Al-Zaytouna Centre for Studies and Consultations and the Afro-Middle East Centre (AMEC) will hold on 25-26 March 2015, a conference titled: “Palestinian Reconciliation: Prospects and Challenges” in Beirut.
The conference will discuss the factors affecting Palestinian schism and possible solutions, while shedding light on international paradigms of reconciliation and transitional justice. It will try to define the Palestinian national priorities.
A selection of Palestinian and International political figures, experts, academicians and intellectuals will be participating in this conference. The conference will be bilingual, in English and Arabic, and simultaneous translation will be available.
Following is the Concept Note:
The state of intra-Palestinian splits has cast a heavy shadow over the Palestinian arena. Palestinians have paid a heavy price as a result, as divisions among them exhaust their energies, disrupt their progress, and causes Arab, Islamic, and international interest in their cause to decline.
In light of the impasse reached in the ‘peace process’, and the obstacles and challenges faced by the path of armed resistance, the Palestinian issue in general confronts serious options – some of which could be dangerous for the Palestinian cause, and a complicated path ahead. The Israeli state and Israeli society are becoming increasingly right-wing extremist and aggressive towards the Palestinian people, deliberately intensifying their encroachment into Palestinian lands, maintaining the blockade and destruction of the Gaza Strip, and working towards ensuring that the only possible future for Palestinians will be to live as lower class citizens under permanent occupation or under apartheid. With the Arab world experiencing difficult transitions with uncertain foundations , and contending with the risks of sectarian and ethnic fragmentation, there is a growing risk of declining interest in the Palestinian question, threatening the Palestinian people with the loss of the support of their vital strategic Arab backers. Meanwhile, the international landscape continues to be governed by US-led western dominance, which provides protection for the Israeli occupation and its crimes.
The combination of the above factors makes Palestinian reconciliation and the restoration of Palestinian national unity vital for the Palestinian people, if they are to overcome the huge challenges they face, and to take full advantage of their strengths and potentials at home and abroad to proceed with the project for their liberation.
Attempts for an accord between Fatah and Hamas date back to the middle of 1990, and have continued for the past twenty-five years, with the dialogue sometimes expanding to include other Palestinian forces and factions. Among the most important milestones have been: the Cairo Agreement of March 2005; the National Reconciliation Document of June 2006; the Makkah Agreement of February 2007; and the National Reconciliation Agreement of May 2011.
However, the general pattern following these agreements has been sharp differences over interpretation, obstructionism, a lack of progress, and selective implementation. A number of factors have been responsible for these challenges, including the conduct of various Palestinian security, political, and media role players, external interventions by Israel and the United States in particular, and attempts by regional actors to impose their visions of reconciliation. Various differences – in ideology, on the priorities of a national programme of action, on the limits of such action, and on the extent of acceptable Palestinian concessions – also negatively affected the prospects of reconciliation. This, in addition to the historical experience of mistrust, especially between Fatah and Hamas, further complicated the problem.
In attempting to tease out these challenges and consider what the future might hold for Palestinian reconciliation and the Palestinian struggle more generally, two renowned think tanks that specialize in political and strategic studies, especially in Palestinian affairs – Johannesburg-based Afro-Middle East Centre and Beirut-based Al-Zaytouna Centre, have joined to host this conference in Beirut. A distinguished group of politicians and policy-makers working in the Palestinian arena will attend, as well as other experts and scholars. Participants will include a number of personalities from South Africa (and other countries), in an attempt to consider the experiences of others who attempted to transcend divided pasts and build reconciled futures. This event will act as an umbrella for positive interaction, and calm but frank discussions. The conference will also attempt to build bridges of trust and produce practical solutions to overcome obstacles facing the reconciliation project.
1. Carefully examining the causes of and practical solutions to Palestinian division.
2. Providing a productive and positive environment for a serious exchange of views among Palestinian political leaders, experts, and specialists.
3. Benefiting from South African and other experiences in conflict resolution and reconciliation.
4. Activating the role of think tanks and research institutes in supporting Palestinian policy-makers in the reconciliation project.
Please note that the conference will be bilingual, in English and Arabic, and simultaneous translation will be available.
In addition to the opening session, the two-day conference is divided into seven sessions. There will be five main themes (There will be two sessions for each first and third theme.
First Theme: The Palestinian Factions Stance Towards Reconciliation and its Activation
Each faction will present its stance:
̶ Fatah ̶ Hamas
̶ PFLP ̶ PIJ
̶ DFLP ̶ National Initiative
Second Theme: International Paradigms of Reconciliation and Transitional Justice
Different paradigms are presented:
– South African Paradigm.
– Northern Ireland Paradigm.
– Moroccan Paradigm.
Third Theme: Internal Factors Affecting Reconciliation
This theme discusses/ the sub-themes are:
– Palestinian Fundamentals, Palestinian National Project, and Enhancing National Unity.
– Defining National Priorities and Dealing with the Tracks of Resistance and Peace Process.
– The Reform of the PLO and the Palestinian Authority.
– The Performance of the Palestinian Government, Elections, and Reforming Palestinian Security Apparatus in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Fourth Theme: External Factors Affecting Reconciliation
This theme discusses:
– The Israeli Occupation
– Uprisings and Changes in the Arab World
– The Muslim World Role: Particularly Iran & Turkey
– International Factors: The United States in Particular
Fifth Theme: Solutions & Future Prospects
Discussing the perspectives of different trends and factions on the future of Palestinian reconciliation
All those interested in participating (other than guests), can register here, where the registration fee is $250. Al-Zaytouna Centre will facilitate the hotel booking with special rates for conference attendees.
For questions and confirmations or declinations, please contact:
Public Relations Department
Phone #: +961-1-803644
Fax #: +961-1-803644
E-mail: [email protected]
– The last day for registration is 13/3/2015.
– Registration fees should be paid in advance.
– Participants who cancel their registration after 13/3/2015, will be eligible to receive a 50% refund of fees paid.
– Confirmed participants will receive an email of confirmation.
Al-Zaytouna Centre for Studies and Consultations, 25/2/2015