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Palestinian Refugees: Identity, space and place in the Levant
 2010019676, 0203839250, 9780415580465, 9780203839256

Table of contents :
Book Cover
Title
Copyright
Contents
Illustrations
Contributors
Acknowledgements
Abbreviations
Introduction
Part I: Space, governance and locality
1 Cartographic violence, displacement and refugee camps: Palestine and Iraq
2 Governing the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and Syria: The cases of Nahr el- Bared and Yarmouk camps
3 Palestinian camp refugee identifications: A new look at the ‘local’ and the ‘national’
Part II: Urbanisation, place and politics
4 Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon: Migration, mobility and the urbanization process
5 Refugees plan the future of Al Fawwar: Piloting strategic camp improvement in Palestine refugee camps
6 Nahr el-Bared: The political fall- out of a refugee disaster
Part III: Civic rights, legal status and reparations
7 Passport for what price? Statelessness among Palestinian refugees
8 Dynamics of humanitarian aid, local and regional politics: The Palestine refugees as a case-study
9 Reparations to Palestinian refugees: The politics of saying ‘sorry’
Part IV: Memory, agency and incorporation
10 ‘The one still surviving and viable institution’
11 ‘A world of movement’: Memory and reality for Palestinian women in the camps of Lebanon
12 Politics, patronage and Popular Committees in the Shatila refugee camp, Lebanon
Bibliography
Index

Citation preview

Palestinian Refugees

More than four million Palestinian refugees live in protracted exile across the Middle East. Taking a regional approach to Palestinian refugee exile and alienation across the Levant, this book proposes a new understanding of the spatial and political dimensions of refugee camps across the Middle East. Combining critical scholarship with ethnographic insight, the essays uncover host states’ marginalisation of stateless refugees and shed light on new terminology of refugees, migration and diaspora studies. The impact on the refugee community is detailed in novel studies of refugee identity, memory and practice and new legal approaches to compensation and ‘right of return’. The book opens a critical debate on key concepts and proposes a new understanding of the spatial and political dimensions of refugee camps, better understood as laboratories of Palestinian society and ‘state-in-making’. This strong collection of original essays is an essential resource for scholars and students in refugee studies, forced migration, disaster studies, legal anthropology, urban studies, international law and Middle East history. Are Knudsen is a Senior Researcher at the Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI) in Bergen, Norway. He has published on Islamism among Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, political Islam in Palestine and political violence in post-civil war Lebanon. He is currently involved in research on conflict and co-existence in post-civil war Lebanon, Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and the democratic turn within Hamas. Sari Hanafi is Associate Professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the American University of Beirut (AUB), Lebanon. He has written extensively on economic sociology and network analysis of the Palestinian diaspora, relationships between diaspora and centre, political sociology and sociology of migration (mainly about the Palestinian refugees) and sociology of the new actors in international relations (non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and international NGOs).

Routledge studies on the Arab-Israeli conflict Series Editor: Mick Dumper, University of Exeter

The Arab–Israeli conflict continues to be the centre of academic and popular attention. This series brings together the best of the cutting-edge work now being undertaken by predominantly new and young scholars. Although largely falling within the field of political science, the series also includes interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary contributions. 1 International Assistance to the Palestinians after Oslo Political guilt, wasted money Anne Le More 2 Palestinian Political Prisoners Identity and community Esmail Nashif 3 Understanding the Middle East Peace Process Israeli academia and the struggle for identity Asima A. Ghazi-Bouillon 4 Palestinian Civil Society Foreign donors and the power to promote and exclude Benoît Challand 5 The Jewish–Arab City Spatio-politics in a mixed community Haim Yacobi

6 Zionist Israel and Apartheid South Africa Civil society and peace building in ethnic-national states Amneh Daoud Badran 7 The Political Right in Israel Different faces of Jewish populism Dani Filc 8 Reparations to Palestinian Refugees A comparative perspective Shahira Samy 9 Palestinian Refugees Identity, space and place in the Levant Edited by Are Knudsen and Sari Hanafi

Palestinian Refugees Identity, space and place in the Levant Edited by Are Knudsen and Sari Hanafi

First published 2011 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN Simultaneously published in the USA and Canada by Routledge 270 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10016 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business This edition published in the Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2011. To purchase your own copy of this or any of Taylor & Francis or Routledge’s collection of thousands of eBooks please go to www.eBookstore.tandf.co.uk. © 2011 Editorial selection and matter Are Knudsen and Sari Hanafi, individual chapters the contributors The rights of Are Knudsen and Sari Hanafi to be identified as editors of this work has been asserted by them in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patent Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Palestinian refugees: identity, space and place in the Levant / edited by Are Knudsen and Sari Hanafi. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. 1. Refugees, Palestinian Arab–Middle East. 2. Refugee camps. I. Knudsen, Are J. II. Hanafi, Sari. HV640.5.P36P36 2011 305.892’74056—dc22 2010019676 ISBN 0-203-83925-0 Master e-book ISBN

ISBN: 978–0–415–58046–5 (hbk) ISBN: 978–0–203–83925–6 (ebk)

Contents

List of illustrations Notes on contributors Acknowledgements List of abbreviations Introduction

vii viii xii xiii 1

ARE KNUDSEN AND SARI HANAFI

PART I

Space, governance and locality 1 Cartographic violence, displacement and refugee camps: Palestine and Iraq

11

13

JULIE PETEET

2 Governing the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and Syria: the cases of Nahr el-Bared and Yarmouk camps

29

SARI HANAFI

3 Palestinian camp refugee identifications: a new look at the ‘local’ and the ‘national’

50

ROSEMARY SAYIGH

PART II

Urbanisation, place and politics 4 Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon: migration, mobility and the urbanization process MOHAMED KAMEL DORAÏ

65

67

vi Contents 5 Refugees plan the future of Al Fawwar: piloting strategic camp improvement in Palestine refugee camps

81

PHILIPP MISSELWITZ

6 Nahr el-Bared: the political fall-out of a refugee disaster

97

ARE KNUDSEN

PART III

Civic rights, legal status and reparations 7 Passport for what price? Statelessness among Palestinian refugees

111 113

ABBAS SHIBLAK

8 Dynamics of humanitarian aid, local and regional politics: the Palestine refugees as a case-study

128

JALAL AL HUSSEINI AND RICCARDO BOCCO

9 Reparations to Palestinian refugees: the politics of saying ‘sorry’

147

SHAHIRA SAMY

PART IV

Memory, agency and incorporation

163

10 ‘The one still surviving and viable institution’

165

SYLVAIN PERDIGON

11 ‘A world of movement’: memory and reality for Palestinian women in the camps of Lebanon

180

MARIA HOLT

12 Politics, patronage and Popular Committees in the Shatila refugee camp, Lebanon

193

MANAL KORTAM

Bibliography Index

205 224

Illustrations

Figures 10.1 Marriages between relatives in Abu ‘Ali’s family 10.2 Marriages between relatives in Emm Nasser’s family 10.3 Cousin marriages in Sma’in’s generation

171 175 176

Tables I.1 2.1 2.2 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4

Refugee distribution in the region as of 2009 Actors of the camp governance Historical development of the actors of the camp governance UNRWA registered refugees Main advantage of registration with UNRWA Main advantage of registration with UNRWA per place or residence Refugees’ main problems per host country

3 31 31 129 137 139 141

Contributors

Jalal Al Husseini is an associate researcher at the French Institute of the Near East (IFPO) (Amman). Holder of a PhD, with a thesis on the political dimensions of humanitarian assistance in the Palestinian refugee case (Graduate Institute of International Studies – Geneva), he is the author of several academic articles and reports on Palestinian refugee and regional development issues. Al Husseini is currently coordinating collective academic programmes: ‘The Palestinian Diaspora Fifteen Years after Oslo: Palestinian Nation-building between State Formation and Diasporic Processes’ (collective book to published in the second quarter of 2010) and ‘The Concept of “Participation” in Development Programs’. He has also consulted for local and international institutions, including the Swiss Development and Cooperation Agency, the International Labour Organization, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the United Nations Office of Internal Oversight Services. Riccardo Bocco received a PhD from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques, Paris, and is presently Professor of Political Sociology at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) in Geneva. Since the late 1990s, his main research interest has been on the role of international aid organisations and the impact of their humanitarian and development programmes in conflict and post-conflict contexts. Starting from the fall 2000 until late 2007 he headed a team (funded by several United Nations (UN) agencies) that has monitored the evolution of the living conditions of the civilian population in the Palestinian Territories. From 2004 to 2007 he also headed a joint research project with UNRWA on the Palestinian refugees in the Near East. In 2009 he edited a special issue of Refugee Survey Quarterly (Oxford University Press) on ‘UNRWA and the Palestinian Refugees 60 years later’. Sari Hanafi (editor) is currently Associate Professor of Sociology at the American University of Beirut and editor of Idafat: the Arab Journal of Sociology (Arabic). He is also a member of the Executive Bureau of the International Sociological Association. He holds a PhD in Sociology from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales – Paris. He has served as a visiting professor at the University of Poitiers and Migrintern (France), University of Bologna and Ravenna (Italy) and visiting fellow in CMI (Bergen, Norway). Hanafi was also the former

Contributors

ix

director of the Palestinian Refugee and Diaspora Centre (Shaml) from 2000–4 and a former senior research at the Cairo-based French research centre. He is the author of numerous journal articles and book chapters on the political and economic sociology of the Palestinian diaspora and refugees; sociology of migration; transnationalism; politics of scientific research; civil society and elite formation and transitional justice. Among his recent books are: The Power of Inclusive Exclusion: Anatomy of Israeli Rule in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (coedited with A. Ophir and M. Givoni, 2009) (Zone Books) and The Emergence of a Palestinian Globalized Elite: Donors, International Organizations and Local NGOs (edited with L. Taber, 2005) (Arabic and English). In addition to his academic work, he has served as a consultant to the UN, the World Bank and other organisations. Maria Holt is a lecturer in Politics and International Relations at the University of Westminster in London. She received a PhD in politics from the University of York in 2004 and has written extensively on the experiences of Muslim women in situations of violent conflict, gendered aspects of the Palestinian–Israeli conflict and the impact of Islamist movements on Arab women. In 2006–7, she conducted an ethnographic study of Palestinian refugee women in Lebanon in terms of memory, identity and change. The results of her recent project, an oral history of the final years of British colonial rule in southern Yemen, were published in 2006. She is currently working on a book on women and Islamic resistance in the Arab world. Mohamed Kamel Doraï is a researcher at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) currently based at the IFPO in Damascus and a visiting researcher at Migrinter, University of Poitiers (France). His work focuses mainly on asylum and refugees in the Middle East, new migrations and geopolitical reorganisation in the Middle East, and migration and transnational practices within the Palestinian diaspora. Kamel Doraï is currently conducting research on the Iraqis in Syria as well as on the urbanisation process of Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. The comparative study between refugees residing in and out of camps as well as the analysis of their migratory experience and spatial practices provide an account of the refugees’ socio-spatial dynamics in exile and of relations between the camp and their urban environment. Are Knudsen (editor) is a senior researcher the CMI and holds a PhD in social anthropology from the University of Bergen (2001). Knudsen is scientific coordinator for CMI’s research collaboration with the Palestinian Institute for the Study of Democracy (Muwatin) and co-director of an institute programme on forced migration. Knudsen has done fieldwork in Lebanon, Pakistan and Palestine. He has published on Islamism among Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, political Islam in Palestine and political violence in post-civil war Lebanon. With Palestinian collaborators he has co-directed a documentary film, Nahr el-Bared Talks Back (2010). Knudsen is currently engaged in several research projects in Lebanon on forced migration, impunity and peacekeeping.

x

Contributors

Manal Kortam has been a youth program coordinator since September 2009 at Norwegian People’s Aid, Lebanon, a humanitarian organisation working in more than 30 countries. In her work, she focuses on empowering Palestinian youth to have influence over their own lives and she encourages youth initiatives in the development process of their communities. Prior to her current position, she worked for three years as a programme assistant at the Welfare Association in Lebanon, a Palestinian development non-governmental organisation (NGO). Kortam graduated from El Manar University in Tunisia with a degree in international law and political science in 2003 and her Master’s from Saint Joseph University in 2007 focused on analysing the various aspects of Palestinian life in Lebanon including the role of camp actors (NGOs, UNRWA officers, popular committees) in governance. Philipp Misselwitz is a professor of International Urbanism at the University of Stuttgart, Germany. He was educated at Cambridge University and the Architecture Association London and received a PhD in architecture and urbanism at Stuttgart University. Previous teaching commitments included London Metropolitan University and University of the Arts Berlin. He is a founding member of the Berlin-based architectural research group ‘Urban Catalyst’ – a platform for research activities, exhibitions, publications and debates (www.urbancatalyst.net). Since 2005 he has worked as a researcher at Stuttgart University’s Department for Urbanism in Asia, Africa and Latin America (SIAAL) and was appointed project manager of the ‘Camp Development Pilot Research Project’, an UNRWA–SIAAL cooperation project (2006–8). On behalf of the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) he has worked as a project coordinator for strategic support measures for UNRWA’s Camp Improvement Programme in Syria, Jordan and West Bank since 2008. Sylvain Perdigon is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. His current research examines the ethics and politics of kin relatedness in the Palestinian refugee camps of Tyre, Lebanon, where he lived for two years in 2006–8 and returns regularly. He was born in Saint-Etienne, France, and studied at the Ecole Normale Supérieure and Ecoles des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris. Julie Peteet is Professor and Chair of the Department of Anthropology and Director of Middle East and Islamic Studies at the University of Louisville. Her research has focused on Palestinian displacement, refugee camps, space and identity, and more recently the policy of closure in the West Bank. She has authored two books: Gender in Crisis; Women and the Palestinian Resistance Movement (Columbia University Press, 1991) and Landscape of Hope and Despair. Palestinian Refugee Camps (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005). She has published in a variety of journals including Signs, American Ethnologist, Cultural Anthropology, Cultural Survival, International Journal of Middle East Studies and Middle East Report as well as contributed numerous chapters to edited volumes. Her research has been funded by the Social Science Research Council, Wenner-Gren,

Contributors

xi

Fulbright, the Mellon Foundation, the Council of American Overseas Research Centers, and the Palestinian American Research Center (PARC). She serves on the Editorial Board of the Middle East Research and Information Project, is a board member of PARC and was an associate editor of the Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures. Shahira Samy is Jarvis Doctorow Junior Research Fellow in international relations and conflict resolution in the Middle East at St Edmund Hall and the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford. She is the author of Reparations to Palestinian Refugees: A Comparative Perspective (Routledge, 2010). Samy’s research interests focus on post-conflict reparations as well as the politics of displacement in the Middle East. She has authored a number of studies and acted as a consultant for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Adam Smith International, the CARIM Network at the European University Institute in Florence and the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN). Prior to her current position at Oxford, Samy spent a year as a lecturer at the British University in Egypt upon receiving her PhD from the University of Exeter in 2006. In her earlier career, Samy was a refugee status determination officer at UNHCR Cairo, a journalist with Egypt’s Al-Ahram Weekly and a teaching assistant at Alexandria University. Rosemary Sayigh is an anthropologist and oral historian living in Beirut, Lebanon, specialising in Palestinian refugee studies. She is the author of The Palestinians: From Peasants to Revolutionaries (Zed Books, 1979); Too Many Enemies: The Palestinian Experience in Lebanon (Zed Books, 1994); and Voices: Palestinian Women Narrate Displacement (http://almashriq.hiof.no/voices/). Abbas Shiblak is a writer and academic. For the last few years, he has focused on issues of migration, displacement and statelessness. He is a founder and the first director of Palestinian Refugee and Diaspora Centre (Shaml) in Ramallah. His latest publications include: a new edition of his book on the Iraqi Jewish community exodus, the Palestinian Communities in Europe; Challenges of Adaptation and Identity, various articles on the issue of statelessness in the Arab regions and a briefing paper on the Palestinian refugees and the political settlement in the Middle East (Royal Institute of International Affairs/Chatham House, 2009). Shiblak read law and sociology in Egypt and in the UK. He is currently Research Fellow at the International Development Centre, University of Oxford.

Acknowledgements

The papers in this volume were originally delivered at the workshop ‘From Exodus to Exile: Palestinian Lives in the Levant’ (Bergen, September 2007). The workshop and the preparation of this volume is the result of a long and productive research cooperation between the Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI) and the Palestinian Institute for the Study of Democracy (Muwatin) funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad). This volume follows on previous publications stemming from this co-operation over the past decade (Hilal 2007; Lønning and Giacaman 1998; Khan et al. 2004). We wish to thank the scholars that took part in the workshop for their contribution and patience during the lengthy review process. We are especially grateful to the members of the organisation committee, May Jayyusi and Jaber Suleiman, whose commitment to the workshop was crucial to its success. We would also like to thank Hilde Kjøstvedt who helped organise the workshop, Kari Heggstad who assisted with the editorial work and Inger Nygaard who finalised the manuscript. Our final words of gratitude go to our families for their support and patience. Are Knudsen, Bergen Sari Hanafi, Beirut

Abbreviations

ACOR CBO CCP DFLP DOP DRA FRC GAPAR GAP GUPW IDP IOM ISF IUED LAF LAS LPDC NA NBC NEP NGO OPT PA PARI PCBS PFLP-GC PHRO PIP PLO PNA PNC PRCS PRM

American Center for Oriental Research community-based organization Committee of the Camp’s Population Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine Declaration of Principles Directorate of Refugee Affairs Follow-up and Reform Committee General Authority for Palestine Arab Refugee Affairs Government of All Palestine General Union of Palestine Workers internally displaced person International Organization for Migration Internal Security Forces (Lebanon) Graduate Institute of Development Studies (Geneva University) Lebanese Armed Forces League of Arab States Lebanese–Palestinian Dialogue Committee National Authority Nahr el-Bared camp Near East Project non-governmental organisation Occupied Palestinian Territories Palestinian Authority Palestine Arab Refugee Institution Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command Palestinian Human Rights Organization Peace Implementation Program Palestine Liberation Organization Palestinian National Authority Palestinian National Council Palestine Red Crescent Society Palestinian Revolutionary Movement

xiv Abbreviations RR RRC RWG Shahed SSN TD UN UNCCP UNDP UNGA UNHCR UNRWA YAC

registered refugee registered refugee in camp Refugee Working Group Palestinian Association for Human Rights Social Safety Net (UNRWA program) travel document United Nations United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine United Nations Development Programme United Nations General Assembly United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East Youth Action Committee

Introduction Are Knudsen and Sari Hanafi

In 2010, it was 64 years since the refugees’ fateful exodus from Palestine (al-Nakba, ‘disaster’) and the birth of the refugee problem. The refugee problem has since remained unsolved despite United Nations (UN) General Assembly resolutions demanding their return. Despite six decades of continued struggle for their rights, the bitter fact is that refugees have neither been able to return to their homeland nor obtain basic civil rights in some host states. Today, there are about four million Palestinian refugees in the Middle East. A large number of the refugees, especially camp dwellers, suffer from poverty, lack of civil rights and live in the midst of intense social and political conflict. In the longest-standing refugee problem in modern history, refugees are caught between exile and alienation as non-citizens of host states. By advancing a regional approach to contemporary refugee communities, this book highlights the diversity of Palestinian lives across the Levant and examines its causes. The book’s main aim is to turn the attention – although not completely – from the past (the birth of the Palestinian refugee problem) and the future (possible solutions to the Palestinian refugee problem, directions for a peace process) to the present. It is about the Palestinian living conditions, modes of governance of refugee camps, camp reconstruction and improvement, humanitarian management and refugee crisis. If history enters the analytic frame that this book offers, it does so only by way of the genealogies of the spaces and institutions; if the future is projected here it is only through the foreseeable effect of the present situation. A relentless stream of books project the present devastation into an indeterminate future of what appears to be an apocalyptic situation – refugees as destabilising forces, humanitarian crises, camps as laboratories of a full range of political Islamism. At the same time many of them read a speculative future (return as the only option) into the present, as if it has been agreed upon and hence become a historical necessity, something that would happen inevitably. Pierre Bourdieu has made a poignant commentary on such kind of illusions: One discovers how the powerlessness that, by destroying potentialities, prevents investment in social stakes engenders illusions. The link between the present and the future seems to be broken, as is shown by the projects they

2

Are Knudsen and Sari Hanafi [unemployed migrants in France] entertain, completely detached from the present and immediately belied by it. (Bourdieu 2000: 221–2)

Palestinian refugees: regional overview The social, economic and demographic situation for refugees varies across the Levantine host countries (Table I.1). From a legal point of view Lebanon only hosts refugees who in legal terms are labelled ‘stateless foreigners’, but admits no responsibility for them (Haddad 2003). This responsibility rests with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which is responsible for providing adequate housing and living conditions for the refugees. Of the about 425,000 registered refugees in Lebanon about half live in UNRWA camps and ‘informal’ camps. The refugees living in one of the 12 ‘official’ camps run by UNRWA are provided with a meagre package of services and welfare benefits (schooling, medical care etc.), which are insufficient in relation to their present needs (Abbas et al. 1997). The most comprehensive study of present living conditions among camp-dwelling Palestinian refugees in Lebanon to date finds that the refugees suffer from widespread unemployment, poor living conditions, ill health, low education levels and rising illiteracy (Ugland 2003). Lebanon has the highest percentage of camp-dwelling refugees (51 per cent) of all the countries hosting Palestinian refugees. Lebanon also has the highest percentage of refugees who are living in abject poverty and who are registered with UNRWA’s ‘special hardship’ programme. In general, one-third of the camp-based refugees in Lebanon are considered poor. This is a result of stringent policy measures in Lebanon designed to keep the refugees trapped inside cramped and squalid camps and shanty towns from which there is no escape – except by leaving the country. This is one reason why the actual number of refugees living in the country is believed to be only half of the official figure (see Table I.1). The most extreme measure used to discriminate against Palestinians is preventing them from holding jobs, owning property and seeking higher education. Palestinians are barred from entering more than 70 high and low status professions so that they have come to form a permanent underclass. Subject to severe social exclusion (Halabi 2004), the refugees’ main concern has been preserving their refugee identity (Khalili 2004). Jordan is the only Arab country that historically gave citizenship rights to Palestinian refugees and the percentage of camp-based refugees is much lower in Jordan (30 per cent) than in Lebanon (51 per cent). In Syria there are about 450,000 Palestinian refugees and about one-fourth live in camps administered by UNRWA and about 100,000 live in unofficial camps (see Table I.1). The refugees have the right to work and receive social benefits but cannot vote in elections (Blome-Jacobsen 2003). Hence, in Syria the refugees’ situation is a mixture of that in Lebanon (no civil and political rights) and Jordan (full civil and political rights). Nonetheless, they share the misery equally with the Syrian citizens and about one-fourth of the refugees in Syria lives below the official poverty line and a further 22 per cent is on the poverty line (RSC 2001: 10).

Introduction 3 Table I.1 Refugee distribution in the region as of 2009 Registered refugees (in camps)

Registered refugees (total)

Field of operations

Official camps

Jordan

10

338,000

Lebanon

12

222,776

422,188**

9

125,009*

461,897

West Bank

19

193,370

762,820

Gaza Strip

8

495,006

1,073,303

58

1,374,161

4,671,811

Syria

Agency total

1,951,603

Source: UNRWA (www.unrwa.org). Notes * The figure does not include the refugees living in Yarmouk camp, Damascus, an unofficial camp (pop. 100,000). ** The number of effective dwellers has been estimated at 275,000.

According to the 2007’s census, the West Bank had a population of about 2.35 million, about one-fourth of them were refugees registered with the UNRWA, a significant section of them camp-based (180,000) (Table I.1). In the Gaza Strip, the total population is 1.42 million. The UNRWA refugee population is about one million and about half of these are camp-based. The refugees registered with UNRWA include those internally displaced in the 1948 and 1967 wars and their descendants. They are provided with a meagre package of services and welfare benefits (schooling, medical care etc.), which are insufficient in relation to their present needs. Nonetheless, there is almost universal school attendance and high literacy rates among the young generations (below 35 years), especially for the UNRWA refugees, whose refugee status entitles them to free primary education (Pedersen et al. 2001). In the Palestinian territories two-thirds of all Palestinians are below the poverty line, and power-stricken families survive on a mix of informal assistance (remittances, local credit facilities and religious charity, zakat) and formal help (food aid, cash assistance, donations), administered by UNRWA (refugees), Palestinian NGOs and the Ministry of Social Affairs (Knudsen 2005a). Typically, the impoverished families endure cramped housing in large conjugal families with many dependants and few breadwinners, which translates into a very high ‘dependency ratio’.

Refugee crises in the region Since their independence, the Arab states have been governed by emergency laws instituting a permanent ‘state of exception’. The particular form of state formation in this region has produced different forms of citizenship, refugee-hood and statelessness. Cases of severe poverty coupled with recurring outbursts of state repression, conflict and displacement, and spaces of exception (as detention camps

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of Iraqi refugees and Palestinian refugee camps dated since 1948), have sparked local insurgencies and resistance to foreign intervention. Despite their substantial divergences along a continuum, they exhibit different points along the passage from the ‘rule of law’ to the ‘law of rules’. Historically, colonial, regional and ethnic conflicts in the Middle East have had serious consequences for generating internally displaced persons (IDPs), migrants and refugees. The borders between Arab states were historically porous so that refugees were able to move across them quite easily. Waves of refugees were received as temporary residents and managed through a discretionary toleration regime: 800,000 Palestinians, one million Iraqis in the 1990s and another 2.4 million Iraqis since 2003, as well as one million of Sudanese since the 1990s. As Mundt and Ferris has observed: With a few exceptions, such as Afghanistan in the 1980s and Burundi, contemporary conflicts tend to generate more IDPs than refugees. Thus Sudan has 4.7 million IDPs and ‘only’ 686,000 refugees while Turkey has between 954,000 and 1.2 million IDPs but ‘only’ 227,232 refugees. (Mundt and Ferris 2008: 2) The ongoing refugee and IDP-crisis is still disproportionally burdening the developing countries as two-thirds of all refugees are hosted by them. Additionally, four Arab host countries (Iraq, Jordan, Sudan and Syria) have the highest ratio of refugees as compared to the total population. Within this region, three trends of refugee flows are discernible: refugees in emergency, refugees in transit and protracted refugees. Almost all the Palestinian refugees fall into the latter category. In the Middle East region, protracted refugees are often without civil rights and thus raise major social and political challenges. The World Refugee Survey has termed this group ‘warehoused’ refugees: Warehousing is the practice of keeping refugees in protracted situations of restricted mobility, enforced idleness, and dependency – their lives on indefinite hold – in violation of their basic rights under the 1951 UN Refugee Convention. Egregious cases are characterized by indefinite physical confinement in camps. Encamped or not, refugees are warehoused when they are deprived of the freedom necessary to pursue normal lives. (Smith 2004: 38) This reflects Michel Agier’s assertion that ‘the camp formula’ has been instituted for the ‘humanitarian management of the most unthinkable and undesirable populations on the planet’ (Agier 2007: 320). The camps represent a new socio-spatial form that is unique in its composition to become humanitarian sanctuaries devoid of meaning hence they can be considered ‘non-places’ (Agier 2002: 323; see also Augé 1995). Of the more than 8.5 million warehoused refugees worldwide (as of 31 December 2007), more than 3.7 million currently reside in or originated from

Introduction 5 the Arab region. Warehousing refuges is therefore particularly salient in the context of the Arab region. Indeed, the Palestinian refugees represent the largest and most protracted refugee problem in the world (UNHCR 2006: 112). This is one reason why many of the contributions to this volume focus on refugee camps as the major space where warehoused refugees live. Internationally, protracted refugee situations can represent a security challenge to host states as camps become militarised and engender conflict (Lischer 2005). However, the stability of the Arab states remains jeopardised, not by the massive presence of refugees in the region, but by the way that host states have treated them. The work of the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben (2005; 1998) throws light on the way in which the state, the ‘sovereign’ in Agamben’s terminology, institutes a ‘state of exception’ by which the provisions of the constitution are either undermined or suspended. Over time, the temporary suspension becomes a permanent spatial arrangement of domination (Lentin 2008). The exception is thus becoming the rule, and, consequently, the refugee populations’ ontological status as legal subjects is suspended indefinitely. The sovereign has the capacity to transform whole sections of the refugee population into stateless persons. To give some recent examples, there is the denaturalisation decree that affected more than two million Palestinians living in the West Bank who were carrying Jordanian passports (1992), the massive expulsion of Palestinian refugees from Libya (1997) and Iraq (2005–6), and the absence of civil and socio-economic rights of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are examples of the use of exception by a sovereign to suspend the citizenship status of undesirable parts of the populace. A ‘state of exception’ is hence instituted either by decree or through executive power. Egypt, for example, under certain conditions, grants children born to stateless parents Egyptian citizenship, but if the father is a stateless Palestinian, his children are excluded. In Lebanon, the authorities issued an amendment to the nationality law and conferred citizenship onto 100,000 stateless residents (termed ‘foreigners’), yet Palestinians were by-and-large excluded from this scheme (Knudsen 2009). The classical order of nation-state has thus developed rights for citizens but not for human beings. As Hannah Arendt noted as early as the beginning of the 1950s, there is no place for the human being outside the nation-state (Arendt 1985). There are citizens’ rights but not human rights. In liberal democracies, civil rights are linked to permanent residency. However, in Arab countries nationality is the key to obtaining civil rights. The right to citizenship in these countries serves as a primary right from which other civil rights and entitlements are derived. To have civil rights, you must first be a citizen. The refugees and the stateless do not have rights to have a right, to paraphrase Arendt, but only ‘benefits’ derived from their ontological status as dependent on the disciplinary apparatuses of the police and security forces. This issue is not confined to the Middle East. More and more refugees are excluded from legal protection in European countries, but are, however, subject to their bureaucratic power (Salih 2008). There, refugees remain vulnerable even after acquiring nationality. Any criminal or other questionable activity puts them at risk of being deprived of citizenship and forcibly returned to their country of origin.

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Refugee studies: situating this book A significant part of the English-language literature on Palestinian refugees reflect the misfortunes that have marked the history of Palestine and Palestinians, thus scholarship has emphasised suffering (Sayigh 1994), tragedy and injustice (Al-Hout 2004), themes that find their historical roots in the ethnic cleansing of Palestine (Pappe 2006) and subsequent refugee disaster of the Nakba (Abu-Lughod and Sa’di 2007). By contrast, more recent scholarship departs from this research agenda and portrays refugee camps as breeding grounds for religious extremism and militancy (Rougier 2007). This notwithstanding, the field of ‘refugee studies’ (Malkki 1995b) is centrally concerned with legal issues (Takkenberg 1998), forced displacement (Grabska and Mehta 2008), repatriation (Brynen and El-Rifai 2007; Dumper 2006), and, above all, the ‘right of return’ to Palestine (Aruri 2001). There are also significant country specific studies of camp-based refugees in Lebanon (Peteet 2005), West Bank and Gaza (Lybarger 2007) and in the diaspora communities more generally (Schulz and Hammer 2003; Hanafi 2001, 2005). Recent studies also focus on host-country views of refugees (Haddad 2003) as well as the mythology of refugee status for the preservation of refugee identity and uniqueness (Bowker 2003). This book engages with the above body of scholarship on refugees, but crucially also opens up new avenues for research while challenging old ones. The first part of this book (Space, governance and locality) opens up a critical debate on key conceptual dimensions, unpacking the new terminology on refugees, migration and diaspora studies. Julie Peteet’s contribution explores the intersection between ethnic and sectarian imaginaries of the Middle East and contemporary displacements in Palestine and Iraq. Peteet’s eloquent inquiry analyses the reconfiguration of humanitarian space and the new spatial forms of containment that produce and reproduce identity and shape resistance to displacement. Now a new discourse of ‘catch-basins’ and ‘collection points’ accompanies the absence of new refugee camps in the Middle East region. In lieu of refugee camps, new techniques of displacement and humanitarian spaces are being created that serve to eviscerate the refugee crisis in the region. Following on to the issues raised by Peteet, Sari Hanafi seeks a new understanding of the spatial and political dimensions governing refugee camps. Examining refugee camps in Lebanon and Syria, he argues that the camp’s governance structures must be re-examined, not from a security perspective, but from the angle of segregation. Segregation becomes the central concept in debates about the spatial concentration of social risk and about urban/local governance. While Syria has treated camps as any residential area, in Lebanon refugee camps are perceived as ‘security islands’, and treated as ‘spaces of exception’ that turn them into laboratories of control and surveillance. This has prevented camp-based Palestinians in Lebanon from establishing effective governance structures. In this near-absence of conventional governance, alternative governmentalities have emerged among camp populations, which to a remarkable degree, have succeeded in regulating the camp residents’ behaviour. The issue of space and identity is explored further in Rosemary Sayigh’s thoughtful contribution which analyses refugee camp identity

Introduction 7 using siege narratives from Jenin and Shatila. Sayigh shows how the narratives have been shaped by the multiplicity of political environments in which diasporic peoples live. She argues that camp dwellers share a distinct sense of ‘being-as-agroup’, based on similar conditions of oppression, marginalisation and poverty. She calls for a more authentic representation of the Palestinian public that allows for studying the political role the ‘local’ in a time of national crisis. As Sayigh’s contribution points out, the spatial form impacts on identity and is undergoing rapid change. The study of refugee camps have tended to take the camp setting as being static, while the camps have a dynamic relation with their urban environment. This topic is explored in more detail in the next section (Urbanisation, place and politics) where the urbanisation process and the creation of city-camps or camp-cities changes the environment adjacent to refugee camps and the built environment within the camps. In the first instance, Mohamed Kamel Doraï’s contribution examines the urbanisation of refugee camps in Beirut which, although marginalised and segregated, are still interconnected with the urban environment through the different forms of spatial and economic mobility. This, in combination with the growing presence of other groups of refugees and the new commercial activities blur the boundaries of the refugee camps, making them a part of the city in the sense of becoming ‘city-camps’ (camp villes). Moving the debate of urbanisation from the ‘outside’ to the ‘inside’, Philipp Misselwitz examines the lessons from a participatory intervention project seeking to redefine the built environment in the West Bank refugee camp of Fawwar. Over several decades, the unplanned transformation of the built environment has given rise to complex and ambiguous ‘urbanised camps’ (‘Camp Cities’) that are both congested and slum-like, yet have commercial centres, market and neighbourhoods. The participatory camp-improvement process was both difficult and conflictual but helped redefine the residents’ relationship with UNRWA and externally imposed aid programmes in favour of a more participatory decision-making process. The final contribution to this section deals with the physical devastation of a refugee camp and its political implications. In this chapter Are Knudsen analyses the political fall-out of the destruction of the Nahr el-Bared refugee camp in 2007 for redefining the political relations between refugees, their political representatives and the state. He shows how the political fall-out of the crisis entrenched the dichotomisation of the political landscape in Lebanon and produced two opposing ways of understanding the disaster and how to resolve it. Knudsen argues that the Nahr el-Bared disaster was exploited for political gain. This is because the Palestinian problem (aka, ‘refugee file’) is a sensitive political issue and being able to control the national dialogue on this issue is a political asset. These benefits are largest in Sunni-majority cities where the Palestinian-issue speaks to the Sunni ‘street’ and being perceived to control the ‘refugee file’ is a tactical advantage. The question of civil rights, citizenship and statelessness is crucial to understand contemporary refugee livelihoods. In general, the lives of Palestinian refugees are circumscribed by legal barriers that purposely exclude them from the benefits of citizenship and render them stateless. The problem of statelessness is one of the

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most critical problems facing refugees and in the following section (Civil rights, legal status and reparations), Abbas Shiblak examines the impact of statelessness on the Palestinian refugees, their experiences, livelihood and mobility within the region and beyond. It examines the shifting concepts of citizenship in the Palestinian political discourse as well as among the refugees themselves. Shiblak offers a critical analysis of various formats that citizenship has been used by the concerned parties to determine the destiny of ordinary Palestinians and influence the resolution of the refugee question. He finds that statelessness has had a profound effect on the mobility, welfare and livelihoods of refugees and prevented them from sustaining themselves. Moving the debate on civil rights to a regional-level comparison gives new insights into the perceived benefits of refugee status for the problem of statelessness and the lack of legal protection for refugees. Jalal Al Husseini and Riccardo Bocco explore how the legal status conferred by the Arab host countries has impacted on the Palestinian refugees. More specifically, their careful analyses of survey data from the five areas under UNRWA-mandate (Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank) examine how the refugees legal status has ‘structured’ them as a community, and, conversely, how the refugees perceive their situation as exiles in these countries. They find that there is widespread dissatisfaction with UNRWA’s services, severe criticism of host countries’ denial of civil rights and that a unilateral reappraisal of the refugees’ ‘right of return’ could be potentially destabilising. The right of return is, in particular in the Palestinian context, considered a sacred, inalienable right. One reason why the questions of compensation and reparations are so sensitive is because they are seen as undermining the right of return. In the final contribution to this section, Shahira Samy examines novel approaches to compensation, reparations and formal apology stemming from the transitional justice discipline. She provides an overview of the international practice regarding the use of compensation and apology and examines the question of reparations to displaced refugees, in particular the many solutions for implementing the right of return, resettlement, restitution of property and compensation. Without prejudicing either of these key rights, she calls for a wider approach to reparations, in particular the importance of a formal ‘apology’ that acknowledges responsibility for past wrongdoing(s) as a integral part of redressing the historical injustice against displaced Palestinian refugees. Prolonged exile gives rise to new social and cultural practices such as the importance of memory, the re-conceptualisation of the family and new subjective identities. These topics are explored in the next section (Memory, agency and incorporation), which looks at the ways refugees have adapted to prolonged exile and ‘warehousing’ by redefining the meaning of kinship, family structure and gendered narratives. In the first part, Sylvain Perdigon examines the intersection between refugee status, kinship and marriage strategies among camp-based Palestinians in Tyr. Through a detailed examination of the refugees’ narratives and life histories, Perdigon’s sensitive ethnographic study captures the individual and familial marriage strategies employed to cope with and ultimately overcome the many social,

Introduction 9 political and legal barriers facing camp-based refugees. As Perdigon shows, the refugees creatively redefine kinship and kinship obligations so as to create a mixture of ‘familyscapes’ that in their dynamism bear testimony to the refugees’ agency. This, argues Perdigon, makes the Agambian notion of ‘a space of exception’ deeply problematic as the camp has created an exceptionally rich tapestry of strategies to resolve the challenges of prolonged exile. This theme is explored further in the next contribution where Maria Holt moves the debate into the realm of refugee women’s agency. Her contribution is a finely tuned analysis of women’s narratives for the construction of place and the uses of memory by women seeking to escape the hopelessness of the present. Holt argues that the Palestinian ‘victim diaspora’ has developed a particular kind of identity that is both generational and gendered. A key to women’s identity formation is female story telling, which by ‘gendering the past’ embraces the memory of other times and places as sources of comfort and protection denied to them in the context of chronic insecurity, hence this can be considered a communal narrative of survival. Ending this section, Manal Kortam analyses the role of the local actors in the incorporation process in the Shatila refugee camp in Lebanon. Kortam provides an interesting case study of self-organising whereby the residents set up a committee to improve the dismal living conditions in the camp and set up a democratic leadership elected by popular vote. Kortam describes how this popular reform movement collapsed when faced with threats from the camp’s traditional power holders. More generally, this case study shows the problem of challenging traditional modes of governance in refugee camps, which despite their appealing name (‘Popular Committees’) neither represent popular vote nor popular sentiments but are vested power bases of non-local political patrons.

