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Roundtable meetings

 

2012PE1201

Roundtable:

Saturday December 1th

Topic:

Ethnic Urbanization: The Jordan Valley as a Case Study

Speakers:

Mr. Chris Whitman

Summary:

Mr. Whitman explained how with the designation of Areas A, B, and C in the Oslo Accords of 1993, Palestinian society has become an urbanized society, specifically in and around the Ramallah and Hebron areas.

This situation is much preferred by Israeli authorities and officials, who see territorial domination, and in some cases expansion, as being much easier under these conditions. The Jordan Valley is a prime example of this phenomenon. During the June 1967 war, Israel forcibly removed between 70,000 and 300,000 Palestinians from this area and established their first settlements there. In addition, after the Oslo Accords, when 95% of the Jordan Valley was designated Area C or a natural reserve, they limited Palestinian rural life to tiny, isolated islands surrounded by closed military zones, settlements, and natural reserves. Presently, a number of established Palestinian villages are at their capacity rate, “indirectly” causing migration to other parts of the West Bank in order to start a family. Additionally, Bedouin and herding communities are forced to live in squalor, with a constant threat of demolition, unless they move to an “urban center,” the further the better from the Israeli perspective.

Instead of carrying out large scale forced transfers, the Israeli authorities prefer this method as it is cheap, effective, and receives little to no criticism from international bodies or individual states. Israel, as an expanding industrial economy, is creating conditions for mass urbanization which is typical for such states. The difference is the ethnic component that makes Palestinians a double target for migration from rural areas to urban ones. The added layer of it is a perfect fit for Israeli desires both to expand the settlement enterprise, and more specifically to realize their domination over the land itself. If Palestinians are forced to relocate from rural areas to urban ones, Israeli authorities have a much easier time confiscating land under various military edicts and expanding their dominance. Considering that the Jordan Valley constitutes 28.5% of the West Bank, this area is a strategic asset for the Palestinian people, and a prime target for the State of Israel, without even considering the resources or other benefits of the area.

Output:

 


 

2012PE0609

Roundtable:

Saturday June 9th   

Topic:

The role of the High Commissioner for Human Rights- The Strategic Priorities in the current Phase

 

Speakers:

Dr. Muna Rashmawi

Summary:

  Dr. Rashmawi illustrated the role of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in light of strategic changes that are taking place in the Middle East, with emphasis on the Arab Spring or what she called the “Arab awakening”. She started the session with speaking of the Tunisian revolution which was triggered by Mohammed Bo Azizi who burned himself in response to the demands of dignity and justice in Tunisia. She considered the “Arab awakening” came in three stages; the first stage is manifested in removing the ottoman regime, the second is overthrowing colonialism in Arab countries which still exists, and finally the last stage is removing dictatorial regimes.

Later on  Dr. Rashmawi asserted that the High-Commissioner for Human rights was founded in 1994, due to the importance of having a side from the UN that gives a voice to victims. She also indicated to the main strategies which the OHCHR works on, that is preventing discrimination, and promoting minorities’ rights, fighting racism and maneuvering from punishment, reinforcing accountability, achieving social and economic rights, protecting human rights especially in issues related to  migration and strategic development of law.

In the context of the Arab spring, Dr. Rashmawi enumerated a number of factors which, according to her, had an impact on the outcome of these revolutions. Such as the method of protesting, in which the peaceful nature of the protest facilitated in process of upcoming phases. The Arab armies played a crucial role in these revolutions, in addition to the level of education and the strategic location of these countries. She then spoke about the ways the OHCHR dealt with these revolutions. For instance, in Tunisian when Ben-Ali’s regime was overthrown, the OHCHR was there within a week after being banned for many years of entering the country, and it established its first office in the region of north Africa. After the triumph of the Egyptian revolution the same thing happened and the OHCHR had an office in Egypt and later on in Libya. Dr. Rashmawi emphasized that the Arabs were not asleep despite the dreadful attacks of dictatorial regimes, also the absence of freedoms and social justice was a reason in igniting the Arab revolutions.

