BEIRUT: President Donald Trump and Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu’s “Deal of the Century” restricted the Palestinians and once again, placed them in a state of oblivion.
Accordingly, the Issam Fares Institute at the American University of Beirut organized a panel discussion on February 12 to discuss the fate of Palestinian refugees in light of the current political reality.
“Intellectual resistance is one of the most important tactics,” mentioned Dr. Ziad El Sayegh, a previous Senior Advisory to the Ministry of State for Displaced Affairs and an Expert and Adviser on Public Policies and a researcher on the Pale. “Armed Jihad is not the only method anymore to attain freedom, yet it must be adopted alongside intellectual resistance to create a diplomatic track and prepare for a negotiating sphere."
Leila Al Ali, a Palestinian Feminist, Political Activist, and Director of the Najdeh Association argued that the deal forces Arab countries to bear the responsibility of taking care of the displaced. Adding that people should accordingly fight for the right of return.
“If there is no authority or liberation organization, there is no state. We must not lose the fight for the right of return,” she said.
According to members of the Palestinian civil society, the Oslo agreement carries huge risks for refugees. These risks have encouraged members to form a body that aims to confront the agreement and defend the rights of refugees.
“A working group has been formed for the displaced Palestinians. It advocates for their rights and is currently working to integrate special curricula on the history of Palestine for the new generation to learn,” said Al Ali.
Saker Abu Fakher, Researcher and Editor at the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, also argued that International law, the International Bill of Human Rights, and international institutions such as the United Nations "have failed in 72 years to bring justice to the Palestinian people, perhaps because international law comes from colonial laws."
Accordingly, "the political opportunities for the Palestinians to achieve peace are not promising at the time, but their resilience strengthens them."
According to the panelists, the deal does not give any hopes for peace, but rather sabotages the Palestinians' efforts to achieve freedom and independence. The deal charts the fate of the Palestinians in isolation from themselves. Therefore, without the Palestinian's legal seal, it is impossible for any agreement, plan, vision, or understanding to take its path towards practical implementation.
Aside from the risk posed by the Deal of the Century, the panelists proposed some measurements to confront it. These measures include: establishing a Lebanese-Palestinian unity in which both nations can fight together, monitoring UNRWA's work continuously in the region, resisting diplomatically and systematically, and reviving the Palestinian unity to end all divisions.
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