Chapter 2
The settings: The communities
and their environment

The persistence of the Palestinian refugee-status is most apparent in the existence of more than fifty official UNRWA refugee camps in the Middle East, making the experience of camp-life a reality which nearly one million Palestinians share, a number corresponding to a third of the total registered Palestinian refugees in the Middle East.3 Despite dissimilar territorial settings, Palestinians thus have a common historical experience or reference of camp-residency struggling to cope with an everyday-life continuously influenced by external and internal political events in their respective host countries.

Four official UNRWA- camps, Askar on the West Bank, Baqa'a and Wihdat in Jordan, and Rashidiyya in Lebanon were chosen as settings in this report. In addition, different suburbs in the city of Amman where Palestinians live are also included in order to give a picture of Palestinians living outside camps. These settings constitute the physical framework within which the data in this report was gathered, even though the social networks which involve these settings have a much greater scale.
In line with the general case oriented methodology of this study, the settings were chosen not to be particular representative, but rather to be useful in generating contrasts and different life situations.

All names of persons and respondents have been changed in order to maintain personal anonymity.
3.) 1993-UNRWA statistics show that of the total 2,797,179 registered Palestinian refugees, 957,107 live in camps while 1,840,072 live outside camps (Map of UNRWA's Area of Operations, 30 June 1993). The exact numbers are contested, but the general order of magnitude is correct


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