Part I

Space, governance and locality

1

Cartographic violence, displacement and refugee camps Palestine and Iraq Julie Peteet

Introduction Mass displacements, with their attendant traumas, and the politics of mobility and immobility, are dual instances of the cartographic violence that has unfolded in the Middle East over the past century. They point to an implicit and, at times, explicit vision of the region in which imagined ethnic-sectarian, and perhaps tribal, affiliations and identities are isomorphic with particular spaces. On the ground, this suggests that while the formula associating space, territories, identities, and cultures has come un-done in anthropological thinking, it is alive and well and indeed is a conscious political project. Invasions and occupations with their projects of dismantlement are attempts to re-write local and regional geographies, craft new ethnic-sectarian and national spaces, impose external dominance, and squash the idea of resistance. These projects are well underway in Iraq and Palestine, each with its local variant and particular forms of violence. In both projects, territorial impulses and sentiments have engendered large numbers of displaced people. They are the human side of imposing imagined spaces, boundaries, and social entities. Indeed, in both cases, one can speak of a humanitarian disaster. This chapter is an initial exploration of the intersection of ethnic-sectarian projects and imaginaries, the production of displacement, and spatial devices of containment. In Iraq, the concepts of sect, ethnicity, and tribe were mobilized by the occupying US forces as fairly self-evident, socially coherent entities with little regard for their historically and situationally fluid and contingent character. Usually refugees take flight or are expelled and subsequently prevented from returning because they do not fit the national boundaries of inclusion. Mass refugee flows are also produced as people flee the break-up of a state and its fragmentation into ethnic-sectarian or national entities. These displacements are diagnostic of who is included in the political body and who is outside and the re-arrangement of space and habitation. In other words, these on-going displacements are a lens through which to track imaginaries about places, social entities, and belonging in the region. In the case of Iraq, displacement seems to be part of reconfiguring the state and the notion of Iraq; in the case of Palestine it involves thinning the population, obstructing statehood, and accommodating an expansive state. The current nearly unparalleled

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refugee flow in the region is occurring at a time when the internationally recognized category of refugee is ‘shrinking’ (Zetter 2007). L. Malkki turned to Mary Douglas’ work on human classification, particularly ‘matter-out-of-place’, at the level of state, citizenship, and categories of belonging (Douglas 1966; Malkki 1995a: 7–8). The refugee both emerges from the violence entailed in the process of manufacturing and assigning space and belonging and represents a refusal of categorization and its spatial articulation. Malkki distinguishes between matter-out-of-place in the natural and human worlds: ‘people categorize back’. It is imperative that we ask about Iraq’s minorities – the Mandeans, the Yazidis, and the various Christian communities among others – what is happening to them and where do they fit or not fit in the new Iraq? A critical arena for further investigation is the production of knowledge on Iraq. What body of texts is referenced in US policy and planning? Ethnographic work with Iraqi refugees could help to clarify the decision-making process about departure and sentiments about ‘primordial’ identities and affiliations. The Middle East has long been a major producer of refugees.1 By the beginning of 2007, the Middle East was generating 5,931,000 refugees out of a world total of 13,948,800 (World Refugee Survey 2007). It also has the distinction of being home to one of the most protracted refugee crises, the Palestinian crisis. In this region, refugees have left indelible marks, radically transforming urban space and politics, and notions of citizenship and categories of belonging. Some states have complex histories of generating substantial waves of refugees or being built by the displaced. The Greek–Turkish population ‘exchange’ and the Armenian massacres and expulsions mark the beginning decades of the last century. Israel’s establishment in 1948 resulted in over 750,000 Palestinian refugees and the constitution of Israel as Jewish state. Jordan, for example, has been host to multiple influxes of the displaced from the late nineteenth-century Circassians to Palestinian refugees in 1948, 1967, 1991, and more recently an estimated one million Iraqis. Jordan has an admirable history of refugee assistance. During the Algerian war of independence over two million were forcibly displaced by the French. In Lebanon, the civil war and periodic Israeli invasions over the past several decades generated hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs). Partition along sectarian lines was a prominent theme coursing through the civil war. In the past few decades, Iraq has hardly been a stranger to forced displacement. Hundreds of thousands of Kurds fled the violence and turmoil of the Iran–Iraq war, the Gulf war, and murderous campaigns against them by the Iraqi state. In an attempt at demographic engineering, the Baathist regime destroyed thousands of Kurdish villages and expelled Kurds from the North. They then moved Arabs into Kurdish regions where these Arabs are themselves now facing pressure to leave. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis fled the country in the past two decades to escape wars, sanctions, and state-perpetrated violence. However, the US occupation and its precipitation of a cycle of sectarian and ethnic violence have given rise to unprecedented mass displacement with discernable sectarian dimensions, particularly among the IDPs.

Cartographic violence, displacement and refugee camps 15 What is novel in this contemporary period of mass displacement and relandscaping is the discursive, the spatial, and the classificatory and organizational: the silence about the Iraqi displaced and their non-categorization as refugees, the absence of refugee camps and minimal humanitarian assistance, and the simultaneous imputation and crystallization of sectarian and tribal affiliations, spaces, leadership, and identities. On the Palestinian side, there is silence about the confinement and immobility of Palestinians under the Israeli policy of closure and the economic devastation this has wrought, which is intended to propel a dilution of the population and thus facilitate the expansion of the state’s borders and sovereignty. What is constant in this period is the imagined and actual ‘enclavization’ of the region along ethnic, national, and sectarian lines and the silence about the ‘inequalities and costs’ that Lutz notes often accompany empire (Lutz 2006: 594). This chapter begins by exploring the current Iraqi refugee crisis then turns to the question of Palestine in search of intersections and emerging regional dimensions of displacement. The current Iraqi displacement crisis and the slowness to compel a significant international response may presage a re-conceptualization of the concept of the refugee, the spatial and administrative device of the camp, and humanitarian responses to large-scale emergencies. Recent attempts to geo-politically re-map the region and craft new political spaces has turned Iraq into a killing field of terrifying magnitude and has generated unprecedented displacement. Likewise, the Israeli policy of closure of the occupied territories, which severely obstructs Palestinian mobility, and its deleterious effects on the economy, health care and education may mark the final stage in the colonization of Palestine.

Enclaves and exclaves Often repeated but still worth noting here is that Iraqis constitute the largest wave of displaced people since the Palestinian refugee crisis began in 1948. In the fragmentation of Palestine and Iraq, a sectarian sorting out and an assignment of space, mobility, and rights are discernable. In this emerging new geography, control of resources, underground (oil and water) and above-ground surfaces (space for military bases, colonies, and control of the skies, waterways, and borders) has been critical for the occupying authorities’ inscription of power. Most significantly, both the Israeli state and the US occupation of Iraq have produced staggering numbers of displaced who are marginalized – if not indeed largely invisible – in the narratives of these conflicts outside the region. Underwriting both projects is a vision of national and ethnic-sectarian space. The twentieth-century notion of a ‘state for everyone and everyone in a state’ (Aleinikoff 1995: 257) is being violently re-written in Iraq and Palestine as ‘everyone in his/her enclave and an enclave for everyone’. The imaginary Middle East mosaic in which ethnic and sectarian groups are assigned to particular spaces and conceptualized as bounded, coherent, nearly corporate groups harkens back to Orientalist and early anthropological elaborations (see Patai 2007) of the region and a Zionism that turns away from co-existence in a plural social order in favor of segregation and demographic superiority (see Soffer 2002). In both Iraq and Palestine, forced separation enacted through the

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violence of ethnic-sectarian cleansing and displacement, the erection of physical barriers to mobility and interaction, and enforced immobility are giving material form to these imaginary spaces. Sect, ethnicity, and tribe are not preordained categories; they emerge through a historical process of configuring and re-configuring. Displacement, war, state-religious relations, and external interventions, among others, figure prominently in these processes. When assumptions are made about sectarian identities and boundaries Shami (2005: 573) argues they ‘alternately exaggerate or underestimate societal tensions and political mobilization’ based on this categorization that obscures the ways in which identity and boundaries are produced and reproduced. In the media and official US discourse, sect, tribe, and ethnicity have been strategically and discursively circulated as primary components of the local social order. In the US discourse on the war on Iraq, the term ‘tribe’ was appended to ‘Sunni’. US forces have coordinated with, mobilized, distributed funds to, and armed ‘Sunni tribes’ as a counterinsurgency force (e.g. Awakening Councils). They may be endowing with power and military and financial resources groups and leaders that were hardly self-evident social and political entities.2 Among US policy makers and pundits, these social categories were framed as ‘age-old’, ‘timeless’, and the sources of ‘ancient hatred’. Re-invigorating critical scholarship on sectarianism and its historical manifestations is certainly called for at this time as is a rethinking of the concept of tribe. In the1970s, explorations of sectarianism peaked in the region and then declined. Current US policies and discourse as well as the media and popular understandings assume an already given ethnic, sectarian, and tribal structure and sentiment to contemporary Iraq. Lutz (2006: 594) calls for a joint project to theorize empire and capture it ethnographically, which would entail attention to the ‘cultural making of value’ to give recognition to the human face of empire rather than concentrating largely on its political-economic underpinnings. In Iraq, a country with once subterranean sectarian tensions but without a history of open, prolonged sectarian conflict, the occupation, which exposed fault lines that exploded as well-calibrated sect-based violence, as well as the continuing violence against Iraqi civilians by the occupation forces, have propelled millions of people3 to flee their homes and seek shelter and safety either outside of Iraq or within its borders. Paradoxically, the level of violence necessary to craft sectarian space may be an indication of how fluid and cosmopolitan Iraq was in terms of ethnic-sectarian co-existence. In a move reminiscent of the Sykes–Picot Treaty dividing the region between France and Britain, nearly a century later, in the fall of 2007 then US Senator Biden’s non-binding resolution to divide Iraq was approved by 75 votes to 23 in the US Senate. US policy and practices propelling partition into three semi-autonomous zones indicated a willful ignorance of the history of partitions – India–Pakistan, Palestine–Israel, and Ireland among others – with their demographic upheavals, the toll in human lives, and the long-term instability they can generate. Is there any historical precedent to Iraq’s division and, if so, can and should it by mobilized for the present? The proposed sectarian and ethnic spaces re-affirm the vision of a regional mosaic and, at the same time, cast doubts on the notion of a more encompassing

Cartographic violence, displacement and refugee camps 17 Iraqi identity. Abou Samra (2007: 37) makes a provocative observation: displacement as a result of US and Iraqi forces is ‘assessed as a short-term phenomenon, while so-called sectarian-induced displacement is viewed as a long-term trend’. Recourse to primordial explanations of ‘age old hatreds’ lends the potency of timelessness to our understanding of the conflict. This recourse tends to then cast the conflict as inevitable and deflects attention from analysis of the context. The Iraqi displacement may join that of the Armenians, Palestinians, and Kurds as human tragedies that re-write the demographic, political, and geo-social map of the region and contribute to the fashioning of ethnic-sectarian realities. The US occupation of Iraq created a set of conditions that has led to one of the largest refugee flows in decades and a humanitarian emergency that has all but been ignored by the US, drastically under-reported by the media, and dithered over by the international community. Three waves of displacement can be identified. First, with the disassembling of the state and the de-Baathification process, tens of thousands of people were left unemployed and military personnel were de-commissioned. When combined with pervasive lawlessness and kidnappings for ransom that targeted those with some capital, the first wave began. In 2004, the second wave was triggered by US counter-insurgency operations that compelled flight to avoid violence. In 2005, a third wave could be discerned: those fleeing ethnic cleansing and death squads. Professionals, technocrats, and managers are prominent among the displaced – some estimates put their number as high as 40 percent of the professional class – and this does not bode well for the reconstruction of Iraq and its future stability and growth. By spring of 2007, the number of Iraqi refugees was staggering: an estimated two million Iraqis had sought refuge across the border in Jordan (around 750,000– 1,000,000), about 15 per cent of Jordan’s population) and in Syria (1.5–1.6 million, about 10 percent of its population), and tens of thousands are in Egypt (100,000), Lebanon (40,000), Iran (54,000), the Gulf states (200,000), and Turkey (10,000).4 About one in six, or about 15 percent of the population, were either refugees or IDPs. In contravention of international law on the right to seek asylum, neighboring host states are increasingly closing their borders to Iraqis seeking asylum. Within Iraq, over two million people are estimated to be IDPs.5 Since February 2006, 1,037,615 Iraqis became IDPs at a rate of 80,000–100,000 people a month; this figure does not include IDPs from prior to February 2006.6 As brutal ethnic-sectarian cleansing escalated, people sought refuge in neighborhoods with a prevalence of their particular sect. Formerly cosmopolitan or ‘mixed’7 neighborhoods became forcibly homogenized spaces. The extreme violence – threats, torture, kidnappings, murder – it took to effect such ostensibly homogeneous spaces is an indication of how alien is the idea and Iraqi resistance to sectarianism. Like Rwanda and Bosnia, Iraq had a fairly substantial rate of inter-marriage among its constituents groups – in this case – Sunnis, Shia, and Kurds. What happens to these now transgressive families when sect is politically mobilized and becomes a means of allocating space, resources, identity, and protection? In addition, Iraq is home to a number of minorities: Turkomen, Yazidis, Armenians, Christians, and Mandeans, among others.

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According to a report published by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), less than 1 percent of the displaced are in camps. With little health care or electricity, minimal sanitation facilities, and paltry supplies of food and water, IOM calls the desolate desert camps ‘the last resort’.8 Iraqi refugees outside the country are concentrated in capital cities: Amman, Damascus, Beirut, and Cairo where more often than not they now reside illegally. As states of first asylum, Jordan and Syria have received the bulk of Iraq’s refugees and have received little assistance from the US and the international community. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has criticized the lack of aid to these two countries who are shouldering the burden of over two million refugees (Raghavan 2007). In both countries, infrastructures have been unbearably stretched as the crush of refugees overwhelmed already limited water supplies, electricity, housing, education, and health care resources, not to mention employment. In addition, receiving Arab countries have security concerns that have acted to limit entrance to those seeking refuge. Iraqi refugees are often referred to as ‘guests’, a freighted term in Arabic, rather than refugees. The appellation of guest invokes the elaborate etiquette of Arab hospitality on the part of the host but also the guest. While the host is obliged to provide for the guest, the guest is supposed to know when to leave and to be able to estimate how much the host can offer and for how long. Both Jordan and Syria have been closing their borders to Iraqis seeking refuge citing the lack of assistance from the international community and the stretching of their states’ limited resources to shoulder such a burden. Receiving states also are wary of the long-term nature of Iraqi displacement, fearing a prolonged refugee presence as happened with the Palestinians after 1948. While the displaced reverberate regionally, outside they have been largely invisible and voiceless. This raises the question of the camp as a spatial device. In camps, refugees can potentially constitute an aggregate, spatially legible population and they can be places where national identity is reproduced and takes on new contours. Like Palestinian refugees in the first decades of exile, the Iraqi refugees are barely visible on the international scene. Most significantly, in the face of this nearly unparalleled flow of refugees, the US and the international community have largely been silent, refusing until very recently to even acknowledge a humanitarian emergency. This raises an interesting set of issues that will have to be explored in studies of displacement. For example, humanitarian organizations consider the near absence of refugee camps for Iraqis in a positive light. Perhaps camps will be subject to re-thinking in future refugee crises, particularly in heavily urban areas.

Spaces of containment With millions of Iraqis having crossed international borders, the absence of Iraqi refugee camps in host countries Syria or Jordan may be an indication of a shift in the international refugee regimes’ policy and practices (as well as an indication of the urban origins of most of the displaced – Iraq was around 75 per cent urban). It is worth contextualizing this in the observation that casualties of contemporary

Cartographic violence, displacement and refugee camps 19 warfare hover around 90 percent civilian compared to a hundred years ago when the civilian/non-civilian ratio was reversed (B. Turner 2006). Spatial devices to shelter and manage the displaced can range from camps and safe havens to transit centers and open-relief centers, places where refugees can be protected and provided with relief. Iraqi refugees have sought refuge, by and large, in urban areas; increasingly as poorer refugees flee and those who have been displaced for a while are running out of money, they are seeking shelter in poorer areas of town. Refugee organizations and non-governmental organization (NGO) publications fairly consistently report that Iraqis will not go to camps. Although camps are not default spaces for the displaced and they have been duly criticized for warehousing refugees, within those spaces refugees can re-inscribe their meaning. Camps make refugees spatially legible but not necessarily visible in global consciousness or memory. If states are unwilling to provide asylum and close their borders and the UNHCR is opposed to setting up camps because they are costly and can become permanent, might camps disappear? If they do, will refugees become invisible as well? Without camps, do the displaced run the risk of becoming invisible and atomized exiles rather than a self-conscious aggregate with a potential voice and identity? We need to probe the implications of this trend for refugee rights, voice, and identity. It is important to note that while camps can contain and govern refugees in repressive ways, these small spaces are also imprinted by refugees and provide spaces for formulating new subjectivities as well as places from which to organize politically (Hammond 2004; Peteet 2005). Another reason perhaps for the absence of camps is the fear that they would be interpreted as an acknowledgment of the long-term nature of the refugee crisis. Yet we must acknowledge that the living conditions of the urban refugee is often much better than that of a camp dweller and communal life is not absent. In Jordan and Syria, Iraqi refugees are relatively integrated into the urban fabric, especially the labor markets. In Syria, Iraqi refugees have a communitarian life replete with social networks, restaurants, clubs, and religious shrines. With the advent of new communication technologies, refugees are no longer necessarily cut off from home. While the Iraqi refugees may be forming ‘little Baghdads’ or areas of heavy concentration, we need to ask to what extent these embody the potential to recreate geo-social worlds and yet be radically transformative in the process. When refugees are scattered in urban area such as Amman and Damascus, they may transform the urban geography of these cities just as Palestinian refugees did in Beirut and Amman. Unlike camps, Iraqi spaces are not delineated from the larger society nor are they defined as spaces for the displaced. How sectarianism plays into refugee reception and whether the provisioning of aid by sectarian organizations engenders sectarian affiliations and identities should be high on the research agenda. For example, Shia refugees have reported being turned back at the Jordanian border on the basis of their sectarian affiliation. In Lebanon, Christian Iraqis have been encouraged to seek shelter and aid in predominantly Christian East Beirut. In some cases, sectarian aid organizations may provide more access to relief than the UNHCR. The absence of camps has to be conceptualized in a set of global processes and practices relating to containment of refugees. In the 1990s a more

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restrictive state-centric global consensus to prevent refugee movements materialized. As states closed their borders to refugees, new spatial devices to contain the displaced arose: safe havens, safe corridors, preventive zones, safe spaces, and protected zones. The move from camps to safe havens to urban dispersal begs the question: will refugee camps become an artifact of the twentieth century? What spatial forms, if any, will take their place? What is the role of ‘securitization’ policies and discourses that have dominated formulations of state policies in the region and globally? Camps are expensive to run, unduly burden receiving states, and embody the potential to de-stabilize host countries. As refugee fatigue and the recognition that refugee aggregates can de-stabilize neighboring countries took hold in the West and across the globe over the past two decades, an unwillingness to host refugees has become more prevalent. Since the founding of the UNHCR, three solutions to refuges situations have crystallized: local integration, resettlement, and repatriation. Yet for Iraqis, resettlement is presented by the UNHCR as a preferred solution. This is despite the US and Europe’s unwillingness to accept any significant number of refugees. Why is repatriation not on the agenda for Iraqi refugees and where are they to re-settle?In the current colonial cartography in Palestine and Iraq, spatial containment can be juxtaposed to strikingly uneven mobility. Bauman (1998: 9, 2) dubs mobility the ‘most powerful and coveted stratifying factor’ and an ‘unequally distributed commodity’. Research to plumb the ways mobility is produced, its complex unevenness, and how it intersects with containment is called for. Palestine and Iraq represent two sides of the mobility coin: millions of Iraqis are being forcibly displaced, which contributes to the creation of sectarian space, while Palestinians are subjected to enforced immobility or containment intended to eventually propel some level of emigration from Palestine, or at the least from rural areas to selected urban centers. The freedom to move and the hierarchies built around its possibilities, are nowhere more apparent than in the West Bank and Gaza Strip where mobility is exceedingly circumscribed. The wall, checkpoints, barriers, barbed wire, and watchtowers are all measures to reduce and control mobility and sort out and separate populations; these physical obstacles are accompanied by administrative measures to curb mobility such as curfews and the permit system. B. Turner (2006: 8) perceptively comments: ‘Human rights in a global world are, increasingly, rights of social and geographic mobility. This was one crucial lesson of the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989.’ Israel’s strategy in the West Bank is multipronged – spatial as well as legal and military. Mobility is a scarce right distributed along national, ethic-sectarian lines, nearly every dimension of which is under Israeli control. Mobility is a tangible thing that some have and others don’t. Israeli cars whiz through checkpoints with a friendly wave of the hand and a smile while Palestinian cars are backed up in long lines waiting for permission to pass. Across the region Palestinian refugees are exceedingly vulnerable – from the violence against them in Iraq and their dire situation in desolate largely un-aided camps on the Iraqi–Jordanian border to Gazans stranded at the Egyptian–Gaza crossing, from refugees in Lebanon displaced from Nahr el-Bared to the forced immobility and confinement of millions of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. The Israelis have not pursued a temporally bounded mass expulsion that would constitute Palestinians

Cartographic violence, displacement and refugee camps 21 as refugees and instead have had recourse to strategies such as closure to encourage slow motion, or incremental, demographic changes to generate migrants rather than refugees. This coincides with a global move to deny refugee status and its attendant benefits to all but a select few. Closure, enclavization (Gaza), and exclavization (the West Bank) are strategies to dismember the remnants of Palestine and obstruct geographic contiguity. In these shrinking enclaves and exclaves, which resemble and are described by Palestinians as open-air prisons or camps, the population is a captive one. This novel camp, or prison, is now being enacted by closure with its concrete walls, fences, checkpoints, and the permit system, which materialize separation and exclusion. In Iraq, new spatial imaginaries to contain those who flee violence are evident in proposals for buffer zones and refugee collection points to serve as ‘catch basins’, intended as a non-place for refugees, and a new non-subject, the illegible refugee. Non-places are spatial expressions of liminality or suspension. V. Turner (1967: 96) pinpoints the character of liminal people: ‘They are at once no longer classified and not yet classified.’ Pollack and Byman (2007: 44–5) call for setting up buffer zones within Iraq to ‘serve as “catch basins”’ that would prevent ‘spillover’ of the displaced into neighboring countries and their potential destabilization. They also note that if refugee camps were set up outside of Iraq the refugees could be ‘armed and manipulated’ by those host states. Containing the refugees inside Iraq also reduces the legal rights they would acquire if they crossed an international border (Pollack and Byman 2007: 44–5). These devices seem like variations on the safe haven. While water metaphors to describe the potential impact of mass displacement can be difficult to avoid in refugee and immigration studies – waves, flows, floods, tidal waves, inundations, a sea of people, etc., in Iraq they have taken a new twist with the hydraulic ‘catch-basin’ concept and the ‘spill-over effect’. According to the dictionary Webster’s, catch-basins are ‘a sievelike device at the entrance to the intersection of a sewer, for retaining solid matter likely to clog the sewer’. In this hydraulic image, Iraqis are metaphorically the equivalent of sludge. Catch basins would be located in border areas close to airfields in Iraq and thus could be easily supplied by the US. In them, refugees would have neither international protection nor would there necessarily be an international body to take responsibility. The goal of a catch-basin is to prevent cross-border movement and, most significantly, US forces could contain the refugees while also disarming and pacifying them. As non-refugees, akin to an ecological by-product, they are not just a non-political issue, they are hardly even a humanitarian one. Their legal rights would have all but been eviscerated. Another new spatial device has appeared in Baghdad. A cement wall has been erected ostensibly to reduce violence but also to obstruct mobility between sectors of the socio-spatial urban fabric now characterized as ‘Sunni’ and ‘Shi’ite’, akin to Israel’s wall in the West Bank to enforce separation.

Re-coding: the mantra of security Refugees arouse little sympathy in a situation where they are increasingly conflated with the criminal, which is magnified if they are Muslims. Displaced Iraqis have

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appeared at a time of dramatically changing conceptions of refugees, new forms of containment, and a lack of international response to their needs. New forms of warfare, the break-up of states, ethnic cleansings, and an increasing unwillingness of states to accept refugees have generated new ways of defining the displaced and the means of addressing them. Refugees are no longer iconic figures of compassion in dire need of aid. The current yoking of refugees to security issues well pre-dates 9/11, although 9/11 certainly magnified the securitization of refuges flows. In the political orbit of the post-Cold War world, refugees were no longer welcomed in Europe and the US as scoring an ideological victory over Communism. As public opinion began to demand limits to immigration, the doors of asylum tightened. Refugee flows were obstructed by tightening entry and asylum procedures on the one hand and introducing new measures of containment in refugee-producing sites. With wars in the 1990s in the Balkans and Iraq, containment emerged as the new approach to displacement. Containing the displaced within the borders of the state in safe havens or widely scattered, who are then classified as IDPs, protects the sovereignty of potential host states and minimizes the potential for regional de-stabilization sparked by large refugee flows. In addition, containment dilutes the need for an international response. Should we conceptualize the displaced as ‘refugees’, ‘forced migrants’, or diasporic9 as academics increasingly do? What are the legal, humanitarian, and political consequences of such re-conceptualizations? Does classifying refugees as forced migrants dilute the international commitment to provide assistance, protection, and durable solutions? Forced migration may aptly describe the current situation of migration in which the categories of refugee and forced migrant overlap but it still does not have the capacity to instigate action or intervention on behalf of the displaced. What happens to Palestinians who leave the West Bank because of the impact of the wall on their livelihood, education, health care etc. – are they simply migrants joining a diaspora, uncounted, voiceless, and invisible without any international recognition? Terminological innovations should follow new patterns and types of displacement. For example, a new category of IDPs is materializing in the West Bank. The 50,000 or so residents of the Seam Zone (the area between the wall and the Green Line) who find their mobility and access to their lands increasingly restricted through the permit system are moving to other areas of the West Bank. The pattern that initially seems to be crystallizing is that some members of a family will move and some will stay put. An estimated 20 percent of residents of the ‘closed area’ report household members moving to other places within the West Bank (Badil 2007: 21). This is a period of ambiguity as extant terms are challenged by novel situations of displacement. On the one hand, the modern twentieth-century concept of the ‘refugee’ arose from the displacement that followed war and exclusivist nationalisms and, on the other, from the subsequent emergence of administrative regimes that observe, enumerate, and govern the displaced and in so doing construct them as a legal category and subjects of intervention. In its very usage, ‘refugee’ once called for international intervention and solutions. Will the conceptual category of ‘forced migrants’ eventually elicit calls for intervention?

Cartographic violence, displacement and refugee camps 23 In the broader context of the post-9/11 world, the displaced are conceptualized less in terms of their rights under international law and in humanitarian terms and more as a security matter. Esmeir (2004: 3) reminds us that security can be a ‘Black Hole’ in which things ‘collapse and disappear’, a ‘magical term able to absorb any and all content’. In much the same way that the US joins together a wide array of militant groups from Hezbollah to al-Qaeda, so some analysts categorize refugees with a host of others. For example Brookings Institute analysts, Pollack and Byman (2006a: 7), refer to the difficulties the US faced in stopping the ‘flow of dangerous people across Iraq’s border . . . refugees, militias, foreign invaders and terrorists’. In other words, refugees are now the equivalent of terrorists.10 They also refer to Iraqi refugees as ‘carriers of conflict’ (Pollack and Byman 2006b). ‘Carrier’ evokes a pathogen, bringing disease in its wake much like Haitian asylum seekers in the US were cast as carriers of AIDS. Once objects of concern and assistance, refugees are now indistinguishable from potential criminals and terrorists who may sow instability much as Palestinian refugees in the 1950s were seen as ‘ripe for recruitment to communism’, then as subversives and eventually as terrorists, which successfully deflected recognition of a refugee crisis (Peteet 2005: 67). In Lebanon, camps have been referred to as ‘security islands’, lawless places outside the bounds of the state and thus challenges to state sovereignty. Palestinians were deemed a security issue decades before refugees in general became criminalized and policy became ‘securitized’. In Jordan during the late 1960s and early 1970s, camps were discursively coded as extra-territorial or subversive sites out of the bounds of the state. Once Palestinian resistance forces were defeated and disarmed by the Jordanian army, the camps, now well monitored and surveyed by the Jordanian regime, were seen as pacified but always potentially subversive hence the need for continuing strict controls. In Lebanon, once the Palestinian ‘guests’ became burdens by overstaying their welcome and organizing politically, their camps became potential sites of subversion. In Jordan and Lebanon, the organic state, that unitary body, seemed threatened by the camps, which were framed as polluting, if not contagious.11 In coding refugees as potential subversives, they join the overlapping and also indistinguishable categories of Islamists, terrorists, and criminals. Or, Iraqi refugees may simply be invisible, no longer even calculated into the human costs of war. Former US Ambassador to the United Nations (UN), John Bolton, stated that Iraqi refugees had ‘absolutely nothing to do’ with the US invasion and occupation. Furthermore, he asserted, ‘our obligation was to give them new institutions and provide security. We have fulfilled that obligation. I don’t think we have an obligation to compensate for the hardships of war’ (quoted in Rosen 2007: 74, 78). The category of refugee is shrinking and is available to only a select few (Zetter 2007). The idea of un-classifying Palestinian refugees and suspending or diluting the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) operation is decades old. In a new twist, there is a move underway to have Arab Jews who settled in Israel labeled ‘refugees’; in other words a retroactive (50 years) classification as refugees. Resolutions have been introduced in the US House of Representatives and the Senate to include Jewish refugees in any mention of the resolution of the Palestinian refugee situation. This classificatory tactic is intended to dilute the specificity of the

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Palestinians experience, recast it as part of an exchange of populations, and ensure that any future discussions of reparations or repatriation are counter-balanced by Jewish ‘refugee’ demands (Radler 2004). Calls for UNRWA to re-settle Palestinian refugees rather than have them remain in camps have been voiced frequently. A senior UN official told me that ‘it is only Israeli extremists who call for an end to UNRWA. Israeli security and government understand that UNRWA is a necessity because otherwise Israeli would have to provide for the camps in the occupied territories.’ In effect, UNRWA absolves them of responsibility. The specter of Palestine, what is known in the world of humanitarian assistance as ‘Palestinianization’, in part, underwrites these strategies and policies toward refugees and the shrinking of the refugee category in the Middle East. Locally the collective memory of 1948 and 1967 nuances the reception, treatment, and labeling of the displaced. Governments also fear losing control over the process. Jordan and Syria have not labeled the Iraqis crossing their borders seeking sanctuary as refugees; both play host to a substantial Palestinian refugee population for whom the international community seems unable to provide durable solutions. As paradigmatic refugees, Palestinians provide lessons for the international management of displacement. Aid workers refer to the ‘Palestinianization’ of a refugee crisis when it is feared it will be prolonged, when durable solutions seem unattainable. To capture the depth of the crisis and their despair, Iraqi refugees refer to themselves as the ‘new Palestinians’, a highly resonant invocation in the region. Palestinian refugees provide a valuable lesson in the long-term human cost of re-mapping regions and dismantling place to make way for new political spaces and projects. Iraqi refugees have the potential to become the new ‘Middle East crisis’ in much the same way Palestinians have been for decades, a rallying point for mobilizing antigovernment and anti-US sentiment. If there were camps and they became militarized and politicized like the Palestinians refugee camps once were, it is surmised, they could pose a threat to regional stability. In Palestinian camps, as well as Afghan camps in Pakistan and those in Central America during the 1980s, refugees politically organized, mobilized, and recruited for militant resistance and the camps could, but did not always, serve as bases for training and launching militant actions. In her award winning book, Condemned to Repeat?, Terry has carefully set out how refugee camps or humanitarian sanctuaries, with their connotations of being ‘civilian, public and neutral’ can ‘provide advantages to guerrilla factions over purely military sanctuaries’, which are ‘militarized, secret and political’ (Terry 2002: 9, 10). While her suggestions are certainly not to do away with refugee camps, her observations could be mobilized in support of such arguments. Along with the fear of ‘Palestinianization’, Terry’s observations may underlie the apparent interest in spatial or non-spatial alternatives to camps. Another factor may be that camps are an acknowledgment that displacement will be long term. As the refugees become more and more impoverished, and unless aid is increased substantially, how long can Jordan and Syria continue to host them? Agier (2002) argues that refugees are constituted by the wars that give rise to them as well as the humanitarian responses that deal with aggregate populations of displaced. I have argued elsewhere that UNRWA has played a pivotal role in

Cartographic violence, displacement and refugee camps 25 the production and reproduction of a Palestinian identity in Lebanon. Agier (2002) writes that ‘[o]fficially designated camps are reported to contain altogether 87.6 per cent of the refugees assisted by UNHCR’. Interestingly, he comments that camps and UNHCR assistance are ‘unequally distributed around the globe’ with camps being ‘more common in Africa and Asia’. Indeed camps constitute a ‘global space’ for the humanitarian management of the displaced, those out-of-place in the global order (Agier 2002: 320). In the absence of camps, where are the spaces of humanitarianism? How is humanitarian aid being distributed and how is protection being provided? Could catch-basins become the new safe havens? If so, what happens to the right to seek asylum? A critical question concerns the role of relief institutions and the set of experiences they produce; UNRWA was a pivotal and transformative institution, shaping Palestinian refugee identity in manifold ways. For example, receiving and consuming rations as an aggregate population rendering them a medium for affirming identities. UNHCR is playing a major role as a lead agency by offering some services and protection, and mobilizing donors. Neither Syria nor Jordan is a signatory to the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees. Both anticipate a return of the refugees. UNHCR has designated the refugees as ‘prima facie’. Jordan has refused to call them refugees instead referring to them first as guests, a culturally loaded term in Arabic, then as visa holders and increasingly as illegals; only 20,000 are registered with UNHCR as asylum seekers most likely related to real concerns over becoming legible and thus visible. Palestinians have consistently insisted on staying on UNRWA rolls because doing so retains and reproduces their claim to Palestine and registers an injustice. Most importantly, registration invokes international responsibility. In the absence of camps and an identifiable refugee aid regime, will refugeehood become an individual condition of life or does it have the potential to be a condition that shapes the contours of a new shared identity? How will categories of difference play into local and regional politics? Especially where refugees settle among citizens, distinctions between the two can become sources of tension; refugee influxes can drive up the cost of housing and food and put tangible pressure on services; humanitarian agencies assist refugees but not the citizens. The categories don’t define need, only one’s relation to a state and legal identity. How will humanitarian spaces be reconfigured in the new global conditions of conflict? How will the Palestinian and Iraqi experience affect conceptualizations of refugees, IDPs, camps, and humanitarian assistance? Humanitarian space has all but disappeared in Iraq because of operational difficulties due to the security situation. Humanitarian organizations in Iraq and elsewhere may be increasingly losing the label of neutral, often being seen by their intended recipients as complicit with the occupying forces. In the Iraq case, US forces and private contractors often present their activities as humanitarian thus obfuscating military–humanitarian lines of distinction. This puts actual humanitarian agencies and their personnel at risk as their proclaimed neutrality becomes suspect. Attacks on the aid organizations and their staff have had a definite impact on the way NGOs operate in Iraq and suggest future directions. In the face of attacks, international humanitarian organizations have moved their offices and higher-level staff to neighboring

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Jordan and Kuwait where they operate from what is now commonly referred to as ‘remote control’. The term ‘humanitarian’ itself can be a subject of critique. In the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s, Palestinian activists insisted that the refugees were not a humanitarian issue but a political one; humanitarian interventions, often elided with charity, were disparaged as de-politicizing what was in essence a political question. However, to this day, Palestinians insist that UNRWA registration and ration cards indicate an international responsibility for them and constitute recognition of their loss (Peteet 2005). An unsettling if not incredible silence about the trauma of millions of Iraqis accompanied the US occupation. Neither refugees nor IDPs were publicly acknowledged by then President Bush. While the war itself may be daily front-page news, this is one of the least media covered humanitarian crises in decades. To acknowledge well over four million displaced Iraqis would be to admit to the unimaginable violence and chaos generated by the occupation and an admission that not only has the war been lost but also it unleashed an enormous humanitarian crisis for which the US bears primary responsibility. Malkki (1996: 386–7) contrasts the widespread twentieth-century circulation of ‘visual representations of refugees’ – a sort of ‘mobile mode of knowledge about them’ and ‘key vehicle in the elaboration of transnational social imagination of refugeeness’ with the paucity of refugee narratives. Yet in the West, particularly in the US, there are few visual images and almost no voices of displaced Iraqi or Palestinian refugees or those confined in enclaves. A startling comparison can be made to the displaced Kosovars, the Iraqi Kurds displaced in 1991, and more recently the displaced in Darfur.12 Darfur is treated as a classic twentieth-century refugee crisis. Why? There is little risk that Darfuris will emigrate in large numbers to the West and in the discourse of the ‘war on terror’, the Sudanese regime, coded as ‘Arab’ and ‘Islamic’ is responsible, making apportionment of blame and accountability logical to the ‘war on terror’ and politically convenient. A campaign of silence and darkness has descended over the Palestinians behind the wall and the nearly unprecedented dismantlement of Iraq, the brutal dispersion of a significant portion of its population, and the re-mapping of its social geography.

