Associate Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme
  • Chatham House's work on the Palestinian Refugee issue, known as the Minster Lovell Process, looks beyond the narrow Israeli-PLO bilateral negotiations and provides a critical regional perspective. It is inclusive of the host countries and the refugees, bridging regional communication gaps and involving international stakeholders.
  • Refugees and host countries will have no legal obligation to go along with the results of a process in which they have no part and which are likely to leave them worse off than before. The political costs of difficult compromises may also be too heavy to bear for any of the stakeholders.
  • Negotiators have reached agreements that they cannot sell to their own people. They have been one step away from a solution but this is a major step involving issues such as right of return of refugees, acknowledgment of responsibility and reconciling narratives. The internal debate on each side is as complex as the differences between them. In addition both sides in the conflict have to contend with the views of an international diaspora.
  • Should an agreement be reached, the landscape will look radically different. The parties, both local and international, have barely anticipated many of the problems of implementing an agreement. In addition, the regional perspective changes the equation - one cannot talk of permanent resettlement activities given that the distances involved are comparable to that of an average Western commute.