Briefing Paper

Rex Brynen
  • The question of Palestinian refugees has long been one of the most difficult issues in dispute in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. With the onset of renewed peace talks following the Annapolis summit of November 2007, it is once again an issue that the Israeli and Palestinian negotiators must address.
  • The two sides are in a worse position to resolve the issue than they were during the last rounds of permanent status negotiations in 2000-01. The political weakness of the Israeli and Palestinian governments is compounded by heightened mistrust between the two societies, as well as by a hardening of Israeli public attitudes against even the symbolic return of any refugees to Israeli territory.
  • There is now a substantial accumulated body of work on the Palestinian refugee issue to guide and inform negotiators and policy-makers. This includes past official negotiations among the key parties, wider discussions among regional states and the international donor community, unofficial and Track II initiatives and a considerable body of technical analysis.