Conclusion The US, Israel, and the Arab states are acting in ways to reduce refugees: Israel’s closure produces migrants and/or IDPs who, it will be claimed, left of their own volition. Displaced Iraqi refugees remain unrecognized as refugees in the region and by the US administration. Repatriation may be the preferred solution to refugee crises. Yet in the Middle East, repatriation of Palestinian refugees has never been seriously regarded by the international community. The UNHCR talks of resettlement for the Iraqis yet it is clearly not on the horizon. Without a massive infusion of aid, the absorptive capacity of Jordan and Syria may have reached its peak. Then there is the question of their capacity politically to absorb a new population. In 2007, the US took a paltry 7,000; European states accepted relatively more but the numbers were not enough to make a dent in the growing number of Iraqis refugees.

Cartographic violence, displacement and refugee camps 27 The displaced Iraqis are emblematic of the imaginary mosaic and the humanitarian disaster it has unleashed. The spatial configuration of Iraqi displacement and responses to it may portend future trends in refugee policy. Non-recognition of the Iraqi displaced suggests further re-definition of the term in a way that diminishes the right to asylum, protection, and assistance. In other words, fewer and fewer people will be able to claim refugee status. Zetter (2007: 16) argues that the category of refugee is shrinking and becoming ‘a highly prized status’. New spatial devices beyond the camp and the safe haven seem to be in the works. Or perhaps, there will simply be non-places for the displaced as they merge into the surrounding urban areas with little if any recognition. Non-recognition mutes the voice of refugees and renders the nominally responsible parties oblivious to their needs. The lack of a concerted response to the Iraqi humanitarian crisis may be indicative of a gradual shift from concern with refugee rights to increasing invisibility and exclusion on a selective basis. While some displaced remain unseen and hardly heard (Iraqis, Palestinians, and Somalis among others) in comparison others have been or are clearly visible (Kosovars and Darfuris).

Acknowledgements I would like to acknowledge with gratitude the generous support of the American Center for Oriental Research (ACOR) in Amman, Jordan, the Palestinian American Research Center (PARC), and the University of Louisville.

Notes 1 Over the past century, not just conflict but development projects, environmental disasters and sedentarization projects have precipitated displacement (Shami 1994). The region is also heavily implicated in another kind if displacement or migration; it imports hundreds of thousands of workers. Within the region, some countries export local labor (for example, Yemen and Egypt) to oil-producing states. North Africa and Turkey have significant histories of exporting labor to European countries. 2 This is what Aiden Southall refers to in the African context as ‘definition by illusion’ or the false application of the label ‘tribe’ usually to ‘a large scale which becomes permanently adopted for administrative convenience and ultimately accepted by the people themselves’ (Southall 1970: 45). 3 Estimates are that 4.7 million Iraqis are displaced; 2.7 million are IDPs and more than two million are refugees in neighboring states. ‘The Continuing Needs of Iraq’s Displaced’, UNHCR (www.unhcr.org/Iraq) (accessed March 1, 2009). 4 See ‘Statistics on Displaced Iraqis around the World’, UNHCR (www.unhcr.org). 5 In the new global politics of displacement, IDPs, those who flee their homes but do not cross an international border, mushroomed from 1.2 million in 1992 to over 20 million in 2006, significantly outnumbering refugees. 6 ‘Iraq: Number of IDPs Tops One Million, Says Iraqi Red Crescent’, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. July 9, 2007. (www.irinnews.org). 7 For a pointed and poignant examination of the term ‘mixed areas’, see Al-Mufti (2006: 28). 8 Most of these camps are temporary affairs – often just a few weeks or months until they close as residents find better accommodations. Some are spontaneous sites created by IDPs in large buildings or schools – and house very small numbers often ranging from

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Julie Peteet 30 to 100 families. UNHCR sites (around seven) in Iraq provide aid, shelter, and legal advice but they have not set up camps. For a critique of the concept of a Palestinian diaspora see Peteet (2007). In Gary Trudeau’s well-respected and widely syndicated cartoon strip, Doonesbury, Ray has been followed home from Iraq by a terrorist. When asked why, he replies: ‘He said he was a refugee.’ Courier-Journal August 21, 2007, p. 7. The discourse of pollution may have been more pronounced in Lebanon where the population was Lebanese unlike in Jordan where over 50 per cent of the non-camp population was Palestinian. Palestinian narratives cast the Jordanian Bedu as exhibiting the most violent behavior toward Palestinian fighters and civilians during the Jordanian regime’s 1970 military offensive against Palestinian guerillas known as Black September. For a probing look at the place of campaigns for Darfur in the US see Mamdani (2007).

2

Governing the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and Syria The cases of Nahr el-Bared and Yarmouk camps Sari Hanafi

Introduction Camps have been presented by some humanitarian organizations and political actors as settings self evidently suitable for dealing with the refugee populations. However, when camps become the transient space for a population dwelling there for more than 60 years, like in the case of the Palestinian protracted refugees, camps become slum areas that are hard to govern. This chapter will attempt to clarify the relationship between power, sovereignty and space in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and Syria, by examining modes of governance inside the camps. ‘Modes of governance’ refers to how a camp is managed in terms of relationships to the legal authorities of the host country and to the surrounding municipalities, relationships among groups within the camps and conflict resolution for everyday problems. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) recognizes ‘governance’ as autonomy over formal institutions as well as informal ones: [G]overnance is the exercise of economic, political and administrative authority to manage a country’s affairs at all levels. It comprises the mechanisms, processes and institutions through which citizens and groups articulate their interests, exercise their legal rights, meet their obligations and mediate their differences. (UNDP 1997: 2–3) This chapter recognizes the informality of governance, inspired by Foucault’s concept of governmentalities, i.e. ‘how we think about governing others and ourselves within a variety of contexts’ (Dean 1999: 212).1 Governmentalities thus grant us one more analytical tool for understanding power as something distributed rather than wielded from above. This chapter illustrates the need to (re)examine governance, not from a security angle but from a segregation angle. Segregation becomes a central concept in debates about the spatial concentration of social risk and about urban/local governance. I

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argue that while Syrian authorities have taken a strategic decision since 1948 to incorporate the Palestinian camps into the tissue of the surrounding city, Lebanon did the opposite. Camps there were perceived as ‘security islands’, treated as spaces of exception and experimental laboratories for control and surveillance. While the governance of the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and Syria will be explored, the focus will be placed on the Nahr el-Bared camp (north of Lebanon) and in Yarmouk camp (Damascus, Syria). This chapter relies primarily on the field research, direct observation and in-depth interviews with camp leaders and inhabitants that I conducted in Nahr el-Bared and other camps in Lebanon with the help of a research team in 2008–9 and in Yarmouk camp from March until July 2009.

Camp governance: multiple actors Many actors play a role in the governance of Palestinian refugee camps. In Syria, the state controls camps closely, through specific organs: it is the General Authority for Palestine Arab Refugees (GAPAR) that assigns a camp director who plays a major role in organizing the urban and political life inside the camp. In contrast to this classical state control over slum areas including camps, the situation in the Lebanon is radically different. There is a web of complex power structures composed of popular committees, a security committee, United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) camp officers, notables, political factions, Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) popular unions and organizations (workers, women, engineers, etc), community-based organizations (CBOs),2 non-governmental organizations (NGOs)3 and the Palestinian Muslim Scholars’ League (imam coalition close to Hamas). These forces vary in importance from camp to camp and from area to area. In each camp, leaders impose measures, which frequently change, a consequence of a constantly shifting balance of power between these different groups. The Popular Committee, however, stands out as the most important local governing body in Lebanon. It is worth noting that the label ‘popular’ could be misleading because members are not elected, rather it projects the strength of one group or party vis-à-vis others. The Tables 2.1 and 2.2 summarizes the different actors of governance and are based on how the importance of different stakeholders is classified according to the interviewees. Instead of one sovereign, camps are ruled by a tapestry of multiple, partial sovereignties. This includes real sovereigns (the Lebanese and Syrian authorities) and a web of actors who contribute to the governance of the camp. The situation is made even more complex if UNRWA’s role is taken into account. Here, I would like to introduce the notion of ‘phantom sovereignty’ in order to describe and analyze the critical position of the UNRWA in both Syria and Lebanon. Michel Foucault reminds us that it is not the power that stems from the exercise of sovereignty but rather the effects of power that a governmental technology generates. While UNRWA was not intended to, nor does it pretend to, govern the camps, it is ascribed the status of a sovereign by many camp dwellers. This is perhaps best exemplified by the ambiguous role of UNRWA’s ‘camp officers’ (the precise

Governing the Palestinian refugee camps 31 Table 2.1 Actors of the camp governance Syria

Lebanon

Leading authority

Local committee (LC) (assigned by GAPAR)

Delegitimized popular committee

Second leading authority

Committee of Development Factions: Fatah or Hamas (assigned by GAPAR)

Phantom authority

UNRWA

UNRWA

Islamic governmentalities

Hamas and conservative popular Syrian Islam

Hamas and conservative popular Lebanese Islam

Table 2.2 Historical development of the actors of the camp governance Historical authorities

Syria

Lebanon

In 1950s and 1960s

LC–GAPAR

Before 1970s: Lebanese military intelligence

In 1970s

LC–GAPAR

PLO

In 1980s

LC–GAPAR

Pro-Syrian faction and popular committee

In 1990s

LC–GAPAR

Factions and popular committee

names vary from country to country), a camp-based staff member who historically assumes a powerful position vis-à-vis the camp community. Powers included, for example, the ability to cut ration rolls for an individual who did not obey UNRWA regulations. UNRWA historically appointed these officers from among the camp community, after consultation and the verbal approval from the local tribal and village leaders. This policy is doubly accommodating: while UNRWA is appointing a representative of the camp’s new elite to become official staff member, UNRWA also seeks legitimization and acceptance. From the early 1990s, UNRWA increasingly appointed members of new camp elites, such as well-educated camp residents (being engineers, instructors, pharmacists or scientists) and sometimes those known historically by their political activism and their good relations to the community.4 In interviews, camp dwellers in Lebanon often refer to this officer as ‘camp director’, yet in reality, his official function is merely to act as a facilitator of UNRWA services. Interviews clearly showed the gap between his perceived role and actual function. This confusion is not due to the refugees’ cognitive disorder but rather stems from the historical role played by UNRWA directors in not merely providing services but also in administering and coordinating many aspects of the refugees’ lives. As a result, ‘camp directors’ are perceived as occupying a ruling position without acting accordingly. The confusion over the role of camp officers is symptomatic of the confusion over the role of UNRWA as a whole. Many camp residents, for instance, consider

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UNWRA and the popular committee responsible for the disorder in the camps. Expressing her anger at their perceived passivity: ‘Who can I complain to when my neighbor builds a second and third floor without leaving any proper space for my apartment?’ Many interviewees indeed used the word ‘chaos’ to describe the situation in the camps and blame UNRWA’s inaction as a major cause.

The Lebanese case: the state of exception5 I will take the new development concerning the plan for new governance of Nahr elBared camp as a starting point to discuss the Lebanese authorities’ vision concerning the Palestinian refugee camps in general. Indeed the Nahr el-Bared camp (hereafter NBC) crisis was an opportunity to establish new relationship between Palestinian and Lebanese authorities and has shown the weakness of traditional Palestinian political factions in managing the crisis. The topic of governance in the camp is commonly misrepresented and misunderstood. This is partly due to the fact that governance practices are informal, inconsistent, changing and variable from camp to camp. It takes the form of a multi-layered tapestry with multiple actors, groups, individuals and factions maneuvering, competing and negotiating different aspects of life in the camp. While it might be incomprehensible to the outside spectator, it is a reflection of the complexity, irony and difficulty of Palestinian politics and status of a 60-year old temporary-permanent urban refugee camp. In the case of the NBC, the traditional actors were present: a popular committee (composed of representatives from all political factions in principle, but in reality and historically, the pro-Syrian coalition prevailed), neighborhood committees, an assortment of prominent notables, religious figures and some NGOs.6 Using the ‘refugee file’ for internal use,7 the Lebanese government decided to institute a new model of governance in the camp, based exclusively on principle of Lebanese Internal Security Forces (ISF) control and surveillance, ignoring the genuine issues of everyday life in the camp, and without consulting and dealing with the current actors in the NBC. The NBC is also an interesting case study in how several grassroots committees, initiatives, commissions and advocacy groups became involved in the reconstruction, playing a bigger role in the camp’s scene. In actuality, the crisis evidenced the weakness and ineffectiveness of traditional factions. A special team prepared a document for the NBC donor conference in Vienna. The Vienna document The Vienna conference was hosted by the Austrian government, Lebanon, the Arab League, the UNRWA and the European Union. The Vienna document was compiled by the Lebanese government in collaboration with the Lebanese Palestinian Dialog Committee (LPDC), its consultants and what was to be later known as the Recovery and Reconstruction Cell. The Vienna document compiled several technical studies that had been prepared by the UNRWA, Nahr el-Bared Reconstruction Committee for Civil Action and Studies, UNDP and World Bank; in addition, the firm Khatib

Governing the Palestinian refugee camps 33 & Alami presented a unified and comprehensive vision for the reconstruction as well as an estimate of total cost. In spite of Palestinian officials’ endorsement of the document, Palestinian political representatives played only a symbolic role in its actual preparation because of the lack of technical experts within the PLO to conduct, co-author and prepare such a study. This vacuum was filled in part by the various civil society initiatives, NGOs and experts who played an active role in collection data and lobbying, used formal and informal channels as well as participatory mechanisms. The political implication of questions of security and governance in the document were authored entirely by the government and its consultants in absence of any Palestinian counterpart. The Vienna document proposes ‘establishing a transparent and effective governance structure for Nahr el-Bared camp. This includes enforcing security and rule of law inside NBC through community and proximity policing’ (p. 46).8 The document explains that: community policing in NBC context entails the presence inside the camp of a culturally and politically sensitive ISF that will work to reduce the fears and tensions that existed prior to and after NBC conflict. Such type of policing will promote community engagement, partnership and proactive problem solving. The above security arrangements for NBC were agreed upon with the Palestinian Liberation Organization. […] Building trust between the ISF and the NBC community would encourage camp residents to be more supportive and forthcoming in reporting community problems and security issues. Police officers would engage in various types of community activities (youth schemes, community programs, etc.) to foster a closer relationship with the residents of the camp. A closer partnership between the ISF and the community would ultimately help make the rebuilt NBC a safer place and would promote a successful security model for other Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. The ISF police officers will be exposed to the political history of the Palestinians refugees in Lebanon, and will be trained to better understand the cultural and social specificities of the Palestinian community. Moreover, officers will be trained on problem solving, conflict resolution, and communications skills. In spite of the fact that the various Palestinian civil society entities sensed that such a document was being prepared, it was only made public a few days before the inauguration of the Vienna conference and it had been already printed and distributed to donors. The Palestinian embassy received the document at the same time as the other donors. Although the PLO objected to the concept of community policing during an official meeting with LPDC head, then ambassador Khalil Makkawi, a few days before the Vienna conference, no changes were made to the document. None of the Palestinians presented an objection during the conference. The funding for training Lebanese ISF officers, budgeted at 5 million US dollars was pegged and the American team has started training the ISF according to the Vienna document.

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The director of the Palestinian Organization for Human Rights, Ghassan Abdellah suggested to adopt the municipal policing experience in Lebanon and to adapt it to the human security concept. According to him: the popular committees present in the camps would be elected directly by the residents, linked to the neighboring municipalities and become integral parts therein. They would also operate according to the same governance and electoral regulations that rule the councils of the municipalities. Such a procedure would put an end to the designation quotas imposed by the political factions. The civilian police members would be selected among the residents of the camp and would respond to the elected popular committee. Consequently, just as it happens to the municipalities, the elected popular committees would be ruled by the legitimate authority that is represented by the Ministry of Interior Affairs and Municipalities. A cooperation formula might be attempted between the representatives of the legitimate authority of the Ministry of Interior and the civilian police of the camp – based on the human security concept and the experience of community policing. (Abdellah 2009: 8)

Governance reduced to security In the Vienna conference document, the governance section is brief. It does however clearly reflect the continuation and further development of an existing policy. It was authored by Lebanese policy makers and their consultants without consultation with the local community, and framed in the language of partnership and community policing. Community policing or neighborhood policing is a philosophy and strategy based on the assumption that community interaction and support can help control crime, with community members helping to identify suspects, detain vandals and bring problems to the attention of police.9 If theoretically a community policing strategy needed to be implemented, it would need the full cooperation of the community and it cannot be forced on the community. While community policing is embedded in the discourse of improving and empowering citizenship action and initiative, in the case of Nahr el-Bared, it was reduced to counterinsurgency policing treating refugees to ‘security’ subjects and the camp as ‘security island’. In fact, implementing norms, laws and practices that pertain to the citizenship of a refugee population denied basic civil rights illustrates the dark irony of the concept. Extensive interviews determined that the section on governance generated a strong and negative reaction among the local community. Moreover, a petition addressed directly to the then Prime Minister, then Fouad Saniora, signed by hundreds of the camp’s dwellers, was published two Lebanese dailies, al-Akhbar and as-Safir on January 24, 2009. It stated clearly their rejection of the government’s exclusive regard for security in dealing with their camp and the government’s policy for governance. Any potential for partnership and discussion with the community in the future have been tarnished by the political implications of the Vienna

Governing the Palestinian refugee camps 35 document. And finally, in spite of the fact that the Vienna document states, officially, its authorship in coordination with the PLO, effectively, there was neither understanding nor approval for its policy proposals among the various factions of the PLO. Only in September 2009 did the PLO show awareness when it formed a strong team headed by Marwan Abdel-‘Al who requested the change in the rules of game to a clear partnership. The document answers solely to the concerns of Lebanese security bodies, in vision and perspective. The Popular Committee, for instance, is remarkably absented as an interlocutor to the ‘community police’. The documented glosses over the reality that preceded the eruption of the conflict, and the various actors that played a role, in addition to the Popular Committee, such as the Armed Struggle group, the Security Committee, the political factions, neighborhood committees, notables, various professional unions and local NGOs, in other words all the bodies that interacted and competed to negotiate the public good of the camp. Obviously, there were tremendous problems in the management of this formal and informal form of governance that include conflict and corruption; however, there was no ground for excluding these local actors. Creating a real Palestinian– Lebanese partnership is based on respecting, building and developing the camp’s local political and social structures to develop clear and transparent mechanisms of interaction with the Lebanese and is not achievable through teaching the ISF officers the ‘political history of the Palestinians refugees in Lebanon (and) . . . their cultural and social specificities’, as Vienna document has formulated. More significant is the fact that implementing security is regarded simply as introducing a ‘new’ police force. Research on post-war reconstruction (GTZ 2004) and actual experience reinforce the argument that the foundations for a successful post-conflict reconstruction articulate rebuilding the spatial environment, re-starting the economic cycle, establishing truth and reconciliation commissions and instating principles for good governance. Only through such a holistic approach can NBC overcome the social, political and economic challenges it faces in this post-conflict phase and a real and sustainable Palestinian–Lebanese relationship be grounded. Instead, the situation that preceded the conflict was maintained: arbitrary checkpoints, barbed-wire fencing, controlling movement in and out of the camp requiring permission for all Palestinian and Lebanese residents. Shortly after the battle was concluded, the cabinet of ministers approved the building of a military base at the edge of the old camp. In February 2009 the cabinet of ministers issued another decree to establish a naval base on the coast of camp’s beach. And the LPDC and ISF continue to lobby for instituting a police station inside the old camp. To draw a clearer picture, the density of the space in question is of the highest in the world, with 1,700 buildings squeezed into 190,000 sq. meters, housing 20,000 refugees. There were other options, more sensible and respectful to the community, such as locating the police station at the edge of the camp, but these were vehemently rejected by the Lebanese government and LPDC. It almost seems as if it were a political statement to assert their absolute authority over the camp. Other states hosting Palestinian refugees prefer to maintain police stations at the outskirts of camps, in Amman, for example, where, after insisting on locating stations in the

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center of the camp, they were eventually relocated to the periphery because of repeated burnings by the refugees. The Vienna conference proposal introduces unilaterally a new actor in the camp. The principal question is why should Lebanese policing be introduced into the camp? And why are the established conventions being over-ridden? If policing is meant to control crime, the NBC was not a crime-infested ghetto; whatever crimes took place were contained and the violators prosecuted. If policing is meant to control the presence of Fatah el-Islam, then one can only wonder why the ISF and army failed to arrest an armed militant group whose offices, bases, training grounds and homes were predominantly based outside the camp’s boundaries, on Lebanese territory prior to the eruption of the conflict. The point is not to inculpate the Lebanese authorities in what happened, rather to highlight the fact that the security of the camp is not the outcome of the absence of a Lebanese policing force. One of the main problems pertaining to security and policing is the nature and coordination mechanism of jurisdiction between Palestinian structures and the Lebanese state with regards to the camp and its environs. Since the expiration of the Cairo Agreement (1969), the terms of reference between the two parties have remained ambiguous at best. The camp is a legally suspended space where military intelligence has governed it in a state of exception. De-legitimizing the Popular Committee The Lebanese state’s de-legitimizing of the Popular Committee was neither new policy nor practice; interviews with members of NBC’s Security Committee spoke a great deal about the absence of an external political cover and how Lebanese military intelligence treated them merely as informants and implementers of their orders. As one of the members testified: If any citizen from the camp was in trouble, if he had wronged someone and the Security Committee jailed him, he would sue and would become a fugitive of the state. I have been jailed three times by the government . . . I am working for my people! I have no problem as long as I am serving my people. But if the state jails me three times because of complaints, then what? Once a thief complained about me and had me jailed. The role of the Lebanese state in creating a security vacuum within the camp through disempowering its local security structures is clear. Lebanese military intelligence and the ISF used the Security Committee when they needed favors, like delivering wanted persons for justice, but in exchange, they never gave them the acknowledgment or resources as a local municipal power. ISF still resort to recruiting local ‘informants’ who ultimately use their connections to the security apparatus to exert influence and deploy intimidation. After the crisis in NBC, that practice intensified, focusing specifically on disenfranchised youth. However, recent fieldwork in the Ain el-Helweh, Baddawi and Nahr el-Bared camps revealed that the absence of a legitimate popular committee was a serious

Governing the Palestinian refugee camps 37 stumbling block. Historically, popular committees were dependent on the political and financial backing of the PLO and various political factions. Since the transfer of the PLO’s leadership from Lebanon to Tunisia in 1982, their resources have been scarce, with the passage of time; as the camps became among the most dense urban configurations in the world, the popular committees gradually lost their capacity at dealing effectively with them. The Vienna document does not mention providing resources, capacity building or assistance to re-empower popular committees. In NBC, a disempowered popular committee can only play a symbolic role in the reconstruction, in which a swarm of international NGOs, development agencies, United Nations agencies and government agencies has been involved formally and directly. In February 2009, International Habitat, the Italian cooperation organization, initiated a project of connecting the sewage system in the new camp areas of Nahr el-Bared to alMuhamara, the neighboring municipality. The LPDC organized several meetings without excluding the popular committee, at the conclusion of negotiations, the committee was invited to come and sign. They refused to do this. Community leaders complained in interviews that several projects proposed by international cooperation offices and organizations did not meet the list of priorities for their camps. They were often driven by technical considerations, such as the kind of expertise the cooperation offices have at their disposal, or their ability to disburse only small grants that cannot cover the cost of serious infrastructure projects. In another instance, an Italian cooperation organization proposed to provide equipment for sanitation and waste removal to be shared by the municipality of Muhamara and NBC’s Popular Committee. However, considering that the committee has no legal status in Lebanese law, the contract for joint-ownership could not be drafted.10 Beyond the scarcity of means at their disposal, absence of expertise and systematic deligitimization from the Lebanese state, the Popular Committee ails from fundamental problems at the level of representation. In the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s most refugees were affiliated to political parties and movements that had more or less democratic processes in electing their leadership; popular committees included members from the various political groups in each camp and thus were representative of the camp’s population. Moreover, there was space allotted to unions and to a member from a liberal profession, such as engineer or teacher. With the steep marginalization of party politics and dramatic reduction in numbers of active party affiliations, the committees no longer represented the camp’s population appropriately, and their legitimacy was further undermined from within. Recently, there is a committee established in the PLO offices in Beirut to reform the popular committee in Lebanon and preliminary plan was set up for that. A critique of security-based sovereignty Although camps in Lebanon can be easily compared to the size of towns (varying from 10,000 to 80,000 people), they are managed without municipal structures. In interviews, people often used terms and words signifying arbitrariness and chaos. ‘Camps are not under the responsibility of the Lebanese state’, claimed a senior

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officer in the ISF. This said, while camp residents are excluded from the realm of municipal planning and service provision, they are at same time included with regards to questions of security and taxes.11 This paradoxical implementation of the law is characteristic to the space of exception, specifically in uncovering how power structures define the relationship between the space of the camp to the space of the city. While under the Refugee Convention of 1951 have the right to work without requiring a permit, in Lebanon, Palestinian refugees are barred from practicing more than 70 professions, and are required a work permit even in the case of manual labor. After 60 years and three generations, Palestinian refugees still cannot be considered as belonging to the category of ‘foreigners’, which, in Lebanon, is usually made up of temporary migrants. Reduced to their status as individuals in need of shelter and food, the governance of their bare-life has been transferred to the hands of the police and military on the one hand, and to an apolitical relief organization such as the UNRWA, on the other hand. The Lebanese state has sustained a status quo (of sorts) by juggling the inclusion/exclusion duality, subverting the legal with the political and vice versa. So while Palestinian refugees are excluded from the regime of rights and benefits and rights, they are included in the regime of security, as subjects under permanent control and surveillance, under the guise of the writ of law or political imperative. Moreover, the Lebanese state has endorsed international humanitarian laws, as well as Arab League decrees pertaining to human right laws; however with regards Palestinian refugees, these laws and regulations are at best overlooked, at worst violated. The Lebanese state implements the state of exception by all means but specifically using the recourse to law, essentially political questions are treated as a matter of law. When Palestinians lobbied to be granted basic civil rights as refugees, the government claimed the question did not pertain to the law, rather to the political construct of the country and its cautiously gauged balance between confessional groups. While the question of governance in the camps should be part of the responsibility of the Lebanese state, this cannot be done without the camps’ population, organizations, committees, factions and networks. Understandably, establishing genuinely representative bodies is not a simple ambition for a nation under occupation at home and in a state of dispersal in various host countries. And while there are no clearly defined solutions or models and a great deal of what exists on the ground is flawed, there is also a rich legacy of practices within the camps that can be learned from or used as starting points. It was hoped that after a tragedy of the scale that at NBC, there might have been serious motivation for a sober assessment of previous (and existing) policy and practices, and a thorough investigation into the conditions that led to the crisis. Unfortunately, neither the LPDC nor Lebanese officialdom is willing to admit the reality of institutional and legal discrimination against Palestinians. Until Palestinians are considered equal to the Lebanese, there cannot be a real partnership or cooperation, and the destruction of NBC would simply be another tragic chapter of the Palestinians’ difficult presence in Lebanon. The establishment of the LPDC in 2005 was a positive first step, after years of conflict, to try and bridge the divide between both parties (Brynen 2009). In the

Governing the Palestinian refugee camps 39 four years since 2005, however, the state has made little progress on this front. The general dysfunction of the Lebanese state – which in these years has witnessed massive demonstrations and protests, a war with Israel, sectarian violence, a boycotted government, political infighting, a presidential vacuum and two highly contentious cabinet formations – has prevented it from taking any initiative on the much needed reform of its policies. Instead, it has left the Palestinians to be fed by UNRWA and guarded by the army until such time as the parliament – the only governmental body capable of licensing meaningful reform – sees fit to weigh in on the issue. Sadly, for the foreseeable future, indicators suggest that the Lebanese state will continue excluding Palestinians from the rights and benefits they ought to enjoy as residents of Lebanon while simultaneously including them as a security threat, as ‘something’ to be contained and subjected to strict control and surveillance. As a result, tensions between Lebanese and Palestinians will continue to mount, the factions will carry on in their struggles inside the camps and these ‘spaces of exception’ will continue to present a threat to Lebanese sovereignty and security. This fact is what the International Crisis Group has aptly referred to in a recent report as ‘nurturing instability’ (Atrache 2009). In spite of this, Palestinians in Lebanon will continue to cope in remarkable ways. By drawing from their shared history, their common experience as refugees, the motivating force of Palestinian nationalism and by relying on strong moral and ethical norms, which in recent years have been underpinned by Islamist discourse, they will govern themselves in the absence of any real, legitimate government as best they can.

The Syrian case: Yarmouk camp as space normalcy Unlike in Lebanon, the Palestinian refugees in Syria have enjoyed the same civil rights and services as those enjoyed by local citizens, and are more socially integrated than Palestinian refugees in any other host country (Hanafi 2001). Their presence in Syria is regulated by Law 450 issued January 25, 1949, which provides for the administration of Palestinian refugee affairs and ensures their needs are met. This law authorized the establishment of the Palestine Arab Refugee Institution (PARI) under the auspices of the Syrian Social Affairs and Labor Ministry. PARI was later replaced by the Syrian General Authority for Palestine Arab Refugee Affairs (GAPAR), also a department of the Social Affairs and Labor Ministry. However, one of the most important laws in Syria, Law 260 issued October 7, 1956, granted Palestinian residents nearly the same status as Syrian nationals. The law stipulates that Palestinians living in Syria have the same duties and responsibilities as Syrian citizens, though they are not granted nationality or political rights. Palestinian refugees in Syria were granted equal rights, for example, in the areas of education,12 owning property,13 labor and employment,14 trade and military service, while at the same time, maintaining Palestinian nationality.