 

 

 

Output:

Audio File


 

2012PE0421

Roundtable:

April 21, 2012   

Topic:

The Arab Spring: A Fourth Democratic Transition?

 

Speakers:

Professor Philippe Schmitter

Summary:

In this roundtable meeting, Professor Schmitter addressed the different modes of transition from an autocratic government  into a democratic one, with emphasis on the Arab Spring.  

 

He asserted that the series of democratization began after world war I and world war II, and later on in Latin America. However, the conditions of transition are different depending on the spatial context. Thus democracy as a political arrangements with social and economic consolidation is much less appealing today than it was in 1974 and in the 1980’s in Latin America; because the timing is different and it occurs in a different context. After twenty - thirty years of democratization, a certain number of Latin American countries have shown that democracy eventually produces greater social and economic equality. As a result, democracy cannot possibly be in the Arab world as 'promising’ as it was in southern Europe and Latin America. Professor Schmitter also referred to the relationship between civil society organizations and political parties which complement one another. Yet the disconnection between civil society organizations and political parties seems particularly strong in the Arab world, which forms a problem.

 

On the one hand, he mentioned how the different modes of transition occur from above such as the Russian. On the other hand the transition in the Arab world is forced from below, which is the usual way to mobilize oppressed people. Near the end of the meeting, he claimed that the Arab democratization wave would be different from that in Europe and Latin America.  The big question regarding the Arab spring is: Can they organize themselves in a way that continues the struggle for democratization?

 

 

 

 

Output:

 


 

2012PE0327

Roundtable:

Tuesday March 27th   

Topic:

Ye Shall Bowl on Grass

 

Speakers:

Mr. Rafique Gangat

Summary:

During his discussion, Mr. Rafique shed light on the book which is a series of 30 stories each of which has something to say about what happened in South Africa. He also spoke of his experience as a diplomat.

Mr. Rafique began with illustrating how he became the first colored  diplomat of South Africa. In South Africa there are four different races: the White, the Black, the colored race which is a mixture of White and Black, and the Asian; all living segregated in four different places. Thus diplomacy was something for the White race,  yet Mr. Gangat had friends from all races and was able to became the first colored diplomat of South Africa in Palestine. His diplomacy journey ended in Palestine, he came to Palestine in 2003 to make a change and he quoted Nelson Mandela who has said on many occasions, “We believe our freedom has no meaning if others are not free”  meaning the Palestinians.  He narrated some of the short stories in his book which depicts apartheid form his own experience. The title of the book Ye Shall Bowl on Grass is a reference to the game Cricket in South Africa.  Mr. Gangat use to play the game and in South Africa different races played separately, for instance the Black race only played against  the Black, and the White against the Whites, they were not allowed to play against one another.  Nonetheless, in the late 1970’s , due to high pressure, the government finally allowed different races to play against each other and the first time ever in South Africa races played against each other Mr. Gangat played in that  game.

 

 

Output:

 

 


 

 

2012PE0116

Roundtable:

Tuesday, 17 January 2012   

Topic:

The Political Abuse of Rights

 

Speakers:

Dr. Jasbir k. Puar, associate professor - women's and gender studies/ Rutgers University

Summary:

 

During this roundtable discussion Dr. Puar spoke about her book “Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times”, in which she discussed the emergence of what she termed homonationalism--the co-production and gay and lesbian rights, consumer entitlements, circuits of mobility, and livable lives with the simultaneous delimitation of the mobility and rights of racialized bodies, in particular those bodies racialized as "terrorist." For instance, after 11/9 there appeared an anti-Muslim sentiment where anxiety about terrorist bodies was apparent. 

 Dr. Puar connected between the content and topic of her study with the Israel/Palestine question, wherein Israel is taking advantage of supporting gays and lesbians rights in order to show the world how modernized Israel is at the expense of overshadowing its occupation over Palestinian territories. For instance,  gays in Israel are given their rights and freedoms at the expense of sustaining the Israeli occupation which Dr. Puar counters.  She also illustrated the concept of homonationalism which is a normalized, racialized ideology built on shifts in neoliberal economic plans and domestication of resources. Furthermore, she indicated how Homonationalsim is another way to point to neoliberalism and normalize homosexuality. In the US,  Neoliberalist are advocating gays rights and normalizing homosexuality, and they continue or extend the project of US imperial expansion endemic to the war on terror.

