Refugee Issues

Bartering Palestine for Research

Al-Shabaka Commentary
Mayssun Succarie

Political Agency for Palestinian Return

Al-Shabaka Roundtable
Ahmad Barclay,
Randa Farah,
Jamil Hilal,
Ingrid Jaradat Gassner,
Jaber Suleiman,
Dena Qaddumi

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.

Decades of Displacing Palestinians: How Israel Does It

Al-Shabaka Policy Brief
Munir Nuseibah

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.

The Price of Statelessness: Palestinian Refugees From Syria

Al-Shabaka Commentary
Rosemary Sayigh

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.

The Missing Narratives in Palestinian Schoolbooks

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.

Unfreezing the Right of Return: First Stop, Gaza

Al-Shabaka Policy Brief
Munir Nuseibah

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.

Reframing Palestinian Return: A New Al-Shabaka Policy Circle

Al-Shabaka Commentary
Ahmad Barclay,
Dena Qaddumi

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.

Modest but Powerful Activism for Palestinian-Origin Jordanian Rights

Al-Shabaka Commentary
Oraib Rantawi,
Oroub el-Abed

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.

Palestinians on the Road to Damascus

Al-Shabaka Commentary
Ahmad Diab

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.

Refugees: Israeli Apartheid’s Unseen Dimension

Al-Shabaka Commentary
Hazem Jamjoum

Do Israeli policies and practices toward Palestinian refugees constitute apartheid? Al-Shabaka Policy Member Hazem Jamjoum argues not only that it does, but that it is the cornerstone of what constitutes a system of apartheid.

When Exiled Communities Act

Al-Shabaka Commentary
Oraib Rantawi

Oraib al-Rantawi’s commentary draws on his recent visit to the Palestinian community in Germany to discuss the PNC Registration Campaign, a civic drive to register Palestinians using a secure online mechanism so they can vote in direct elections for the Palestine National Council.

Trapped by Denial of Rights, Illusion of Statehood: The Case of the Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon

Al-Shabaka Policy Brief
Jaber Suleiman

The bid by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) / Palestinian Authority (PA) to join the United Nations as a member state has complicated the already precarious status of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. In this policy brief, Jaber Suleiman addresses the way in which Palestinian refugees are facing the double-edged challenge of denial of their rights and the illusion of statehood. He also discusses responses by the Palestinian community in Lebanon and in particular by civil society.

Keeping an Eye on UNRWA

Al-Shabaka Policy Brief
Randa Farah

Israel recently launched a spate of attacks on UNRWA, the UN Agency serving Palestinian refugees, which could herald another attempt to shut the Agency down. Is UNRWA perpetuating Palestine's conflict with Israel, as its Israeli critics allege, or does it provide essential relief and work for millions of Palestinian refugees who were displaced from their homes in 1948? Does UNRWA act as a catalyst to absorb the refugees in the Arab world and to contain their political struggle as its Palestinian critics allege, or does it keep their cause alive and visible on the international scene as its Israeli and Western critics allege? In this policy brief, Al-Shabaka Policy Advisor Randa Farah responds to UNRWA's critics, while also casting a critical eye at the Agency. In doing so, she reminds us of the different reasons why the Agency was founded in the first place.

The Invisible Community: Egypt's Palestinians

Al-Shabaka Policy Brief
Oroub el-Abed

In this policy brief, Al-Shabaka Policy Advisor Oroub el-Abed examines the legal status of Palestinians in Egypt, including positive signs of change following the Egyptian revolution. She argues that the Egyptian government must do more to live up to its responsibilities to the "invisible community" of Palestinians living in the country.

Uneasy but Necessary: The UNRWA-Palestinian Relationship

Al-Shabaka Policy Brief
Randa Farah

In this policy brief, Al-Shabaka Policy Advisor Randa Farah examines the relationship between UNRWA and Palestinian refugees in Jordan and compares it to the situation of Sahrawi refugees in Algeria.

Unwelcome Guests: Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon

Al-Shabaka Policy Brief
Dalal Yassine

For over 60 years, Palestinian refugees in Lebanon have been denied their basic rights. Al-Shabaka Policy Advisor Dalal Yassine examines the legal status of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and the "Right to Work" Campaign. She argues that greater coordination between Palestinian and Lebanese civil society organizations and solidarity groups in the Palestinian Diaspora is required in order to change the country's laws.

The Role of the Palestinian Diaspora

Al-Shabaka Roundtable
Nadia Hijab,
Khalil Hindi,
Aziza Khalidi,
Jaber Suleiman,
Antoine Zahlan

The first Al-Shabaka Roundtable was held in Beirut, Lebanon on the topic of Palestinians in the Diaspora. Policy Advisors Khalil Hindi, Nadia Hijab, Aziza Khalidi, Jaber Suleiman, and Antoine Zahlan discussed the different interests of Palestinians in the Diaspora and how they can be secured.