these services to non-refugees cannot be met from local taxable resources.

49. As indicated above, many thousands of the non refugee population of the Gaza strip are in need of some additional assistance, particularly in the form of foodstuffs and clothing. The greatest need of all, however, is for work opportunities. These are extremely difficult to create on this small and overcrowded strip of sand. The repeated border incidents and the state of extreme tension which has prevailed in the area make even more painful the fate of the population, refugees and non refugees alike.

(Note: This section is largely based on a report received in May 1955 from the Egyptian Government).

50. During and after the fighting in Palestine in 1948, large numbers of refugees went to Egypt and to areas under Egyptian control and were in the first instance cared for by the Egyptian authorities. When the position became more stable, camps were established in the Gaza strip and most of the refugees being cared for by the Egyptian authorities were concentrated there. The American Friends Service Committee took over the care of these refugees, its activities in Gaza being financed by the United Nations Relief for Palestine Refugees in the same way as were the activities of the other two major voluntary agencies caring for refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria. However, some nine to ten thousand refugees who had at first gone as far as the Suez Canal and further, and who had been cared for at first in Egyptian army billets at Abbasiya, were not established in the Gaza camps. Some of them had assets which they could live on for a time, at least. Most, if not all, sought to work for their own livelihood.

51. When UNRWA was established, it took over the responsibilities of its predecessor. Its resources were never such that it could extend its area of relief work, and the refugees in Egypt proper (as distinguished from Gaza) received no help from it.

52. Many of the refugees in Egypt have gradually come to the end of their slender resources, and are now in need. They comprise at present about 2,700 families, 850 of which live in Cairo; the rest are scattered in groups of different sizes in other towns of Egypt.

53. The Egyptian Government has established a committee to help these refugees to become self-supporting and to give some relief to the indigent. The committee is administered by five government officers working in their spare time, and the case work is conducted by social workers from the Ministry of Social Welfare also working in their spare time. The Agency has contributed £E 850 towards the committee's administrative expenses.

54. Of the 2,700 families mentioned in paragraph 52 above, the situation of 726 is still being investigated. A full survey of 1,511 families has been completed by the Egyptian authorities, as a result of which the refugees have been divided into the following categories:

55. The principle followed by the Egyptian committee is to try to guarantee a means of livelihood to the greatest number of refugees until they are in a position to be self-supporting and independent. The committee, therefore, encourages the principle of re-integration, and limits its monthly assistance to a minimum.

56. The committee disburses funds put at its disposal by the Egyptian Government and distributes surplus United States food-stuffs received through the Near East Christian Council. Clothes are also distributed when available. A dentist works under contract with the committee, and arrangements have been made with four hospitals for the medical and surgical treatment of refugees with or without prior reference to the committee, depending on the urgency of the case and the cost of treatment. Funds have not so far permitted any expenditure on refugee education. Lump-sum grants are made for births and funerals. Capital grants are made to help families to become self-supporting. The committee's expenditures during the fiscal year ending 30 June 1955 totalled £E 9,031, of which grants to families in category (d) took £E 4,407, various projects for families in category (c) took £E 2,951; administrative expenses were £E 762.

57. The above assistance is given according to the degree of need of the individual families as follows:

58. The committee is studying the possibility of providing free medical care for refugees and artificial limbs for those who need them. It is also hoping to establish an office to encourage and co-ordinate the granting of bursaries and scholarships.

59. In the field of self-support projects, the committee is studying:
60. The Egyptian Government has requested the Agency to contribute £E 1,500 to pay the salaries and expenses of five additional case workers particularly to follow up the loans and grants projects. The Agency is prepared to meet this request.

61. The Agency assists about 130,000 Bedouins, and has on hand requests for it to assist about 11,000 more. Most of these Bedouins are semi-nomadic, their grazing grounds having included in most cases the semi-fertile areas of southern Palestine.

62. In general, each Bedouin tribe uses, as it were by acquired traditional right, a large tract of country for grazing the flocks on which its existence depends. Neither nomadic wanderings nor the tribal areas have any relation to the modern and often arbitrary frontiers of near and middle eastern States. That was of no great moment until 1948; but the independent habits of Bedouins have come to be at odds with the stricter control of borders that now exists (especially between the Arab States and Israel), and the stabilization of, at any rate, the seminomadic Bedouin is now not only a social problem (as it was becoming in any event throughout the Arab world) but a political one, too. Some of the Bedouins whose lands were wholly or partly in Palestine have remained in Israel, others have remained in or moved into Jordan and the Gaza strip, and others have been moved into Egyptian Sinai; there are also small numbers in Lebanon and Syria.