 

 

Output:

 

 

 


 

 

 

2011PE1006

Roundtable:

Thursday, 6 October 2011   

Topic:

“Legal and Political Aspects of Palestinian Bid for Statehood in the UN”

 

Speakers:

Othman Abu-Gharbia, Fatah Central Committee Member.

Yasser Al-Amori, Professor of International Law, Birzeit University.

Summary:

 

Who discussed the political and legal perspectives of the UN bid. Abu- Ghabia illustrated the strategies of  the Palestinian Authority  in its attempt to establish a sovereign state. These strategies include,  patterns of resistance, enactment of appealing to an international framework, going to the UN and other international organization, reevaluating  our relations with Arab countries and stimulating it based on new foundations.  He also stressed on the option of going to the UN which was a direct result of the failure of the negotiations with Israel. In addition to the Quartet’s failure in pressuring Israel to recognize a Palestinian state. Dr. Ghabia emphasizes on the importance of the time of the UN bid,  in which deciding to go during September came as a result of the Obama speech concerning his desire to establish a Palestinian state.

 

 Moreover, Mr. Ghariba indicated that heading to the UN was in order to empower the Palestinian position in its negotiations with Israel. He also stated that going to the security council, not to the General Assembly, was an outcome of our aspiration to gain full membership in the UN and not a non membership position. However this bid is in need of gaining 9 out of 15 votes of the security council members, and it is critical that the permanent members of the Council do not veto this resolution. He also talked about the US threat in using its veto thus preventing the pass of this resolution. And if the application is refused, then we can head to the General Assembly so as to gain a  non member state. 

Whereas, Dr. Al- Amori discussed the legal outcomes of the UN bid by remarking that going to the UN can be perceived as an effective weapon if used properly. Because it is important to reopen the Palestinian case, especially ever since Israel has succeeded in keeping the Palestinian case outside of the international community agenda. He also discussed the substantive and procedural requirements needed in order to gain membership in United Nations. He indicated that the Palestinian problem lies in the procedural requirements which require the approval of the Security Council and this brings us back to square the five permanent members. Whereas the substantive requirement can be overcome. Moreover Dr. Al-Amori stated that if the  Security Council vetoes the Palestinian membership this will lead to the consideration and study  of other options. Such as, the possibility of resorting to the “Uniting for Peace” resolution. Another option is obtaining a non- member observer state from the General Assembly, which is in a sense an implicit recognition of a Palestinian state. Then we can gain membership in international organizations which prerequisites that members should be states, and thus we expand the possibility of prosecuting Israel. He also referred to the expected caveats if the position of a nonmember state is obtained, and these caveats might question and threaten the legal status of the PLO. According to international law the PLO is the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, which has the legal right to demand for the right of self determination. He also stressed on the imperative  need for being legally precise while considering the alternative option.

 

 

Output:

 Coverage in Local newspapers: Al-Ayyam  October 7


 

 

2011PE0621

Roundtable:

Tuesday, 21 June 2011  

Topic:

“Reconciling “Integration” and the Right of Return. Rethinking Palestinian Refugeehood”

 

Speakers:

Ruba Salih, SOAS University

Dr. Sophie Richter-Devroe, University of Exeter

Summary:

The research project investigates Palestinian refugees’ imaginaries, practices and attitudes towards “the right of return in Lebanon, Jordan and the West Bank. The research departs from classic scholarly approaches to the concept of “return” to show how refugees in their everyday practices and lived experiences strategies reconcile “integration” in the host country with return. 

Dr. Salih said that Palestinian refugees by virtue of their paradoxical positionality as displaced and rooted, insiders and outsiders, expressions of longing and belonging, here and there, are amongst the most interesting actors of new political cultures that offer potentially emancipatory and radically transformative political thought.

