The following article is intended to pick up where anthropologist Ted Swedenburg left off 23 years ago in his article on ethnographic research in the occupied Palestinian West Bank. Very little has been written on the same theme of hazards and problems faced by historians researching
in the West Bank, particularly those who carry out archival research. For historians and other researchers it is important to know the problems of finding and accessing archival sources in both the West Bank and Jerusalem. Certain sources are easy to find and access, while a great many others
are either easy to find and impossible to access, or impossible to find in the first place. At the same time, Palestinian researchers are barred from accessing much of their own documented history if those documents are located outside of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Foreign historians often
take for granted the ability to use these archives, while their counterparts — the national subjects of the archive — are unable to do so in the same way. The general problems discussed in Swedenburg's 1989 article remain (some have intensified), and historians face these on top
of others that are unique to our methods of research.
The Middle East Institute has published The Middle East Journal quarterly since 1947. The Journal provides original and objective research and analysis, as well as source material, on the area from Morocco to Pakistan and including Central Asia. The Journal provides the background necessary for an understanding and appreciation of the region's political and economic development, cultural heritage, ethnic and religious diversity.