Showing posts tagged as "News"

Showing posts tagged News

21 Oct
Tunisia vote offers post-Arab Spring hope | Antoine Lambroschini
Tunis (AFP) - Tunisians vote Sunday to elect their first parliament since the country’s 2011 revolution, in a rare glimmer of hope for a region torn apart by post-Arab Spring violence and repression.
After three weeks of largely low-key campaigning, more than five million voters are to elect 217 deputies in a ballot pitting the Islamist Ennahda movement — the country’s largest party — against a host of secular groups.
Tunisia has enjoyed relative stability since the region’s 2011 uprisings in contrast to the lawlessness of Libya and Yemen, the military takeover in Egypt and Syria’s bloody civil war.
But the country has flirted with disaster, particularly last year when a rise in militant activity, the assassination of two opposition lawmakers and an economy in the doldrums threatened to drag Tunisia down the same path.
FULL ARTICLE (L’Agence France-Presse)
Photo: Noeman AlSayyad/UNDP/flickr

Tunisia vote offers post-Arab Spring hope | Antoine Lambroschini

Tunis (AFP) - Tunisians vote Sunday to elect their first parliament since the country’s 2011 revolution, in a rare glimmer of hope for a region torn apart by post-Arab Spring violence and repression.

After three weeks of largely low-key campaigning, more than five million voters are to elect 217 deputies in a ballot pitting the Islamist Ennahda movement — the country’s largest party — against a host of secular groups.

Tunisia has enjoyed relative stability since the region’s 2011 uprisings in contrast to the lawlessness of Libya and Yemen, the military takeover in Egypt and Syria’s bloody civil war.

But the country has flirted with disaster, particularly last year when a rise in militant activity, the assassination of two opposition lawmakers and an economy in the doldrums threatened to drag Tunisia down the same path.

FULL ARTICLE (L’Agence France-Presse)

Photo: Noeman AlSayyad/UNDP/flickr

Ambitious Angola takes to world stage | PAULA ROQUE
Paula Roque is a senior analyst for Southern Africa at the International Crisis Group.
Is Angola about to become a global player? Luanda’s recent diplomatic charm offensive means the country is running unopposed for one of three African nonpermanent seats on the United Nations Security Council for 2015 and 2016.
Angola is no stranger to projecting power and influence. It has expanded its financial interests well beyond the African continent into Asia, Latin America and Europe.
It is intent on developing regional and international influence and is poised to become a key interlocutor on a range of African issues. But this will bring with it potentially heavy responsibilities.
Much of the council’s work is focused on Africa. Despite many positive trends on the continent, it faces threats to peace and security: civil wars in the Central African Republic (CAR), Libya, Sudan and South Sudan; insurgencies in Somalia, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Mali; the growing threat of Muslim and Christian extremism in several countries; terrorism; piracy; and the spread of Ebola in West Africa.
Responses to these crises must be anchored as much in improved governance and political inclusion as in military action.
These crises will test Luanda’s limits and experience in post-conflict transformation. Over the past decade, the continent has demonstrated a commitment to tackling its problems, and Angola is intent on stepping up to the plate.
FULL COMMENTARY (Mail & Guardian)
Photo: Gobierno de Chile/flickr

Ambitious Angola takes to world stage | PAULA ROQUE

Paula Roque is a senior analyst for Southern Africa at the International Crisis Group.

Is Angola about to become a global player? Luanda’s recent diplomatic charm offensive means the country is running unopposed for one of three African nonpermanent seats on the United Nations Security Council for 2015 and 2016.

Angola is no stranger to projecting power and influence. It has expanded its financial interests well beyond the African continent into Asia, Latin America and Europe.

It is intent on developing regional and international influence and is poised to become a key interlocutor on a range of African issues. But this will bring with it potentially heavy responsibilities.

Much of the council’s work is focused on Africa. Despite many positive trends on the continent, it faces threats to peace and security: civil wars in the Central African Republic (CAR), Libya, Sudan and South Sudan; insurgencies in Somalia, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Mali; the growing threat of Muslim and Christian extremism in several countries; terrorism; piracy; and the spread of Ebola in West Africa.

Responses to these crises must be anchored as much in improved governance and political inclusion as in military action.

These crises will test Luanda’s limits and experience in post-conflict transformation. Over the past decade, the continent has demonstrated a commitment to tackling its problems, and Angola is intent on stepping up to the plate.