Dr. Sophie said that the preliminary results suggest that increasingly refugees see “integration” and “return” as compatible and desirable and they produce political narratives to sustain and legitimize their views and practices. Moreover, while all (refugees and non-refugees and irrespective of age, political party affiliation, gender, etc.) agree that the right on return is inalienable, political cultures on how to implement that right differ starkly. Generation, in particular, plays a crucial role in how refugees think about integration, citizenship and return.

 

 

Output:

 


 

 

2011PE0615

Roundtable:

Wednesday, 15 June 2011   

 

Topic:

“Opportunities for Palestinians in the new Arab era”

 

Speakers:

Prof. Rashid Khalidi- Columbia University

Summary:

Prof Khalidi argues that justice and liberation for Palestinians, and peace for the entire region, will not come from exclusive reliance on the United States. Rather, new methods are possible, such as mass mobilization and protests as was the case in Tunisia, Egypt and recently in Yemen. Other means are also possible that Palestinians use in this new Arab era, including diplomatic, popular, informational and other initiatives. But a precondition for success in any strategy is that Palestinians should take the lead.1991, the many Palestinians working in the Gulf with Egyptian TD failed to find a country to let them in. Egypt was the first to deny them access to its territories. The miserable situation of Palestinians stranded in Salloum desert camp between Egypt and Libya in 1996 drew the attention to a serious humanitarian and protection gap for Palestinians. IOM and UNHCR had to provide relief but not protection. Egypt and Libya agreed ultimately, to receive each, half of the stranded persons on the borders.

 

Furthermore, many Palestinians living in Egypt seek to find better opportunities abroad, mainly in the West, connecting with their social networks. They apply for humanitarian asylum. They manage to prove that they cannot avail themselves to the country of their habitual residence because they risk being imprisoned. With legal intervention (from lawyers prepared with country of origin information and expert witnesses), they get the asylum of the western.

 

 

 

Output:

 


  

 

2011PE0607

Roundtable:

Tuesday, 7 June 2011   

 

Topic:

Barbara Harrell-Bond "The Cessation Clause under the 1951 Refugee Convention: The Uganda Style.

 

Oroub El-Abed: "Empathy for Palestinians with Egyptian Travel Documents?"

Speakers:

Barbara Harell-Bond, Oxford University.  and Oroub El-Abed, SOAS University

Summary:

Prof. Harrell explained the two ways in which refugee status under the 1951 Refugee Convention can be ended. The first is in a refugee re-avails him or herself of the protection of his country of origin; the second is when refugees of a particular nationality are deemed no longer in need of international protection because of the 'ceased circumstances’ in their country of origin.

She highlighted that since 1996 the Rwandan government has been pursuing their citizens who have sought asylum outside the country. Uganda and the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugee have been notorious for cooperating with Rwanda. There have been several incidents for 'forced’ or involuntary repatriation, in July 2010, In the meantime, more Rwandans, including genocide survivors are seeking asylum in Uganda. This came after Prof. Harrell gave an introduction about the Rwandan- Ugandan conflict. 

Oroub El-Abed talked about the status of Palestinian refugees in Egypt before and after the eras of president Jamal Abd El-Nasser and president Anwar al-Sadat. She presented her discourse on the Empathy for Palestinians with Egyptian Travel Documents, asserted that the Palestinians holders of Egyptian travel documents from Gaza who sought refuge in Jordan as a result of the 1967 war, were unable to enter Egypt and had to remain in Jordan, with constrained rights and in limbo status. After the Gulf war 1991, many Palestinians working in the Gulf with Egyptian TD failed to find a country to let them in. Egypt was the first to deny them access to its territories. The same happened to the 30.000 Palestinians who had been expelled from Lybia by Al-Qathafi in 1995, and prevented from getting in to Egypt.

 

Output:

 


2011-PE0428

Roundtable:

  28 April 2011

Topic:

The Arab Center for Law and Policy 

Speakers:

 

Dr. Yousef Jabareen

Summary:

 

Presented the core focus of center as one of the Arab’s in Israel attempts to defy the Israeli discourse. The absence of the Palestinian representation at both governmental and academic levels; was the main driving force that encouraged the founders of the (Arab center for Law and Policy) to institutionalize their efforts to plan for the future of Arabs in Israeli.  

