Acknowledgments [chapter]

2003 Palestinian Refugees  
Though largely written while I was serving as an Australian public servant and diplomat, this book does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian government. As a former official of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), I should add that the views expressed are not necessarily shared by UNRWA or the United Nations. This book and, of course, its shortcomings are my responsibility alone. It is difficult intellectually, emotionally,
more » ... d empirically-for observers and participants alike-to distinguish between myths and realities in the Arab-Israel conflict. The struggle between the national myths of Israelis and Palestinians is a conflict between two very compelling sets of values and aspirations. It touches individuals, on both sides, in very personal ways. I have nothing but admiration for those individuals-many of whom are close personal friends-who are seeking, with great integrity and with profound personal commitment, an enduring and just peace in the region. Where I have put forward ideas in this book on how change could happen, or might be encouraged to happen, I do so with a profound sense of humility. I would like to acknowledge with deep appreciation the contributions of many people to this book. Amin Saikal and William Maley provided much-needed advice on how to present a complex issue in what I hope is an accessible form. Many former colleagues in UNRWA, both international and Palestinian, as well as a range of academics and friends, provided insights and inspiration and a strong desire to explain a truly remarkable UN institution to wider audiences. There were many people in UNRWA in Gaza and Jerusalem who welcomed me and were willing to share their insights and experience. The warmth, dignity, patience, and hospitality of Palestinian colleagues in ix
doi:10.1515/9781588269928-001 fatcat:kejjt5jvrnfjtcwjigerltdflm