Palestinian Refugees: Challenges of Repatriation and Development

By Rex Brynen; Roula El-Rifai | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2
Statistical data on Palestinian refugees:
What we know and what we don't

Hasan Abu-Libdeh, Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, Ramallah


BACKGROUND ON THE PALESTINIAN
STATISTICAL SYSTEM

After the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1967, the Israeli military and civil authorities became responsible for collecting various data and statistics about Palestinian society. For almost 28 years, these authorities were actively involved in collecting the statistics about fields which, there is reason to believe, served the purposes of maintaining and prolonging the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The absence of an official Palestinian statistical system in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) between 1967 and 1993 resulted in the inability of Palestinian planners and policymakers to undertake future planning to create realistic and objective developmental programmes.

On the eve of signing the Declaration of Principles (DOP) between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel in 1993, the PLO decided to set up a Central Bureau of Statistics for Palestine. This was the first national Palestinian agency to be set up on Palestinian soil as the peace process was unfolding, and was actually the first small beginning of an administrative apparatus for a future independent Palestinian state. At the time, there was nothing – no staff, no Palestinian produced statistics, no organization, no statistical infrastructure.

Since its establishment in September 1993, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) has endeavoured to fill the existing

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