63. Nearly all the 130,000 Bedouins registered for relief with the Agency are in Jordan and Gaza. They benefit from the Agency's normal relief services, though in view of their nomadic nature they tend not to live in Agency camps and are thus not usually provided by the Agency with shelter. As indicated in the Director's annual report to the tenth session of the General Assembly,8a considerable number is in need of tents. Regarding self-support, the nature of Bedouin life makes their achievement of economic independence difficult. One group of Bedouins from the Beisan area has recently been provided with flocks to enable them to become self-supporting; but replacing extensive lost grazing grounds is usually far from simple.

64. It is in many cases a matter of judgment whether or not a particular Bedouin family falls within the definition of a refugee used by the Agency and quoted in paragraph 1 of section I of the present report. There is frequently doubt as to whether the applicant is a person "whose normal residence was Palestine"; a Bedouin would in any event normally not have lost his home (his tent), and whether he had lost his means of livelihood would be difficult to determine. In fact, Bedouins fit the rules of a relief agency as little as they fit the straitjacke of frontiers.

65. It would seem from the numbers assisted that the Agency has been reasonably flexible in its interpretation of its rules. Requests for assistance are on hand at present relating to rather over 11,000 Bedouins: 7,600 in Jordan, 3,500 in Egypt, 200 in Lebanon.

66. The largest request is in respect of members of a tribe known as Azazmeh, whose traditional living space appears to have covered parts of Sinai, the Negev and south-west Jordan. The Agency's staff had knowledge in September 1955 of about 4,000 members of nine clans of the Azazmeh in Jordan, and has been informed by the Egyptian authorities of about 3,500 members of ten clans (three of them have members among the Jordan 4,000) living, in July 1955, near El-Qusaima in Sinai.

67. The exact status of the Azazmeh is admittedly obscure. The Egyptian request for assistance to those in Sinai is based on a decision of the Egyptian-Israeli Mixed Armistice Commission taken on 30 May 1951.

68. The Bedouins other than Azazmeh in Jordan who have come to the knowledge of the Agency as persons who might be eligible for relief number 3,600. Both they and the Azazmeh are described by the Agency's survey team (September 1955) as being "very poor and suffering serious hardship."

69. Among the reasons given for the fact that the Agency is not assisting the 4,000 Azazmeh and 3,600 others in Jordan (though it is assisting nearly 54,000 Bedouins there) are:

70. The 200 Bedouins in Lebanon not at present assisted by the Agency had their normal grazing grounds in Lebanon and Palestine (depending on the season) and obtained casual employment in Palestine.

71. It is extremely probable that the majority of the 11,000 Bedouins not being assisted by the Agency have lived for some time in Israel since 1948; it is a most serious issue of policy whether or not the Agency should be responsible for assisting persons who have left Israel since 1948, whatever the circumstances of their departure. Further, it is evident that the registration of Bedouins, even more than the registration of other refugees, is surrounded by administrative difficulties of extraordinary complexity, which could only be overcome with additional staff and money. There is no doubt that the 11,000 Bedouins not receiving relief from the Agency are in real need, and that assistance could be given to them if the necessary funds were made available. Basically, however, for relief to be more than a palliative, the Bedouins need either to leave their seminomadic existence for a more settled life (a development for which there are many precedents) or to be provided with adequate grazing grounds, whether their old ones or others newly made available.


72. The problem here concerns children born in Jordan since February 1951 to registered refugees. Refugee children born before that date and properly registered receive all relief services, including rations. Those born after that date and properly registered receive all relief services, except rations.

