Refugee Issues

Commentary Refugee Issues

Bartering Palestine for Research

Photo of refugee camp

All eyes are focused on the bloodshed in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, but the civil war in Syria continues to rage, making Shatila Refugee Camp in Lebanon – yet again – a destination for Palestinians and others fleeing conflict. Such collective tragedies have made Shatila one of the most heavily researched communities in the world. Policy Member Mayssun Succarie examines the negative impact that over-research has had and concludes that sometimes conducting no new research is the most appropriate response.

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Commentary Refugee Issues

From Our Facebook Balconies, the Dark Heart of Al-Yarmuk

Photo of Yarmouk Camp

The Syrian civil war has seen some 270,000 Palestinians flee their homes, many for multiple times. The discrimination they face as they seek refuge has had little attention. From a Syrian-Palestinian perspective, Al-Shabaka Policy Member Ahmad Diab draws on the siege of Al-Yarmuk as a new symbol of Palestinian suffering and maps the profound effects this conflict has had on the entire Syrian Palestinian community.

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Roundtable Refugee Issues

Political Agency for Palestinian Return

Photo by Jill Granberg

Palestinians must themselves be the agents of their return. Some civil society campaigns are contributing to achieving return, such as the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement and legal actions. But for real progress the internal obstacles to return must be addressed, including the lack of a consensus on how to achieve Palestinian self-determination. These are among the key points raised in this roundtable organized by Al-Shabaka’s Policy Circle on Return.

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Policy Brief Refugee Issues

Decades of Displacing Palestinians: How Israel Does It

Photo of Palestinian woman showing ID. Photo by European Commission DG ECHO.

Israel is estimated to have forcibly displaced some 66% of the whole Palestinian population by 2011. Al-Shabaka Policy Advisor Munir Nuseibah identifies six different methods Israel uses on both sides of the Green Line and elaborates two: Personal status engineering and urban planning. He argues for a holistic approach to address the systematic nature of forced displacement, which is grounded in the very ethos of a state established to create and maintain a Jewish majority in all of historic Palestine.

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Commentary Refugee Issues

The Price of Statelessness: Palestinian Refugees From Syria

Artwork by Hafez Omar

May 15, 2013, marks the 65th anniversary of the Nakba (catastrophe) when over 700,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled by Zionist forces. To this day, Palestinian refugees have far fewer rights than other refugees, including protection from forced return to conflict zones. Al-Shabaka guest author Rosemary Sayigh starkly describes the discrimination against Palestinian refugees fleeing from Syria to Lebanon (and Jordan) and urges international action to end these violations.

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Commentary Refugee Issues

The Missing Narratives in Palestinian Schoolbooks

Photo of Palestinian boy with book. Photo by Rita Leistner.

The highly politicized Israeli and Western scrutiny of Palestinian textbooks has seemingly led the Palestinian Authority to opt for a cursory discussion of the Nakba. Al-Shabaka policy member Zarefa Ali urges that refugee testimonies be incorporated into the curriculum and that it be overhauled to present the historical, critical and literary dimensions of the Nakba. Otherwise, she warns, the Palestinians risk raising entire generations ignorant of their own history.

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Policy Brief Refugee Issues

Unfreezing the Right of Return: First Stop, Gaza

Photo of refugees' demonstration in Gaza. Photo by Anne Paq / Activestills.

For decades, Palestinian victims of Israel’s forced displacement policies in the Gaza Strip have been seeking redress. Al-Shabaka Policy Advisor Munir Nuseibah argues that the authorities in Gaza, Ramallah and Egypt have a legal obligation to immediately facilitate the return of those who want to do so, without in any way letting Israel off the hook. He describes how it can be done, and addresses the political and practical pitfalls.

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Commentary Refugee Issues

Reframing Palestinian Return: A New Al-Shabaka Policy Circle

Photo of refugees marching to Lebanon-Israel border. Photo by Mozzoom.

The Mahmoud Abbas who heads to the United Nations for non-member state status expressed willingness to give up his right of return. Not so the other Palestinian millions. Instead, as Al-Shabaka Policy Members Ahmad Barclay and Dena Qaddumi argue, the region’s upsurge in grassroots political movements offers an opening to view Palestinian return through the lens of decolonization and to go beyond the zero-sum logic of competing ethnic nationalisms. They will be launching Al-Shabaka’s first Policy Circle to develop this approach.

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Commentary Refugee Issues

Modest but Powerful Activism for Palestinian-Origin Jordanian Rights

Illustration of Palestinian refugees in Jordan

Palestinian-origin Jordanians are a large and increasingly marginalized community in Jordan, whose rights to education, nationality, and political participation have been eroded. Oraib Rantawi and Oroub el-Abed discuss initiatives by Palestinian-origin Jordanians for equal rights – and responsibilities – in the Kingdom, as part of a growing movement for citizens’ rights energized by the Arab uprisings.

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Commentary Refugee Issues

Palestinians on the Road to Damascus

damascus_by_sharnik_flickr

In this evocative and moving piece, Al-Shabaka Policy Member Ahmad Diab provides a lived description of what it is like to be a Palestinian in Syria: The permanent sense of a temporary existence, the impact of dictatorship on Palestinian-Syrian relations as well as on Palestinian political development, and the diverse roles Palestinians are playing – and the price they are paying – in the current revolution.

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