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Urban situation Yarmouk is an ‘unofficial’ refugee camp in Damascus that is home to the largest Palestinian refugee community in Syria. It is located 8 kilometers from the center of Damascus, still inside the capital’s municipal boundaries, and has now begun to merge into the surrounding city. As of December 2008, there were 144,312 registered refugees living in Yarmouk, comprising a quarter of the total 453,000 Palestinians in Syria, another quarter of whom live in official camps. Living conditions in Yarmouk appear to be better than in other Palestinian refugee camps in Syria. Residents of the camp include many white collar professionals such as doctors, engineers and civil servants, as well as many who are employed as casual laborers and street vendors. ‘We are a five-star camp, compared to Jaramana and Khan Sheih camps’, explained one inhabitant of Yarmouk. The vibrant camp is crowded not only by Palestinian inhabitants but also Iraqi migrants and refugees. Syrians from surrounding areas add to the bustle, seeking bargains at fancy clothes boutiques. One said: ‘Here you can buy bridal clothes for half the price of what you find in Souk al-Hamadiyya and Salhiyya [two shopping areas in downtown Damascus].’ Over time, refugees living in Yarmouk have improved and expanded their residences, adding rooms. According to a 2003 Fafo survey,15 90 per cent of Yarmouk residents live in apartments (Jacobson 2006) and market rates for real estate in Yarmouk camp (for 2005) were 2,400 SP ($490) (Jacobson 2006: 35), which was comparable to rates in rural areas. Only 8 percent of apartments are rented. Cement block buildings and narrow streets typify the layout of this densely crowded camp. The average family size is 4.4 members and 12 percent of the households are ‘objectively crowded’, defined by Gove and Hughes (1983: xvii) as habitats with at least three individuals per room. However, interviewees expressed a feeling of intense subjective crowding (one’s perception of not having enough space in the home) because there are no parks or playgrounds in the camp. Indeed, the streets are the children’s playground, making the neighborhood very noisy. There are three main roads running through the camp, each lined with shops and crammed with service taxis and microbuses. Moreover, Yarmouk has also become home to thousands of newly arrived Iraqi refugees. Actors of governance: the local committee as a major actor The main actor of governance in the Yarmouk camp is the municipality (baladiyya), which is like any municipality but with two major exceptions: first, some of the urban regulations applied to the camp are different of surrounding municipalities; second, the body is unelected and under the heavy control of the Ba’ath Party. The Yarmouk baladiyya is governed by a local committee. For political reasons, this local committee is under supervision of the GAPAR, whose General Director has been the president of the committee. After 1989, the president was nominated by the Ministry of Local Administration and the whole committee came under its tutelage . However the General Director of GAPAR maintains his power of nominating

Governing the Palestinian refugee camps 41 members of the local committee after approval by the Palestinian Commandant of Baath Party (al-kyada al-qotriyya al-falastiniyya). It is worth mentioning that the label of baladiyya exists only at the Yarmouk camp – other refugee camps in Syria have only a GAPAR office, which coordinates its work with UNRWA and the surrounding municipalities. The local committee members are selected from camp dwellers, either Ba’athist or close to the Syrian regime, and usually have a university degree. The current local committee, for example, is composed of five engineers, a lawyer and a teacher. This new elite, called ‘neck tie elite’ by Yasmine Bouagga (2008), is very different from the traditional elite, the wajahat (notables) and the mukhtars. From these seven members, five are Ba’athists and the two independents are chosen by the Baath Party. Historically, the head of the municipality is accountable only to the Director of GAPAR, but since there is the problem of corruption in this baladiyya, the governorate (muhafazeh) of Damascus is supervising the work of the local committee. Its main source of funds comes from the Ministry of Local Affairs and from baladiyya taxation. Except for some anomalies, the camp is constructed according to a master plan. As such, it is also well connected to the Syrian infrastructure, including the sewage, water, electricity and telecommunication systems. The municipality has carried out many infrastructure projects including roadway and sidewalk renovations, street lighting and maintaining green spaces. The construction of a new cemetery is overseen by an ad hoc baladiyya committee in order to find funding to buy the land. Palestinian factions such as Fatah and Hamas are providing the bulk of the funds, while the remainder is being sought from the business community. Contrary to other camps in Syria or elsewhere, the presence of the Syrian state is very clear in Yarmouk, detected not only through symbols (such as posters, presidential portraits of Asad, flags, etc.) but also through the state’s intervention in all aspects of life in the camps. In 1996, the Ministry of Culture opened an Arab Cultural Center in the camp. It is significant that the Yarmouk camp has such a center, like those of other residential neighborhoods. Similarly, there are nine Syrian secondary schools i.e. they are dependent on the Syrian ministry of education (Fadhel 2008). As it has in other camps, GAPAR mandated a Committee of Social Development in Yarmouk in 2005, but it is hardly active. Effectively, the baladiyya is replacing the function of this committee, while in other camps in Syria, this committee has a much more crucial role. Interviewees expressed satisfaction with the functioning of the Yarmouk municipality. They wished the local committee was elected and not appointed but they were also realistic with their expectations. One young medical doctor said: ‘In any case, Syrian local elections are also very controlled by the Baath Party. Independents are filtered before being accepted as candidates.’ Some accused local committee members of being corrupt or just ‘looking out for themselves’, arguing that some construction permits have been granted that were against the municipality regulations. In fact, two former heads of the local committee ended up in prison on charges of corruption.

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Minor actors There are other actors that are investing in the social and political space but not really playing an administrative role in the camp. These will now be discussed. UNRWA plays a major role providing services for the camp, but is not really involved with issues of governance. UNRWA’s camp officer (in Arabic modir al-mokhyam – camp director), for example, is not really known to the public, making Yarmouk very different from other camps in Syria and elsewhere. However, the presence of UNRWA’s services in the camp is very important. With regard to education, UNRWA has 28 double-shifted schools, operating in 14 school buildings and accommodating 23,438 pupils. It also has three health centers providing 24,639 patient consultations per month, and a food distribution center for the special harsh cases. UNRWA’s Social Safety Net (SSN) program has benefited 17,470 individuals (6,464 families) and just last June, a Microcredit Community Support Program began operating in the camp. UNRWA also sponsors women’s centers and community rehabilitation centers. In contrast to UNRWA, which has historically recycled the old notability and has given them a leading role in the camp management in other fields (Gaza and West Bank), the Syrian authorities have been rather interested in creating a new elite, as we will see later on. The Syrians have used only extended family leaders for the function of mokhtar, which is often an officer who knows people, but has mostly a bureaucratic role without any significant power. This does not mean that the tribal and extended family structure does not exist. In May 2009, a man (originally from Ja’ouneh) was killed by someone from another neighborhood after the two had engaged in a dispute. The murder led to quarrelling between the two communities, prompting the Syrian police to intervene and maintain a heavy presence in the area for a month in order to protect the people living in the killer’s neighborhood (Safouriyya neighborhood) from possible reprisals. Such events are really rare in Yarmouk, as one policeman reported. Our interlocutors were surprised to find such a tribal solidarity suddenly revived in the camp. With poverty rates constantly increasing, the resulting instability and threatening circumstances cause kinship to take on new meaning. Mokhtars and religious sheikhs have played a leading role in relieving the tension, as we will see later on. The PLO’s popular organizations are also actors in the camp, also playing a minor role in governance. The Palestinian General Women’s Union was established in 1972 and local committees convened in each of the refugee camps. After the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, the Union provided relief assistance (food, clothing and shelter) to Palestinians who fled Lebanon and came to the camps in Damascus. In 1983, the Palestinian dissident factions in Syria gradually took over from the outlawed Fateh and Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) and established a ‘new union’ in the Yarmouk camp. However, the dissident factions enjoyed limited popular support (Brand 1988: 634). The Syrian branch of the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) is located in Yarmouk. It runs eight primary health care centers, three outpatient clinics and three hospitals, and provides services to registered and non-registered Palestinians, as

Governing the Palestinian refugee camps 43 well as to Syrians who are unable to afford health care. The PRCS also provides some social services, such as marketing refugees’ handicrafts (embroidery), finding Palestinians employment opportunities and providing some vocational training for women (PRCS Syria branch 2003 overview report). Palestinian factions are granted a restricted space for activism in the Syrian context, outside of the legal context, with the aim of intervening in intra-Palestinian political affairs inside and outside Syria, though this permissiveness is not equal for all factions. The Vanguard for the Popular Liberation War (al-Sa’iqa), as part of the Baath Party, is given full operating space, while Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Palestinian dissident factions (such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) and Fatah Uprising) are given much less, followed by the most restricted leftist organizations (PFLP, DFLP and the People’s Party). As for Fatah, Syrian authorities have required them to keep a low profile.16 Leaders of Palestinian factions complained that the youth are disinterested in joining their factions and many young interviewees confirm that. The PLO has kept some popular organizations relatively active in Syria, such as the Palestinian Youth Organization, the Palestinian Scout Association. The Syrian branch of the General Union of Palestine Workers (GUPW), which was founded in 1965, is not really active – it mainly just participates, with other Palestinian and Syrian unions, in celebrations or national festivities. The case of the Yarmouk camp shows that camps are not, per se, extra-territorial or subversive sites out of the state’s bounds, and neither do they inherently pose security threats. It is only when Palestinian refugees are subject to systemic discrimination and urban marginalization that their communities have become problematic from a security point of view. Syrian authority ensures formal and necessary structures of governance in the Yarmouk camp – structures that replaced the traditional elite composed of wajih (clan leaders) and sheikhs. Yarmouk camp is now part and parcel of the social fabric of Damascus. Even as the Yarmouk camp continues to display distinct administrative, social, demographic, political and economic features, its boundaries are increasingly blurred. The spatial integration of the camp with its surroundings became easier because of the general social and economic integration of the wider Palestinian community into Syrian society. For instance, marriages between Yarmouk camp dwellers and Syrians are not rare. Integration occurred because of enabling Syrian policies, societal acceptance of the refugees and because of Palestinians’ proactive efforts to insert themselves into their hosts’ urban, social and economic spheres. But what about the political space? In Syria, like in Jordan and Egypt, Palestinians experience numerous difficulties when attempting to participate in political activities and are widely considered to be interfering in internal and local affairs. Mourid Barghouthi noted in his biography that: the stranger is the person who renews his Resident Permit. He fills out forms and buys the stamps for them. He has come up with evidence and proofs. He does not care for the details that concern the people of the country where he

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Sari Hanafi finds himself or for their ‘domestic’ policy. But he is the first to feel its consequences. He may not rejoice in what makes them happy but he is always afraid when they are afraid. He is always an ‘infiltrating element’ in demonstrations, even if he never left his house that day. (Barghouthi 2003: 3)

However, in Syria (like in Lebanon and Jordan), the second Intifada has been the occasion for some Palestinian organizations to mobilize the Palestinian population in those countries.

Hamas: an Islamic governmentality17 So far this chapter has focused on the actors of institutional governance, whether they are a real sovereign or a phantom one (UNRWA) in both Lebanon and Syria. However, the absence of a formal structure of governance in Lebanon and the authoritarian nature of the state in Syria has encouraged other forms of governmentality. In Lebanon, after the departure of the PLO leadership in 1982, the existing popular and security committees were almost completely disabled by the Syrian– Lebanese military intelligence apparatus and replaced with pro-Syrian committees, which were weak, considered illegitimate and were virtually without their own financial resources. They were not permitted to develop their own effective police programs or to participate in legitimate security functions. Regarding the day-today regulation of behavior, therefore, camp residents resorted to new, informal and alternative structures of governance, self-policing and auto-conditioning to keep the peace and preserve order. The conservative Islamic environment of the camps, coupled with constant policing and surveillance by the factions, has thus far succeeded in deterring most of the sorts of crime that one might find in a similarly impoverished Lebanese neighborhood, though at the same time, it also seems to have enabled some of the factions themselves to commit other sorts of crimes. For example, as Nahr elBared residents are keen to point out, their society accepted Fatah al-Islam in their midst for several months, because the group appeared pious and was effective in preventing crime and promoting good Islamic behavior: ‘The camp is fertile ground and if you throw a seed there, it will grow on its own. The camp and the religious environment that the sheikhs talk about exists, and the conservative environment tends to dislike crime.’ Even more telling, however, were the words of one sheikh in the camp: I am one of those who approved of some of the accomplishments of Fatah al-Islam, when you consider dealing with the drunkards and the fact that our girls could come and go without anyone misbehaving with them. All this was positive. Many witnesses in NBC confirmed that some imams condoned the presence of Fatah al-Islam in the camp during their Friday sermons. For example, after two clashes between the population and Fatah al-Islam fighters in the spring of 2007,

Governing the Palestinian refugee camps 45 at least two imams interceded on behalf of Fatah al-Islam, as they were ‘pious faithful people’, reported residents. Islamist movements are, to some extent, welcomed in the camps for their ability to preserve the social order in the absence of other regulatory authorities. Because no Palestinian authority recognized by both Palestinians and Lebanese as legitimate and sovereign exists, Palestinians have been forced to adopt alternative – but less effective – ways of maintaining order in the camps. This phenomenon should be seen in parallel with the revival of a conservative Sunni Islam, also in recent years, in Lebanese cities neighboring the camps. In both Tripoli, near Nahr el-Bared and Beddawi, and in Sidon, near ‘Ayn al-Hilweh, groups such as Al-Jama‘a al-Islamiyya, the Muslim Brotherhood and several locally established Salafist groups have been competing with municipal authorities, and to a lesser extent, with secular camp leaders, for bases of social support. One youth from Beddawi commented on this: There are schools in Tripoli, and there are many students from the camp who study at these schools, such as Al-Hidaya al-Islamiyya of Sheikh Abdullah al-Shahhal and Al-Sahab Islamic Foundation, the schools of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Islamic University, which has now shifted to Hamas’s control. These new manifestations of a conservative and urban Islam in Lebanon, in such close proximity to the camps, have made a distinct impression on many Palestinians. By welcoming camp residents into their midst socially, by accepting Palestinians in their religious colleges and by popularizing conservative Saudi satellite media such as Irqa, Al-Majd and Al-Nass in their geographical locales, these actors have provided many Palestinians with new frames of reference to discuss their situations. As a result, more and more Palestinians have begun to turn to Islamic authorities rather than to the PLO or other political authorities for answers to their questions and for assistance. For example, as one focus group participant observed: ‘Regarding matters of marriage, divorce and problems between neighbors, even problems on a political level – all these have witnessed involvement by the imams of mosques, who have played a role in calming things down.’ Unable to turn to municipal or larger Palestinian authorities to solve their problems, camp residents have been compelled to seek mediation in highly individualized ways such as these. Camp residents have begun to rely more on shared notions of morality and ethics – particularly, Islamic ones (akhlaq) – to promote norms for acceptable behavior. As a result, sheikhs, imams, and other ‘morally sound’ persons, like the wujaha’, have been granted much of the authority that, 20 years prior, belonged to secular political organizations such as the PLO. In Syria, politics is monopolized by the state (Wedeen 1999: 45), with the Baath Party ensuring the de-politicization of the population, especially the Islamists. In this context, it is not easy for a Palestinian faction such as Hamas to carry out political activities. But the regime and the Islamist faction have made a clear deal: as long as Hamas politics conforms to Syrian foreign policy, Hamas is afforded political space (Blin 2008: 48). Hamas mobilizes a community of believers through mosques to financially support its actions of resistance and assistance to Palestinians

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under occupation. This effort has borne some fruit, as Syrian businesspeople have shown their generosity toward Hamas. Moreover, despite Hamas’ arrangement with the Syrian authorities, Hamas still plays a role in framing the Islamist opposition outside the camps (Blin 2008: 59). Syrian citizens now attend Hamas rallies and festivities inside the Yarmouk camp. Indeed, the camp has become a central place in Syrian internal politics. However, Hamas primarily invests its limited political capital through social channels, rather than overtly political ones. As a result, while the municipality manages the camp, Islamic governmentality occupies the social arena. Hamas’ social power extends not only to a fundamental (i.e. moral and world-view) level, but also in more concrete terms in the form of real control and surveillance. Hamas and the official Syrian brand of Islam (promoted through channels such as the Assad Institute for Memorialization of the Quran) have thereby become the major actors in such governmentality. Hamas is not only a movement of national liberation but also of religious re-socialization (Le Grand, cited by Blin 2008). For instance, Hamas regularly sponsors mass weddings. At one recent Yarmouk ceremony, 382 couples were wed. Palestinian grooms wore religious scarves and held Palestinian flags as they sat together before 10,000 attendees. Such weddings aim to help young couples deal with high marriage expenses that force many to delay matrimony. In both countries, Syria and Lebanon, Hamas has also created organizations that parallel the PLO’s popular committee and many PLO-sponsored activities. In this sense, specific interpretations of Islam – not just shari‘a but also ikhlaq (morals) – appear to have begun to function as ‘mentalities of governance’, or governmentalities, for camp residents. Anthropologist Michael Jensen, in conducting fieldwork on a Hamas soccer team in Gaza, observed how ‘the creation of sound Muslims at the individual level’ was accomplished through the physical conditioning of one’s body through sport; it was this ‘care of the self’ that marked one as an Islamist (Jensen 2009: 5). The soccer players with whom Jensen interacted also adopted new styles of dress and new ways of talking about themselves, morally distinct from other Palestinians in Gaza. It is, as Rose reminds us, ‘through self-reformation, therapy, techniques of body alteration, and the calculated reshaping of speech and emotion, we adjust ourselves by means of the techniques propounded by experts of the soul’ (Rose 1990: 10). Islamism, as articulated by Hamas, literally as a science of the soul, has transformed the way many Palestinians, especially young men, construct their sense of self. It has brought to the forefront the idea that an ‘economy of morals’ can order societies in the absence of traditional hierarchies. The accumulation of moral capital thus becomes a way of standing out, of setting oneself apart from one’s peers and ultimately even a way of commanding respect and authority in the camp.

Conclusion: three models of governance In this chapter, I posited two general theses. First, while in Syria, the state has normalized the space-camp and has treated it as any residential area, in Lebanon, there

Governing the Palestinian refugee camps 47 is an endemic crisis of governance in Palestinian refugee camps. Rampant factionalism, clientelism, sectarian strife, oppressive Lebanese security and surveillance and a lack of central administrative and juridical Palestinian authority continue to prevent Palestinians from establishing effective governance structures. Second, in this near-absence of conventional governance, alternative governmentalities have emerged among camp populations, which to a remarkable degree, have succeeded in regulating camp residents’ behavior. I contended that these governmentalities have helped ensure the daily functioning of the camps and have contributed to the rise and spread of Islamism. Hamas governmentality is the main Islamic governmentality in the camps but not the only one. Yarmouk and Ayn al-Hilweh camps were also one of the niches from which Zarqawi in Iraq recruited his fighters, as Fatah al-Islam did later. However, these recruits did not necessarily believe in global jihadi ideology embodied by al-Qaeda, but rather adopted new modes of action and tactics. Our interviews with some men who fought with al-Qaeda in Iraq showed clearly that they oppose the American project in the region and not Western values. These marginalized, educated, (lower) middle-class individuals – not of the disenfranchised poor – are mainly only loosely tied to al-Qaeda or merely sympathetic to its ideas. In other words, a protracted defeated context intertwined with a conservative Islam widely disseminated through Saudi TV channels, the influence of the mosques and the political discourse of Islamist groups (including Hamas and Jihad) all constitute a backdrop that enables an easy shift from regular citizen to insurgent for a global cause, fighting Israeli-American domination in the region. This chapter has shown rather three models of camps governmentalities: the normalization of the Syrian camps versus a presence model of exclusion and absence of the formal governance in Lebanese camps and the more subtle future model of governance based in the sophisticated form of control and surveillance. In Syria, in spite of the fact that camps are considered and perceived by the official discourse of Syrian authority as a distinct political entity, the same authority has unofficially acceded to the camp’s spatial normalization, a de facto reality demonstrated by the residents’ everyday life. This does not mean that Palestinians in Yarmouk have abandoned their ties with Palestine or their claim of the right of return. Walls in this camp are covered in iconography referring to Palestine, martyrdom and the resistance. Khadija Fadhel (2008) talked about the double games of actors, be they Syrian or Palestinian. That Yarmouk is not technically an ‘official’ camp is an example of how the game is played. This double game is better expressed in how the Syrian authority labels Palestinians’ Syrian identification cards ‘temporary ID for unlimited period.’ This does not mean that Palestinians in Syria feel what Cambrézy (2001) called ‘temporal incertitude’. Social actors that we interviewed read the power structure in the region perfectly well. While they continue to claim the right of return, they are establishing themselves in the camp as if it were their permanent dwelling. In Lebanon to understand the presence and the future model of governance, I will draw upon the work of Foucault (1995: 198–200) and Shamir (2009). Foucault invokes two modalities of power that rose between the seventeenth and the end of

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eighteenth centuries in response to the treatment of lepers and the plague. Leprosy was treated by the logic of segregation, exclusion and ‘great confinement’. Lepers were excluded from the city and locked away in leper colonies through laws and regulations and rendered invisible through ‘exile enclosure’ and left to their deaths in a mass among which it was useless to differentiate. In contrast, as a contagious disease that spreads rapidly and kills many people, the plague set off new forms of response, based on spatial partitioning, i.e. multiple separations and individualizing treatment. Quarters, streets and housing were under close scrutiny, surveillance and control. Each resident should present themselves to inspectors. Segmentation prompted the rise of bio-politics where statistics aid governments in refining control and surveillance techniques. Both the separation of lepers and the segmentation from the plague are techniques from the Middle Ages, but unfortunately they persist in modern treatment of ‘undesirable’ populations. Refugee camps in Lebanon are treated a spaces needing surveillance, as well as spaces of exception and exclusion. Nowadays area is ordered, divided and managed by strict enclosures. The new governance model, which is based primarily on counterinsurgency policing the camp, is a way of treating the camp like a plague-stricken city in the Middle Ages. Governance becomes a way of moving from a leper stricken-city where the affected should be invisible to a state of hyper-visibility, where everyone is a potential suspect who will be registered when they enter and watched while inside the camp.

Acknowledgments I would like to thank the Issam Fares Institute at American University of Beirut who provided the funding for this research. Special thanks to Nizar Chaaban for conducting part of the interviews in Nahr el-Bared.

Notes 1 For more details about the articulation of the two levels of governance see Hanafi and Long (2010). 2 Some CBOs are mainly youth centers, women’s centers as well as rehabilitation centers for people with disabilities. They were created by UNRWA in the 1980s but now are quasi-financially independent. 3 In many camps, the social role of NGOs is much more important than that of the political factions. However, some of these NGOs are connected to the political factions. Interviewees reported a climate of mistrust towards the NGOs. Meanwhile, Hamas is increasingly playing a social role in the camps. 4 However, fearing the Israeli reaction, in the Palestinian Territory UNRWA avoid appointing people marked politically. 5 Some parts of this section have been co-authored written with Ismael Sheikh Hassan see Hanafi and Sheikh Hasan (2009). 6 These NGOs included: a community-managed women’s program center, a youth center and a number of NGOs active in Nahr el-Bared, including Al-Najda, Beit Atfal alSumud, Ghassan Kanafani Cultural Foundation, the Khaldieh National Association and Community-based Rehabilitation Programme for the disabled. 7 See Knudsen (Chapter 6, this volume).

Governing the Palestinian refugee camps 49 8 In addition document requests donor funds (to the amount of 5 million US dollars) for ‘capacity building and technical assistance to the (Lebanese) Internal Security Forces (ISF) aimed at introducing community and proximity policing into NBC’ (p. 48). 9 For more details see http://police.homeoffice.gov.uk/community-policing/neighbourhoodpolicing/?version=3 (accessed February 24, 2010). 10 Eventually, the popular committee refused to be part of that project. The major reason was the conviction that such projects were designed to undermine them and empower the municipality. 11 Palestinians are subject to many taxes related to trade and employment like other Lebanese. 12 Although most Palestinians receive their primary and preparatory education at UNRWA schools, they continue their secondary school education in Syrian government schools. Enrolment in Syrian universities and institutes is open to Palestinians, who are treated like Syrians (Brand 1988: 623). 13 Palestinian refugees in Syria have the right to own more than one business or commercial enterprise as well as the right to lease properties. These rights extend to trade and commerce. Membership in professional associations and labor unions is also open to Palestinians. 14 Palestinians do not require work permits – they may work in the government, and men must undertake military service (in the Palestine Liberation Army under the Syrian Command). 15 Fafo has cooperated with the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics in Syria (PCBSDamascus, which is under the authority of the PCBS-Ramallah) on research on Palestinian refugees in Syria. A multi-topic household survey in all refugee camps and a number of other areas where Palestinian refugees reside was carried out in 2003. 16 Syria’s 1976 intervention in Lebanon led to clashes between the PLO and the Syrian military forces in Lebanon, and in 1983, Syria attempted to control almost all the Palestinian factions but specifically Fatah. 17 Part of this section has been written with Taylor Long (see Hanafi and Long 2010).

3

Palestinian camp refugee identifications A new look at the ‘local’ and the ‘national’ Rosemary Sayigh

Introduction The term ‘identity’ has been much used in studies of Palestinians. After the Resistance movement emerged in the late 1960s, Palestinian national identity possessed such forceful self-evidentiality that scholars tended to take it for granted, and to neglect what might be contained within, or suppressed by, the powerful new ‘Palestinianism’. Given the Israeli drive to erase the Palestinians as a people with a history and a territory, re-constructing a strong form of Palestinian identity from its pre-1948 latency seemed as necessary in academic writing as it was on the political level. In retrospect it is clear that assumptions of the homogeneity and stability of a Palestinian national identity ignored its original pluralism, variation introduced by diaspora and – most importantly – change over time in reaction to crisis at the local or national level. Such neglect deflected attention from other identities contained within the dominant national one, not only forms that preceded the Nakba, such as attachment to locality,1 but also new ones arising out of exile, for example Resistance group affiliations. Assumptions of the stability of ‘Palestinianism’ left little space for considering divergences produced by prolonged dispersion, whether through shifts in the international or Arab environment of the Resistance movement, changes in leadership policies, the emergence of new Resistance factions (e.g. Hamas) or the paralysis of national representative institutions such as the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian National Council (PNC). The starting point of this chapter is that the term ‘identity’ as used by activists and scholars is problematic theoretically and politically. Theoretically it assumes a degree of unification that does not exist. Politically it gives a false assurance of unity that contributes its share to the current crisis in the national movement. Shorn of such assurance, activists would feel pressured to build programmes to reconstruct identification as Palestinians, and give this identification a more democratic, more socially inclusive substance. Whereas the PLO (established in 1964) unified and mobilized Palestinians throughout the diaspora and class spectrum, the post-Oslo leadership has weakened the PLO as a unifying and representative body, reinforcing separation between diasporic regions, Resistance group affiliations and socio-economic interests. The largest population sector, the diaspora refugees, remains outside the National Authority (NA) framework, hence it is disenfranchised

Palestinian camp refugee identifications 51 (Aruri 2001; Gassner 2001). Moreover the class gap between the political elite and the people of, or from, the camps has widened since 1995. Though the idea of a common national identity still possesses a certain unifying force, it no longer mobilizes for common aims or struggle. In this situation, alternative vehicles of popular nationalism become strategically important. The ‘local’ may express the ‘national’ more persistently than the political leadership; local communities may take on the role of giving substance to a largely rhetorical ‘Palestinianism’.2 Historically, a strong attachment to locality of origin characterizes Palestinian refugees in general, evidenced by home visits whenever circumstances permit (Sayigh 2005). Among camp populations this attachment has remained especially strong, partly because of the initial re-assembly of family- and locality-based units when camps were first set up (al-Hajj ‘Ali 2007), and because of the marginality of camp refugees in the host societies. At the same time attachments to individual camps have formed over the four or five generations that exile has lasted, showing up in the publication of camp histories.3 Specific conditions in each of the regions where camps exist (the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon) have also given rise to a ‘Palestinianism’ strongly coloured by regional specificity.4 Within Palestinian nationalism, Resistance group affiliation has produced identifications that have been described as ‘like membership of a family’, generating often violent competition. Perhaps the most serious divergence in Palestinian identification is the ‘insider’/‘outsider’ boundary produced by the Oslo Accords, since this introduces a concrete difference of interests that previously was merely latent. The contemporary split between secular nationalists and Islamists poses a further challenge to the idea of a dominant and unifying Palestinian identity. Identification matters because an unachieved nationalism is likely to repress alternative group identifications that could contribute to an open and pluralist society. We can discern two models of socio-political schemata where national liberation movements are concerned, the ‘bounded/organicist’ and the ‘open/pluralist’.5 The PLO’s early adoption of ‘democratic centralism’ as an organizing template committed a future Palestinian society to the ‘organicism’ model, with its tendency towards the control rather than representation of subaltern groups.6 Though the PLO included in its structure ‘popular organizations’ such as the Workers’ Union, these bodies were controlled by a central office. Periodic elections of the unions’ administrative committees were managed according to the ‘quota’ system representing the Resistance groups, regardless of their membership size, and giving Fateh priority (Hilal 1993: 53). After the PLO’s evacuation from Lebanon in 1982, these frameworks of popular activism declined because of lack of public funds and the distancing of the PLO leadership in Tunis (Hilal 1993: 50–1). The ‘democratic centralist’ model was retained after Oslo while being de-activated at the popular level. Inside the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) the space between individual voters and the NA was virtually emptied of all collectivities except the Legislative Council and licensed non-governmental organizations (NGOs), while formations that had played a central mobilizing role in the First Intifada were dismantled (Hilal 1993: 54). Arafat reduced the PLO to an office in Ramallah without real functions, and in 1997 dissolved the popular unions. Thus the sequels to the Oslo

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Accords left Palestinians outside the West Bank/Gaza Strip with merely symbolic representation (Nabulsi 2006: 7, 8). However understandable during the liberation struggle, prioritization of the national contains the danger of post-independence dictatorship, one-party rule or state patronage under the cover of elections (Brynen 1995). The more difficult a national struggle is, the more the national is emphasized, and the less likely it is to include social justice, popular representation or group rights among its aims. Such regimes are difficult to reform precisely because they inherit the legitimacy of national struggle. Studies of Third World liberation struggles have shown that after the establishment of a state, collectivities formed during the struggle are often sidelined or incorporated into the state in ways that deprive them of independence.7 It is within this vista that the concept of ‘group rights’ takes on political as well as theoretical importance. ‘Group rights’ may be seen as a stronger guarantee of post-liberation social justice than the always-transgressed liberal promise of individual citizen rights (Isin and Wood 1999: 67–9). The concept of ‘group rights’ invokes a recognition of the rights to representation of collectivities intermediate between the individual and the state, besides those conventionally recognized as forming ‘civil society’. Groups self-formed through struggles for redistribution or recognition (ranging from independent unions to heterodox sexualities) need to be admitted into the future nation to protect it from an excessive and narrowly focused nationalism that lends itself to leadership manipulation. The theory of ‘group rights’ goes beyond neo-liberal notions of ‘group interests’ to embrace identifications that express class, ethnic, gender or other subalternities. In political terms, the ‘group rights’ concept offers a counter to self-appointed, self-reproducing elites.8 An attempt to differentiate between categories of the Palestinian refugee is called for here. Discarding classic definitions of the ‘refugee’ as one who seeks sanctuary beyond national borders, as well as the legal definition of the ‘Palestinian refugee’ adopted in UN discourse (Takkenberg 1998), we may discriminate between all those who were expelled outside the borders of what in 1948 became Israel – more appropriately termed ‘expellees’ – and that sub-set of ‘expellees’ compelled by dependence on aid to seek the shelter of camps that were located inside as well as outside historic Palestine. A related category consists of the ‘internally displaced persons’ who remained inside that part of Palestine that became Israel during the expulsions of 1948, but were not allowed to return to their homes.9 While we cannot speak of either category of ‘refugee’ as a class, camp-based refugees are separated by limitations of status and opportunity from those whom we may name ‘diasporic refugees’, freed by initial material or symbolic resources for a wider mobility in terms of space and social status. Most diasporic refugees now have alternatives citizenships, professional employment and are more or less integrated into host societies. In socio-economic status, they range from middle class to wealthy, while in terms of subjective identification they tend towards a cosmopolitanism coloured by variants of ‘Palestinianism’. In camps, average incomes are lower than that both for host society nationals and for Palestinians living outside camps. Beyond poverty, however, camp Palestinians are subject to stereotyping, social exclusion and limited social mobility. Marked by the stigma of dependence, camp residence

Palestinian camp refugee identifications 53 raises quasi-class barriers between Palestinians and ‘host’ populations even when they share national identity, as in the West Bank and Gaza. Camp-based Palestinians tend to identify themselves simply as ‘Palestinian’.10 This chapter will put forward three kinds of evidence for an emergent national– local, status-group identification based in camp residence: (1) testimonies from two camps under attack and siege, one in Lebanon (Shatila, May–June 1985), the other in the West Bank (Jenin, March–April 2002); (2) examples of ‘self-organization’ from camps in the West Bank and Lebanon; and (3) recorded group discussions in Palestinian communities carried out in 2004–5 (Nabulsi 2006). I will suggest from this evidence that camp-based refugees form a distinct element within national resistance, a collectivity with a latent group-consciousness that overlaps with, but is distinct from, the larger ensemble of diasporic refugees. From here I will argue that the cultural and practical characteristics of this ‘local–national’ offers crucial support to the ‘national’ in times of crisis such as the present, and that camp refugees have ‘group rights’ – even if still not fully articulated – that entitle them to representation in national institutions, in settlement negotiations and in a future Palestinian polity.