FULL COMMENTARY (Mail & Guardian)

Photo: Gobierno de Chile/flickr

20 Oct
"Political transitions in Afghanistan have always been fraught. The transfer of power in 2014 may yet prove the most peaceful handover of leadership in the country’s history, despite the tensions that emerged in the process. Hamid Karzai now stands as the only Afghan leader to have voluntarily surrendered his office, and his legacy will be further strengthened if he uses his considerable influence to make the next administration a success and refrains from trying to control the new president."

—From Crisis Group’s latest Asia Report: Afghanistan’s Political Transition

ISIS-Kurdish fight stirs trouble in Turkey | Ivan Watson

Gaziantep, Turkey (CNN) — Turkey made a significant policy shift Monday when it announced it would allow Kurdish Peshmerga fighters from northern Iraq to travel through the Turkish territory to reinforce the besieged Kurdish town of Kobani in northern Syria.

The announcement was all the more striking, because earlier this month Turkey’s President equated the Kurdish militants defending Kobani to the ISIS fighters who were laying siege to the town. Both the Kurdish and ISIS militants are, in the words of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, “terrorists.”

"Turkey feels like it has fallen into the subway tracks and is surrounded by live rails," said Hugh Pope, senior Turkey analyst with the International Crisis Group, a conflict mediation organization. "It is very difficult for Turkey to make any choice."

Turkey’s historically troubled relations with its own ethnic Kurdish population is one reason Ankara balked at joining the U.S.-led coalition bombing the militants who call themselves the Islamic State.

FULL TRANSCRIPT (CNN)

17 Oct
AT A GLANCE-KASHMIR: Worst clashes since 2003 ceasefire | Alex Whiting
LONDON, Oct 17 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - This month, tens of thousands of people fled some of the worst violence in Kashmir since a 2003 ceasefire.
The disputed Himalayan region has triggered two wars between Pakistan and India and brought them to the brink of war in 2002. The area is one of the most militarised in the world.
Here’s an overview of what’s been happening:
Kashmir is divided into two main parts separated by what is called the Line of Control. One part is controlled by India and the other by Pakistan, but both countries want to control the whole region. About 10 million people live in the Indian-administered side and 3 million in the Pakistan-administered side. A small part lies in China.
Kashmir has triggered two wars between Pakistan and India and brought them to the verge of another in the early 2000s. Peace talks between the two nuclear powers became deadlocked after 2008 attacks on Mumbai by Pakistan-based militants, but have since been revived.
FULL ARTICLE (Thomson Reuters Foundation)
Photo: Muzaffar Bukhari/flickr

AT A GLANCE-KASHMIR: Worst clashes since 2003 ceasefire | Alex Whiting

LONDON, Oct 17 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - This month, tens of thousands of people fled some of the worst violence in Kashmir since a 2003 ceasefire.

The disputed Himalayan region has triggered two wars between Pakistan and India and brought them to the brink of war in 2002. The area is one of the most militarised in the world.

Here’s an overview of what’s been happening:

Kashmir is divided into two main parts separated by what is called the Line of Control. One part is controlled by India and the other by Pakistan, but both countries want to control the whole region. About 10 million people live in the Indian-administered side and 3 million in the Pakistan-administered side. A small part lies in China.

Kashmir has triggered two wars between Pakistan and India and brought them to the verge of another in the early 2000s. Peace talks between the two nuclear powers became deadlocked after 2008 attacks on Mumbai by Pakistan-based militants, but have since been revived.

FULL ARTICLE (Thomson Reuters Foundation)

Photo: Muzaffar Bukhari/flickr

Israeli Fears of Palestinian Recognition are Unwarranted | The New York Times - Room for Debate
Crisis Group’s Nathan Thrall joins the latest New York Time’s discussion arguing that Israeli fears of Palestinian recognition are unwarranted.
According to the Palestine Liberation Organization, 134 countries have recognized Palestinian statehood. Such recognition, the majority of it dating back to the Palestinian declaration of independence in 1988, has hardly affected negotiations to end the conflict and made almost no difference in the lives of Palestinians. Recognition by the remaining holdouts, concentrated in Western Europe and North America, will likewise change little.
Nevertheless, because of the perceived moral and diplomatic weight of Western European nations, the overwrought debate about recognizing the State of Palestine has resurfaced, thanks to recent support for the idea in the British Parliament’s symbolic, nonbinding motion this week, in a pledge this month by the new Swedish prime minister, and in a suggestion on Tuesday by the French foreign minister that his country “will naturally have to assume its responsibilities” if Israeli-Palestinian negotiations continue to fail. 
FULL COMMENTARY (The New York Times)
Photo: scottgunn/flickr

Israeli Fears of Palestinian Recognition are Unwarranted | The New York Times - Room for Debate

Crisis Group’s Nathan Thrall joins the latest New York Time’s discussion arguing that Israeli fears of Palestinian recognition are unwarranted.

