Under the Patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Hassan Bin Talal of Jordan, a Conference organized by the Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD) was held on Sunday 14 October 2018 in Amman.
The Aim of the Conference was the Launch of the Global Network of Experts on the Question of Palestine as well as to present the outcome of a two-day workshop organized by ARDD on 13/14 October, which was devoted to the theme “Palestinian Refugees under Threat: Towards a Strategic Response”.
The Conference was attended by Representatives from the Jordanian Government and the Senate, Representatives from the International Community, Representatives from International Organisation as well as Representatives from the Civil Society and the Academic World.
The Global Network brings together international and regional experts (from the Academic world as well as practitioners) and covers a unique array of key disciplines (Political Sciences, International Law, Diplomacy, Civil Society, the Media, Refugee and Migration Studies, International Relations, History and Anthropology).
The Network aims to serve as a mediating voice to better navigate the often contentious debates on the issue and at supporting the development of policies and strategic thinking on the issue of Palestine, within the context of a new and rapidly evolving political, legal and social environment.
The launching Conference also offered the opportunity to present the main outcome of the Workshop, the first event of a structured dialogue on Palestine Refugees hosted by ARDD under the overall theme “The Question of Palestine 70 years On: Priorities for Action”.
At the launching Conference, Prof. Zaid Eyadat, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of ARDD, presented some welcoming remarks and stressed the human, political and strategic importance of addressing the question of Palestine Refugees for the Region.
Ms Mihoubi-Astor, Head of Program Management at ARDD, presented the main areas of debate and the outcome of the two-day workshop “Palestinian Refugees under Threat : Towards a Strategic Response “. In particular (a) the need to firmly address the current US approach to UNRWA and Palestine refugees, by putting the issue into its historical and legal context (b) strategies for UNRWA to engage with refugees, with donors how it operates; (c) possible ways to enhance participation of refugees in areas which affect their lives and their access to rights and (d) durable rights-based solutions for Palestine Refugees.
Prof Rex Brynen, a member of the Global Experts Network, presented the Global Network, its Mission, the role it intends to play to contribute to the development of strategies and actions in support of Palestine refugees and stressed the full involvement of the Network in a consolidated policy dialogue on Palestine Refugees in the region and beyond.
His Royal Highness Prince Hassan Bin Talal of Jordan made a very inspiring address to the audience, stressing the paramount importance for host countries of preserving the dignity, the rights and the identity of the Palestinian refugees in countries and communities hosting them. His Royal Highness stressed that “Identity cannot be allowed to paper over injustice, identity cannot be allowed to paper over the cracks in social equity and in social justice.”
He stressed the paramount importance of the principles reflected in the Casablanca Protocol of 11 September 1965 and called for those principles to be upheld vis a vis all Palestine refugees in all hosting countries. He declared that the declaration of what is referred to as ‘the deal of the century’, has been amounting to a wake-up call to us all, and pointed out that a binary deadlock has prevented the right of return for Palestinians for the last 70 years, and a similar impasse is emerging for the Syrians.
The Prince presented the global security and humanitarian challenges since the past decades and the current opportunities for a world of peace, security and human dignity.
“This ruthless game of chess that is taking place between one national flag and another, the whole Sykes-Picot inheritance… is reducing our ability to think and to act,” the Prince said.