Camps as the basis of identification: siege records11 Shatila camp The Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 left the Palestinian camps subject to three different military–political forces: the Israeli army in the South, the Syrian army in the North and Bekaa, and the Lebanese army in the larger Beirut area. After the expulsion of the Lebanese army from West Beirut in February 1984 by a coalition of sectarian militias – the Druze-based PSP, Shi’ite-based Amal and Sunni-based Murabitoun – the camps of Beirut came under the control of this coalition (Sayigh 1994: 125–56). In April 1985 Amal disposed of the Murabitoun in a brief battle and in mid-May, on the first day of Ramadan, it launched a surprise attack against the Shatila and Daouk camps, just outside the border of the Beirut municipality.12 The people of the camp had no expectation of a military offensive and received no ultimatum. There were no heavy or medium weapons in the camps, no public stocks of food or medical supplies, nothing but what small stores and individual households might contain. For defence, there were just a few semi-trained civilian fighters. This state of unpreparedness, lack of trained Resistance group fighters and slightness of communication with outside leaderships distinguished the Siege of Ramadan from the others that followed. The small unofficial camp of Daouk (often referred to as ‘Sabra’) was soon overrun, but Shatila camp people living nearby managed to fight off the attackers in spite of the camp’s small size (less than one square kilometre) and its exposure to snipers and Army artillery on higher ground. From the narratives of the siege there emerges a sense of a ‘people’s victory’, based on resourcefulness, community solidarity and ‘Palestinianism’. One who testified was Abu Mustafa, a member of the camp’s popular committee:

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Rosemary Sayigh All our fighters were sons of the camp, young men who hadn’t been trained in the time of the Resistance, 80 per cent schoolboys who hadn’t held a Klashin in their hands before, the reserves of the reserves. . . . Most of the arms we used we took from the enemy. They shelled us with 120mm artillery shells. Some didn’t explode. The shabab would take out the detonator and use them against the attackers. We didn’t have artillery; instead we used liquid gas containers with home-made detonators. . . . The battle succeed in unifying our ranks in the camp. There was no son of Fatah, no son of the Popular Front or Democratic Front. Everyone was fighting for himself and his camp. . . . We weren’t expecting this confrontation, we lacked many of the most necessary things. This forced us to invent new ways of struggle. We used bedspreads and pillow covers to make sandbags. We needed cotton for wounds so we took it from pillow cases. We couldn’t take our martyrs out for burial, we used the mosque as a cemetery. . . . It was like the Paris Commune. (Sayigh 1994: 236–8)

It is striking that Abu Mustafa, himself a Resistance group cadre, picks out the absence of factional competition for praise and underlines that ‘everyone was fighting for himself and the camp’. In another context, he described how refugees from Shatila ‘are drawn to return to the camp, and to stay among familiar people and customs. The camp is our only country’ (Sayigh 1994: 278). The trope of ‘camps as Palestine’ is common among the more politicized, more militant element of camp populations, in opposition to emigration aspirations. As a concept it connects camps across borders and forms a central element in a latent camp-identification we can hear even when overlaid by ‘official’ nationalist discourse. Civilians played an essential a part in the defence of Shatila as well as the other besieged camps. Old or young, female or male, there was almost universal participation in digging tunnels, making sandbags, providing food for the fighters and caring for the wounded. Abu Mustafa remarks how supplies were shared by all: From the first day of the siege, all the institutions of the camp, public or private, were collectivized. . . . We collected all the flour from the homes, baked bread in the public bakery, and distributed bread equally to everyone, in shelters, in homes and in the bases. . . . Money had no value during the siege, there was no buying and selling. Defense was for all and homes were for all. . . . All were equal. . . . Every home was on the front line. (Sayigh 1994: 254–5) It is evident from the Shatila siege testimonials that it was ordinary people – lowranking cadres, young men and women, housewives, children – who were main agents of resistance, putting whatever resources they had into defence of the community as a whole. Young women were particularly active. Samia describes the tasks they undertook during the third, five-month siege:

Palestinian camp refugee identifications 55 [W]e started digging trenches. It was mainly the job of girls because the fighters can’t stay digging for twenty four hours. Often we dug at night because the shelling then was slightly less. . . . Twenty women were martyred and around twenty more were wounded. Our comrade Diba Masriyyeh lost an eye. It was we girls who brought flour from the Political Office to the bakery and it was our job to prepare dough for the organizations. . . . In addition, we shared in social work as part of the women’s union. One of our jobs was to distribute milk powder to children; another was the distribution of supplies. . . . Active girls had other roles. They sat with families in the shelters and encouraged them because at the end people began to despair. They felt that the battle would never end and that everyone would die. (Sayigh 1994: 310) Um Ahmad was one of those who shared bread with others: We had stocks but there were other people who had nothing. We said it’s a shame that we are eating and they aren’t, so we gave a little food, here and there. We had 300 kilos of flour; we thought the siege is bound to end before we finish it; so when I baked, I gave people who had no bread two or three loaves. Every day I baked 70 to 80 loaves. . . . Then the flour finished but the siege went on. (Sayigh 1994: 295) In his celebration speech as the five-month siege ended, Abu Mujahed, one of the camp’s civilian leaders, stamped Shatila as site of resistance by saying that it was ‘a thorn in the flesh of all who conspire against it’, a metaphor that draws on a Palestinian rural language of resistance. Abu Mujahed recounts a significant moment in the final days of the third siege of Shatila, when starvation was causing despair, that shows how resistance – normally targeted against Israel – can shift into the mode of internal opposition. The internal leadership decided to start its own media campaign, aimed primarily at the Palestinian leadership outside, which was taking its time in negotiating an end to the siege. Abu Mujahed again said: ‘The word coming down from the leadership outside was not to take any action that could harm political contacts . . . [but] we had reached zero point with no choice left except a military operation [outside the camp]’ (Sayigh 1994: 315, 316). At this critical point, the survival of the local community was pitted against the ‘strategic’ aims of the leadership. This anecdote suggests the oppositional potential inherent in local resistance: the people of Shatila were ready to ‘defend the camp with our bodies’, but not to die of starvation waiting for the leadership outside to reach a better deal with Syria. Jenin camp In spite of temporal and contextual differences between the sieges of Shatila and Jenin,13 certain common themes can be heard in the testimonials of the survivors that

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suggest that the people of the camps are in the process of producing a latent ‘oppositional consciousness’. Among the most important is a cluster of ideas around the local camp/community: its equivalence to Palestine; its capacity for self-organized resistance; its status as place embodying refugee rights; and its character as a local community framing familiar actions and relationships. Survivors of the siege of Jenin (April 2002) insisted on the importance of staying in Jenin and of restoring the camp to exactly how it was: ‘We want the camp as it was: our harat . . . the families, the people. We want to return’ (Tabar 2007: 14). Even young children express the desire to return to homes in the camp (Tabar 2007: 33). The desire to return and rebuild mingles defiance of the destroyer with attachment to a place where one belongs:14 When I enter the camp I feel a sense of joy. I feel a peace of mind, I feel at ease with my neighbours, the people I have lived with . . . The life that you live, you love to keep living it. Humdul’illah, I am still living in the camp. (Tabar 2007: 16) Tabar writes of the ‘efficacity of small acts’ as part of what constitutes a community and its capacity to live again after siege and devastation. This recalls the way Um Ahmad of Shatila offered bread to neighbours during the third siege of Shatila, and how young women ‘sat with families in the shelters and encouraged them because at the end people began to despair’. Individual acts such as that of the mother of a Jenin martyr, who refuses to change the dress she was wearing when her son was killed, will be re-told until it becomes a collective story of popular resistance. Here the dichotomy between ‘act’ and ‘discourse’ is broken down. Tabar’s idea of the ‘banality’ of speech through which siege stories are recounted is valuable in reminding us that such stories are not merely testimonials produced for outsiders, but part of a process through which cataclysmic violence is lived through and familiar life-ways re-installed. Episodes of siege such as those of Shatila and Jenin are revealing because they create a time of trauma that frees camp people to criticize the national leadership for its ‘deals and compromises’, a critique compounded by the inequality between their lives and those of the national elite.15 Also almost every member of these besieged camps is activated and finds a necessary role as agent of defence. This re-identification lasts after the ending of the siege in rituals of mourning and the small acts that restore ‘normal’ life. Another common feature is what Tabar calls the ‘heterotopic’ character of Jenin besieged, as a place of marginality where ‘counter-narratives’ within nationalist discourse may be produced and from which a different future can be imagined, just as Abu Mustafa describes the first siege of Shatila as a time when ‘money had no value’ and ‘all were equal’, expressing his desire for a Palestinian society characterized by social justice. This is one reason why the poorer strata of Palestinians have perceived with bitterness the privileges gained from the Oslo Accords by the political elite. Another common feature of these camp siege testimonies is the critique they contain of intra-Resistance competition, shared even by faction members. Abu

Palestinian camp refugee identifications 57 Mustafa’s comment that ‘There was no son of Fatah, no son of the Popular Front or Democratic Front. Everyone was fighting for himself and his camp’ is clear as a critique of factional competition.16 Tabar quotes a similar comment by a local Jenin cadre: ‘after the invasion of Jenin, my first priority is the people here in the camp and the other factions in Jenin, over and above the political party’. Criticism of the national leadership is expressed obliquely in the Shatila siege testimonials in the threat to conduct a military operation outside the camp. Tabar also notes such a contrast in quoting a local leader: The lesson of the resistance in Jenin is not that we cannot resist Israel. We are a people with small means and limited capabilities, but we were able to stand up to the army. This achievement can be replicated. But we need a better leadership. What happened in Jenin was a result of the unity of the factions in Jenin and the trust of the families; this resulted in the steadfastness of the camp and enabled the fighters to resist the invasion. (Tabar 2007: 22) The words of people in Shatila and Jenin, recorded in a moment of trauma after violent attack, reveal a sense of living the ‘national’ in a way that the Palestinian political elite does not. Tabar (2007: 10) notes that ‘[i]n the aftermath of the local resistance to defend Jenin camp against Israeli invasion, a palpable tension and animosity were expressed within the camp towards the Palestinian Resistance leadership for their inaction during the invasion’.17 It is in such exceptional times that people express feelings suppressed by the routines of everyday life, revealing moments of collective appropriation of positive, self-ascribed identifications as ‘real Palestinians’ and as ‘people of the camps’. Moments of self-organization in the camps in the absence of a national strategy attest to positive identifications. Further research at the camp and local community level would surely reveal many different ways that ‘Palestinianism’ is embodied through initiatives that restore, if only momentarily, identification as ‘Palestinians’, ‘strugglers’ and ‘revolutionaries’ that the Resistance movement transmitted at its beginning. Defence of the camps against attack may be seen as too ‘natural’ to be evidence of a capacity for self-organization with a national resonance, but this argument ignores the question of the cultural and historical origins of the capacities of local communities to organize themselves.

Self-organization in the camps The people of the camps have been viewed by scholars primarily through the frame of dominant institutions – United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the host government and the PLO. This perspective deflects attention from occasions when camp people acted/act on their own, without external direction. The effacement of local activism is also a by-product of a national discourse that categorizes the camps as markers of the Nakba, areas of ‘need’ and redemptive social work and

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as targets of recruitment. Grass-roots political actions are rarely observed by outsiders, not because they do not occur but because the gaze of most people, whether scholars or activists, is fixed upon the words and actions of national movement figureheads, viewed as constituting the national-political. It is symptomatic of the extent to which camp people have been objectified that their right to a group voice has neither been recognized nor claimed, nor are they represented as a category within the PLO ‘umbrella’. Though often claimed as the key to a regional settlement, refugees and their rights have been conceived by the national leadership as a bargaining counter rather than as a distinct social group to whom political recognition is due. When the PNC set up a Directorate of Palestinian Refugee Affairs in 1964, it was with management rather than representative functions.18 Instances of self-organization in camp communities have often been short-lived because of host government repression, but nonetheless deserve attention as bases for work towards normalizing and humanizing the camps and towards restoring a sense of agency to their inhabitants. Research in NGO newsletters, camp websites or oral testimonies would certainly reveal a host of examples self-organization. For example, in the 1950s, before the PLO’s formation, the people of the camps in Lebanon (and probably elsewhere) were forming clubs and naming them after villages and towns in Palestine.19 This use of names to establish connection with Palestine was carried out spontaneously, in the absence of a national movement. More recent cases may be cited, for example the popular meeting in the Far’ah camp (West Bank) in December 1995, an action that gave birth to the ‘Haq al-Awda’ (Right of Return) movement.20 Convened before the elections for the Legislative Council in 1996, the Far’ah camp meeting opposed Arafat’s plan to amalgamate the camps into municipalities for voting purposes, and was thus significant as an early act of resistance to the NA, and as a claim to refugee ‘group rights’ (Shaqqura 1995). It was followed by other meetings in West Bank camps during which a resolution was taken to form popular regional refugee councils inside and outside OPT, which would elect delegates to a Higher Council representing refugee rights.21 This development was cut short in 2000 by Israeli violence and closure, but its initiation forced the Palestinian National Authority and political factions to take account of it. Linked to attrition of the PLO as a representative/unifying national institution,22 the Right of Return movement has grown into an international coalition with affiliated groups in most Arab and Western countries. Though it has not so far called for the inclusion of camp refugees as a specific group with rights to representation in settlement negotiations and national institutions, such a step is within the logic of its aims and its support basis in the camps. A writing off of popular refugee mobilization because it has not yet modified the ‘givens’ of the Palestinian struggle would be to ignore the potentialities of what is happening on the ground, where micro-resistance continues without national leadership direction. Protest against the ‘Separation Wall’ in the West Bank is local-based, not part of a campaign organized by the NA or the Resistance parties. In a similar way, demonstrations in camps in Lebanon, whether protesting the Israeli siege of Gaza, or commemorating the Nakba, are organized under local or

Palestinian camp refugee identifications 59 loose inter-camp direction. Since the establishment of the NA in OPT, innumerable national activities have been held throughout the diaspora without reference to the national leadership. Another instance of independent grass-roots action took place in 2002, at the time of the Legislative Council elections in the West Bank/Gaza Strip. A social activist in the Bourj al-Shemali camp (South Lebanon) devised the idea of a ‘refugee poll’ aimed at demonstrating to the NA that ‘outsider’ refugees would not accept permanent disenfranchisement. A plan was developed to select candidates and set up polling booths in every camp in Lebanon. Though the project failed to get beyond the planning stage, partly because of non-support from political forces, the ‘refugee poll’ nonetheless points to the possibilities of camp self-organization. This action should be viewed in the context of calls in France, Belgium and Jordan for diaspora refugees to claim the right to participate in elections.23 The Internet offers an effective tool of mobilization to such initiatives, even if still not yet fully utilized. A further instance of self-organization comes from the Shatila camp where in mid-2005 a popular committee was formed through a process of election. Camp residents in Lebanon have long accused the popular committees of corruption and ineffectiveness. Early in 2005, some residents of the camp claiming non-affiliation with any faction reached agreement to organize the election of a popular committee that would represent the camp’s residents rather than the Resistance groups. They carefully set up the rules and stages of the elections: everyone over the age of 16 could vote; everyone over the age of 20 could stand for election as long as he/she was unaffiliated and of good character. The Lejnet Ahali al-Mukhayem (Committee of the Families of the Camp) was duly elected and began to deal with chronic problems such as lack of electricity and clean drinking water.24 Its activities could not continue after political pressures forced six members to resign, but the story of its brief existence clearly points to the desire of local camp communities for more authentic representation, as well as to their ability to plan and carry out elections independently. Any approach to the ‘local’ today must pass through the radiating prism of the Internet. The reach of the Internet to camps was limited at first by poor infrastructure and the cost of computers, but by 2003 access had become available to a fairly large segment of camp people through NGO social centers, internet cafes and personal computer possession (Aouragh 2008). The Internet has enhanced transnational communication between camps, as well as between camps and solidarity groups outside. Many networks have been created specifically to connect diasporic Palestinian communities. Maktoob, Lajee, the Badil and Haq al-Awda coalition, the Across Borders Project, Rafah-Today, Out of Country Voting and Children from Shatila are only a few of such re-connecting webservs. In Lebanon, the Bourj al-Shemali and Nahr el-Bared camps have set up websites that offer local news, connection with widely dispersed family segments and database resources used by journalists and researchers.25 The Internet offers the people of the camps not only an escape from immobility but also a means through which to form common stances and claim a voice in national policy (Khalili 2005; Aouragh 2008).

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The Civitas report The Civitas project used participatory methods to initiate discussions with Palestinian refugees in more than ten Arab countries as well as 13 non-Arab countries, publishing their viewpoints in 2006 under the title Palestinians Register.26 Attachment to the PLO as sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people is widely expressed, but most speakers follow up by insisting on the need for reform of the PLO as well as its revival. Reform is associated with elections and these are called for at every level of the PLO, from the PNC down to camp popular committees. Calls for the election of popular committees have a strong basis in camp opinion, especially in Lebanon, and have been manifested in attempts to replace them such as the one described above. A typical statement regarding the PLO is this: Some people don’t trust the PLO. Let us be outspoken here. There is corruption in the PLO. Also, by not representing all the spectrum, and different forces, it has resulted in separating people from the PLO. So what is basically needed is first to reform the PLO, then to activate the institutions, and then to have the participation of all the people in it. (Nabulsi 2006: 42)27 A popular desire for authentic representation through elections is evident throughout the Civitas report. Speakers express their discontent with the ambassadors appointed by the president of the NA, accused by practically all the communities of doing nothing to represent or help them. A more widespread discontent is expressed with higher levels of the NA/PLO and with local popular committees, accused of corruption and nepotism. But the most reiterated demand is for elections to the PNC and an end to appointments. Indeed, elections are the single most demanded mechanism for reactivating the PLO,28 with several speakers alluding to the example of expatriate Iraqis voting in the elections of January 2005. Speakers are fertile with suggestions for re-activating the PLO, for example through ‘an independent and democratic refugee movement’, a ‘Palestinian Parliament’, a ‘popular conference’ and a ‘refugee council’ (Nabulsi 2006: 47, 59, 60, 187). They also call for the forming of elected local committees that can speak to the leadership and for stronger inter-community communication. Several speakers suggest that representation should be on a geographic rather than a factional basis as at present. Other suggestions reflect a desire to shift the political centre of gravity away from the NA towards the whole diaspora, in proposals such as forming elected local committees and stronger inter-community communications through radio and satellite channels. It is evident that a large proportion of Civitas project speakers are camp residents,29 while many of the exiles in the West are likely to have emigrated from camps. The many calls registered for the revitalization of the unions also point to a crystallizing of camp refugee consciousness, since the unions formed the main arena for the participation of camp refugees in national movement politics. Camp residence is associated with the right to vote by many speakers, for example this participant in a workers’ meeting in Baddawi camp (Lebanon):

Palestinian camp refugee identifications 61 [A]n election must be made to elect members in the camps to represent the Palestinian communities within the Palestinian National Council framework . . . We said that we want independent people to join the popular committees and speak in the name of independent people who don’t belong to certain factions . . . we want someone to represent us in the PLO, or more than one person, of course, in the National Council. (Nabulsi 2006: 61)

Conclusion Taken on their own, the testimonies of survivors of the sieges of Shatila and Jenin might be dismissed as too local and transient to have wider national meaning. Yet such an argument would minimize the truth released by trauma, as well as trauma’s power to stamp popular memory. The idea that the self-organization shown by the people of Shatila and Jenin under attack is an historically transmitted practice gains strength when related to other instances of camp self-organization in the absence of external authority. The participants assembled by the Civitas project, coming from non-elite strata – camps, popular unions, migrant communities – call for a reformed PLO that will not merely represent, but also include and enfranchise them. The degree of crisis reached in the national movement by mid-2008 is such that the institutions that Palestinians have struggled since 1948 to establish are threatened with constitutional collapse. In such a moment, camp communities assume a special importance in national politics first because they are linked to pre-1948 Palestine and commemorate the Nakba; second because most of their inhabitants have refugee identification cards and cannot melt into host country societies; and third because they have accumulated practices of surviving violence, rebuilding communities, claiming the rights of citizenship and resisting politicide that are part of a (still unwritten) history of the Palestinians as a people. Just as camps embody the United Nation’s special responsibility for the ‘refugee problem’, so life in the camps shapes Palestinian identification in complex ways that, however individualized by survival pressures, embrace common experiences and common links to a country.30 Because the people of the camps have no stake in a settlement that would dispose of them by fiat, in settings where they would be handicapped as new immigrants without capital or professional skills, they are likely to resist arrangements to displace them again, especially if they are not represented in ‘settlement’ negotiations. Even if, as Sari Hanafi suggests, they would in the last resort choose to go to countries where they possess ‘social capital’ (Hanafi 2007), it is unlikely that they would rapidly transcend the socio-economic disadvantages of camp origins.31 Their interests as a status-group lie in preserving their historical and political specificity against dissolution in a second diaspora. Above other sectors of the Palestinian people, the people of the camps have a primordial interest in reviving the PLO and making it more representative of their group rights and claims. A peace settlement that denies them participation will be no settlement at all. In these conditions of threat to their right to real representation, it is conceivable that their latent identification as ‘Palestinians of the camps’

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will become more forcefully articulated and their demands for representation as a collectivity within national institutions more organized. Israel’s blitzkrieg against Gaza in January 2009, exposing as it did the NA’s inability to take a national stand, will only increase camp people’s desire for a more national leadership. A widespread recognition that the ‘insiders’ gained no more from Oslo than the ‘outsiders’ and that no state the ‘international community’ allows them will be politically sovereign or economically viable, creates some of the conditions needed for renewed struggle towards the inclusion and enfranchisement of all Palestinians under a revived PLO. Below the surface of current stasis ferments a search for alternative frameworks of national struggle. These include legal associations such as the Coalition of the Right to Return, which links refugees in all parts of the diaspora and OPT, the Association for the Defence of the Rights of the Internally Displaced in Israel and a legion of international solidarity and media groups. Other collectivities have emerged – and continue to emerge – from what may be termed ‘oppositional’ currents. Though handicapped by formidable obstacles, these currents are compelled by ‘road map’ frustration to try to reconstruct a broader framework of struggle than exists today. Two questions arise within this perspective: how will ‘Palestinianism’ be sustained through what is likely to be a protracted struggle for an independent and viable state? And how will ‘Palestinianism’ be broadened to include practices of an eventual citizenship: elections, free debate and recognition of the rights of ‘others’? Many experiences of state- and society-building suggest that a national liberation movement that does not begin to build a just society before statehood will not do so afterwards. A recognition of group rights and multiple identifications as part of liberation is a necessary condition for steps towards a democratic nationalism to be installed before, not after, the achievement of a state.

Acknowledgements I would like to thank people who commented on this chapter, especially Terry Rempel, Yezid Sayigh, Bashir Abu Manneh, Jamil Hilal and Mayssun Sukarieh. All tendentious statements are my own. The usual disclaimer applies.

Notes 1 For a good discussion of local attachment as part of Palestinian ‘identity’, see Khalidi (1997: 20, 153). 2 Brubaker and Cooper usefully distinguish between ‘hard’ (political) and ‘soft’ (cultural) meanings of the term ‘identity’ and propose that ‘identification’ should be used where active political forces are at work, and other terms such as ‘self’, ‘subjectivity’ or ‘belonging’ for cultural and psychological manifestations (Brubaker and Cooper 2000). 3 E.g. Jalazone (Yahya 2006); Bourj al-Barajneh (al-Hajj ‘Ali 2007). 4 Refugee scholars have noted variation introduced into family relations and culture by dispersion (Serhan 1991; Salah 1996). 5 I avoid the word ‘democratic’ here because its use as code for ‘free market’ has made it politically meaningless. ‘Pluralist’ at least hints at the possibility of inter-group recognition and equality.

Palestinian camp refugee identifications 63 6 ‘Typically organic models stress the interdependence of component parts as well as their differentiation’: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organic_(model) (accessed 30 June 2010). Many nationalisms have adopted the idea of the nation as a living body. The danger of the body image is that it naturalizes autocratic male rule. 7 This has been well shown for African and East Asian women’s movements in Meintjes et al. (2001). 8 ‘The formation of groups . . . is always fraught with the danger that, instead of advancing the legitimate claims of its members, it may turn an oppressive power on them’ (Isin and Wood 1999: 38). 9 Though UNRWA worked in Israel from 1950, registering and aiding these ‘refugees’, in 1952 the Israeli government asked it to leave. 10 We need studies of Palestinians in second or third countries of migration to see to what extent migrants are disadvantaged by camp residence. 11 The author recorded the Shatila testimonies immediately after the first siege ended and continued after each phase of the Battle of the Camps (Sayigh 1994). The Tabar paper is likewise based on interviews that the writer conducted with survivors of the siege of Jenin refugee camp in 2002–3 (Tabar 2007). 12 Shatila camp has often been targeted for attack because of its character as base for Resistance group institutions and its closeness to Beirut. For the ‘Battle of the Camps’, see AbuKhalil (1985) and Sayigh (1994). 13 Though the Shatila camp suffered casualties and heavy destruction of housing during the ‘Battle of the Camps’, it was not overrun. Jenin camp was attacked by the Israeli army from land and air in April 2002 during the Israeli re-invasion of the West Bank, suffering the destruction of whole quarters and a heavy death toll among its defenders. 14 After this paper was written, the inhabitants of the destroyed Nahr el-Bared camp (north Lebanon) expressed the same determination to return to the camp. 15 The ostentatious show of privilege by NA leaders after in 1995, displayed by villas, chauffeur-driven vehicles and easy movement across checkpoints made them extremely unpopular. 16 Factionalism reappeared in later sieges of Shatila and is described in the testimonies as damaging to popular morale (Sayigh 1994: 297–301). 17 A similar hostility to the NA for its inaction was shown by Palestinian communities during the Israeli attack against Gaza in January 2009. 18 The Directorate of Refugee Affairs (DRA) was formed at the beginning of the PLO, directly under the jurisdiction of the PNC. After the Oslo Accords, Arafat retained it, allegedly to serve as evidence of refugee representation in negotiations with Israel. The DRA has generally been directed by a member of Fatah. 19 See the history of the Bourj al-Barajneh camp (al-Hajj ‘Ali 2007). 20 The Far’ah meeting was organized by members of the Youth Action Committees (YACs). YACs were originally set up by UNRWA as part of its social services but became independent during the First Intifada. 21 There are different explanations of why a camp-based refugee leadership has not so far emerged from these meetings. Someone close to the West Bank campaign said: ‘The major problem we had here was with the intervention of the political parties that could not accept that it would not be them to represent the refugees.’ The determination of host governments to prevent popular mobilization must also be factored in. 22 ‘Until recently refugees were collected around and integrated into the PLO’s policy by the national struggle as slogan, culture, organization and practice. Today refugees are not represented in most, if not all, Palestinians social and political institutions.’ (Samara 1997). 23 ‘On 25 January 2006, some 1.8 million Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian West Bank, including eastern Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip will have the right to vote for their candidates to the Palestinian Legislative Council, the parliament of the Palestinian Authority set up under the 1993 Oslo Accords. However, some 6 million Palestinians

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26

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28 29 30 31

Rosemary Sayigh exiled in Arab states, Europe, the Americas and elsewhere, and Palestinian citizens of Israel, have remained stripped of their right to participate in Palestinian democratic decision making and are denied their right to return’ (from a Badil press release, 22/01/2006). Voting registers were set up in Paris and Brussels. For further details see Kortam, Chapter 12, this volume. The two camp websites have developed somewhat differently in response to local creativity: Bourj Shemali’s website is more informational, with a database used by researchers; Nahr el-Bared’s is an extension of the locality, catering mainly to the people of the camp and their relatives abroad (Mona Abu Rayyan, meeting, 13 June 2008). The Civitas project grew out of an endorsement of the right of return by the British Joint Parliamentary Commission of Enquiry on Refugees (2000, 2006). It held popular meetings in refugee communities worldwide: in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, UAE, Yemen, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, UK, USA, Australia (Nabulsi 2006: 12–25). The PLO is not spared from criticism, e.g. this speaker: ‘The PLO is what is left in a framework that has been completely emptied from content; a non-legitimate National Council; a non-legitimate unelected Executive Committee; and a union structure that had been dissolved by a decision from inside the PLO which resulted in the absence of the students, labor, and women’s unions’(Nabulsi 2006: 34). See particularly Nabulsi (2006: 56–61). Speakers’ place of residence is given and sometimes social category (student, worker, woman, handicapped, etc.). The meagre information available about migrants from camps in the wider exile suggests that they tend to form residential clusters, maintain connection with original camps and use foreign passports to visit homes of origin in Israel. Besides social stigma, the most damaging of these handicaps is low levels of professionalization, especially in Lebanon where most camp manpower is still, 60 years after the Nakba, employed in crafts or low-level services, with only 16 per cent professionals (Ugland 2003: 145).

Part II

Urbanisation, place and politics

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Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon Migration, mobility and the urbanization process Mohamed Kamel Doraï

Introduction The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) make a clear distinction between refugees in camps and refugees outside camps, whether in urban areas or rural settlement. This categorization is linked to the implementation of their policies of assistance and eventual protection. The rapid development of refugee movements in the Middle East since the 1990s, such as Sudanese in Cairo or Iraqis in Damascus and Amman, and the permanence of the Palestinian question, invite us to reconsider the modes of settlement of refugee groups. Refugee camps, that focus attention of many observers are not, according to UNHCR statistics, the main location of refugees in the world. Refugee camps gather around 25 per cent of the whole refugee population worldwide. In the Palestinians case, the situation is quite similar to that of other refugees, even if the proportion of refugees living in camps is higher – around one-third of the registered refugees are still living in camps – and variable depending on the area where they are settled. In reality, the number of refugees living in camps is higher if we add the refugees living in unofficial camps or informal gatherings that do not benefit from the same assistance and services from international organizations or host states. The boundary between camps and gatherings is blurring and some refugees live in camp-like situations. Palestinians constitute the oldest refugee community in the region since the Second World War. Today in Lebanon, more than 50 per cent of the registered refugees still reside in the UNRWA camps, which symbolize the vulnerability of the Palestinian presence in Lebanon. On the one hand, Palestinians face a wide range of legal, political and social constraints in Lebanon. On the other hand, from the Cairo Agreement in 1969 to the Israeli invasion in 1982, Palestinians have enjoyed in this country a freedom of action that no other host state ever gave them. Sixty years of exile have generated new forms of local integration, especially in urban areas where refugee camps are now part of the cities that surround them. Since the late 1940s, refugee camps transformed deeply from tents to highly dense, built-up areas. As mentioned by Jihane Sfeir (2008: 208), since the 1950s the places where Palestinians settled in the suburbs of Beirut were not only Palestinians areas, but

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poor and segregated neighbourhoods where marginalized migrants, such as Syrians, Kurds or Armenians, also settle. Parallel to the urbanization process, refugee camp population has profoundly changed due to emigration, internal displacement and social mobility. The Palestinian experience in Lebanon challenges the dichotomy between urban refugees vs. camp dwellers and leads us to reconsider the boundary between these two categories. After discussing the problematic use of the categories of urban refugees and camp dwellers, the urbanization process of the Mar Elias camp is developed to analyse the role of migration and mobility in the redefinition of the boundaries between the camp and the city. This chapter is based on semi-structured interviews with Palestinian refugees living or working in the Mar Elias refugee camp and foreign workers living in the camp conducted between 2005 and 2007. A total of 20 interviews have been made (15 with Palestinians and 5 with foreign workers) as well as regular informal discussion with key informants in Mar Elias and Shatila. Observations on daily mobility of the camp dwellers and outside visitors have also been made during regular visits to the camp and its surroundings during the same period.1

Urban refugees vs. camp dwellers Blurring categories Refugee studies have produced since the 1970s a wide range of categories to describe refugee movement or settlement such as urban refugees, camp dwellers, self settled refugees, etc. (Black 1991; Fábos and Kibreab 2007; Kunz 1981; Rogge 1977; Zetter 2007). Recently, researchers have shown a growing interest on the issue of urban refugees in the world, pointing mainly the problem of protection and access to services they face in the Third World big cities (Jacobsen 2006).2 The differences between urban refugee and camp dwellers have been studied, but the transformation of refugee camps into urban areas spaces has not been studied as such except in a few cases (Agier 2001, 2002; Bulle 2008; Hyndman 2000; Malkki 1995a; Seren 2004). The classical distinction operated between refugee camps dwellers and urban refugees is mainly an operational one produced by international organizations. This categorization has to be differentiated from the evolution of refugee camps and from the practices developed by the refugees themselves. Refugee camps are not closed areas even when they are geographically isolated, they can be connected to a wider urban environment through mobility or transnational connections such as remittances (Doraï 2003; Fresia 2006; Horst 2002). In the Palestinian case, due to the rapid urbanization of the Middle Eastern countries, most of the refugee camps are part of the capitals and main cities in their respective countries or host regions, as mentioned by Ishaq Al-Qutub: In the case of the Palestinian Arab refugee camps – such as those existing in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria – they are

Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon 69 prevailing features of the urban structures of these states. . . . The camp cities, both small and large, can be considered as urban conglomerations in the demographic and ecological sense. . . . These cities represent a unique urban pattern, which has special features, problems, structures, and consequently requires a special classification in the study of urban societies in the Middle East. (Al-Qutub 1989: 91, 107) Refugee camps can become parts of urban areas or may become themselves urban centres due to their demographic weight and the variety of activities developed, such as socio-economic activities, political centres of decision making and the central role they play in the Palestinian society in exile. In some specific cases, the categorization depends upon the institution in charge of the refugees. For example in Damascus, Yarmouk is considered a refugee camp by the Syrian authorities whereas UNRWA does not recognize it as such. At an operational level (international responsibility, access to services, legal context, etc.) a clear distinction exists between camp dwellers and urban refugees. But the analysis of the geographical development of refugee camps in their local context leads us to consider the refugee camps as urban areas. Camps tend to look increasingly like that of the poorer informal urban areas nearby. The temporal dimension of the Palestinian exile is also a key element to take into consideration. Sixty years of exile have led to a specific relation with their host societies, with a strong local integration linked to a rapid urbanization of the different host countries parallel to a strong segregation due to the socio-political and legal context. Place and mobility The categories of urban refugee and camp dweller are often considered through their place of residency and not according to their short- and/or long-term spatial practices. Mobility is a key practice to take into consideration because it reveals the complementarities of different urban spaces and the different kinds of relations they have. Refugees living in camps experience different scales of mobility (daily movements, temporary and long-term emigration, forced displacement, etc.) and develop a wide range of practices (economic, political, cultural and/or social activities) that extend beyond the camp’s boundaries. Mobility and migrations have to be understood in their different temporalities (Rémy 1996). In the long term, the refugee camp population changes, some refugees leave the camp to settle elsewhere and newcomers come to settle in the camp for a variety of reasons that will be later developed. Different generations of refugees have experienced life in exile, each of them having a specific relation to the camp, due to specific socio-historical context. Individual trajectories also contribute to blur the distinction between urban refugees and camp dwellers. Many refugees reside successively inside and outside camps during their life to access different kind of resources (Hyndman 2000: 158–62; Fresia 2006). Refugee camps themselves host temporary or more permanently different waves and groups of refugees. New immigrant communities also settle in the camps and/

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or around the camps. In Damascus for example, Iraqis refugees settle in neighbourhoods composed of Palestinian refugees, internally displaced Syrians from the Golan and internal migrants coming from the countryside. The same pattern can be found in most of the Middle Eastern cities such as Beirut, Amman or Cairo (Al-Ali 2004: 9–12). Urban margins, where refugees and migrants settle, are not disconnected from the urban dynamics of the surrounding cities: The city is never simply the spatial organization of the mosaic of territories: territories of second settlements upset sooner or later this organisation, to produce more confused moral, composed of cultural hybrids themselves produced by successive migrant population belonging to the same community or to different ones.3 (Joseph 1998: 93) Refugee camps develop ties with their urban environment and even if they are segregated and marginalized, they are part of the urban settings that host them. Daily mobility crosses camp boundaries. Refugees can live in a camp and work or study outside the camp, or vice versa. Urban practices – such as shopping, visiting family or friends, accessing services or assistance – often lead refugees to go in and out of the camps and to frequent other neighbourhoods.

The camp and the city: local forms of urban integration Since the arrival of the refugees in 1948, the Palestinian presence in Lebanon has always been problematic, and the Lebanese authorities oscillated for a long time between support for the Palestinian cause and the will to control the Palestinian political and military activities. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), created in 1964, developed its institutions in its different host countries. The rise of Palestinian power, which coincided with the decline of the Lebanese state’s authority, was sustained by an important institutional development in the Palestinian camps. There is a clear link between military and political empowerment of the PLO on the one hand, and the growth of Palestinian social and economic institutions as well as the development of infrastructures in camps on the other. Since 1975, the different conflicts (civil war, Israeli invasions and Syrian interventionism) have aggravated the tensions between the PLO and its allies on one side, and certain parts of the Lebanese society and militias on the other. After the Israeli invasion of 1982, the eviction of the PLO leadership and militia has deeply changed the relations between the Palestinians and Lebanese. The present situation of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon is the result of 60 years of contested residence in the country. From their arrival in Lebanon until the signing of the Cairo Agreement (1969), Palestinians were marginalized by the host society and deprived of basic rights. The aim of this agreement was to regulate Palestinian–Lebanese relations. It has opened new opportunities for Palestinians, giving them the possibility to work and develop their political activities as well as their military presence in the camps. The military activities of the Palestinian

Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon 71 commandos were allowed, theoretically in coordination with Lebanese authorities. The self-organization of the camp residents was also promoted through the creation of local committees (Klaus 2000: 57–68). Palestinian refugees in Lebanon: a marginalized population Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are currently one of the most underprivileged of the diaspora communities in the Middle East. They suffer from a wide range of legal restrictions. The Lebanese legislation is very strict regarding Palestinians since the arrival of the first refugees in 1948. This legislation has been modified according to the agreements – and the disagreements – between the PLO and the various Lebanese governments. It limits the access of the refugees to the labour market, to the education system, to the international mobility, to the social and health system, as well as to the formal property market (Al-Natour 1997; Said 2001). The legal status of the Palestinians has important implications on the sociospatial organization of this community in the Lebanon. The refugees tend to be confined in the informal sector or in the least profitable labour activities that do not require an official work permit. Furthermore, the departure of the PLO in 1982 deprived a number of refugees of jobs developed by the strong presence of the Palestinian political institutions in Lebanon. In the fragile Lebanese economic context since the end of the civil war, the Palestinians are marginalized on the informal Lebanese labour market with the arrival of low-cost foreign manpower (Jureidini 2003; Chalcraft 2006). Today the situation is more and more precarious for Palestinians. This is due to the political confrontation between the current parliamentary majority and the opposition. Although the Palestinians are not strictly speaking part of the internal political conflict in Lebanon, the question of their permanent settlement in Lebanon (tawtin, ‘implantation’) as well as the presence of weapons in camps challenges the political neutrality of the Palestinians in a conflict with a strong regional dimension that tends to implicate them de facto. Since 2003, some improvements – most of them very marginal – show a possibility of partial normalization of the Palestinian – Lebanese relations. For example, relations with Lebanon improved with the partial – and controversial – abolition of the ban on working in certain job sectors. In December 2005 posters produced by the organizations of the Palestinian civil society to claim the right to work, to own a property, for security in Lebanon beside the right of return, indicate the evolution of some parts of the Palestinian civil society in its relation to its host society. The destruction of the Nahr el-Bared refugee camp in Tripoli symbolizes the reversibility of the Palestinian settlement in the country.4 The case of Nahr el-Bared shows that refugee camps – as well as urban informal areas – because they are considered as temporary spaces can always be subject to destruction or unilateral state intervention. Camps in Lebanon are also under the strict control of the authorities. The situation varies between the camps considered, depending on ‘security’ reasons. The camps in the south are under strict control because of the presence of Palestinian political parties and their militias (such as the Rashidiyyeh camp south of Tyre),

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or jihadist groups (such as Aïn al Helweh near Saïda). Mar Elias, the focus of this chapter, is not controlled by the Lebanese army. Other camps in Saïda, Tyre or Tripoli are under the strict control of the army and non-Palestinians have to ask for authorization to enter some camps. Control of the entrances of refugee camps plays an important role in the degradation of the Palestinian housing situation. These measures have been applied in a very strict way from the beginning of the 1990s until 2005. Some camps still have a single entrance controlled by the Lebanese Army. This only applies to the camps in the south and Nahr el-Bared in the north. The other camps are not surrounded by the Lebanese army. Cars can be searched and it was forbidden to bring any building material inside without previous authorization. These limitations prevent any maintenance or renovation of houses. Another consequence is the difficulty for the young couples to settle in the camps in single-family units, because they cannot build new houses. The control of the camp materializes in the space by the physical presence of the army at the entry of the camp, and the closure of all the secondary roads that connect the camp with its immediate spatial environment, leaving only a single entry for the cars. These limitations are sometimes abolished and new constructions appear in the camps, depending on the relations between Palestinian organizations and the Lebanese state. Since spring 2005, some camps, such as Al Buss in Tyre, witness an important densification of buildings, with numerous families taking advantage of the abolition of the limitations to add a storey to their house, others to build new rooms. Yet, these limitations can be again imposed on the refugees by decision of the Lebanese authorities (Doraï 2006). Mar Elias, a camp in the city The Mar Elias camp was been created in 1952 by the UNRWA, on a small area of 5,400 m² in the south-west of the Beirut municipality. In 1958, according to UNRWA figures, the camp hosted 449 registered refugees and this rose to 616 in 2006. The first inhabitants of the camp arrived by boat following the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. Most of them had an urban background mainly coming from two Palestinian cities, Haïfa and Jaffa. Most of them were Christian and they were first accommodated in the Greek Orthodox convent of Mar Elias. In 1952, they resettled to a camp set up in the wood close to the convent. The large movement of emigration – especially Greek Orthodox families – characterizes this camp, the population of which has remained stable since its creation (Sfeir 2008: 238–40). Today, the camp is situated at the crossroads between Beirut’s southern suburbs of Bir Hassan and Ouzaï, Ras Beirut and Cola intersection. Most of the refugee camps are located far from the city centres. Mar Elias is located in privileged area at the crossroads between the one of the main centres of Beirut (Ras Beirut) and the southern suburbs that gather poor internal migrants and internally displaced people from the south of Lebanon, as well as more recently arrived refugees such as Sudanese and Iraqis. Cola intersection is one of the most important transport hubs in Beirut and connects to most neighbourhoods of Beirut and all the southern

Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon 73 part of Lebanon. This central location facilitates circulation both for camp dwellers, who can easily reach other parts of Beirut, and for people from outside the camp wishing to come whether they are from Beirut or from other regions of Lebanon, especially the southern coastal region. Mar Elias camp is a densely built-up area, with narrow streets, most of which cars cannot enter. If old small houses of one floor do still exist, most of the buildings are now composed of two or three floors. As is the case for most refugee camps in Lebanon, the only way to accommodate more refugees is to add new storeys to existing buildings and take advantage of each unoccupied squared metre inside the perimeter of the camp. The prohibition of any spatial extension of the camps since their creation has led to the existence of highly dense spaces. The camp contrasts strongly with its environment by its density in an urban environment with higher buildings separated by large streets. The quality of the building also characterizes the camp. While Palestinian buildings are irregular, most of them are in bad condition, as is the camp infrastructure (sewage system, electricity, roads, etc.). The camp appears as a pocket of poverty in an urban environment in rapid evolution since the end of the civil war, even if, according to its inhabitants, it is perceived as one of the best camps in Beirut, where Palestinians with a certain level of income live. Mar Elias residents often emphasize the relative quality of the infrastructure (water and electricity) as well as the quality of life due to the small size of the camp. It is often compared in the discourse to the Shatila camp, which is described as overcrowded with a very deficient infrastructure. The fact that a large proportion of the residents in Shatila are not Palestinians is also pointed out and often linked to the rise of criminal activities, which are not described in Mar Elias. The camp’s location has facilitated the development of different sets of activities. A number of Palestinian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are present in the camp, such as Beit Atfal Al-Soumoud, Palestinian Martyrs’ Association, Ghassan Kanafani Cultural Foundation, Al Inaach, Palestinian Red Crescent Society, Aidoun, Palestinian Human Rights Association, etc. They developed their activities in the camp because of its central location in Beirut and the relative freedom they can enjoy as Palestinian NGOs, even if they must have a Lebanese person to head them, who can, however, be from a Palestinian background. The camp also host offices from most of the Palestinian political parties. Commercial activities developed in the camp, some dedicated to the Palestinian population of the camp and others to Lebanese customers living in the neighbourhood or workers employed in the surrounding manufacturing businesses. A typical example is the experience of the Palestinian refugee who first opened a restaurant in the camp before deciding to reside there:5 I arrived in Mar Elias in 1992. I lived previously in Tell al Zaatar and Damour. I bought a house in the camp and opened a small restaurant. In 1994 I came to live here. I opened the first restaurant in the camp. It was a good economic opportunity. Most of the customers come from the enterprises around the camp as well as daily workers working in the construction sector. Eating here is less expensive for them than in other restaurants, that’s why they come here.

