Palestinian Refugees: Challenges of Repatriation and Development

By Rex Brynen; Roula El-Rifai | Go to book overview

Preface and acknowledgements

There are few challenges more daunting than that of bringing about an end to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Central to the conflict and any possible resolution is the complex issue of Palestinian refugees. This issue is very emotional, even existential, to the millions of refugees who are waiting – 58 years later – for a resolution to their plight. But the emotion-laden refugee issue is also a very technical one. This book attempts to deal with the complicated issue of how to plan for the absorption and integration of Palestinian refugees into a new Palestinian state.

It is based on the proceedings of a conference organized by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) () in June 2003, the Stocktaking II Conference on Palestinian Refugee Research. Its aim, by definition, was to take stock of what research had been undertaken on the Palestinian Refugee issue over the previous five years. The conference also sought to bring much of the research into the public arena and, most importantly, to identify gaps in knowledge and priorities of future research. The first Stocktaking Conference was hosted in Ottawa in 1997 by IDRC and the Palestinian Refugee ResearchNet based at McGill University ().

At the June 2003 conference, more than 100 researchers and policymakers discussed the issues of data collection, legal and international law perspectives, political processes, public opinion, the absorptive process, compensation and mechanisms. The discussions were in equal measure emotional, partisan and technical. But they

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