73. The reasons for this distinction involve both a matter of money and a matter of principle. When the Agency began operations in May 1950, it found that the relief rolls were far from accurate. This was inevitable, given the speed with which relief activities had been organized in 1948. In an effort to correct the situation, the Agency carried out, with the full co-operation of the Government of Jordan, a census operation which was considered complete in the spring of 1951. Unfortunately, this operation was not successful; and upon its completion, the Agency had good reason to believe that its rolls still included large numbers of persons ineligible for relief, and that other refugees had been erroneously deleted from the rolls and should be reinstated after subsequent verification. Funds available to the Agency at that time were severely limited and, accordingly, a ration ceiling was established at 430,000, which was based on the assumption that, subject to further verifications, the ceiling would at least provide rations to all eligible claimants. Investigations thereafter continued, with both additions to and deletions from the rolls, until September 1953. At that time, opposition from the refugees to investigations caused the Government to stop investigations on the ground that continuation thereof threatened public security. Thereafter, the Agency and the Governments contributing funds for its operations were faced with a situation in which the registration rolls were being increased by new births without, at the same time, reflecting proper deletions due to deaths or improper registrations. In view of this situation, the Agency maintained a ration ceiling in Jordan which, in effect, precluded the issue of rations to children born after February 1951.

74. To review in further detail the complex history of the matter from the beginning of the Agency operations in May 1950 through the end of last year would serve no useful purpose here. It will suffice to say that the efforts of the Agency since 1953 to establish efficient procedures for the verification of eligibility have not met with success. Misunderstandings as to the true purposes of verification arose following the census of 1950-1951, and have not yet been completely overcome. As a result of agitation on the part of some of their leaders, the refugees gradually gained and now have the erroneous impression that the sole purpose of verification procedures is to delete persons from the rolls and to bring about a net reduction in the number of relief recipients; they do not fully appreciate that the Agency is only seeking the most equitable distribution of available funds.

75. This problem can be better understood if it is realized that any "investigation" conflicts with deeply rooted concepts of individual and family privacy among the Arabs. Furthermore, refugees are inclined to regard relief in general, and rations in particular, not as something to which they must show their entitlement, but rather as a right--as a partial payment by the world at large for their involuntary expulsion from Palestine and continued exile from their homeland. Finally, refugees in Jordan are citizens (unlike their status in other host countries) and they constitute more than one-third of the population; consequently, they exercise a powerful political influence in that country.

76. The matter of the children was brought to the attention of the General Assembly at its ninth session, both in the special report of the Director and Advisory Commission and in the statement of the Director before the Ad Hoc Political Committee (see section I above, paragraphs 1-7). The report pointed out that the granting of rations to children in Jordan not already receiving them would require either (a) the deletion from the registration rolls of persons not entitled to relief; or (b) an increase in the budget for 1954-1955; or (c) possibly a combination of both. The budget of the Agency was not increased and, instead, the Agency was asked to study and report on the matter. The Agency considered that it was also authorized to grant rations to these children to the extent that it could make savings through the deletion of ineligibles.

77. As it is only now proving possible to establish procedures for ensuring the bona fides of ration recipients in Jordan, it has not been possible to make a thorough statistical analysis of the problem by the time of writing of the present report. Accordingly only the estimates of the Agency can be given here. In general, the Agency has good reason to believe that there are at least as many persons drawing rations who are not entitled to relief as there are children of bona fide refugees who are entitled to rations but do not receive them. The number of such children is thought to be between 50,000 and 70,000. On the other hand, it is estimated that there are at least 70,000 names on the rolls, against which rations are drawn, which should be deleted. For example, in the four years 1951 through 1954, only about 3,600 refugee deaths have been reported to the Agency in Jordan for a refugee population of about 500,000. If a death rate of 2 per cent per annum is assumed (which would seem to be reasonable for this area), approximately 40,000 deaths would have occurred among the refugees in Jordan during that period. In addition, it would seem that, on the basis of information in the files of the Agency, some 20,000 persons on its rolls are ineligible for assistance on the grounds of fraudulent registration, the holding of duplicate ration cards and the like. Finally, there is a large but as yet inaccurately determined number of persons who, by present definitions, are earning incomes sufficient for self-support but who still draw rations.

78. Inasmuch as the number of children not receiving rations is probably less than the number of ineligibles on the Agency's rolls, it can be argued that no real hardship results to the refugee population as a whole from the present system. However, from the point of view of individual families, there are real inequities. On the one hand, there are families where deaths and other improper registrations exceed the new births; on the other hand, there are a great many cases of hardship among families where eligible children not receiving rations exceed the number, if any, of ineligibles. Moreover, there is no assurance that the Agency's estimates are entirely accurate. Full and accurate facts cannot be determined unless and until the refugees as a whole come to realize that it is in their own interest to support and encourage an effective system for ensuring equity and justice in this matter.