According to the Palestine Liberation Organization, 134 countries have recognized Palestinian statehood. Such recognition, the majority of it dating back to the Palestinian declaration of independence in 1988, has hardly affected negotiations to end the conflict and made almost no difference in the lives of Palestinians. Recognition by the remaining holdouts, concentrated in Western Europe and North America, will likewise change little.

Nevertheless, because of the perceived moral and diplomatic weight of Western European nations, the overwrought debate about recognizing the State of Palestine has resurfaced, thanks to recent support for the idea in the British Parliament’s symbolic, nonbinding motion this week, in a pledge this month by the new Swedish prime minister, and in a suggestion on Tuesday by the French foreign minister that his country “will naturally have to assume its responsibilities” if Israeli-Palestinian negotiations continue to fail. 

FULL COMMENTARY (The New York Times)

Photo: scottgunn/flickr

16 Oct
Afghanistan’s Political Transition
Kabul/Brussels  |   16 Oct 2014
Afghanistan’s new president, Ashraf Ghani, inherits a government that is running out of money and losing ground to the insurgency. As foreign troops withdraw, the new government must stay united and move quickly on reforms.
In its latest report, Afghanistan’s Political Transition, the International Crisis Group examines the politics surrounding the deeply contested 2014 presidential election, analysing threats and opportunities. Any election during an escalating civil war will never reflect the full breadth of popular opinion, and the polls were marred by substantial fraud. Still, the most peaceful transfer of power in Afghanistan’s history creates opportunities to improve governance, reduce corruption and steer the country toward greater stability.
The report’s major findings and recommendations are:
The formation of a national unity government including Ghani and his election rival Abdullah Abdullah presents opportunities to stabilise the transition, preventing further erosion of state cohesion – but it also poses risks, particularly of factionalism within Kabul. Afghanistan and its donors must focus on the stability of the government while implementing the reforms promised in Ghani’s manifesto.
Ethnic tensions became more acute during the second round, in particular, as ethnic Pashtuns and Uzbeks rallied in large numbers around Ghani and his running mate Abdul Rashid Dostum; at the same time, Abdullah’s ticket became identified mainly with ethnic Tajiks and some Hazara factions. Reducing such mistrust will be crucial if this political transition is to survive.
Some of the political fallout from such a divisive process could be addressed with a transparent review of lessons to be applied to strengthen the 2015 parliamentary and 2019 presidential elections. Such a review, with the potential for reconsidering laws, regulations and even the constitution, may allow for some dilution of the winner-takes-all presidential system.
In the short term, Ghani and Abdullah must steer the government through urgent business, including satisfying the requirements of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework (TMAF), to prevent Afghanistan from being blacklisted by financial institutions and ensure continued donor support.
“Ghani and Abdullah will need to continue serving as voices of restraint as they strive to make the unity government function, and they deserve to receive international support in these efforts” says says Graeme Smith, Afghanistan Senior Analyst. “The Afghan government cannot afford to drift, and any disunity in Kabul will affect the country’s ability to fight its battles and pay its bills”.
“While the two candidates’ power-sharing deals may be imperfect, they have also opened a conversation about revising the overly centralised presidential system”, says Samina Ahmed, South Asia Project Director and Senior Asia Adviser. “Afghanistan needs constitutional reforms to dilute some powers of the presidency and give more responsibilities to elected local officials. This would help mitigate factional tensions in the government and lower the stakes in future elections”.
FULL REPORT

Afghanistan’s Political Transition

Kabul/Brussels  |   16 Oct 2014

Afghanistan’s new president, Ashraf Ghani, inherits a government that is running out of money and losing ground to the insurgency. As foreign troops withdraw, the new government must stay united and move quickly on reforms.

In its latest report, Afghanistan’s Political Transition, the International Crisis Group examines the politics surrounding the deeply contested 2014 presidential election, analysing threats and opportunities. Any election during an escalating civil war will never reflect the full breadth of popular opinion, and the polls were marred by substantial fraud. Still, the most peaceful transfer of power in Afghanistan’s history creates opportunities to improve governance, reduce corruption and steer the country toward greater stability.