Dr. Jabbareen explained that the center concentrates on three major programs; education, local governance, and establishing a database covers different aspects about Arabs in Israel.

 

He highlighted that the center bases its discourse referring to actual cases the minorities experience all over the world. The center in developing this discourse also referred to the declaration of the UN General Assembly about indigenous people, especially the issue of land, self-determination, and enhancement of political participation.

 

Dr. Jabareen presented his discourse on the participatory equity, which aims at achieving real civil, national and economical equity for Arabs in Israel. He emphasized that this equity in a society with multi-national and multi-cultural groups is based on three major dimensions: public domain, internal domain, and historical domain, and these domains associated to many other sub-domains influence the lives of Arabs in Israel.  

 

By the end of discussion, Dr. Jabareen expressed his willingness to cooperate with the relevant Palestinian institutions in West Bank and Gaza Strip.

 

 

Output: 

 

 


 

2011-PE0205

Roundtable:

 February 5,2011

 

Topic:

 Egyptian Uprising Vision and Challenges 

Summary:

 

 

 

Output: 

 

 Read More in Arabic


 

2011-PE0126

Roundtable:

January 26, 2011

 

Topic:

Tunisian Revelation: Causes and Prospects

 

Summary:

Read more in Arabic

Output: 

 

Audio coverage


 

2011-PE0118

Roundtable:

January 18, 2011

 

Topic:

Political Islam and Salafism

 

Summary:

Read  more in Arabic

 

Output: 

 

 


 

2011-PE0113

Roundtable:

  

January 13,2011

 

Topic:

The Exodus of Iraqi Jews 1950-1952

 

Speakers:

 

Dr. Abbas Shiblak

Summary:

The Forced Migration and Refugee Unit at the Ibrahim Abu Lughod Institute of International Studies hosted Dr. Abbas Shiblak, an expert on the refugee issue, for a roundtable discussion on 'The Exodus of Iraqi Jews 1950-1952’. The roundtable discussion was chaired byDr. Majid Shihade and was attended  by faculty members and  M.A students of International Studies at BirzeitUniversity .  

 

Shiblak presented on the Iraqi Jewish community and their movement to and from Iraq and their contribution to the formation of modern Iraq as well as the Iraqi’s Jewish community early encounter with the Zionist movement.

 

Shiblak indicated that the Iraqi Jewish community is one of the most rooted, indigenous, assimilated and educated groups inside the Arab and Islamic world. He also indicated the importance of examining their situation which helps in elucidating their identity as an indigenous group in the Orient, and the way they appreciate their relations with their communities and how they dealt with Zionism; especially when we recognize that the Iraqi Jews are distinguished in that they view Jewishness from a religious and not a national perspective and they were not a part of the Zionist project in Palestine which in essence is consistent with the European Colonial regime.

 

Shiblak analyzed the developments that made the Jewish community under great pressure and burdens since they forced them into a kind of mass hysteria and as a corollary the exodus occurred between April 1950 and July 1951.

 

He also pointed out the role played by key active actors, including the Israeli, British and American leadership, in addition to the Iraqi government at that time. He added that this evacuation could not be considered as voluntary migration.

 

In conclusion,  Shiblak  tackled the long-term consequences  of this mass exodus  and its impact on the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the  attempts made by successive Israeli governments to exploit the results of the actual transfer of Palestinian refugees and the Arab Jewish communities alike.

 

 

Output: 

 

 


 

2010-PE1209

Roundtable:

9 December 2010

 

 

Topic:

 Wikileaks leaks and its impact on diplomatic relations

Summary:

 

 

Output: 

 

 Arabic report available


2010-PE1201

Roundtable:

December 1, 2010

 

Topic:

Arab expatriates in the US, assimilation and integration Speaker: Naseer Aruri

 

Summary:

The Ibrahim Abu Lughod Institute of International Studies hosted Professor Naseer Aruri for a roundtable discussion on 'The United States of America and the Vital Political Center: The Role of Intellectuals in the affairs of the Arab Communities’ The roundtable discussion was chaired byProfessor Roger Heacock.