79. The Agency has been and continues to be seriously concerned over this problem. It has sought to bring about a break in the past deadlock through action that will be discussed in paragraph 85 et seq. below.

80. The Government of Jordan has requested the Agency to issue rations to another category of refugees not now receiving them. This category concerns bona fide refugees who, although formerly not in need because they had sufficient resources or income to support themselves and their families, have used up their resources or lost their employment and, consequently, are now in need of assistance. Their precise number is unknown. It has been impossible for the Agency to put all of them on its ration rolls for the same reason that it has been impossible to issue rations to children born since February 1951. To the extent indicated in paragraphs 85 and 86 below, it is possible that some of these may benefit as a result of the implementation of the new procedures discussed in those paragraphs.

81. The discussion of the problem in the Director's report to the ninth session of the General Assembly, in the special report, and at the meetings of the Ad Hoc Political Committee have all been referred to in section I above and need not be repeated here.

82. The Agency's recent efforts to deal with the problem actually began with the Director's letter to the Prime Minister of Jordan of 6 November 1954, urging the development of eligibility procedures so that rations could be issued to children. No reply was received to that letter.

83. After the ninth session, a series of discussions were held with members of the Jordan Government at which the problem was discussed in detail and suggestions put forward by the Agency for the purpose of (a) establishing effective procedures for ensuring the bona fides of ration recipients; and (b) of enabling the Agency to issue rations immediately to children to the extent made possible through savings achieved by the establishment of such procedures.

84. In the discussions, the Government took the position that the Agency should immediately issue rations to all children and that the question of deletion of ineligibles could be dealt with thereafter. The Agency replied that it did not have the requisite funds and that, moreover, such a procedure would be contrary to the intent of the General Assembly action. Even though it appeared that some slight progress was being made toward a solution of the problem, no real advance had been accomplished when the Government fell in May 1955.

85. As soon as the new Government was formed, discussions were resumed and the Agency submitted its proposed procedures to the Prime Minister. In summary, these envisaged that joint Government-Agency teams would visit each camp and area and invite the refugees to come forward and declare the names of those who were eligible for relief but not receiving it, as well as the names of those receiving relief but not entitled to it. On the basis of this information, rations would then be issued to children, to the extent of savings achieved through the deletion of ineligibles, first to those in families which had declared ineligible ration recipients, and then to other children in order of age, to the oldest first. Any savings not required for children would be available for other eligible persons not receiving rations.

86. In order to make it entirely clear that the objective of these procedures was not to bring about a net reduction in the total number of ration recipients, it was also proposed that up to 10,000 additional rations would be issued to the extent that the final results of the teams' visits throughout the Kingdom indicated an excess of eligible persons over ineligibles. This offer of additional rations went somewhat beyond the authority granted to the Agency, but it was considered important from the psychological standpoint.

87. At two meetings between the Government and the Agency immediately following the submission of the Agency's proposals, the Government indicated a generally favourable attitude towards them and suggested that, as a first step prior to their introduction, a summary of the proposals should be published. This was done in the form of a communiqué issued by the Government. It was also agreed that the Director should explain the proposals further at the Refugee Conference to be held on 20 July 1955, in Jerusalem, and they were included in the Director's introductory statement and discussed during that Conference.

88. At the Conference, as well as prior to it in the press, the opposition of the refugees to a census operation was vehemently expressed. As had already been stated publicly to the Press, the Director explained that a new census was not being proposed by the Agency; that all that was proposed was the volunteering of information concerning eligible and ineligible ration recipients. He went on to emphasize that, regardless of the misunderstandings of the past which might have contributed to the present situation, as matters now stood the Agency had done everything in its power to demonstrate its good faith and its desire to benefit the refugees; if the situation did not change and the children of the refugees continued to be deprived of rations, the refugees could only blame themselves.