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Two different small commercial areas have been developed along the eastern and western boundaries of the camp. The western one is situated on the main urban highway from southern suburbs of Beirut to Ras Beirut. The activities (a garage, a furniture manufacturer, a grocery seller, etc.) are not geared towards the camp population, but to customers coming from other areas of Beirut. The eastern commercial area is mainly composed of small grocery sellers, fruit and vegetable sellers, etc. This area is frequented both by camp dwellers and inhabitants of the neighbouring districts. Prices are generally lower in refugee camps than in other places. The same phenomenon can be found in other camps, such as Al Buss in Tyre (south Lebanon) or Jabal Hussein in Amman (Jordan). Mar Elias can be qualified as an urban space due to four main elements. First, the temporary camp has been transformed in a dense, built-up area, composed of two to three storeys buildings connected to the infrastructures such as water, electricity, telephone, etc. Second, originally conceived as a place to accommodate Palestinian refugees and offer them a temporary shelter and humanitarian assistance, the social composition of the refugee camps have changed deeply, with some refugees leaving the camp, others settling in along with a growing presence of non-Palestinians in certain camps such as Mar Elias and Shatila. The camp became one stage in the migratory trajectory of the Palestinians. Third, the location in or outside the camp is the result of a residential choice, linked to renting prices, work opportunities such as in other neighbourhoods in Beirut where migrants settle. The camp can no longer be considered only as a place of refuge. Fourth, the development of economic activities tends to integrate the camp into its local environment; Mar Elias is visited by outside non-Palestinian individuals. As mentioned by Michel Agier (2002): ‘Due to their very heterogeneity, camps may become the genesis of unexpected cities, new social environments, relationships and identification.’ A new social environment emerges due to the high level of in and out migrations in the camp and the diversity of social backgrounds of its inhabitants since the end of the civil war in Lebanon.

The key role of migration in the evolution of the refugee camps Migration plays a crucial role in the social evolution of the Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon. As shown by Rosemary Sayigh, Palestinian refugees have been internally displaced several times during the Lebanese wars. Three refugee camps have been totally destroyed – and not reconstructed – during the wars. Ninety per cent of the refugees have been forced to leave their home at least once during the war (Sayigh 2005). A state of instability and spatial mobility are two major aspects of Palestinian life in Lebanon. This leads to a blurring of the distinction between camp and urban settlement. If we consider Palestinian journeys over the long term (i.e. individual, familial and intergenerational itineraries), most of the refugees have experienced life in and outside the camp. International emigration also plays an important role in creating a dynamic house and rental market, and brings in new migrants who move in and settle in the camps and Palestinian gatherings.

Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon 75 Palestinian migrations Due to high level of international and internal emigration, only a few of the families that settled in Mar Elias camp in 1952 is still there. They have been gradually replaced by Palestinians coming from other refugee camps such as Tell al Zaatar in Beirut after its destruction in 1976 or Rashidiyyeh south of Tyre. Other refugees settled in Mar Elias in 1991 after having been internally displaced during the civil war. The high level of both internal and international emigration can be explained by three factors. First, a large number of the Palestinian refugees who came to the Mar Elias Convent had Lebanese family ties through marriage. Their local integration has thus been eased by the kinship connection they had with their host society. Second, their urban origin from Haïfa and Jaffa has facilitated their integration in the city, contrary to most of the refugees coming from a rural background6 in other camps such as Shatila or Burj al Barajneh in the Beirut urban area. Third and last, relating to the previous point, their high education levels have led to higher international emigration. A combination of these interrelated factors – urban origin, religious affiliation, family networks – has facilitated their movement from the camp to other Beirut neighbourhoods and abroad. The Palestinian population currently living in Mar Elias camp is the result of different migratory experiences, be it people internally displaced by war and/or other forms of internal migration (economic opportunity, renting market, geographical location). The cases that follow show the plural role of the camp in the life-long migration process. Most of the refugees interviewed between 2005 and 2008 have lived successively in and outside refugee camps during their life. Their migratory experience is also made up of a combination of forced displacement – for example after the destruction of Tell al Zaatar – and search of a better economic and/ or housing situation. The camp is a stage in the professional career, in the family life and in the migration process. Most of the refugees who are currently living in the camp originally came from other camps, even if they reside outside the city for long periods. The main purpose of the internal Palestinian migration towards the camps in Beirut is to find employment and improve the quality of life, such as shown by the families settling in Shatila (Sayigh 1994: 65). The first case illustrates the plural roles played by the refugee camp as a temporary refuge at the end of the Lebanese civil war, before being able to access a better housing situation outside the camp: My parents left Palestine in 1948 and settled in Tell al Zaatar. In 1976, when the camp was destroyed we left to settle in Damour. We stayed there until 1982. Then I went back to Beirut where I squatted in a free apartment in the Raouché area. I opened my small workshop in Verdun, but rent price increased and I began to look for another place. At the end of the civil war in 1991, I had to leave the apartment and I decided to buy one in Mar Elias from a Palestinian who left to go to Denmark. I chose Mar Elias for two main reasons. First, it was a central location where my previous customers could easily come. Second, prices for accommodation and for my workshop were lower than in other

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Mohamed Kamel Doraï parts of the city because Mar Elias is a refugee camp. Buying an apartment in a refugee camp is easy for a Palestinian, you just have to register the transaction at the popular committee and then at the UNRWA. As I have children I decided to move with my family and rent an apartment outside Beirut. I rent mine in Mar Elias to a Palestinian NGO for 200 USD per month and now I live in a large apartment in Naameh [a village south of Beirut] for the same price. I come here everyday to work.

This skilled workman has combined his residency outside the camp – while keeping a property in the camp – and his economic activity inside the camp. The end of the civil war and the end of the prohibition of Palestinians buying properties have generated interest in the camps, while it is impossible to buy a house in other parts of the city. The legal discrimination faced by Palestinians in Lebanon leads them to buy property in the refugee camps where they can access some of the basic rights denied them outside the camp such as property ownership and paid work, as mentioned in the second case that follows: I was working in the 1970s for the PLO in Rashidiyyeh camp then I moved to the southern suburbs of Beirut in the 1980s. I stayed in Haret Hreik until 1987 and then I moved to Raouché. I came to Mar Elias because I was working for a Palestinian political organization here in 1997. As I was displaced during the war, the Ministry of Displaced gave me 7,000 USD at the beginning of the 1990s. I bought a house in the camp with this money. In parallel, I opened a grocer’s shop in the camp. I rent the store for 100 USD per month. I appreciate to live in Mar Elias, it’s a quiet area with a good infrastructure compared to the other camps in Beirut. Due to the fragile political environment in Lebanon, some Palestinians prefer to live in a camp, where most of the inhabitants are Palestinians. Along with the relatively low prices for accommodation, camps still play a strong symbolic role in the Palestinian society in exile, attracting refugees as is expressed in this third case: I am originally from Tell al Zaatar. When the camp was destroyed I left to go to Damour and then to Saida. In 1988 I came back to Beirut to find employment. After working in different sectors I decided to settle in Mar Elias because it is a quite place with a central location. In 2000, I bought my shop for 14,000 USD and I work as a hairdresser. Most of the customers come from outside the camp because they know me and also because it is cheaper here. With four other Palestinians we bought a piece of land in the middle of the camp and built a four-storey building. Each apartment will cost us around 30,000 USD. I decided to buy something here because my mother wanted to live with Palestinians in a quiet area. We feel more secure to live in a Palestinian environment. One of his employees is a Palestinian from Iraq who came back in Lebanon in 1999 when the situation there deteriorated.

Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon 77 The growing foreign presence in the camps Parallel to the Palestinian secondary migration towards camps, these areas have witnessed the arrival of Palestinian refugees coming from other parts of Lebanon as well as arrivals of a few Lebanese citizens and Syrian, Asian and African immigrants who settled following the end of the civil war at the beginning of the 1990s. Migrants in transit, staying for longer or shorter periods in Beirut, tend to settle in the marginalized ‘popular’ neighbourhoods of the city. Their presence is visible in the public space, through the development of businesses with bilingual signboards on the streets and by the periodic influx of migrant populations – mainly housemaids but also construction workers – on Sundays in certain neighbourhoods such as Dawra (east of Beirut). This attachment of migrants to specific urban areas is stressed by Karen Jacobsen (2006: 276): Like all urban migrants, asylum seekers are attracted to urban centres because economic resources and opportunities, including education for their children, are concentrated there, and in cities migrants can access the social networks and ethnic enclaves that supports newcomers, and which initiate the process of integration. Through the settlement of international migrants, the camp is playing a role in the city as a host area for newcomers, mainly poor immigrants. The camp has thus hosted different waves of refugees and immigrants, like other deprived areas of the southern and eastern suburbs of Beirut metropolitan area.7 These migratory patterns are crucial parts of the urban dynamics. The camp plays the role of temporary ‘host space’ for waves of migrants settling in the city for different reasons. Palestinian refugees living in poor, low-income areas are well placed to play host the new immigrants. Deprived of the right to work in Lebanon, they can earn money from renting property. Some of them decide to add a new floor on the top of their house and rent it to migrants for 100 to 150 USD a month. It gives them a supplementary income. A Palestinian owner in the Mar Elias camp summarizes the reason why he decided to extend his apartment and rent it: As I am Palestinian I am not allowed to work legally in Lebanon. In the mid-1990s I decided to build a supplementary floor on the top of my house. I constructed a two-room apartment plus one single room separated by a small terrace. This brings me around 200 USD per month. The room is rented by two Sri-Lankan domestic workers and the apartment by a Sudanese family with two children. Thus, because many Palestinian families have emigrated abroad or changed their place of residence in Lebanon – when they have enough money many refugee families leave the camp to rent apartments in the city – some houses are free to be rented to other families. A Palestinian grocer in Fakhany explains:

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Mohamed Kamel Doraï My sister and her husband own an apartment in the neighbourhood. They left for Denmark in 2005, where they live now. They left their apartment for rent and, as I am living here, I manage the renting for them. Presently a group of six young Sudanese share the apartment for 200 USD. They just arrived in Lebanon a few weeks ago. We never see them; they wake up in the morning, they go to work, and they come back at night. Sometimes they buy food here.

The house rent in the refugee camps is lower than in other places, especially compared to central Beirut where accommodation is expensive, hence it attracts poor, new migrants (Sudanese, Bangladeshis, Sri Lankans, etc.). The fact that security forces do not enter the camps is an advantage to undocumented migrants who feel more protected from eviction. Thus, for a variety of reasons, a refugee camp such as Mar Elias, but also Shatila or Fakhani – a vast Palestinian urban gathering – became host places for new migrants. The presence of recently arrived migrant workers or refugees generates a variety of interactions and complementarities with a migrant population settled in Beirut for decades such as the Palestinians. Palestinian refugee camps – or areas with a strong Palestinian concentration – host an increasing number of migrants since the mid-1990s. Some of them are refugees or asylum seekers as is the case of Iraqis in the Shatila camp in 2003, but the majority are irregular migrant workers. Various groups of immigrants live in the camps: low-income immigrant workers, irregular migrants, asylum seekers, unrecognized refugees, domestic workers, etc. Some settle there in the long term with their family, others – mainly newcomers – transit through the camp before finding employment and activating community networks of solidarities that will allow them to improve their situation and move to another neighbourhood or to pursue their migratory journey towards Western countries. The presence of this non-Palestinian population in refugee camps leads us to reconsider the traditional perception of refugee camps and to view them as spaces of urban relegation. The migrant communities participate in the blurring of the boundaries between the camp and the city. Accommodation of migrant populations in precarious situations obey certain imperatives: a relatively low cost given the low level of migrants’ resources, a secure space that allows them to avoid being exposed to police controls and a rather central location that facilitates access to employment and minimizes the distance between employment and residence for security reasons. The Palestinian refugee camps, as well as Palestinian gatherings, offer numerous advantages for irregular migrants. A Sudanese living in Mar Elias explains why he settled there: I left south Sudan because of the insecurity which reigns there. I moved initially towards Khartoum. I could not stay there because it was impossible to find a job, and because of the discrimination we faced. I then decided to leave. Egypt tightened its migration policy and it was not easy for us to cross the border to go there. I thus took a plane to Damascus. Syria does not ask for a visa for the Sudanese. Once in Damascus, I found other Sudanese already living there. As there is no work in Syria, one advised me to go to Lebanon, the wages are

Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon 79 better, and the Sudanese find work there rather easily, especially in the cleaning sector. I crossed the border illegally, by paying a smuggler and I arrived in Beirut. As I do not have residency permit I prefer to live in a refugee camp where the police does not enter. Also it is cheaper and close to my work. Forms of socio-economic complementarities emerge between migrant and refugee populations originating from different waves in these areas of urban relegation. A rental market develops in the Palestinian camps and gatherings, which satisfys the host (Palestinians) and hosted (newcomers) populations. The small grocery stores that we find in camps or in the Palestinian gatherings also benefit from the presence of these customers according to the interviews with Palestinian small shopkeepers settled in these areas.

Conclusion The Palestinian refugee camps tend to evolve by becoming integrated into the economic activity and into their urban environment. Even if they are still marginalized and segregated areas, they are now part of the major cities in the Middle East. Economic activities, daily mobility, the presence of new international migrants and the strong political and cultural significance for the Palestinian refugees are the different elements that characterize the contemporary Lebanese refugee camps as urban settlements. The Mar Elias situation is not an isolated one in Lebanon. Al Buss camp, in the Tyre region, witnesses a similar development. It is becoming increasingly difficult to discern the western boundary of the camp. Many Lebanese Shi’ite families driven from the Israeli-occupied southern border zone built an informal neighbourhood next to the camp. The numerous businesses that have been established along the main road on the northern and eastern sides of the camp, developed both by Palestinians and by the Lebanese, serve to integrate the outer fringe of the camp into the townscape. It is the geographical situation of the camp of Al Buss at the entrance of the city and at the crossroads of main roads that has facilitated this evolution (Doraï 2006). Most of the studies on refugees establish a clear distinction between refugees in camps and urban refugees living in cities. The Palestinian case, due to its exceptional duration and the context of rapid urbanization of their host countries, invites us to partly re-examine this dichotomy. If some refugee camps appear to be isolated from their urban environment – such as Aïn al Helweh, Borj al Shamali or Rashidiyyeh – most of the refugee camps in Lebanon (as well as in most of the Middle Eastern cities) are now part of the main Lebanese urban areas. A diachronic analysis of the different camp’s evolution should be developed to retrace their specific history and the ties with their local environment. On the one hand, camps appear to be marginalized and segregated areas due to the special – and often changing – regulation and mode of controls as well as the legal status of their Palestinian residents. On the other hand, refugee camps are strongly connected to their urban environment through the daily mobility of Palestinian refugees, the growing presence of other groups of refugees and migrants (such as Syrian or Asian

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workers and Iraqi or Sudanese asylum seekers and refugees), and the development of commercial activities that blur the boundaries of the refugee camps, making them a part of the city.

Notes 1 I would like to thank J. Abu Hawash and the Palestinian Human Rights Organization for their help and fruitful discussion all along my fieldwork. 2 A special issue of the Journal of Refugee Studies on urban refugees (vol. 19, no. 3) was published in September 2006. 3 ‘La ville n’est jamais simplement l’organisation spatiale de la mosaïque de territoires: les territoires de deuxième implantation viennent tôt ou tard bousculer cette organisation pour fabriquer un moral bien plus confus, composés d’hybrides culturels produits par la succession des populations migrantes, appartenant à la même communauté ou à des communautés différentes.’ 4 Nahr el-Bared is a Palestinian refugee camp established in 1949 in the northern part of Lebanon, 16 km north of Tripoli, hosting more than 30,000 individuals. Between May and September 2007, fighting between Fatah al Islam and the Lebanese army led to the displacement of the camp population and the destruction of the camp infrastructure and houses (see Knudsen, Chapter 6, this volume). The camp was composed of two parts: the ‘old camp’, the official one, was totally destroyed, while the ‘new camp’, the unofficial extension, was partly destroyed. There is an ongoing project to reconstruct the camp, but until now most of the refugees are still displaced living in precarious shelters in and around Beddawi neighbouring camp and elsewhere. Some families managed to return to the camp in prefabricated houses in March 2008. 5 The interviews in the Mar Elias camp were conducted in 2006 and 2007. 6 It is estimated that two-thirds of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are from rural areas (Khalidi 1992). 7 See for example Berthomière and Hily (2006) and Deboulet (2006).

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Refugees plan the future of Al Fawwar Piloting strategic camp improvement in Palestine refugee camps Philipp Misselwitz

Introduction Current architectural and urban discourse on refugee camps has been profoundly influenced by theoretical and analytical concepts borrowed from thinkers outside the discipline. The extraordinary interest expressed by architects in the work of anthropologists or philosophers such as Agamben (‘state of exception’), who describes camps as ‘space[s] in which the normal order is de facto suspended’ (Agamben 1995), is indicative of a growing recognition of the complex links between politics, violence and the built environment. The politicisation of the discourse is accompanied by increasing self-awareness of the complicity between architects, planners and military strategists. Eyal Weizman’s notion of ‘design by destruction’ exposes the use of colonial planning practices and contemporary urban warfare, which could be observed during the destruction of Jenin, Rafah or Nahr el-Bared. The debate is indicative of a deep professional crisis. The just critique of the naive unreflecting architect-builder has led to a deep resignation and pessimism with regard to the possible roles of architects and planners vis-à-vis refugee camps. Many architects feel that the only ‘constructive’ mode is giving up on the traditional tools of the discipline, becoming theoreticians, writers, researchers or activists. The cynicism (towards their own profession) with which many politically aware architects and planners began to observe the space of refugee camps has led to a dangerous condition of passive reflection, in which the current reality is accepted as a fait accompli and conceiving alternative visions is no longer possible. A starting point for a different and perhaps ultimately more constructive debate on the possible involvement beyond critical self-reflection could be a change of approach: a recognition of camps as complex urban environments where residents have become experts in surviving on minimal means, improvising, making do with what can be found and almost immediately transforming the physical, spatial, social and economic constitution of their initial emergency setting. Palestine refugee camps most clearly exemplify the ambiguous condition between temporary emergency setting and city that emerged in almost all refugee camps worldwide, which ethnographers have called ‘Virtual Cities’ (Perouse de Montclos and Kagwanja 2000) or ‘Camp Ville’ (Agier 2008). While Palestine CampCities are indeed

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extremely congested, impoverished, slum-like settings, they have, at the same time, also evolved commercial centres, souks, distinct neighbourhood identities and a multitude of social, political and cultural institutions that speak of a collective ambition towards emancipation and civil rights. Despite all constraints and restrictions, camps are deeply linked to the physical social, economic fabric of their surroundings. While acknowledging that urbanised refugee camps count amongst the world’s most unstable, congested and dehumanising built environments, they are in many ways not dissimilar to the informally developed slums, which account for the major part of the urbanised world. Despite obvious differences, certain recurring and common problems emerge within both settings. Camps, like slums, have actual needs, which can partly be addressed by the constructive involvement of urban planners and architects. Linking the comparatively new discourse on urbanised camps and the rich discourse on informal urbanisation is therefore only natural and timely. Over several decades, a rich body of research and practical experience of slum rehabilitation, partly under extremely difficult political conditions, has taught planners and architects to understand and utilise the skills of improvisation and resilience – how coping strategies within squatter settlements can be strategically developed. The analytical and operational tools developed for slum upgrading and rehabilitation are highly relevant to the context of urbanised camps. This chapter reflects on the results of a practical attempt to introduce planning methodologies such as Action Planning or Community-driven Strategic Planning to the context of Palestine refugee camps: the ‘Camp Development Pilot Research Project’ was a two-year cooperation between Stuttgart University and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) (2006–8). Over the period of two years, extensive fieldwork conducted in three West Bank refugee camps and archival research has provided the first holistic social-spatial understanding of the camps’ gradual transformation from emergency compounds to urban CampCities. Over a period of eight months, the joint UNRWA–University of Stuttgart research team analysed the camps as complex built environments, combining an investigation into the spatial and physical constitution of the camps with an assessment of the varying degrees of community mobilisation. Numerous empirical surveys as well as qualitative interviews were conducted. The research became instrumental for the formulation and testing of a new methodology for comprehensive planning, which builds on existing social, economic, spatial and cultural assets and provides relief for the camps’ most urgent problems. The process was steered by camp residents themselves and thereby radically redefined their long-established relationship to UNRWA and the regime of externally imposed aid programmes. Based on the direct experience of the author as the team leader of the joint UNWRA–Stuttgart research team1 this article will focus on the planning process that brought together community representatives and UNRWA in an hitherto untested partnership, pursuing an aim that was equally new and risky: the development of a vision of how Fawwar Camp could develop within the next five years based on devolving decision-making power to camp dwellers who began to exercise their civil right to shape their own built environment.

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A difficult beginning: hurdles and obstacles faced by camp improvement The UNRWA–Stuttgart research and planning project was set up as a direct consequence of the 2004 Geneva Conference, jointly hosted by UNRWA and the Swiss government. UNRWA, strengthened with a renewed mandate after the collapse of the Oslo Peace Process, had succeeded in winning the support of the main stakeholders of Palestinian refugee protection, including the host governments, for one of the previously most contested and intensely debated proposals: it endorsed ‘community development’ as the only viable strategy to address the complex needs of the ever worsening conditions in congested and poverty-striven refugee camps. More importantly, ‘community development’ was defined in the conference report as: the improvement of the Palestine refugees’ livelihoods and living conditions through the upgrading of their physical and social environments. It demands a combination of strategic and practical interventions undertaken by UNRWA in partnership with host authorities, the refugee community and other stakeholders, that are sustainable over time, from a social, economic and environmental perspective. (UNRWA 2004) By clearly differentiating between the ‘right of return’ and the ‘right to live in appropriate living conditions’, UNRWA thus opened the door for the introduction of a developmental approach and therefore promised to align UNRWA’s working approach with universally accepted norms and United Nations (UN) standards. The conference’s specific recommendations became part of UNRWA’s Medium-term Plan and included, for the first time in the history of the Agency, the recommendation for the ‘establishment of a new Urban Planning Unit, a tool for addressing deteriorating camp living conditions in a systematic and holistic manner’. Instead of viewing the built environment from a purely technocratic point of view, it was promised that spatial/physical and socioeconomic programmes would from now on be delivered in an integrated manner, as part of a new strategic approach to tackle the rapidly worsening situation in the camps. The conference recommendations highlighted the links among data collection, information and improving planning and prioritizing on a needs basis – all within an integrated and comprehensive development approach that engages and empowers camp communities. The assumption that both defending political refugee rights and civil rights in an environment of dignity and optimism are compatible sounded good on paper. The pressure was now on UNWRA to deliver on this promise by proposing concrete steps to implement internal reform, develop much-needed tools and deliver actual results. In 2005/6 the Infrastructure and Camp Improvement Department was set up at HQ level, but, beyond the general goals, the department lacked a methodology to deliver comprehensive ‘camp improvement’. After the camps were initially established in the 1950s and post-1967, UNRWA’s role vis-à-vis the physical fabric of camps was reduced to two main tools: first, emergency repair and reconstruction

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in response to or in the aftermath of armed conflict,2 a reactive approach; second, a sporadic and piecemeal shelter repair strategy that could only be used to help specific families falling under extreme poverty criteria. In short, the physical improvement had largely been considered a technocratic issue. Strategic urban planning had remained untested in the context of refugee camps worldwide and therefore included many legal, administrative, political and practical uncertainties. For instance, while UNRWA realised that improvement could only be implemented with the help and acceptance of camp communities, there was no experience on how to deliver participatory planning. What management structures would be needed to facilitate a planning process? What planning tools are required and how could measures be prioritised for implementation? How could UNRWA steer and manage the vast and unfulfillable expectations that were likely to be raised? Tremendous expectations, doubts and even fears therefore accompanied the UNRWA–Stuttgart project, which started operation in summer 2006. In addition, the research team faced the following hurdles: first, UNRWA had no reliable and comprehensive data sets on the physical and socioeconomic situation inside the camps. Data collection had traditionally been the responsibility of each department and, hence, survey indicators were devised to aid the formulation of standards and measure success of specific programmes such as education or health only. In addition, data were mostly collected on country level, instead of camp level so that UNRWA had no sufficient tool to measure significant variations of conditions between each camp. The Agency’s data availability was weakest on aspects that would be of crucial importance to camp improvement such as spatial/physical surveys, land use, population and building density, structural conditions of shelters and so forth. At this point UNRWA did not set up a centralised data management system to produce a holistic situation analysis on camp level. The Agency was therefore in urgent need of re-conceptualising its approach to data management with a specific emphasis on urban indicators. Beyond the lack of empirical data, the bureaucratic, uncoordinated and sectorspecific way in which UNRWA had traditionally delivered its relief programmes has prevented an acknowledgement of refugee camps as complex urban environments. On the pretence to ‘merely deliver services’, rather than ‘administer’ the camp, the Agency had turned a blind eye to the accelerating urbanisation process and had no understanding of factors that had influenced and/or continue to influence this process. This includes, for example, the ignoring of the importance of external and contextual factors (the camp’s physical and socioeconomic relationship to its urban, suburban or rural surroundings). Furthermore, the Agency had no knowledge of the community mobilisation inside the camps, the local actors and institutions or internal conflicts and difficulties. When engaging with both UNRWA staff and community members, the research team faced tremendous mutual mistrust. In its top-down approach to delivering services, UNRWA had developed an ‘institutional arrogance’, not recognising the local community as partners in developing solutions, but instead, keeping locals at arm’s length following the logic of ‘if we give them a small finger they want our whole arm’.3 Little emphasis was given to communicating, in a transparent way,

Refugees plan the future of Al Fawwar 85 the constraints under which the Agency operates (including funding shortages) or considering local feedback beyond technocratic surveys. The general climate of mistrust fuelled prejudices against UNRWA ranging from accusations of corruption and incompetence to political conspiracy. Camp improvement was likely to fail entirely if the relationship between the Agency and the community could not be improved. Furthermore, the support of host governments or representative institutions such as the Lebanese, Syrian or Jordanian governments, the Palestinian Authority (PA) or the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) vis-à-vis camp improvement remained unclear. Despite their official endorsement of the 2004 Geneva Conference and its recommendations, which included a clear mandate for the introduction of the community development approach, it was uncertain whether host authorities would be prepared to support genuine community empowerment and participation. Planning regimes in many host countries are, if at all existing, mostly autocratic and top-down. Why should a radically different approach be tolerated in the sensitive environments of camps, which had always had always been tightly controlled and placed under close surveillance? Why should governments risk to ‘share’ decision-making with camp refugees? Last but not least, the establishment of the Camp Improvement Programme was hotly contested within UNRWA. Sector-focused thinking, competition over funding, arguments over competencies and responsibilities and the complex and somewhat unresolved relationship between ‘Headquarters’ and ‘Fields’ put the brakes on quick institutional reform.

Al Fawwar camp The Al Fawwar camp, with a registered refugee population of 7,912 persons (UNRWA 2006b), is located in an isolated, rural context in the southern West Bank. Isolation is not only physical but also characterises its relationship to the PA. While most West Bank camps are located within Oslo Zone A (an area with limited Palestinian sovereignty), Fawwar is located in an Oslo Zone B enclave close to Zone C (which is subject to Israeli planning and security control) and in close proximity to the Israeli settlement of Haggai. When research in the camp started, the community was still traumatised by a bloody feud between two clans who had fought over control of a tiny lane within the camp in 2005. As a consequence the camp lamented four casualties including the former Camp Service Officer. In addition, 200 family members had been permanently evacuated. According to Penny Johnson (2007): the abdication, or absence, of the Palestinian Authority, most notably in the clan conflict of 2006, which was ‘solved’ by the mediation of religious and tribal elders from outside the camp . . . is matched by the unbridled presence of the Israeli army, which not only hinders mobility outside Fawwar camp but shrinks public life inside the camp, particularly for youth. The entrance is a military watch tower that can close access to the camp at any given moment.

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Strong internal structures – such as Deheishe’s widely recognised and respected Local Committee or Amari’s Youth Centre – usually provide some guarantee of internal stability. The deadly escalation of the 2005 conflict in Fawwar suggested that the camp lacked an equivalent. Jamil Hilal (2007a) observed: ‘In Fawwar, political organizations clearly do not seem in full control, and a sort of “semiclan” formations are vying for influence, diminishing the role of both the Popular Committee and the Youth Club.’ However, despite the aftershock of the killings and the negative image the camp acquired as a result, there were some positive signs of change. The Local Committee had acquired a building (a house formerly used by now-evacuated clan members), renovated it and equipped it with a computer lab and a permanently staffed office. After years of passivity and trauma, the camp community had thus become more proactive. Instead of institution building and cultural activities that could be observed in Deheishe, however, the primary focus of Fawwar’s Local Committee’s work was to improve basic infrastructure – the camp’s standard being amongst the worst of all West Bank camps. The long-term political stalemate in the camp between Fateh and Hamas did not seem to affect this work, although the Local Committee (like most West Bank institutions) was strongly associated with Fateh. Unlike other camps such as Amari (located within Al Bireh municipality) and Deheishe (located in the Bethlehem–Beit Jallah conurbation), Fawwar’s camp community had remained traditional, closed and conservative, especially for women, with little exposure to urban lifestyles. Some residents work in agriculture, keep animals in their shelters and cultivate small gardens for family consumption. Unemployment is amongst the highest in all West Bank camps. More than other camps, Fawwar’s residents had depended on low-skilled construction jobs inside Israel and now could not find substitute employment inside the West Bank. Compared to Deheishe and Amari, Fawwar was the least urbanised camp with the weakest economic sector. After the closure of rural access roads by the Israeli military – the camp’s main road had become the only passageway for tens of thousands of Palestinian villagers and townspeople in the south West Bank region. Instead of a business opportunity, however, camp residents mainly experienced this road as a nuisance and danger to their children, being exposed to congestion and the influx of strangers. Despite obvious disadvantages, Fawwar’s isolated location could also be understood as an asset, which in the past has allowed residents to purchase land in close proximity to the camp cheaply – a unique advantage over most West Bank camps. When Fawwar was chosen as a pilot for a planning initiative, the decision was not following the usual UNRWA rationale to ‘start with the worst’. Fawwar did not represent the largest, most congested, unstable or even poorest camp in West Bank. Instead, the decision was made on the basis of the enthusiastic welcome from the community who considered the new initiative as a not-to-be-missed opportunity to escape long-suffered isolation.

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Conflictual planning A detailed account of the six-month-long planning process, which began in March 2007, is beyond the scope of this chapter. Instead, the following section will focus on three conflictual moments that occurred at different stages in the process, which reveal how planning started to challenge the status quo and put established relations between key actors at risk – thus providing an insight into the enormous challenges that need to be overcome to achieve genuine participation and power sharing. The first conflict described unfolded at the very beginning of the planning process and characterises the fears, reservations and plain confusion triggered amongst the community when introducing the project for the first time. The second conflict erupted several months into the planning process at a critical stage when improvement measures needed prioritising and resurfaced in later discussions on definition of pilot projects. Third, conflicting visions on the format and status of the final planning document – the Camp Improvement Plan – emerged, which revealed the fragile status of camp improvement within UNRWA as well as uncertainties about the future role of the programme. Throughout the section, I will place particular emphasis on the precarious position of the planning team, navigating through and mediating in an atmosphere characterised by mistrust between the community and UNRWA, as well as towards the notion of camp improvement as a whole. At the same time, the discussion will show how a concrete goal, improving the living conditions in the camp, can create a constructive frame in which long-standing, soured relations can be effectively changed. Initial fears and mistrust In January 2007, the first formal meeting was set up with community representatives of Al Fawwar camp with the aim to secure a sound endorsement of the proposed planning project. Facilitated by the local Camp Services Officer Ziad Hmoz (commonly known as Abu Tarek), the meeting took place in the local Rehabilitation Centre. Ziad Hmoz’s personal background as a former head of the Local Committee of Fawwar and the general respect he enjoyed as a community activist and academic had provided him enough authority to assemble more than 40 camp elders, Local Committee members as well as heads of the local UNRWA facilities. The reception was well prepared: ‘This is how we receive guests in Fawwar’, a camp elder stated when proudly showing the large table filled with plenty of food, biscuits and soft drinks. Yet, when the meeting was officially opened a considerable confusion was revealed. UNRWA had never introduced a new programme officially to the camp community before. Why now? What was ‘Camp Improvement’? As the discussion proceeded, the respectful and polite tone never changed, yet, articulated in numerous statements, a number of fundamental fears surfaced, one of them, expectedly, a fear related to the widespread suspicion that camp improvement is driven by a hidden agenda to ‘normalise’ the camps to become permanent cities, integrated into their surroundings. Ultimately, this would lead to a context in which the right of return will be abolished:

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Philipp Misselwitz Our fear is the following: It is the first time that we feel UNRWA wants to involve the local community in planning a program. We know that no-one can implement any program against our will, and all what is going to be done needs our approval . . . This is what you all the time repeat to us. But still we are afraid that UNRWA has a political agenda behind involving us as a community – an agenda which seeks to do away with our sacred right to return to our homelands.

