Photo: Christian Sterzing
The conference "The Transformation of Palestine – Palestine and the Palestinians 60 Years after the 'Nakba'" is divided into five thematic sessions. If you are looking for a printable version, please download the Session paper as PDF.
The geographic and social fragmentation of the Palestinian people is essentially a result of the conflict in the Middle East. Which historical change processes have the Palestinians experienced as a result of urbanization and industrialization, modernization and globalization? To what extent is their social structure affected by the conditions and consequences of the Middle East conflict? How did a wide variety of other change processes – economic, social, gender-specific, political - have affected the societal development of the Palestinians over the last few decades and shape the reality of their fragmented existence? How do the different environments that Palestinians live in affect their political ideas? Millions of Palestinian refugees still live today in refugee camps and insist on their right of return guaranteed under international law. Within the framework of a final status agreement, the goal will not just be to find a viable solution for the people living in the historic region of Mandate Palestine. The right of Palestinian refugees to return has been the subject of numerous UN resolutions. Thus, the extremely different realities of refugees will also be analyzed and their prospects for the future discussed. What is the social reality of Palestinian refugees in the Arab states? What is the UNRWA – the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East – doing? What are the reasons for the successful/unsuccessful integration of refugees? How did the Nakba shape the Palestinian social, political and cultural life? Is the PLO still today the "legitimate representative of the Palestinian people"? Does the PLO as a Palestinian umbrella organization still play a role in uniting the Palestinians?
- Michael R. Fischbach: The Impact of the 1948 Disaster: The Ways that the Nakba has Influenced Palestinian History
- John Ging: 60 Years of Partnership for Palestinian Rights: UNRWA and Palestine Refugees
- Salah Abdel Shafi: Fragmentation of the Palestinian People and the Fight for Unity
- About the work of UNRWA
- Statistics of the Palestinian Refugee Population:
- Michael R. Fischbach, Palestinian Refugee Compensation and Israeli Counterclaims for Jewish Property in Arab Countries, in: Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 38, no. 1 (Autumn 2008), p. 6
2.4 million Palestinians have lived for more than 40 years under Israeli occupation in the West Bank, 1.4 million under Israeli siege in the Gaza Strip (since 2006). How did the exodus of 1948 and 1967 change the socio-economic and political structure in the Palestinian territories? How did the reality of the occupation shape the social and political fabric of life in the territories? What role does the occupation policy play in the development of an independent Palestinian economy? Is there a trend in their society toward Islamization and/or pluralization? What role do the traditional family and clan structures play today? How did the relation between ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ leadership change? Do traditional, conservative and religious concepts of society jeopardize the hard-won emancipatory progress against occupation and male domination? What are the effects of Israel's policy of separation?
- Sabine Hofmann: Palestinian Economy – From Asymmetrical Dependency to Regional Cooperation?
- John Ging: Predicament of a Different Order: Palestine Refugees under Occupation
- Dr. Samir Awad: The Transformation of Palestine
- further information on the humanitarian situation in the Occupied Territories is provided by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Help in the Occupied Palestinian Territories
- further information on the humanitarian situation in Gaza can be found in the latest report of international aid organizations ‘Failing Gaza: No rebuilding, no recovery, no more excuses’ (pdf)
- Sabine Hofmann: Wirtschaftliche Kooperation bei politischer Separation (pdf)
The so called Road Map (2003) is calling for a ‘democratic Palestinian state’, a ‘strong parliamentary democracy’ with ‘free, fair and open elections’ and democratic reform of the institutions. Did the development of a democratic society make any progress after the elections in 2005-2006? What about the democratic developments within the Palestinian movements and factions? What are the difficulties of institution building under occupation? What kind of impact do traditional family and clan structures have on the democratic development? What is the likelihood of the development of democratic and civil structures in the conditions of occupation and political divisions in Palestine? What is the role of civil society organizations in the territories? What are the differences between the First and the Second Intifada from a democratic point of view? Are there differences between a western styled democracy and Palestinian visions of a democratic state? Where are the most urgent needs for democratizing the Palestinian society? What about the role of women and women’s organizations in the democratic process? Do Palestinians envisage a multiparty democracy for the future as mentioned in the Roadmap? International organizations are supporting the development of democratic structures in the territories. Did the external democracy promotion help to make progress?
- MUWATIN: Muwatin, the Palestinian Institute for the Study of Democracy, was founded in January 1992 to promote the study and development of democracy in Palestine and in the region.
- Nathan Brown: The Green Elephant in the Room: Dealing with the Hamas Party-State in Gaza, web commentary, June 2009
- George Giacaman (MUWATIN), Democracy in the Arab World - "Partial Democracy Suits Regimes and the West", bitterlemons
Did Islam play a role in the Palestinian liberation movement? Since years we are witnessing a growing influence of Islam and Islamist movements in the Arab world. Is there a trend in the Palestinian society toward Islamization as well? Does Islamization and/or pluralization shape the future of the Palestinian society? What are the reasons for the rise of Hamas and how does the future look for inner-Palestinian conflicts? Is Hamas primarily a national resistance movement or an Islamic movement? Is the rivalry between Hamas and Fatah a fight between Islamist and secular forces and diverging concepts of a Palestinian state? How does religion and religious debates play into the rivalry and division? How does the Palestinian Basic Law define the relationship between religion and state institutions, secular law and sharia? Is the Charta of Hamas still relevant? Is anti-Semitism an integral part of the Hamas ideology? What does Hamas's record in governing in Gaza tell us about its pursuit of an Islamic agenda? Are there any chances of bridging the diverging views during the process of national dialogue?
- Mkhaimar Abusada, Islam versus Secularism in Palestine: Hamas vs. Fatah
- Nicolas Pelham: Ideology and Practice in the Legal System in Gaza under Hamas
- Nathan Brown: Religion and Politics in Palestine: Debates about Islam and the Hamas-Fatah Schism
- Helga Baumgarten: The Two Palestinian Movements Today
- Mkhaimar Abusada, The Palestinians after the Fateh Congress, August 27, 2009
- Mkhaimar Abusada, Hamas Takes on the Radicals., August 24, 2009
- Mkhaimar Abusada Accounts of the Annapolis Process, June 29, 2009. Edition 25
- Muriel Asseburg: Conclusions: Dynamics in political Islam and challenges for European policies, 2009
- Nathan Brown: Palestine: The Schism Deepens, web commentary, August 2009
The vision of a Palestinian has changed over the decades. And the international attitude towards building an independent viable Palestinian alongside Israel has changed as well. What is the reason for these changes? What are the prevailing conceptions of a Palestinian state today? Two-state- versus one-state-solution? Who is opposing the vision of a Palestinian state? Who does support this vision? What should be the central elements of a future Palestinian state? How do the Arab states view the Palestinian state? The international community has expressed its support for the two-state-solution many times. What is necessary to implement this solution?
- Muriel Asseburg: Euro-Mediterranean cooperation and protracted conflicts in the region: The Israeli-Palestinian predicament (pdf), September 2009
- Muriel Asseburg: Obamas zweiter Anlauf im Nahost-Friedensprozess, Unilaterale Ansätze der Konfliktparteien sind keine Alternative, SWP-Aktuell 2010/A 12, February 2010 (only in German)
- Nathan Brown: Palestine and Israel: Time for Plan B (pdf), Policy Brief, Feb. 2009
- Nathan Brown: After Abu Mazin? Letting the Scales Fall From Our Eyes