 

Dr. Aruri stressed that the argument of non-assimilation of the various American ethnicities is feeble and ill-founded as the reality of the American society proves it to becohesive and coherent within the framework of the vital political center.

He added that the coherence of the American society does not debar the existence of scattered communities in certain areas like the African –Americans , the Jewish communities and the Arab Americans in Detroit.

His key question was focused on the Arab communities location in the American political map and whether they are assimilated and integrated or centrifugal of the vital political center.

 

He pondered the role of the 'Arab–American University Graduates’ or as some others prefer to name it the 'Arab University Graduates in America’ in defending the Arab cases while clarifying that the majority of this Alumni Association were academics.

Professor Aruri further mentioned that the governments of United States of America whether Democrats or Republicans were equally considering Israel as a strategic asset and the Arab-Americans are encountering a crisis as it is difficult to assimilate in the vital political center. 

 

Unlike other communities that sheltered to the United States in quest of safety and because of persecution and fear of persecution, the Arab Community did neither enter the United States because of persecution nor endorsed the American foreign policy.

 

He explained that the dichotomy has increased between the Arab  and Islamic communities on the one hand and the United States on the other especially after the US aggression on several Arab states, inter alia, Lebanon, Syria, Libya and Somalia.

 

Therefore the Arab Communities turned away from the vital centre in the USA while not leaving their political activities.

 

 

He concluded by stating that the interest of Israel as interpreted by Israel per se may differ from the national interest of the United States of America as a superpower yet they both agree on their international vision and this does not apply on the Arab American international vision.

Output: 

 

 


 

2010-PE0920 

Roundtable:

September 20, 2010

 

Topic:

Israel’s Deportation Policy

 

Speakers:

CordulaDroege, ShawanJabarin, Yaser Ammouri, Asem Khalil (discussant and Chair)

 

Summary:

The IALIIS hosted Dr. CordulaDroege, a legal adviser in the legal division of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Mr.ShawanJabarin, Al-Haq's General Director and Dr. Yaser Ammouri from the Faculty of Law and Public Administration at Birzeit University for a roundtable discussion on Israel’s policy of deporting Palestinian nationals and particularly the recent deportation orders against members of Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) from East Jerusalem.

The roundtable discussion was chaired by Dr. Asem Khalil, the IAIIS director.Dr. Droege stressed that the phenomena of deportation and forcible transfers is not a new policy while clarifying the legal distinction and definition between both concepts: the deportees are present in third countries like Lebanon and Jordan and forcibly transferred people are moved from one area to another say from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip.

Moreover, she made it clear-cut that Israel’s deportation policy runs contrary to international humanitarian law citing among others Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and affirming that restrictions on movement cannot be made on arbitrary basis as is the case with Israel while affirming that the ICRC does not accept not allowing people to choose where they live.

In addition to emphasizing the customary international law of not compelling Palestinian inhabitants of the occupied territory to swear allegiance to the hostile Power as codified in the Hague Regulations of 1907.

 

Mr. ShawanJabarin asserted that Israel’s policy is systematic and consistent that has been practiced since the establishment of Israel and an explicit policy declared by Ariel Sharon and many Israeli military commanders. He pondered that forcible transfers may be undertaken directly or indirectly and both individually and collectively.

 

He also criticized the international community inaction and particularly the European Union in desisting Israeli policies and orders on deportations especially the recent deportation orders against the three members of the PLC and the former Palestinian Minster for Jerusalem Affairs.

 

Dr. Yaser Ammouri emphasized the need to refer to the Security Council to combat Israel’s deportation orders despite the fact that any prospective resolution on this particular subject-matter would be vetoed. This however will reinforce referring to the General Assembly as was the case with the UN General Assembly 'Uniting for Peace’ resolution.

The roundtable discussion was followed by vivid interventions, comments and questions made by the majority of the participants

 

Output:

Coverage in Local newspapers: Alquds September 21, 2010 and Al-Ayyam September 21, 2010


 

 

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