Palestinian Diaspora Conference Concludes
By Mohammad Omar and Ashraf Mohammad
Israeli authorities on Wednesday barred Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar from attending the final day of the Conference on the Dispelled Palestinians’ Future which opened in Amman Monday.
Director of the Middle East Studies Center, the organizers of the event which attracted the participation of 200 intellectuals and politicians, told Albawaba.com that Zahar confirmed to him that Israel had banned him from leaving Gaza for Amman to discuss a working paper he had prepared for the assembly.
On Wednesday, four sessions were held where different aspects of the refugee issue were addressed. The first was entitled “The refugees and the displaced in International disputes, a legal and political study.”
The session was moderated by Syrian Ali Irsan, head of Arab Writers’ Union.
The first to speak on the topic was Khalil Hadithy, a Baghdad University professor on international law and organizations, followed by Mohammad Safi, who attended on behalf Cairo University professor, Ahmad Rashidi. The latter was not able to attend the event.
The first session witnessed objections raised by notables from the refugee camps in Jordan who protested their exclusion from the conference.
“Camp dwellers are the core of the issue,” exclaimed Ali Al Azza, a key figure at the Baqaa camp to the north of Amman, “we should not have been excluded.”
The second session, moderated by Salaheddin Amer from Najah University in Nablus, discussed the international legitimacy of the refugees’ rights. In the session, Mohammad Ilwan, Dean of Law Faculty at Philadelphia University, talked about the political and legal restrictions on the right of return and how they apply to the issue.
Presided over by Assistant Secretary General of the Arab League Saeed Kamal, the third session focused on how to deal with the international and Israeli proposals regarding the refugee issue. Three Palestinian researchers: Salman Abu Setteh, Adnan Hayajneh and Ibrahim Abu Jaber, tackled the different angles of the topic.
Setting the basics for an Arab strategy on the Palestinian Diaspora issue was the topic of deliberation at the final session, moderated by one of Jordan’s former prime ministers, Taher Masri. Speakers were Abdul Ilah Balqeez, Mustafa Alawi, Adnan Hussein and Saji Salamah.
The conference concluded its proceedings by a round table discussion aimed at summing up the three-day discussions.
On Thursday, a press conference will be held to announce the recommendations of the conference; meanwhile, the organizers will be working on rounding up the proceedings and conclusions to be published soon – Albawaba.com
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