The report’s major findings and recommendations are:

  • The formation of a national unity government including Ghani and his election rival Abdullah Abdullah presents opportunities to stabilise the transition, preventing further erosion of state cohesion – but it also poses risks, particularly of factionalism within Kabul. Afghanistan and its donors must focus on the stability of the government while implementing the reforms promised in Ghani’s manifesto.
  • Ethnic tensions became more acute during the second round, in particular, as ethnic Pashtuns and Uzbeks rallied in large numbers around Ghani and his running mate Abdul Rashid Dostum; at the same time, Abdullah’s ticket became identified mainly with ethnic Tajiks and some Hazara factions. Reducing such mistrust will be crucial if this political transition is to survive.
  • Some of the political fallout from such a divisive process could be addressed with a transparent review of lessons to be applied to strengthen the 2015 parliamentary and 2019 presidential elections. Such a review, with the potential for reconsidering laws, regulations and even the constitution, may allow for some dilution of the winner-takes-all presidential system.
  • In the short term, Ghani and Abdullah must steer the government through urgent business, including satisfying the requirements of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework (TMAF), to prevent Afghanistan from being blacklisted by financial institutions and ensure continued donor support.

“Ghani and Abdullah will need to continue serving as voices of restraint as they strive to make the unity government function, and they deserve to receive international support in these efforts” says says Graeme Smith, Afghanistan Senior Analyst. “The Afghan government cannot afford to drift, and any disunity in Kabul will affect the country’s ability to fight its battles and pay its bills”.

“While the two candidates’ power-sharing deals may be imperfect, they have also opened a conversation about revising the overly centralised presidential system”, says Samina Ahmed, South Asia Project Director and Senior Asia Adviser. “Afghanistan needs constitutional reforms to dilute some powers of the presidency and give more responsibilities to elected local officials. This would help mitigate factional tensions in the government and lower the stakes in future elections”.

FULL REPORT

Ukraine fears frozen conflict could yield winter energy crisis | Roman Olearchyk
At the Foxtrot appliance store in Kiev, the must-have product these days is a Delonghi electric heater.
“This is the last one left of 20 delivered to our store just a day ago,” Oleksander, a sales clerk, said, pointing to one of the Italian-made devices and noting that sales have increased fivefold from a year ago.
The bonanza is one indication of the panic gripping Ukraine as winter approaches and the country teeters on the edge of an energy crisis.
Imports of Russian natural gas have been cut off since June amid a price and debt dispute that has run alongside their military confrontation in eastern Ukraine. That has already prompted cold showers as the government has resorted to rationing domestically produced gas by cutting centrally provided hot water to flats.
The conflict is also now endangering Ukraine’s coal supplies. Mining activity in eastern Ukraine has been interrupted by the fighting while damage to railways has created transport bottlenecks. A Ukrainian army spokesperson this week accused Russian-backed militants of trying to seize railway hubs to control the flow of coal out of the region.
Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine’s president, is expected to discuss the energy situation with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, when the two leaders meet at a summit of EU and Asian leaders in Milan that begins on Thursday. Yet Kiev’s energy vulnerability is regarded by analysts as another factor that has given Moscow and the rebels it supports the upper hand in a conflict that has killed more than 3,500 people.
FULL ARTICLE (The Financial Times)
Photo: Andriy Baranskyy/flickr

Ukraine fears frozen conflict could yield winter energy crisis | Roman Olearchyk

At the Foxtrot appliance store in Kiev, the must-have product these days is a Delonghi electric heater.

“This is the last one left of 20 delivered to our store just a day ago,” Oleksander, a sales clerk, said, pointing to one of the Italian-made devices and noting that sales have increased fivefold from a year ago.

The bonanza is one indication of the panic gripping Ukraine as winter approaches and the country teeters on the edge of an energy crisis.

Imports of Russian natural gas have been cut off since June amid a price and debt dispute that has run alongside their military confrontation in eastern Ukraine. That has already prompted cold showers as the government has resorted to rationing domestically produced gas by cutting centrally provided hot water to flats.

The conflict is also now endangering Ukraine’s coal supplies. Mining activity in eastern Ukraine has been interrupted by the fighting while damage to railways has created transport bottlenecks. A Ukrainian army spokesperson this week accused Russian-backed militants of trying to seize railway hubs to control the flow of coal out of the region.

Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine’s president, is expected to discuss the energy situation with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, when the two leaders meet at a summit of EU and Asian leaders in Milan that begins on Thursday. Yet Kiev’s energy vulnerability is regarded by analysts as another factor that has given Moscow and the rebels it supports the upper hand in a conflict that has killed more than 3,500 people.

FULL ARTICLE (The Financial Times)

Photo: Andriy Baranskyy/flickr

(Source: )

15 Oct
Why ISIS Is Gaining Ground – and So Hard to Beat | Lara Setrakian 
Noah Bonsey, senior analyst with the International Crisis Group, gave us an in-depth explanation of why ISIS has had so much success in Syria and the challenges ahead for degrading its influence.
As of Thursday, the Islamic State (ISIS) had seized 40% of the strategic Syrian border town of Kobani, raising questions about the success of U.S.-led airstrikes meant to stem the group’s advance. The U.N. warned that ISIS could massacre the remaining 500 people trapped in Kobani, while analysts said an ISIS victory there would destabilize both the border region and the Middle East at large.
ISIS now controls roughly one-third of Syrian territory. Its continued spread has sparked a debate over new measures to counter the group, among them the possible creation of a buffer zone in northern Syria – which could require a no-fly zone to protect it.
As part of the strategy behind coalition airstrikes, unveiled last month, the U.S. had said it would rely on moderate rebel groups in Syria – what’s been known as the Free Syrian Army – to fight ISIS on the ground. But in the past couple of days, the White House admitted that those moderate groups are not prepared to take on ISIS and win; they have been outgunned and overwhelmed by the superior weapons, training and resources that ISIS has at hand.
“The U.S. shares some of the blame for the current state of the rebel forces,” said Noah Bonsey, a senior analyst with the International Crisis Group.
“Part of the issue here is that the U.S. is coming late into the game … prior to this current stage the U.S. had not invested significant resources in improving capacities.”
Bonsey gave us an in-depth explanation of why ISIS has had so much success in Syria and the challenges ahead for degrading its influence.
FULL INTERVIEW (Syria Deeply)
Photo: Wouter/flickr

Why ISIS Is Gaining Ground – and So Hard to Beat | Lara Setrakian 

Noah Bonsey, senior analyst with the International Crisis Group, gave us an in-depth explanation of why ISIS has had so much success in Syria and the challenges ahead for degrading its influence.

As of Thursday, the Islamic State (ISIS) had seized 40% of the strategic Syrian border town of Kobani, raising questions about the success of U.S.-led airstrikes meant to stem the group’s advance. The U.N. warned that ISIS could massacre the remaining 500 people trapped in Kobani, while analysts said an ISIS victory there would destabilize both the border region and the Middle East at large.

ISIS now controls roughly one-third of Syrian territory. Its continued spread has sparked a debate over new measures to counter the group, among them the possible creation of a buffer zone in northern Syria – which could require a no-fly zone to protect it.

As part of the strategy behind coalition airstrikes, unveiled last month, the U.S. had said it would rely on moderate rebel groups in Syria – what’s been known as the Free Syrian Army – to fight ISIS on the ground. But in the past couple of days, the White House admitted that those moderate groups are not prepared to take on ISIS and win; they have been outgunned and overwhelmed by the superior weapons, training and resources that ISIS has at hand.

“The U.S. shares some of the blame for the current state of the rebel forces,” said Noah Bonsey, a senior analyst with the International Crisis Group.

“Part of the issue here is that the U.S. is coming late into the game … prior to this current stage the U.S. had not invested significant resources in improving capacities.”

Bonsey gave us an in-depth explanation of why ISIS has had so much success in Syria and the challenges ahead for degrading its influence.

