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At the beginning of every year, al-Zaytouna Centre for Studies and Consultations   holds a panel discussion to offer a strategic assessment of the developments pertaining to the Palestinian issue, and an outlook of its future trends and prospects.

This particular session is meant to assess relevant events in 2012, which included several developments that are significant on more than one level, especially with regard to the reconciliation efforts; the Israeli aggression and the Palestinian resistance – such as the Israel’s “Operation Pillar of Defense” and the resistance’s counter operation dubbed “Stones of Sijjil”; the recognition of the State of Palestine as a non-member state of the United Nations; and the stalemate in the peace process.

This session takes place amid a major upsurge in Israeli Judaization and settlement activities, particularly in Jerusalem and the West Bank; and amid the changes and uprisings that the Arab world has been witnessing since the beginning of 2011, and which continue to cast a shadow in 2012, including over the Palestinian issue.

The Palestinian issue faces a range of challenges and questions that remain extant in 2013 and perhaps beyond. Most of these are issues that have been carried over from the previous year and the years before it, in addition to other expected developments that carry implications for the Palestinian issue, such as the opportunities to rebuild the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the future of the Palestinian National Authority (PA), the international relations with the nascent Palestinian state, the Israeli general election, and the outcome of the Arab revolutions.

This year’s session will also focus on an issue of great interest on the Palestinian arena, but one that still requires further debate and discussion: Namely the Palestinians in the Diaspora, and their role in Palestinian political decision-making, away from discussing their conditions exclusively as refugees. Indeed, this has helped marginalize their role as an important actor on the Palestinian arena, as the refugees were solely discussed from the standpoint of their humanitarian needs, and their economic and social conditions in the countries of refuge.

Objectives of the Panel Discussion:

1. Assessing the developments related to the Palestinian issue in 2012 in all their aspects, with a focus on the internal Palestinian situation, and the Palestinian- Israeli situation, and attempting to forecast its trends for 2013.

2. Assessing the changes that took place in the Arab, Islamic and international spheres in 2012, and attempting to forecast their future trends through 2013.

3. Examining the role of Palestinians in the Diaspora in Palestinian political decision-making, and the chances for the reactivation and improvement of this role.

Sessions and Working Papers:

The Panel Discussion will be covered with 15 papers, distributed into three sessions:

Session I: The Palestinian – Israeli Scene:

The discussion will focus on three points:

1. The Palestinian situation and its potential developments.
2. The Israeli situation and potential developments.
3. An assessment of the war on Gaza and its implications.

Session II: The external role and its impact on the Palestinian issue:

The discussion will focus on three points:

1. Arab world role and its potential impact.
2. Muslim world role and its potential impact.
3. International role and its potential impact.

Session III: Palestinians in the Diaspora, and the potential of regaining their initiative:

The discussion will focus on four points:

1. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the potential for galvanizing the role of Palestinians abroad.
2. The impact of the Arab uprisings on the Palestinians abroad.
3. The Palestinian popular NGOs and the potential for enhancing their role.
4. The ideal tackling of the issue of Palestinian refugees.

• The official language of the Conference is Arabic.

Venue: Beirut – Lebanon
Date: Wednesday, 6/2/2013
Registration fee: $100 (excluding the cost of travel and accommodation).
Conference Registration Deadline: Wednesday, 30/1/2013.


Note: The Center is not responsible for visas or any arrangements related to travel or accommodation. The Center does not assume any material costs associated with them.

Al-Zaytouna Centre for Studies & Consultations, 14/1/2013