Another community representative stated: In 1978, the Israeli Civil Administration offered paving streets and roads for the Camp, but this was rejected by the people of the Camp fearing the loss of the right of return and turning the Camp into a town or city. The right of return is on the top of our agenda. Finally, and even more explicitly: ‘Why do we need planning, we are a refugee camp? Camps do not need playgrounds or parks. This is something for cities. Do you want to transform the camp into a city?’ Equating ‘urban regeneration’ or physical improvement efforts with an attempt to ‘meddle’ with the political status of camps as temporary safe-havens for refugees has been a constant theme throughout the history of Palestine refugee camps. This chapter will not be able to provide an exhaustive account of the dynamics of this debate, and the various factors and vested interests that impacted on it. Worth noting here, however, is that, although in West Bank uncertainties and confusion are perhaps greatest (with suspicion to be ‘traded-in’ or ‘betrayed’ extending not only to UNRWA, but also to the main Palestinian institutions such as the Palestinian National Authority (PNA)), the somewhat ‘orthodox’ position vis-àvis urban rehabilitation gave way to a much more pragmatic attitude as soon as a working relationship was established. Several weeks into the planning process, one community member reassured a more reluctant fellow: There are some historical examples that show us that improving the camp life is not necessarily against right of return. The Gazan experience did not influence the status of the refugee because UNRWA purchased a piece of land on which it constructed houses. People were not obliged to leave their houses in the Camp. Those who chose to move out of the Camp to the new houses left their house and the land on which the houses were built in the Camp to the use of UNRWA. This project was well implemented in Gaza and I believe it is a good one . . . Nobody is depriving us our right of return. No one can ask the refugee to give up his or her UN ration card known as the sign of refugee and the symbol for the right of return. The right of return is an individual one and nobody can decide on it. Throughout the entire planning process, political concerns did not vanish and demanded frequent discussion. Often, support and rejection of camp improvement

Refugees plan the future of Al Fawwar 89 are expressed in the same statement. After an intensive and productive discussion on the location and design of a neighbourhood plaza one community member stated: ‘Changing the signs and the status quo of the Camp is one way of substituting the right of return and considering the Camp a permanent residence for the refugee.’ To the somewhat puzzled planner, he then replied smilingly: ‘Don’t worry, I think we also need to plant trees in our plaza.’ As contradictory as this statement may seem to an outsider, the seeming discrepancy between statement and practice merely reveals that everyday reality in camps has long surpassed a stale debate. Camp residents have long learnt to claim and exercise civil rights alongside their ongoing insistence on political rights as refugees. At the same time, refugees have developed a protective and uncompromising façade, which is only penetrated once an atmosphere of warmth and trust has been established. Another concern that surfaced in the initial meeting and haunted the entire planning process was much more difficult to address: the perception that camp improvement meant losing other services currently offered by UNRWA. The planning project was launched in the context of increasing poverty and unemployment and general political and economic instability in the West Bank. A general sense of insecurity was heightened by a common perception that UNRWA was reducing its services and abandoning the refugees in a moment of crisis. Seen against a background of perceived reduction of services, the notions of participation and empowerment, the promise to share decision-making and responsibility with the community are read as convenient excuses by UNRWA to extricate itself from its commitment to Palestine refugees: We as a community are doubting whether camp improvement can seriously improve the daily reality in the camp. How come it is possible to discuss new needs such as a new clinic for the camp while everybody knows that UNRWA only recently reduced the medicine that the clinic receives? Regardless of the rights and wrongs underlying the expressed assumption, the numerous suspicions expressed towards UNRWA as an agency were indicative of a relationship characterised by fundamental mistrust and resentment, preceding and extending way beyond camp improvement and, as the project proceeded, presenting numerous challenges. Indeed, only much later, the true extent of the resentment was revealed when both UNRWA staff members and community members freely expressed their perception of the other as untrustworthy, guided by hidden agendas, stubborn, unwilling to change and therefore best to be ‘kept at bay’. Statements from UNRWA staff characterising this belief included: ‘Whatever we do, it is never enough’, ‘If we give them a small finger, they want our whole hand’ and ‘We know how refugees think. We have gathered experience for almost 60 years. They cannot be trusted’. Community members also expressed deep frustration with UNRWA’s style of service delivery, which was perceived as authoritarian (‘They treat us like cattle on a farm’, ‘They do not listen to us and always do it their way’) causing some to question the sincerity of the Camp Improvement Programme (‘Why does UNRWA

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suddenly want to know what we want?’). A frequently cited suspicion was that UNRWA was indeed only introducing notions such as participation and community empowerment because ‘it is what donors want’: a convenient rhetoric when launching fund-raising initiatives, yet irrelevant to the camps where the Agency would continue to yield its power and force its way. Volunteering information, ideas and proposals to UNRWA was generally avoided and projects were often ‘kept secret’ as long as possible: ‘If we involve them [UNRWA] they will take it away from us’. In light of such fears and mistrust, the formation of a ‘Working Group’ as a joint UNRWA–community platform for all discussions related to the planning process became a delicate affair. While in other camps such as Deheishe, a similar initiative had failed because of internal frictions and reluctance of the Local Committee to sit with other community groups, in Fawwar the fear was articulated that the Working Group might be misused to ‘legitimise’ an already pre-prepared concept through simulated power sharing. Was the Working Group another plot designed to bypass the legitimate camp institutions? Only through repeated insistence that the project was indeed open and no objectives and goals had been pre-defined, the Working Group was eventually assembled. It included 13 individuals, mainly heads of institutions, traditional figures as well as political figures. In addition to the community representatives, six local UNRWA staff members were included. Prioritising needs The second moment of conflict that will be described here emerged between the Working Group and an UNRWA field department at a later stage in the planning process when a first priority list of needs had been drafted. The results of participatory needs assessment conducted in Fawwar had produced a ten-item priority list. For several years, many Fawwar basic school graduates were turned away from nearby secondary schools that were already overcrowded. Not surprisingly therefore, the needs list was topped by the unanimous wish to construct a new ‘Secondary School for Girls’ in close proximity to the camp. As soon as the list was published, several UNRWA staff members insisted that the secondary school should be removed from the priority list. The community representatives in the Working Group vehemently opposed this. How could this legitimate wish trigger conflict? In West Bank, UNRWA only offers basic education and had resisted frequent calls to expand their programme into secondary education. Representatives of the Education Department indeed felt that the mere inclusion of the school on the list presented a dangerous precedent, which may be used against UNRWA’s position in the ongoing debate, and should therefore be corrected. Yet reservations also exposed a much more deep-rooted fear of letting the community decide on their needs. Some felt that the entire needs list drafted by the community was problematic since it was unrealistic, not backed up by empirical evidence and generally read more like a list of desires, rather than concrete needs. The resulting tensions threatened the fragile trust and balance of power in the Working Group and the planning process came

Refugees plan the future of Al Fawwar 91 to a halt. The community interpreted UNRWA’s clear stance as another gesture of disrespect towards the community: ‘We told you from the beginning, they will not listen to us.’ Although the planning team was convinced that the community input to the planning process should remain ‘unedited’, UNRWA’s ongoing support to the project was needed. In the following mediation efforts, it became clear that underlying the conflict were several profound misunderstandings and general confusion about the aims of the planning process. Most importantly, both UNRWA staff and the community still understood camp improvement as a project by and for UNRWA, with UNRWA as a sole actor. Who else, after all, would help? The insistence of the planning team that a Camp Improvement Plan should be owned by all stakeholders (including the community and PNA ministries) seemed simply too remote from present reality that it was dismissed as unrealistic. Here, ‘institutional arrogance’ met community expectations. UNRWA staff naturally assumed that, with an incompetent and never-to-be-pleased community as well as a passive host government, there were no other actors. Likewise, the community, although freely expressing their frustration and disappointment with the Agency, was sceptical that someone else could indeed pursue the idea. ‘UNRWA is like Abu Ala [Palestinian former prime minister]’, a friend had once explained, ‘we are frustrated but we cannot think beyond it’. Despite their previous successes in launching proactive initiatives themselves, vis-à-vis UNRWA, the community seemed all too ready to slide into a passive, yet demanding role. UNRWA on the other hand fuelled this dynamic through their categorical and uncompromising stance. Even the proposal to ensure that UNRWA would only manage the construction of the building not the running of the school was dismissed by the community. In an effort to ease tension, the planning team stressed the need for all stakeholders, not just UNRWA, to take responsibility for implementing improvement priorities. It was proposed to respect the integrity of the list, but ensure, in writing that UNRWA would not be responsible for running the school. Planning proceeded, but trust was only slowly rebuilt. Camp improvement had exposed the fragility of the status quo. In the absence of a direct and effective dialogue mechanism between UNRWA and the community, based on mutual respect, fears, misunderstanding and suspicion disproportionately transformed a simple problem into a threat to the entire project. Master plan or action plan? As planning proceeded, a crucial question emerged: what is a suitable format and tool to combine the ideas, proposals and strategic goals for the improvement of a refugee camp? What would be the status of the document? Who would assume ownership? The legalistic and regulatory nature of a master plan (following a European planning law) did not seem to match the complex situation of Fawwar for the following reasons: a master plan seemed too static and inflexible a tool given the instable and uncertain context of the occupied West Bank as well as the fact that a functioning legal planning system such as regional development plans

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or communal master plans that UNRWA could use as a model and legal reference did not exist. In general, the responsibilities and modes of interaction between the major stakeholders (UNRWA, host government, host community, camp community) remained unresolved. Would a master plan be effective for the area inside UNRWA’s official camp boundaries only – a boundary, which had in reality long become blurred due to intensive informal building activities by refugees outside the camp boundary? In addition to these technical concerns, the notion of a ‘master plan’ continued to fuel fears of normalisation and integration. Community representatives in the Working Group considered a fixed vision as being in contradiction with the temporary nature of camps and ultimately threatening to the political status of refugees. The fear expressed by the UNRWA staff members concerned was more pragmatic: how could UNRWA maintain that the Agency does not ‘administer’ camps (and therefore be responsible for potential violence against the Israeli Army or civilians, or the reinforcement of ‘building codes’) if it underwrites a detailed master planning scheme? Would the mere presence of an UNRWA logo on the plan compromise the Agency vis-à-vis the Israeli occupying forces? Others argued that a master plan would raise unrealistic expectations on behalf of the community of what could be achieved in five years. Facing the huge challenges in the camp, projects would be likely to be of symbolic nature. At the same time, the internal discussion process about how to deliver camp improvement within UNRWA was still ongoing. How could UNRWA, several staff members argued, take responsibility for implementation and reinforcement of the master plan? The temptation to drop the ambition of a comprehensive plan altogether loomed large. Why not resume what had worked in the past, to develop and fund raise for small-scale pilot projects and ad hoc solutions better suited to the likely budgets available in the near future. The research team, however, defended the need for a comprehensive, spatial coordination framework as an essential strategic tool, arguing that it was precisely ad hocism, lack of strategic vision and spatial coordination that had led to the failure of many well-meant projects. During the planning process, evidence emerged of how commendable initiatives from UNRWA departments and programmes were frequently contradicting each other and generated confusion on the ground. A frequently cited example was the evidently absurd case in which UNRWA’s Shelter Rehabilitation Programme had built a new shelter in an open space, which had been earmarked as a potential public space. Thus, uncoordinated actions stood in the face of improvement of an already highly congested camp area. Without a coordination framework similar to a master plan, the team argued, such mistakes would reoccur and the opportunity to better synergise programmes and initiatives would be lost. As a solution, the research team proposed to develop a not legally binding ‘Camp Improvement Plan’ in a draft version. The plan would serve as an interim tool and cooperation framework based on the voluntary coordination of all actors and stakeholders. The plan would address the defined priorities but at the same time, avoid ad hoc solutions and produce a comprehensive, strategic and integrated vision for the improvement of the camp over the next five years. The status of a draft would ensure that the plan could be changed and adapted without

Refugees plan the future of Al Fawwar 93 delay if required. Thus, the plan would be ‘dynamic’, rather than ‘static’. Instead of relying on the reinforcement of rules, it would rely on the voluntary backing of the Working Group, UNRWA and other stakeholders.

Conclusion Despite many difficulties, the Fawwar project was an important learning experience for introducing grassroots participation into decision making at camp level, as well as for launching the first comprehensive urban planning process in the context of a Palestine refugee camp. Several projects have been successfully implemented since and the planning methodology has been developed and applied to other camps. However, several crucial questions remain to be resolved: who owns the Camp Improvement Plan and assumes responsibility for regular revision and updating? What happens after completion of the pilot planning and the implementation of first actions? These questions expose the current absence of recognised and respected local camp governance, which could engage in a structured and clearly defined, eye-to-eye relationship with UNRWA and other bodies. Participation and local empowerment as realised in the grassroots planning effort are doomed to remain project-based and temporary if the current status quo is not changed. A substantial rethinking of camp governance is required to fully exploit the promise and potential of camp improvement, an initiative that has been based on the premise that UNRWA cannot and should not represent the camp community. The project also showed the limitations of ‘bottom-up’ processes. The much needed local governance structure should not only deliver bottom-up planning and participate in negotiating processes on a higher level, but also needs effective partners on municipal and state level. The recognition of a need to combine bottom-up and top-down processes reflects an important shift in the much broader discussion on slum upgrading and rehabilitation efforts worldwide. Here, planers began to insist that good local governance requires sustained top-down backing and support, and critiqued an over-emphasis on grassroots empowerment tools and programmes such as Tony Gibson’s influential concept ‘Planning for Real’4 – which had turned against rigid bureaucratic master planning processes and passionately insisted on grassroots mobilisation. Ellen Wratten, herself involved in conceptualising ‘Planning for Real’ critically reflects on its limitations, especially the failure to address effectively problems that cannot be solved on a neighbourhood level and require planning on a national or city scale (Wratten 2001). Even UN-HABITAT’s ‘State of the World’s Cities 2006/2007’ report argues: ‘The relationship between good local governance and its effect on reducing slum growth is often far from clear-cut . . . [and] does not seem to automatically result in improvements in the lives of the urban poor, especially in the short-term.’ Grassroots mobilisation on its own is often not strong enough vis-à-vis other stakeholders to implement policies. More often than not it lacks capacity and experience as well as the required budgets for implementation. Moreover, local structures themselves cannot guarantee the necessary political stability, security and legal framework for a community-driven action plan to be successful. It is now widely recognised that effective governance

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in relation to poverty eradication and slum rehabilitation requires a combination of top-down and bottom-up processes of decision making involving a broad range of stakeholders: ‘Local government works, but in many countries it works best with strong support from the centre . . . to create an enabling environment . . . What is important is to ensure that bottom-up approaches to governance connect with top-down systems of decision-making’ (UN-HABITAT 2006: 173). Applying these discussions to refugee camps means that camp improvement will not only need to rely on the establishment of an effective model of local camp governance, but also at the same time secure the necessary institutional backing and support at all levels. Can the experience of camp improvement be of use beyond Palestinian camps? Despite many unique aspects and differences that undoubtedly exist, this chapter argues that ‘learning from Palestine CampCities’ is not only possible but also an urgent necessity. In the first instance this obviously applies to the context of other urbanised refugee camps around the world. Both the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and UNRWA, as well as many other globally acting refugee agencies and governments face potentially similar contexts and would be wise to build much closer strategic links in order to address the challenges ahead. Refugee and internally displaced person (IDP) numbers are predicted to increase with the frequency of natural disasters related to climate change, leading to mass displacement from areas threatened from flooding, draught or erosion. Likewise, the number and variety of armed conflicts causing displacement and suffering around the globe is unlikely to decrease adding to the number of refugees ‘stuck’ in protracted refugee situations with no durable solution in sight. Furthermore, the economic stagnation currently experienced in the First World is unlikely to change the strict asylum policies and IDPs and refugees are likely to be forced to remain close to the source of displacement. In short, refugee camps or camp-like situations are likely to house more and more displaced persons. The average life time of camps will further increase. Camp urbanisation – already a global phenomenon – will increase; so will congestion and poverty and other negative aspects or urbanisation. All this only illustrates the urgency to develop practical models and visions for how to transform existing camp settings into stable and habitable settings in which refugees can enjoy human rights to the fullest degree. In this, one may argue, Palestinian camps and their main stakeholders have a responsibility to lead, given the comparatively well-established service structure and per capita funding. Is camp improvement relevant beyond refugee camps? The urbanisation process of camps is not fundamentally different from informal urbanisation processes worldwide. Urbanised camps and informal slum neighbourhoods face many similar challenges: the need to stabilise the socioeconomic base, improve quality of life, introduce good governance models on a micro scale and integrate hitherto separated and excluded areas with their urban surroundings to name but a few. Compared to the vast and diverse spectrum of strategic planning tools that have been developed for informal slum neighbourhoods since the early 1960s, the camp improvement methodology may seem insignificant. If compared to the vast resources that have

Refugees plan the future of Al Fawwar 95 been mobilised for slum improvement efforts by international bodies such as UNHABITAT (established in 1978), globally operating institutions such as the GTZ, national governments, municipalities and a vast number of think-tanks, camp improvement seems to be negligible. Since the UN’s launch of the Millennium Development process in the 1990s and the adoption of the Millennium Declaration by world leaders in 2000, slum upgrading has become a central focus of development policies worldwide. Does camp improvement therefore offer any new lessons that could be useful for non-camp contexts? The methodology is not fundamentally new. The combination of ‘strategic planning’ and ‘action planning’ is similar to the methodologies recommended in UN-HABITAT’s ‘Sustainable Cities Programme’. Is camp improvement merely a highly specific variation on an already well-known theme? It may seem premature to discuss ‘lessons’ and possible applicability when Camp Improvement Programme is still evolving and has not yet been backed up by concrete evidence and experience on the ground. However, the following aspects may offer specific lessons of interest to planners engaged in slum upgrading: First, Palestinian refugee camps are extreme environments that are considered to be amongst the most congested and impoverished urban neighbourhoods in the world. As set Millennium Development Goals for slum rehabilitation look unlikely to be met and slums are likely to become more numerous and congested, refugee camps may prove to be important laboratories and testing grounds for strategies that will be needed in similarly extreme slum environments in the future. Second, the comprehensive UN mandate in Palestinian camps offers many advantages. Slum upgrading efforts are in reality often modest in scale, interventions tend to be symbolic and there is a lack of necessary power required to reinforce policies and goals. Programmes rarely last for more than a few years and are ‘thinly spread’ across cities, with reduced impact. The mandate, resources and strong presence that UNRWA or UNHCR has in camps is unique and could facilitate concerted and comprehensive rehabilitation efforts on a unique scale. The possibilities for a comparatively transparent internationally run body guided by UN standards to influence a rehabilitation process from the early planning stages to implementation and long-term monitoring are frankly unparalleled. Best practice models in the field of architecture, planning and good governance could be implemented to a standard and effect that would be hard to match in an ordinary municipal slum context. Third, camp improvement could be understood as a ‘Trojan horse’ factor impacting on the culture of planning in the host environment. Slum upgrading programmes in ordinary cities are still rare and rely on a ‘golden match’ of political vision and financial resources provided by states or international agencies such as UNHABITAT or the World Bank. Only very few visionary municipalities manage to combine these factors. Under autocratic regimes, the rule of warlords or in conflict areas such ‘enlightened’ programmes are virtually impossible. Refugee camps are located in such areas and form safe areas of stability and in many cases already successfully promote international standards of human rights including concepts of community empowerment and participation in planning processes. Camps could therefore initiate best-practice models in regions where the political and economic

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preconditions required for slum rehabilitation are not present. The most obvious potential for copying elements of the Camp Improvement Programme methodology is in the Near East, neighbouring Arab countries and even Turkey where participatory planning still remains scarce. In conclusion it could be stated that camp improvement breaks new ground not only in terms of methodological innovations, but also in terms of the environment it can be applied to: refugee camps that are amongst the world’s most congested and impoverished urban environments, located in the most instable and violent regions of the world. Camp improvement can only mature to a fully functioning working tool if stronger connections are built amongst UN sister agencies such as UN-HABITAT, UNRWA and UNHCR. The lack of information flow and sharing of experience amongst these agencies is alarming. Only once cooperation is improved, can lessons be learnt from camp improvement and other camp upgrading efforts. Mutual dialogue and exchange serves the interests of both camp populations and slum populations.

Acknowledgements The author would like to thank UNRWA’s West Bank Camp Improvement Unit and all other UNRWA staff members involved in facilitating the research that forms the basis for this chapter. Equally, the author is deeply indebted to all residents of Fawwar refugee camp for their trust and participation in all aspects of research and planning that have been referred to in this chapter.

Notes 1 Camp Development Pilot Research Project (2006–8), a collaboration between Stuttgart University and UNRWA HQ Amman (Infrastructure and Camp Improvement Department), was funded by the European Commission. 2 An internal UNRWA (2005b) report cites the following examples when this approach was used: (1) assessing damages and assisting families with a grant for re-housing following the destruction of shelters in Shatila and Ayn al-Hilwa camps in Lebanon; (2) provision of plots, infrastructure and cash grants for relocation of refugees, e.g. Canada Camp (1984–2000); (3) reconstruction of multi-unit housing for displaced refugees of the Lebanese Shatila and Ayn al-Hilwa, Badawi and Nahr el-Bared camps completely destroyed in armed conflict until the early 1990s; (4) temporary emergency shelters after the beginning of the first Intifada in September 2000 (Gaza and West Bank); (5) rebuilding refugee homes damaged or destroyed by Israeli incursions in the West Bank and Gaza (e.g. Jenin, Rafah). 3 Interview with Muna Budeiri, Head of Housing and Camp Improvement Programme, UNRWA HQ Amman, Department of Infrastructure and Camp Improvement, conducted in Amman, 7 June 2007. 4 Tony Gibson first conceived the idea for a method of public participation in the impoverished East End of Glasgow in 1977 with help of the Neighbourhood Initiatives Foundation in collaboration with the London School of Economics.

6

Nahr el-Bared The political fall-out of a refugee disaster Are Knudsen

Introduction In late May 2007, heavy fighting broke out between the Lebanese Army and a new militia group calling itself ‘Fatah al-Islam’ based in Nahr el-Bared, a Palestinian refugee camp near Tripoli. After 15 weeks of intense bombardment and sniper fire, the camp was reduced to rubble and the death toll had reached 500, including around 250 militants and 169 army troops; another 400–500 soldiers were wounded, leaving many of them permanently disabled. At least 33 civilians were also killed in the bloody standoff that had forced the camp’s approximately 30,000 residents to flee, many of them to the Beddawi refugee camp located 10 kilometres to the south. This was the biggest violent incident since the civil war ended. The Army’s hard-won victory was praised by all parties – even by some of the Palestinian representatives – but the battle added significantly to the country’s political turmoil and sectarian tensions. The unrelenting pounding of the Nahr el-Bared camp came after a three-year period of thawing of relations between the Lebanese authorities and Palestinians, which had been deadlocked since the early 1990s (Knudsen 2009). In this chapter I provide a restudy of the Nahr el-Bared emergency, focusing not on its physical destruction, displacement and human suffering (Khalidi and Riskedahl 2007), but on the implications of crisis for the political relations between Palestinians and the Lebanese. Of special interest is the position taken by major political Lebanese and Palestinian parties and leaders prior to, during and in the aftermath of the Nahr el-Bared crisis. From this perspective, the seriousness of the crisis and its dire political implications made it, unlike the many minor skirmishes that are routinely passed over without public comment, impossible to ignore. Thus, parties had to articulate their views on the crisis, thereby forcing the Palestinian issue out in the open, allowing us to examine the current status of Lebanese–Palestinian relations. In this chapter I examine the role of four major political parties/actors; two Lebanese (Future Movement and Hizbollah) and two Palestinian (Fatah and Hamas), in addition to the Lebanese–Palestinian Dialogue Committee (LPDC), a ministerial committee set up in 2005 to manage refugee affairs. The chapter builds on interviews with senior political leaders, party officials, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and academics in Lebanon (2006–9) and field visits to the Nahr el-Bared and Beddawi refugee camps (September 2008).

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Handling the ‘refugee file’ There is a wealth of information on Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, but mainly on their social problems, poverty and destitution. There is much less information on their political role in contemporary Lebanon (but see Knudsen 2005b; Suleiman 1999). Nahr el-Bared was not only a humanitarian crisis but also a complex political emergency that brought Lebanon’s festering refugee problem to the forefront. Although marginalised, the refugees and their political representatives are involved as actors in Lebanese politics. Indeed, the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are regarded as the most politicised of all the displaced refugee communities and the most important section within what is often referred to as the ‘refugee file’. The refugee ‘file’ or ‘card’ is, due to its sensitive character, an important political issue in Lebanon. This is because of the host country’s negation of their civil rights, the complexities of their camp-based residence and the fact that the camps have internal autonomy and are governed by Palestinian factions. The most sensitive part of the ‘refugee file’ is the question of their permanent settlement in Lebanon, commonly referred to as ‘implantation’ (tawteen). Handling the ‘refugee file’ is a delicate balancing act and was until 2005 to a large degree determined by the primacy of Syria–Lebanon relations. Deprived of civil rights and therefore of political representation and ‘voice’, the Palestinian refugees need to explore alternatives to safeguard their minimal rights. This has made them seek informal relationships with Lebanese parties that range from consultative to clientelistic. As one of the few democracies in the region, all Lebanon’s political parties take a stand on the Palestinian issue. For Hizbollah, the refugee issue is central to its ideology of ‘resistance’ and it has historically sought a wide representation of downtrodden and marginalised groups (Khalili 2007). The Future Movement’s support is both more circumspect and circumstantial. However, the strength of sectarian politics means that Sunnis show the greatest sectarian affinity with Palestinian refugees and, hence, willingness to grant them civil rights (Haddad 2003: 2). One reason for this affinity has been linked to the prospect of Sunnis using the fighting power of Palestinian militias for protection in sectarian conflicts (Khashan 1992: 91). The Christian parties found on either side of Lebanon’s political divide have traditionally rejected the refugees’ presence and called for their resettlement. In post-civil war Lebanon increased legal discrimination of refugees helped mainstream refugee xenophobia (Knudsen 2009). However, the Christian parties’ leverage with the Palestinian issue is limited to their own constituency; they are unable to control or steward the refugee file on a national level.1

Political divisions In the early 1990s, the Oslo Process led to a division of the Palestinian political groups into two opposing blocs: those opposing the Oslo Process and the Declaration of Principles (DOP), referred to as the ‘rejectionists’ and those favouring it, mainly the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Fateh, which concluded the peace

Nahr el-Bared 99 deal with Israel.2 The rejectionists were made up of Islamist and secular groups, the latter mainly nationalist groups formerly associated with the PLO. Due to the fragmented and disparate leadership of the Palestinian refugees, joining in loose coalitions with Lebanese parties becomes all the more important as a strategy to attain the leadership of the Palestinian cause in Lebanon. Thus, the disagreement over the Oslo Accords and future Palestinian statehood polarised the Palestinian political groups and disposed them to seek alliances with ‘like-minded’ Lebanese partners. From mid-2005, the Lebanese political landscape was likewise dichotomised, but for other reasons. The assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in February 2005, conflict over the presidency, Syrian stewardship and troop presence sharpened these divisions, as did the many assassinations and attempted assassinations that followed (Knudsen 2010). The result was that Lebanese parties spilt into a sharply divided two-bloc system of pro-independence groups and parties (aka 14th March) and pro-Syrian groups (aka 8th March). The 14th March coalition is a diverse group of secular Sunni Muslim, Christian and Druze parties and headed by the Future Movement (Tyaar al-Mustaqbal). The 8th March coalition is likewise of Shi’a Muslim and Christian groups and headed by Hizbollah (Party of God). The assassination of the former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and the subsequent Syrian troop withdrawal two months later abruptly reshaped the Lebanese political landscape and opened a renewed dialogue on several issues that had been kept under wraps during Syrian stewardship. The parliamentary elections brought to power a coalition government headed by Prime Minister Fouad Saniora. After years in the opposition, Hizbollah for the first time joined the cabinet and obtained two ministerial posts. The 2005 ‘Beirut Spring’, Syrian withdrawal and election of a new cabinet opened the way for a more dispassionate handling of the ‘refugee file’. In mid-October 2005, the new cabinet of Prime Minister Saniora set up the ‘Lebanese–Palestinian Dialogue Committee (LPDC), headed by former ambassador Khalil Makkawi. This paved the way for a long overdue rapprochement between the government and Palestinian officials representing the major Palestinian groups and factions (Knudsen 2009). However, the deep political crisis gripping Lebanon following the 2006 July War precluded any progress on sensitive issues; the crisis rocked the country’s political stability and wrecked the economy. In late 2006, disagreement over ratifying the so-called Hariri Tribunal (‘Special Tribunal for Lebanon’) deadlocked the cabinet and in the end led to a governance crisis. The ministers aligned with the 8th March coalition withdrew from the cabinet and Prime Minister Saniora was left to preside over a minority cabinet that the opposition decried as unconstitutional. When the Nahr el-Bared crisis broke in late May 2007, the Palestinian and Lebanese political scenes were both dichotomised and the conflict between the two Lebanese blocs had stalled the political process. The Nahr el-Bared incident drew different responses from the two blocs and the conflict between them was played out on the ruins of the camp’s demise. This also helps explain why the two groups either implicated or absolved Syria for causing the Nahr el-Bared crisis.

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In the period leading up to the outbreak of the Nahr el-Bared conflict, the security situation was rapidly deteriorating. The Saniora government was under siege and the country rocked by deadly assassinations and communal riots. There was growing concern that Palestinian refugees could become implicated in the governance crisis and used as a proxy militia for those seeking to destabilise the country and add pressure to the reeling Saniora cabinet. More specifically, by late 2006 there were persistent rumours that northern camps were being infiltrated for the purpose of destabilising the political situation and that Palestinians could be drawn into the country’s internal conflict. Anxious not to be dragged into yet another war, refugee officials stressed the importance of keeping the refugees outside what was termed an ‘internal Lebanese conflict’ (Knudsen 2009). The deep political crisis in the country is probably why Fatah al-Islam’s build-up in the northern Nahr el-Bared camp went unnoticed. The simmering Nahr el-Bared conflict at first evolved slowly. The first clash made local headlines in March when a Fatah al-Islam member was killed during internal fights in the camp (Daily Star 2007h). Throughout May, repeated clashes between the Army and Fatah al-Islam increased tensions inside and outside the camp. On 20 May the simmering conflict burst into a major confrontation between the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and Fatah al-Islam that killed 22 soldiers and 19 militants and made the remaining fighters retreat inside the camp (Daily Star 2007a). During the first days of the Army’s siege of the camp an ad-hoc committee comprising several of the ‘rejectionist’ Palestinian factions (aka Palestinian Followup Committee) tried to mediate in the standoff but, hopelessly divided, could not agree on a common approach to deal with Fatah al-Islam. Unable to stop the crisis from escalating further, the standoff between the LAF and the militants turned into a complex-political emergency that made the camp a war-zone. The Saniora cabinet pointed fingers at Syria, claiming that Syria trained, armed and helped Fatah al-Islam establish itself in Nahr el-Bared. In this scenario, Syria masterminded Fatah al-Islam’s entry into Nahr el-Bared, planning to use them as a proxy force to destabilise Lebanon and pull the refugees into the political conflict. Evidence of this Syrian connection was the fact that the group’s leader, Shaker al-Absi had been convicted and jailed in Syria before entering Lebanon (Daily Star 2007j). Moreover, it was argued that the pro-Syrian Palestinian group Fatah Intifada was the nucleus of the Fatah al-Islam and had taken over their headquarters inside Nahr el-Bared.3

The Future Movement’s balancing act The Future Movement was launched by Rafik Hariri through the creation of new media outlets in the mid-1990s,4 and formalised as a political party in 2007. Following Hariri’s assassination in 2005, the movement became the leading party in the 14th March coalition. The movement’s main constituency is the Lebanese Sunnis. This is one reason why the Future Movement takes an interest in the plight of the Palestinian refugees, the majority of whom are Sunni too. This especially concerns those living in the Sunni-majority cities along the coast (Tripoli, Sidon) and in the capital (Beirut), which has country’s the largest Sunni presence (Khashan 1992).

Nahr el-Bared 101 While the Prime Minister Fouad Saniora was keen on reassuring that the government took every precaution to protect the camp’s residents and was committed to rebuilding it, the most visible Future Movement politician was Bahia Hariri who since 1992 has been an MP from Sidon.5 Over the years, Hariri has emerged as the Future Movement’s main spokesperson concerning refugee affairs. In Sidon the Palestinian refugees represent a major part of the town’s Sunni population. Their plight is therefore both a local concern and national issue to the country’s Sunni community. In Sidon, a Sunni-majority town where Rafik Hariri was born, the support for the Future Movement is very strong. In Sidon, the Palestinian issue is an especially important one because, first, the Ayn al-Hilwa refugee camp, centrally located in Sidon, is the country largest and most conflict-prone camp plagued by chronic insecurity. Located just off the centre of town covering 1.25 sq. km, and sealed off with barbed wire and Army check-posts, the camp is a powder keg of internal conflicts.6 Although the refugees are deprived of voting rights, a significant number of the refugees in Sidon have obtained Lebanese citizenship, hence they can vote in elections. This makes the Palestinian issue central in municipal elections (Hamzeh 2000). As an elected MP from Sidon since 1992, Bahia Hariri has emerged as the key local broker between the Palestinian camp authorities and the state. On several occasions Hariri has mediated in internal fights between camp-based factions, defusing tensions and controlling Islamist groups resident in Taamir, a popular neighbourhood bordering the Ayn al-Hilwa camp.7 This has made Bahia Hariri the most prominent steward of Palestinian refugees in her Sidon constituency. However, this has also made her the movement’s key spokesperson on refugee issues nationally and is indicative of an increased interest in the refugee problem in the Future Movement and, more generally, of a heightened interest in the refugee issue among Lebanese parties. The government’s view of the Nahr el-Bared incident was that this was a Syrian plot to destabilise the country and the government (Daily Star 2007j). Opposed to this, a rumour claimed that Fatah al-Islam was created by Sunni politicians aligned with the majority Future Movement bloc to serve as a proxy force in the ongoing political conflict. As proof of this rumour it was claimed that Bahia Hariri bought out Islamists in the Taamir area who left Sidon and later set up camp in Nahr elBared. Bahia Hariri strongly condemned this charge (Daily Star 2007e). However, she acknowledged paying about USD 100,000 to the Jund e-Sham militants in response to a political deal brokered between Fatah and the militants. The deal was an attempt to break the deadlock over Jund e-Shams presence in the camp perimeters and to stabilise the political situation in a camp plagued by chronic insecurity. The Jund e-Sham militants demanded USD 100,000 as compensation for giving up their homes in Taamir. With Fatah and the PLO unable to underwrite the costs of this deal, they approached Bahia Hariri who agreed to pay the sum from her own pocket. Apparently, most of the members of Jund e-Sham packed up and left Taamir shortly after and it is assumed that several of them moved to Nahr el-Bared where they joined the ranks of Fatah al-Islam. The Future Movement’s support for Jund e-Sham was hence interpreted as an attempt to create a Sunni proxy force to fight political opponents. This charge, termed a ‘political assassination’ by Hariri,

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opened the way for seeing ulterior motives in Hariri’s actions and made her (and the Future Movement) complicit in the creation of Fatah al-Islam. Thus, by sticking Fatah al-Islam on to the Future Movement it was possible discredit the movement in its core northern constituency, which would weaken the Future Movement at the expense of traditional northern scions in Tripoli aligned with the 8th March opposition.8 The smear campaign against Hariri and, by implication, the Future Movement and the 14th March coalition, continued in November 2008 when Syrian television aired videotaped confessions by captive Fatah al-Islam militants claiming that the Future Movement was one the group’s financiers (NOWLebanon 2008a). The Future Movement strongly condemned these confessions as fabrications and a Syrian plot meant to incriminate them (NOWLebanon 2008b).

