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Palestinian refugee youth living both within and outside of United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) camps in the Middle East are the focus of this article. For more than half a century, these youth have been captive for stereotyping, and they have been objectified as passive victims, much as their parents and grandparents before them lived without the benefit of international protection. Yet Palestinian youth, throughout the five UNRWA field sites, consistently express a willingness to act to improve their situation as well as a cautious and measured optimism for their future. Given the appalling poverty of many refugee youths’ lives, the prolonged low- and high-intensity armed conflict, and the structure of violence in the home, in schools and in daily encounters with occupation forces as well as Palestinian security, it is remarkable that Palestinian youth continue to maintain a sense of agency against all odds and hold on to aspirations for a better personal and community future.

More information


Journal article


Oxford University Press

Publication Date



28 (2-3)


318 - 338