FULL INTERVIEW (Syria Deeply)

Photo: Wouter/flickr

14 Oct
Bringing Back the Palestinian Refugee Question
Jerusalem/Ramallah/Gaza/Brussels  |   9 Oct 2014
With Palestinians increasingly doubtful that the refugee question can be resolved within a two-state framework, the Palestinian leadership should seek to reinvigorate refugee communities as well as to reclaim its representation of them. When diplomacy emerges from its hiatus, the leadership will be able to negotiate and implement a peace agreement only if it wins refugees’ support or at least acquiescence.
In its latest report, Bringing Back the Palestinian Refugee Question, the International Crisis Group examines what could be done on the Palestinian side, without compromising core Israeli interests, to mitigate the risk that the Palestinian refugee question would derail a future agreement. For most of the 66 years since the Arab inhabitants of historic Palestine were displaced with the establishment of Israel in what Palestinians call the Nakba (catastrophe), the refugee question was at the forefront of the Palestinian national agenda. It no longer is. Refugees feel alienated from the Palestinian Authority (PA), doubt the intentions of Palestinian negotiators, and resent the class structure that the PA and its economic policies have produced.
The report’s major findings and recommendations are:
Calcified refugee camp leadership committees ought to be renewed by election or selection. While their predicament is largely a reflection of the dysfunction of the overall political system, the relative isolation of the camps could facilitate a more representative local leadership. Given the limited resources of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), credible local leadership is needed.
Palestinian elites, particularly in the West Bank, should combat the notion that refugee political claims can be advanced only by isolating camps from the broader social fabric. Refugees increasingly have come to believe that socio-economic deprivation is not the only way to maintain identity; reinvigorating political structures to better represent them would be more effective and humane.
Donors should continue to fund UNRWA. Its support cannot solve the refugee problem, but the precipitous decline of services could exacerbate it and provoke regional instability. Palestinian political elites should undertake measures to improve daily life for refugees and ensure that economic reforms benefit rather than further marginalise them.
“Only a Palestinian leadership perceived as legitimate, inclusive and representative by all Palestinians will be considered authorised to negotiate a compromise with Israel” says Nathan Thrall, Senior Middle East Analyst. “The lull in talks gives the national movement a chance to reconstruct itself so Palestinians of all sorts, particularly refugees, can influence negotiating positions”.
“The Palestinian leadership, the Israeli government and the international community need to understand that their current approach to the refugee question is a recipe not only for failure and strife, but for further undermining the two-state solution”, says Robert Blecher, Middle East and North Africa Acting Program Director.
FULL REPORT

Bringing Back the Palestinian Refugee Question

Jerusalem/Ramallah/Gaza/Brussels  |   9 Oct 2014

With Palestinians increasingly doubtful that the refugee question can be resolved within a two-state framework, the Palestinian leadership should seek to reinvigorate refugee communities as well as to reclaim its representation of them. When diplomacy emerges from its hiatus, the leadership will be able to negotiate and implement a peace agreement only if it wins refugees’ support or at least acquiescence.

In its latest report, Bringing Back the Palestinian Refugee Question, the International Crisis Group examines what could be done on the Palestinian side, without compromising core Israeli interests, to mitigate the risk that the Palestinian refugee question would derail a future agreement. For most of the 66 years since the Arab inhabitants of historic Palestine were displaced with the establishment of Israel in what Palestinians call the Nakba (catastrophe), the refugee question was at the forefront of the Palestinian national agenda. It no longer is. Refugees feel alienated from the Palestinian Authority (PA), doubt the intentions of Palestinian negotiators, and resent the class structure that the PA and its economic policies have produced.

The report’s major findings and recommendations are:

  • Calcified refugee camp leadership committees ought to be renewed by election or selection. While their predicament is largely a reflection of the dysfunction of the overall political system, the relative isolation of the camps could facilitate a more representative local leadership. Given the limited resources of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), credible local leadership is needed.
  • Palestinian elites, particularly in the West Bank, should combat the notion that refugee political claims can be advanced only by isolating camps from the broader social fabric. Refugees increasingly have come to believe that socio-economic deprivation is not the only way to maintain identity; reinvigorating political structures to better represent them would be more effective and humane.
  • Donors should continue to fund UNRWA. Its support cannot solve the refugee problem, but the precipitous decline of services could exacerbate it and provoke regional instability. Palestinian political elites should undertake measures to improve daily life for refugees and ensure that economic reforms benefit rather than further marginalise them.

“Only a Palestinian leadership perceived as legitimate, inclusive and representative by all Palestinians will be considered authorised to negotiate a compromise with Israel” says Nathan Thrall, Senior Middle East Analyst. “The lull in talks gives the national movement a chance to reconstruct itself so Palestinians of all sorts, particularly refugees, can influence negotiating positions”.

“The Palestinian leadership, the Israeli government and the international community need to understand that their current approach to the refugee question is a recipe not only for failure and strife, but for further undermining the two-state solution”, says Robert Blecher, Middle East and North Africa Acting Program Director.

FULL REPORT