89. In discussions between the Government and the Agency, an understanding was reached that, if the suggested procedures were to be adopted, two modifications should be made: (a) that the teams would not concern themselves with those recipients thought to be earning incomes sufficient for self-support, it being understood that this matter would be dealt with at a later date following the introduction of a new and more equitable income scale then under consideration; and (b) that, rather than withholding issue of the 10,000 additional rations until all camps and refugee centres had been visited by the joint teams, those rations would be apportioned among the various areas and issued at the same time that rations were issued as a result of savings achieved through deletion of names of ineligible recipients.

90. It was also understood that the Government would take steps to enforce legislation requiring the registration of deaths and that this information would be made available to the Agency on a regular basis.

91. On 3 October, the Agency was formally notified that the Council of Ministers of the Hashemite Kingdom of the Jordan had approved the above described procedures suggested by the Agency. The Agency will make every effort, in co-operation with the Government, to implement those procedures.

92. The Agency believes that it has made every appropriate effort to carry out the expressed and explicit intent of the General Assembly as set forth at its ninth session. The Agency also considers that it has done everything in its power to demonstrate to the Government of Jordan and to the refugees its good faith and sincere desire to bring an end to the present deadlock and to reach an equitable solution to the problem.

93. The Agency is pleased to record that it is now receiving the co-operation of the Government of Jordan, which has indicated a full understanding of the problem confronting the Agency as well as the refugees, and its readiness to proceed with the Agency in establishing effective procedures for assuring the bona fides of ration recipients.

94. The information as to the estimated number of eligible and ineligible claimants has been set forth in paragraph 77 above. This information cannot be confirmed until verification procedures are in effect. But if present estimates are confirmed, it is clear that rations could be issued to all eligible children not now receiving them, provided an equitable system for the deletion of ineligibles can be put into effect.

95. The implementation of the Agency's proposals will permit the collection of information as to eligibles and ineligibles. If these procedures can be carried out with the full and sincere co-operation of the refugees and if, as a result, it becomes clear that additional rations are required to meet legitimate claims, the Agency will request the General Assembly to authorize sufficient additional funds therefore.

96. In the preparation of this special report, the Agency has used its best efforts to ascertain and appraise the facts concerning the other claimants for relief referred to in paragraph 6 of General Assembly resolution 818 (IX). In some respects the available information was not as full as would be desirable. Nevertheless, the Director believes that the present report gives an objective and reliable account of the general situation of the "other claimants".

97. Those persons consist, on the one hand, of refugees--families and individuals who have lost both home and means of livelihood in Palestine--who for one reason or another do not receive assistance from the Agency. Among the latter are the refugees in Egypt and the children in Jordan whose circumstances are discussed in sections IV and VI of the present report.

98. On the other hand, among those still directly suffering from the effects of the Palestine conflict, there are persons, such as the "frontier villagers" in Jordan and most of the non-refugee inhabitants of the Gaza strip (mentioned in sections II and III above) who, although remaining in their homes, (and therefore not technically "refugees") have lost their means of livelihood and are in need.

99. The Bedouins, who are the subject of section V, are an intermediate group: being nomads, their homes and means of livelihood are shifting. They have lost part of their livelihood by losing part of their living-space. Many are already being assisted by the Agency, but some are not.

100. No specific recommendations for General Assembly action are made in the present report, as it appears that the intention of paragraph 6 of resolution 818 (IX) was that the Director should appraise the situation and report the facts, leaving to the General Assembly the determination as to appropriate action. However, the Director considers it his duty to emphasize that great suffering exists among the groups discussed above, whose lives have been dislocated as a result of the Palestine conflict in 1948.

1The Commission's membership consists of representatives of the Governments of Belgium, Egypt, France, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America.

2See Official Records of the General Assembly, Ninth Session, Supplement No. 17A.

3Ibid., Supplement No. 17.

4Statement to the [i:Ad Hoc] Political Committee, 28th mtg., 16 November 1954.

5Statement to the Ad Hoc Political Committee, 37th mtg., 29 November 1954.

6See Official Records of the General Assembly, Tenth Session, Supplement No. 15.

7See Official Records of the General Assembly, Tenth Session, Supplement No. 15, para. 62.

8See Official Records of the General Assembly, Tenth Session, Supplement No.15, para.16

9Without prejudice to their status, the Agency has on three occasions given supplies to the Egyptian authorities for distribution to the tribe at times of special need.

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