LPDC’s monologue The LPDC is a governmental body set up by a ministerial decree in 2005 under the leadership of former ambassador Khalil Makkawi. The creation of the LPDC signalled an ambition to revive the defunct Palestinian–Lebanese dialogue after a long period of informal dialogue, thus representing a major upgrade in the political relations between refugees and the government (Knudsen 2009). The planned role of the LPDC was as a consultative forum in charge of official dialogue between the government and Palestinian groups, a task not fully realised. While the LPDC aims at strict neutrality in political matters, its mandate, history and composition makes it a mouthpiece of the Saniora government. Apart from the PLO, the other Palestinian factions have yet to declare their membership of the LPDC. Internal divisions between Palestinian groups, have made it impossible to agree on participation and more generally, a joint referential authority. The LPDC, hence, is forced to operate despite this limitation, even to under-communicate this lack of political representation in its work. Without broad-based Palestinian representation, the LPDC has become the sole mouthpiece of the government, which is why some have christened it the ‘Lebanese–Palestinian Monologue Committee’. Partly for this reason, the LPDC’s role is by many considered symbolic (Daily Star 2007g). Moreover, the LPDC was criticised for being paralysed by political events and lacking a clear mandate and strategy (Mehri 2007). The fact that only the PLO is an official member of the LPDC is one reason why the PLO Representative Abbas Zaki figures so prominently in its official functions. This underlines the LPDC’s lack of broader representation from the ‘rejectionist’ Palestinian groups. In fact, there is indication that the LPDC did not want to establish formal dialogue with groups other than the PLO, which it considers the only legitimate Palestinian partner. The weakness of this approach is that the LPDC comes to be seen as biased, even partisan, in its approach and that its call for ‘dialogue’ is delusional. The LPDC is a quasi-political entity whose close ties to the government enables it to bestow political patronage that confers both legitimacy and resources on its partners. The main role of the LPDC during the Nahr el-Bared crisis was handling the official dialogue and media contact on emergency relief to displaced refugees and liaising with journalists and media agencies (LPDC 2008b). Additionally, the

Nahr el-Bared 103 LPDC role was to reassure the displaced refugees that no effort would be spared to rebuild the ruined camp and their resettlement was temporary. When the conflict ended, the LPDC’s main task was coordinating the relief effort, liaising with donors and compiling the information and planning documents (aka Nahr el-Bared Master Plan) needed for the international donor conference that would pave the way for the camp’s reconstruction. The LPDC sought to stay above the political nature of the crisis by dealing mainly with reconstruction and relief in close cooperation with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The LPDC’s close ties with the government mandated that it toed the official line of rejecting permanent settlement while at the same time calling for humanitarian aid to displaced refugees. To do this effectively, the LPDC needed the support from the PLO, which served as a guarantor that the LPDC acted in the best interest of the Palestinians and their cause in Lebanon.

Hizbollah’s pragmatism Hizbollah is Lebanon’s most influential political party (el Khazen 2003), and its political wing, ‘Loyalty to the Resistance’, has been represented in the parliament since 1992 (Hamzeh 2000). In the 2005 parliamentary elections, Hizbollah joined the Future Movement in an electoral coalition list and, following their election victory, for the first time joined the new cabinet under Prime Minister Fouad Saniora. Hizbollah has over the past years expanded its political constituency among the refugees and is considered a stalwart against covert plans to settle the refugees in Lebanon. Hizbollah has also supported the refugees’ right to bear arms inside the refugee camps and made a common front against the United Nations Security Council Resolution (1559) demanding demobilisation of Lebanese militias. In post-civil war Lebanon, Hizbollah has become the Palestinian refugees’ staunchest supporter and closest ally, professing strong solidarity with the Palestinians’ cause and support for their right of return (see Høigilt 2007; Khalili 2007; Noe 2007).9 Hizbollah is one of the few Lebanese parties that does not see the granting of civil rights to Palestinians as being opposed to their ‘right of return’. Instead, improving their living conditions is seen as a precondition for an effective campaign in favour of their right of return. Hizbollah is therefore the only major non-Palestinian party that publicly supports granting civil rights to the refugees and has tried to amend the ministerial regulations barring Palestinians from a number of jobs (Knudsen 2009). In a country where politicians are accused of embezzling public funds and empty talk, Hizbollah is seen as trustworthy and true to its words, hence posters of Syeed Hassan Nasrallah are seen in every refugee camp. Hizbollah maintains that it remains neutral vis-à-vis the many Palestinian factions, but for reasons explained above, is better connected to the Islamist groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad than the secular parties PLO and Fateh. In addition to its political and ideological support for refugees, Hizbollah is better placed than other groups to underwrite political support with economic aid. In comparison, the secular groups (PLO, Fateh) have seen their funding dwindle and are no longer able to compete with the increased support from Islamist groups running kindergartens, social services

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etc. in the camps. This has led to Hizbollah gaining in importance and popularity at the PLO’s expense. The strategic alignment between Hizbollah and the Palestinian rejectionist groups was evident in the Nahr el-Bared crisis. Just prior to the outbreak of the Nahr elBared crisis, Hizbollah’s second in command, Sheikh Naem Qassem, received a Palestinian delegation of pro-Syrian factions and warned against the threat posed by Fatah al-Islam, stressing the importance of keeping Palestinian and Lebanese issues apart (Daily Star 2007i). He particularly underlined the need for preventing security breaches that would have negative repercussions on the country. Qassem also used the opportunity to voice his support for the right of return and the support for civil rights on humanitarian grounds. The support to the refugees must not only be seen within the framework of solidarity but also as a political statement in an increasingly politicised environment surrounding the refugee issue and undocumented but persistent rumours of settling the refugees in Lebanon. On 25 May, as the Army siege was in place, Hizbollah leader Syeed Hassan Nasrallah cautioned against storming the camp. In a televised address he said that for the Army to enter the camp would be crossing a ‘red line’ and the Palestinians should not be touched (BBC Online 2007). However, Nasrallah also warned against attacking the Army, which he also considered a very important and impartial institution and a ‘red line’ not to be crossed. To solve the conflict, Hizbollah advocated a negotiated political solution using the country’s judiciary. Shortly after, Hizbollah organised its own relief effort and sent a convoy of 12 trucks with essential goods to Tripoli to help displaced refugees (Zureik 2007). Despite Nasrallah’s warnings, the Army stormed the camp in early June and continued to shell the camp until the last Fatah al-Islam fighters were captured in late August. In the aftermath of the Nahr el-Bared crisis, Nasrallah assured that his followers enjoyed ‘strong and good’ relations with Palestinian and stressed that ‘there would be no war between the camps and their neighbours’. Similarly, Mohammad Husein Fadlallah, who as the foremost Shia scholar and marjaah in Lebanon is close to Hizbollah (el-Husseini 2008), called for improving inter-Palestinian relations (Daily Star 2007k).

Hamas sidelined In recent years Hamas has gained a more prominent role in Lebanon, in line with the growing support for Islamist groups in the Middle East generally. The rise of Hamas in Palestine has been followed by a similar increase in support among the Palestinian diaspora in Lebanon (Knudsen 2005b). Hamas is formally represented in southern refugee camps and active in running social programmes and activities. Hamas’s victory in the elections to the Palestinian Legislative Council (2006) increased its prominence in Lebanon. Under the leadership of the Country Representative Oussama Hamdan, Hamas has strengthened the ties with the other Palestinian rejectionist groups and in informal alliance with Hizbollah. Hamas’s growing prominence has brought the group into competition with PLO over stewardship of the Palestinian cause in Lebanon. The response to the Nahr el-Bared crisis is typical of this disagreement and put Hamas at odds with the PLO.

Nahr el-Bared 105 Hamas disagreed with PLO (and Fateh) on how to handle the crisis. While the latter strongly supported a military intervention, Hamas warned against a military solution. Oussama Hamdan, Hamas’ political representative in Lebanon, argued that a military solution to the crisis would lead to the camp’s destruction (Daily Star 2007d). Hamdan’s assessment was that it was not possible to reach a swift military victory over Fatah al-Islam. Instead, a military solution would take months and lead to the camp’s destruction and displace the residents. Hamas considered this a humanitarian crisis that should be tackled accordingly. They therefore advocated a three-pronged approach to the crisis, which entailed seeking a political solution aided by social pressure and backed up by security forces. This approach would take time, perhaps three months, but would avoid bloodshed and wanton destruction. Hamas’ approach was never tried out and instead the LAF used excessive force to reach its objective of routing Fatah al-Islam. The camp’s destruction vindicated Hamas’ view that a political solution could have spared the camp and protected the residents. Throughout the three-month’s battle Hamas remained critical of the siege, but was unable to influence the course of events. One reason why Hamas was sidelined was because it was not part of the LPDC, which functioned as the entry point for influencing the government. Moreover, once the military campaign had gained momentum, the Nahr el-Bared crisis had been militarised to a degree that other approaches seemed impossible. The fact that the PLO gave the government unconditional support further marginalised Hamas’ stance. In general, the conflictual relations between Palestinian groups in Palestine have not been replicated in a Lebanese context. However, the intensity of the Nahr elBared campaign exerted tremendous pressure on the many Palestinian factions and served to polarise them vis-à-vis each other. The parties criticising the siege of Nahr el-Bared were therefore unable to cooperate in an efficient manner. This made it impossible for them to take a united stand on the crisis although there was general agreement that the Nahr el-Bared crisis should be considered a humanitarian issue made worse by the Army using excessive force. Because of their principled stand against a military engagement, Hamas was accused of helping the militants in Nahr el-Bared. After the Nahr el-Bared crisis ended, Hamas and Hamdan dismissed accusations by undisclosed Fateh sources that ‘Hamas helped Fatah al-Islam’ (Daily Star 2007b). Hamdan met with Bahia Hariri to discuss reconstruction of Nahr el-Bared but, overall, both Hamas and the other Palestinian groups began the discussion on reconstruction of the ruined camp much too late.

The PLO’s comeback The PLO has for several years been struggling to regain its political prominence in Lebanon and saw its political fortunes brighten in May 2006 with the reopening of the new PLO representative office in Beirut that had been closed since 1982. The reopening was an important symbolic gesture, and made Abbas Zaki (Sharif Meshal) the official PLO representative in Lebanon. When the Nahr el-Bared crisis broke out, the PLO was acknowledged as the official Palestinian delegate to Lebanon and Zaki the only Palestinian delegate member of the LPDC with the title

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of Ambassador. During the Nahr el-Bared conflict Zaki was the most visible and eloquent supporter of the Army’s siege of the camp and the government’s handling of the disaster. Zaki stressed the need to avoid turning the siege of Nahr el-Bared into a massacre of civilians. He therefore purposely chose a conciliatory approach aimed at protecting the refugees. Zaki believed that this was vital to protect the camp’s residents as well as to prevent reprisals against civilians. He also saw this as a necessary step to stem a political backlash against refugees that would further curtail their minimal rights. Thus, his cautious support for the siege aimed to prevent reprisals against the refugees. Zaki had history on his side, such as the war-time destruction of the Tell al Zaatar refugee camp and massacre of its inhabitants in 1976. When the Nahr el-Bared crisis ended, the death toll stood at 33 civilians, which can be read as a vindication of Zaki’s measured support of the LAF in order to avoid reprisals against the besieged refugees.10 After the Nahr el-Bared crisis ended in August 2007, Zaki continued his conciliatory approach through a speech commonly referred to as the ‘Beirut Declaration’ delivered on the occasion of ceremony in Beirut marking the forty-third anniversary of Fatah (Zaki 2008). In his speech, Zaki made a unilateral apology to ‘our dear Lebanon’ for the harm inflicted on the country during the civil war and called for true reconciliation. The apology was followed by a critique of the PLO’s own failure to address the needs of the refugees following the Oslo Process and DOP. Preoccupied with the two-state solution, the PLO had let the refugee issue slip from their agenda (Hovdenak 2008). Having reaffirmed the PLO’s commitment to Palestinian refugees, Zaki underlined the respect for Lebanon’s laws, the right of return and linked to this the commitment to a future Palestinian state. Zaki’s admission of the PLO’s failure and unilateral apology opened a new space for criticising the government’s neglect of the refugees’ plight. Thus, the Beirut Declaration must be interpreted within a framework of a near absence of formal apology and reconciliation in post-civil war Lebanon (Barak 2007; Haugbolle 2005).11 But more than that, the apology and call for reconciliation must be read as preparing the ground for closer political co-operation and co-ordination between the PLO and the Saniora government. It can also be interpreted as a strategy to strengthen the PLO’s claim to be the ‘sole representative of the Palestinian people’ in a Lebanese context. This view was strengthened by the many public appearances, joint press conferences and press statements featuring Zaki together with the LPDC leader Makkawi (LPDC 2008a).12 Thus, the Nahr-el Bared crisis opened the way for closer relations between the government, the LPDC and the PLO. This effectively sidelined Hamas while strengthening the PLO, thus reproducing the current void (in Palestine) between the PLO and Hamas in a Lebanese context.13 In mid-November, Zaki met with Mohhammed Hussein Fadlallah and assured him that he stood together with ‘Sayyed Fadlallah and [Hizbullah leader] Sayyed Nasrallah [in] thwart[ting] . . . conflict and infighting’ (Daily Star 2007k). In short, Zaki struck alliances with the government and the opposition that bolstered the PLO’s position. By reaching out to both sides of Lebanon’s political divide (aka 14th March and 8th March), Zaki cemented the PLO’s leadership role. Yet, Zaki and PLO achieved this political victory at the expense of its grassroots support: many Palestinians resented his

Nahr el-Bared 107 unilateral apology as a betrayal of the suffering of Palestinian victims and their families at the hands of the Lebanese.

Fatah’s failure While the PLO’s political fortunes have brightened, the role of Fatah, the largest faction within the PLO operating under separate command, has become more tenuous. In recent years Fatah has seen its power-base inside Lebanese refugees camps weaken, yet it routinely proclaims to be in control of the security situation in country’s refugee camps (Daily Star 2008b). Yet, in several cases Fatah finds itself outmanned and outgunned by rival Islamist groups and implicated in deadly vendettas (Rougier 2007). Moreover, Fatah finds itself politically isolated from the Palestinian ‘rejectionist’ groups who oppose Fatah’s (and the PLO’s) endorsement of the Oslo Process. For this reason, Fatah has sought to strengthen its position by controlling the camps in military terms but, unlike the PLO, it has not been able form a strategic alliance with Lebanese political parties. The appointment of Zaki as PLO Representative in Lebanon demoted Fatah Commander (Brigadier) Sultan Abu al-Anayn, who until Zaki’s appointment was the highest ranking PLO representative in Lebanon. This led to tensions between Fatah and PLO and, later, to attempts to replace al-Anayn.14 While Zaki has been cultivating and is cultivated by the ruling elite, al-Anayn is a former militia leader who in 1992 was sentenced to death in absentia. He has since been based in his command headquarters, the tightly guarded Fatah stronghold Rashidieh, a southern refugee camp near Tyre. While the PLO has monopolised the political dialogue with the Lebanese authorities, there is no comparable role for Fatah. Instead, Fatah and al-Anayn are in charge of the internal security situation in the camps, and can be said to be controlling, or aiming to control, the internal security dialogue in the camps. Yet, this is made more difficult by Fatah’s being party to a deadly vendetta in the Ayn al-Hilweh refugee camp (Knudsen 2005b). In this sense, Fatah is implicated in the type of violence the state seeks to prevent. This effectively limits Fateh’s political role vis-à-vis the Lebanese authorities, which consider Fatah a militia rather than a political force and under multiple and competing local leadership (Daily Star 2007f). Seeking to prove its military superiority, Fatah recently put on display the largest array of heavy weapons inside a refugee camp since the end of the civil war. This show of force was meant to silence its opponents and send a message to its enemies in the camp (Daily Star 2008c). However, it is also sends the message that Fatah is a militia group (rather than a political entity) hence part of the problem rather than its solution.15 We can also see this in Fatah’s knee-jerk response to the threat posed by Fatah al-Islam. Fatah al-Islam was strongly repudiated by all political groups and their Islamist credentials questioned. The strongest repudiation came from Fatah alIslam’s Palestinian namesake Fatah, which denied the existence of any such group named ‘Fatah al-Islam’. Fatah not only promised support for the Army’s siege of the camp but offered to let its own force, the (Palestinian) Armed Struggle (al-Kifah al-Musalah), enter the camp to fight alongside the Army. For Fatah especially, it

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was important to discredit its namesake Fatah al-Islam as a ‘terrorist group’ without any connection to Fatah or the Palestinian nationalist struggle. While Fatah’s offer of armed intervention was not accepted, it shows how strongly Fatah distanced itself from Fatah al-Islam and willingness to attack them.

Conclusion The Nahr el-Bared conflict was the largest and most devastating confrontation between the Army and the refugees in post-civil war Lebanon and highlighted successive governments’ neglect of refugees and their plight. However, the Nahr el-Bared incident also reshuffled the relations between refugees and the political groups in Lebanon, the topic of this chapter. Nahr el-Bared was a ‘crisis within a crisis’; a complex emergency that cemented the two-bloc system in Lebanese politics (namely 14th March, 8th March) and reinforced internal Palestinian divisions. All the Palestinian parties delegitimised Fatah al-Islam but could not agree on how to deal with the threat they posed to the Palestinian community: some supported military intervention, others advocated a negotiated political settlement. Fatah, in particular, remained ensnared in a militarised response to the crisis, a response that typifies its militia organisation. The Nahr el-Bared conflict showed the fractures and potential for conflict over who is the steward of the ‘refugee file’ in Lebanon. Common to all the parties is that they were guided not primarily by political visions, but more by political calculations and party gains. Nahr el-Bared is therefore a potent symbol of the powerlessness of the refugees – underlined by Abbas Zaki’s apologetic ‘Beirut Declaration’ where he sought forgiveness for Palestinian crimes committed during the civil war. The Beirut Declaration was approved by the PLO, reduced latent political tensions created by the conflict and moved the PLO closer to the ruling 14th March coalition and the LPDC. Yet, for many refugees, the Beirut Declaration was a sign of weakness and a betrayal. Nonetheless, the PLO’s conciliatory gestures towards the Army managed to contain the wider impact of the crisis but did so at the expense of its grassroots support and credibility. The Nahr el-Bared crisis confirmed the Future Movement’s commitment to the refugee issue but also the pitfalls of closer contact, which makes the movement liable to accusations of building a proxy force based on the Palestinian co-religionists. The crisis further affirmed the personal role of Bahia Hariri not only on a local but also a national level but did not bestow a comparable role on the Future Movement. Hariri also sought closer cooperation with Hamas, which indicates that to Hariri, Hamas is a credible alternative to the governmental embrace of the PLO and can provide electoral gains in her Sidon constituency. Hamas’ cautious political response to the crisis was vindicated by the outcome of the conflict, yet it was unable to see this approach adopted by the government. Excluded from government patronage and membership in the LPDC, Hamas sought closer cooperation with the Future Movement, in particular Bahia Hariri, an alternative to the LPDC-channel monopolised by the PLO. Nonetheless, Hamas was sidelined and was never able to gain broad-based support for a political solution

Nahr el-Bared 109 to the conflict. This is all the more significant considering that Hizbollah also advocated a political solution to the crisis. For Hizbollah, there are important ideological reasons for being in control of the ‘refugee file’ that go beyond the voting power as political constituencies; this is hence about legitimacy and national politics and carving into votes otherwise distributed along sectarian lines. As the country’s only modern party Hizbollah reaches out beyond the sectarian divide to attract new voters, supporters and sympathizers. Hizbollah called for lifting the siege of Nahr el-Bared and challenged the Army’s heavy-handed military campaign but did not engage militarily in the standoff. In this respect, Hizbollah stayed within the official consensus that Fatah al-Islam had to be defeated militarily and displayed the political pragmatism that is the hallmark of the movement. At the outbreak of the Nahr el-Bared crisis the Palestinian ‘rejectionists’ groups already had a close relationship with Hizbollah. Likewise the secular groups, in particular the PLO, found a natural ally in the LPDC. Yet, within both groups there is now greater interest in claiming the refugee file for themselves. More specifically, the control of the ‘refugee file’ is sought by new contenders, such as the Future Movement under Bahia Hariri. The Nahr el-Bared conflict made the refugee file become even more important and controlling it therefore all the more crucial. The ‘refugee file’ is not sought after as a ‘vote bank’, but as a key, divisive national issue whose stewardship gives political gains. So what are these gains? The long-time presence of Palestinians and potential settlement in Lebanon is one of the most controversial issues in Lebanon – to be seen as controlling this sensitive issue has tactical advantages and ‘power’ benefits. These benefits are largest in Sunni-majority cities such as Tripoli and Sidon where the Palestinian issue can be used as a political ‘card’ to garner votes in the local power struggle between the contestants (Daily Star 2009). The Palestinian issue speaks to the Sunni ‘street’ and being perceived as controlling the ‘refugee file’ is therefore an asset. The Nahr el-Bared conflict further heightened the stakes of controlling the ‘refugee file’. The crisis also gave the LAF a greater stake in controlling the ‘refugee file’ and the LAF now has a greater say in refugee affairs than before. This has made Nahr el-Bared the country’s most securitised and surveilled camp and the residents suspended in chronic insecurity.

Acknowledgements This chapter was written under the Research Council of Norway grant no. 171546/ V10. I am grateful to Jaber Suleiman for organising interviews with leading Lebanese and Palestinian officials and representatives during 2006–8. I would like to thank Mahmoud Zeidan for organising my visits to the Nahr el-Bared and Beddawi refugee camps in September 2008. The usual disclaimer applies.

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Notes 1 The Free Patriotic Movement (a Christian Party) is, however, supportive of basic Palestinian rights as detailed in the party’s Memorandum of Understanding with Hizbollah (MoU 2006). 2 The ‘rejectionist’ groups are also referred to as the Palestinian National Alliance, see Suleiman (1999). 3 The Fatah al-Islam leader, Shaker al-Absi, began his career as a PLO member and, from 1982, joined the break-away faction Fatah Intifada. After serving a three-year sentence in jail in Syria and receiving a death-in-absentia sentence from Jordan, he returned to Lebanon in 2005 and took up leadership of Fatah Intifada (Daily Star 2007c). A few months later, Fatah al-Islam had established itself in Nahr el-Bared and took over Fatah Intifada’s premises in the camp. 4 Future TV, Radio Orient and the Al Mustaqbal newspaper. 5 In mid-2008 Bahia Hariri was appointed Minister of Education in the new ‘unity cabinet’ headed by Prime Minister Saniora. 6 Sidon also hosts the smaller and less well-known refugee camp Mieh-Mieh, which also suffers occasional flare-ups between Fatah and Islamist groups and was the scene of the assassination of the senior Fatah official Kamal Midhat in late March 2009 (Knudsen 2010). 7 Taamir is a troubled neighbourhood adjacent to the Ayn al-Hilwa refugee camp, where militant Islamist groups, in particular the Jund e-Sham (Soldiers of Greater Syria), have fortified themselves. There have been several attempts at evicting them with peaceful means following political dialogue. The group has been implicated in a deadly vendetta with Fatah members and several of the group’s members have been killed in shoot-outs and targeted assassinations, see Rougier (2007). 8 This includes, among others, the former prime ministers Omar Karami and Najib Mikati. 9 Every year Hizbollah celebrates the future liberation of Palestine in the Al-Quds International Day parade held on the last day Friday of Ramadan. 10 In the end, reprisals against refugees were averted, and the official view prevailed: Palestinian leaders would not criticise the government for destroying the camp – the government, in return, would not put blame for the Nahr el-Bared crisis on the refugees. Instead, both parties could claim to be victims of a militant group threatening the state and its citizens and its Palestinian ‘non-citizens’ (Saniora 2007). 11 Reconciliation and remembrance has over the past years gained momentum in Lebanon, see for example the website http://memoryatwork.org/. 12 By comparison, there were no similar appearances of Makkawi with the Hamas representative in Lebanon, Oussama Hamdan or other Palestinian leaders. 13 A further example of this can be found in the fact that in the annual Sabra and Shatila commemorations, Abbas Zaki was present but did not, as would be expected, deliver the key speech on the occasion. According to one observer, Zaki declined to speak because he did not want to engage in the diatribe against the Lebanese state that is common on this occasion (author’s observation, Beirut, 16 September 2008). 14 A note claimed that an envoy of President Mahmoud Abbas’s had relieved Abu alAnayan of his duties (Daily Star 2008a). The note was later refuted by Abbas Zaki, yet is evidence of the tensions between the PLO and Fatah leadership (NOWLebanon 2008c). 15 The car-bomb killing of Fatah official Kamal Midhat in March 2009 further weakened Fatah’s political role. Midhat was the key broker of the behind-the-scenes initiatives to unite the PLO and Fatah and sought closer cooperation with Hamas.

Part III

Civic rights, legal status and reparations

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Passport for what price? Statelessness among Palestinian refugees Abbas Shiblak

These forgotten ones, disconnected from the social fabric, these outcasts, deprived of work and equal rights, are at the same time expected to applaud their oppression because it provides them with the blessings of memory. The late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish

Introduction Following the establishment of Israel in 1948, Palestinian refugees lost both their homes and their citizenship. At present, the majority of Palestinians are not only refugees but also stateless. They constitute the largest stateless community in the world. Statelessness, perhaps more than any other factor, has dominated and shaped the lives of four generations of Palestinian refugees since their exodus in 1948. This chapter focuses on this aspect of Palestinian experience that was overlooked and kept at bay for so long while attention focused on the political aspects of the refugee plight. This chapter begins by discussing the impact of denial of statehood on the Palestinians and how citizenship or lack of it has been used to determine the destiny of ordinary Palestinians and influence the resolution of the refugee question. It looks into the impact of statelessness on the wellbeing and mobility of Palestinian refugees. Second, it examines the shifting concepts of citizenship in the Palestinian and official Arab rhetoric as well as among the refugees themselves. It also examines the significance of citizenship in any future political settlement and highlights some the shortcomings of the various formats being presented to resolve this issue.

Denial of statehood and Palestinian citizenship Palestinians in the late nineteenth century, like all inhabitants of the Empire, were Ottoman subjects. In his study of Palestinian emigration to America at the turn of the twentieth century, Jamal Adawi (1993) mentioned that the Ottoman authorities withdrew, in most cases, the nationality of Palestinian emigrants once they acquired American nationality. When Palestine fell under the British Mandate, after the First World War, all persons, legally resident and registered, became British Protected

114 Abbas Shiblak subjects and were granted Palestinian nationality. The British mandate authorities, however, denied thousands of Palestinians who emigrated to the Americas under the Ottoman period, Palestinian nationality and even barred their entry into the country. This is in stark contrast to the position the British took in the 1920s and 1930s when newly arriving Jewish immigrants were granted Palestinian nationality. This was part of the British policy in support of the establishment of a ‘Jewish home’ in Palestine. Based on figures included in the Palestine Royal Commission Report of 1937, Adawi (1993) and Qaffisheh (2007) give conflicting figures for those who were denied Palestinian nationality among Palestinian emigrants. Adawi (1993) found that of the 9,000 Palestinian emigrants to America who decided to return at the time, only 100 were allowed back into the country (Adawi 1993; Yazbak 1988). Qaffisheh (2007) in his study of Palestinian nationality gave a much higher figure of 40,000 for what could be the number of Palestinian emigrants in Latin America who applied to get Palestinian passport at the time.1 Citizenship in the two states – Jewish and Arab – proposed in 1947 by the United Nations (UN) Partition Plan that comprised in UN resolution 181, was meant to be granted to all inhabitants of each of the two states. This was also meant to include full equality of rights and freedom from discrimination based on ethnic or religious grounds. When Britain abruptly ended its mandate on 15 May 1948, Palestinian statehood never materialised. Israel extended its control of 20 per cent more land than had been demarcated for the Jewish State under the UN Partition Plan. At the same time, Jordan annexed the central area of Palestine, which began to be known as the ‘West Bank’. The de facto annexation by Jordan was never recognised by any member state of the League of Arab States (LAS) or by the UN. Pakistan was the only state that officially recognised this annexation. Based on evidence of the Zoinist archives, Shlaim (1988) highlighted what he called ‘the collusion across the Jordan river’ between the Israeli leadership with King Abdullah of Jordan at the time. Thus, one might say that the eradication of Palestine as a political and national entity from 1948 was in fact a joint effort between Israel and Jordan. It was left for the successive states to determine the entitlement of Palestinians to nationality. Jordan was quick, as one scholar describes it, ‘to cloth’ the Palestinian refugees in Jordanian nationality (Al-Kasim 2001). It is now widely recognised that the Israeli policy was, and still is, to gain control of as much land in historical Palestine and expel as many Palestinians as possible through intimidation and the use of force (Masalha 1992). Only about 150,000 Palestinians remained after the mass exodus of 1948. To ensure the Judaization of the new state, Israel issued three new laws in the early 1950s pertaining to Israeli citizenship. The full implications of the Israeli Citizenship Law of 1952 can be assessed only in conjunction with two other laws, which were issued two years previously in 1950: the Absentees’ Property Law and the Law of Return. While the Absentees’ Property Law nullifies the rights of the Palestinian (non-Jewish) population, who were made refugees in the 1948 war, to return to their homes, it stipulates in parallel, through the Law of Return, the right of any Jew (and only Jews) who has never lived in or set foot in Palestine to unrestricted immigration, settlement and automatic citizenship (Davis 1997).

Passport for what price? 115 Thus, within a few years after the establishment of the state of Israel, thousands of Palestinians had been made stateless refugees. Those who had left in fear for their lives, during the war-related violence, were not allowed back and consequently became stateless refugees. Those left behind were not considered citizens of the newly born state but rather foreign residents who were later naturalised. Some of them remained stateless until the 1980s (Davis 1997: 34). More recently, some Israeli officials have called for changes to nationality laws that would allow the government to strip Arab citizens of the Israeli state of their nationality (Bishara 2007). It has been pointed out by some scholars that by granting civil and political rights and withholding social and economic rights, Israel was able to present itself as a democracy. Yet, veiled from public scrutiny, its apartheid legislation subjected Palestinian society outside of Israel to a miserable refugee existence and those inside Israel to policies of internal colonisation (Zureik 1979: 59). With the West Bank under the control of the Jordanian army, the Palestinians managed only to set up their own government known as ‘Government of All Palestine’ (GAP), in the Gaza enclave under the Egyptian administration. GAP issued a Palestinian passport to facilitate the movement of Palestinians. This remained in limited use until the early 1960s (Azar 1998). Jordan objected to GAP while the initial limited support offered by other Arab states showed a rapid decline. This was largely because of colonial influence on the newly emerging Arab states. Hence, this at the time facilitated the Zionists’ objective of eradicating Palestine both as a notion and as a nation. The inability of the Palestinians to have their own state in areas that were not controlled by Israel led to a loss of citizenship. Consequently, there was no representation in the view of international law. This had grave political, legal and human repercussions on the Palestinian refugees and shaped their experience in exile. It was implicit understanding by both Israel and Jordan that sought to erase Palestine as a political entity and inherit its land. Israel resorted to similar dubious policies after it occupied the remaining territories of historical Palestine; the West Bank and the Gaza Strip following the 1967 War. Official Palestinian figures show that 412,660 Palestinians were displaced directly after the war (Amro 1996: 14). Israel, in contravention of/in breach of international law, once again designated the Palestinian inhabitants of the newly occupied territories not as non-citizens but rather as foreign residents. More than 150,000 Palestinians, who were living outside the territories during the war, were not counted in the census that the Israelis had conducted immediately after the war (Amro 1996: 14). These Palestinians consequently lost their civil registration and they were not allowed back to their homes. The inhabitants of the West Bank, where the majority at the time had Jordanian nationality, were treated as non-citizens. Despite its implicit agreement on Jordanian annexation of the West Bank, Israel did not officially recognise Jordanian sovereignty over the territory. It applied military rule to the territories and issued a series of military orders. These orders enabled Israel to withdraw the IDs from thousands of Palestinians whose exit visa, issued by Israeli authorities, had expired while they were out of the occupied territories. This action by the Israelis can only be described as ‘ethnic cleansing’ through administrative means.

116 Abbas Shiblak With the annexation of East Jerusalem (1967) and the Golan Heights (1981), Israel applied its civil legislation to the annexed territories as well. The residents of these territories became permanent residents of Israel, permanent residents rather than citizens. In order to become citizens, they were required, under Israeli law, to apply for Israeli citizenship. Granting of this citizenship remained under the discretion of the Minister of the Interior. Israel employed Article 11 of the regulations on Entry into Israel of 1974 as a legal instrument. The aim was to deprive many Jerusalemite Arabs of their IDs and residency rights. Israel said they would lose their IDs if any of the following applies: (a) they were away for more than seven years, (b) had acquired other citizenship; or (c) had been granted permanent residency rights elsewhere (Halabi 1997). More than 17 years now after the signing of the Declaration of Principles (DOP) in 1993, Israel still keeps total control on the border crossings of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and on issuing IDs for Palestinians without which they cannot reside in PA areas. The ID issue, as well as the Separation Wall, are in fact part of a comprehensive control regime of the space and the people that Israel employs vis-à-vis Palestinians. This causes fragmentation and evacuation, which is worse than that under the apartheid regime of South Africa. Not only does it demonise the Palestinians, but denies their existence altogether.

Citizenship as a political instrument in the Palestinian context It is one of many misfortunes that the Palestinians had to flee their country at the time when the neighbouring Arab states were busy controlling their own borders, which had been drawn by the colonial powers. Dispossessed and stateless the refugees tried to absorb the shock of their ‘nakba’, the Arabic term for disaster. They found themselves stranded and unable to travel in search for work or to link up with family members dispersed across the region. Thus, families and small communities were split and with it the destinies of their members. The Israeli government introduced further measures in summer 2010 that will deny citizenship and family reunification for thousands of Palestinian families across the Green Line. This will affect around 25,000 Palestinian families of mixed marriages where one partner holds Palestinian ID and resides in PA areas and the other holds an Israeli passport and resides in Israel or Jerusalem. The proposed measures will also affect Palestinian families if the parents carry different Palestinian ID cards, one of Gaza and the other of the West Bank. These measures are designed to cause further fragmentation and family splits among Palestinians and can only be seen as a step backwards, signalling that Israel no longer recognizes Gaza and the West Bank as one political entity as agreed in the signed peace accord. It took more than a decade for Arab states to realise that a solution to the refugee crisis was not in sight. They had to agree on some kind of regularisation for the travel, family reunification and residency status of the refugee communities in their midst. The member states of the LAS adopted the Casablanca Protocol of September 1965 in which they agreed in principle to grant Palestinian refugees full social and

Passport for what price? 117 economic rights equal to that of their own citizens (LAS 1996, 1998). The member states also agreed to provide the refugees with special travel documents issued by the host Arab government without granting them their nationality. It was a formula designed to alleviate the refugees’ plight while preserving the refugees’ identity and serve as a reminder of the responsibility of Israel for the creation of the refugee crisis. It was thought this would also serve to remind the international community of its responsibility in resolving the refugee issue in accordance with the UN resolutions including the UN General Assembly Res. 194 of 1948 that enshrined the refugees’ rights to repatriation and compensation. Perhaps it was a well-intended formula at the time but it was never a part of any Arab strategy to help those refugees to return to their homes. Gradually, like many of the LAS resolutions, it was left, though not officially, for each government to decide on what and how to implement the Protocol. It was consequently only partially and occasionally implemented. Fundamental rights of the refugees were crossly compromised in various degrees in host Arab countries. With the exception of Syria, most Arab states imposed various degrees of restrictions on entry visa for the travel document (TD) holders. As TD holders, refugees in Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Gaza found that their eligibility to work and their freedom of movement in other Arab countries were gradually curtailed. The holders of Palestinian TDs issued by other countries were mostly prohibited from entry to Jordan, Lebanon or Egypt. Lebanon and Saudi Arabia expressed reservations on the Casablanca Protocol as both countries feared that this might lead to permanent settlement of Palestinian refugees in the Arab host states. Lebanon, in particular, feared that the Palestinian presence would add to its Muslim Sunni population and hence would alter its volatile sectarian political system. As a result, Lebanon developed what is fundamentally a discriminatory regime that sought gradually but steadily to push Palestinians out of Lebanon seeking refuge in countries beyond the Arab world. This would happen under a misleading objective not to allow the refugees permanent settlement, in Arabic referred to as ‘tawteen’, which literary means ‘implantation’) by denying them basic human rights. The political argument commonly used by some Arab officials to justify the denial of basic rights has been to preserve the identity of the refugees and to make sure that they will not permanently settle in Arab states. This is an argument that Palestinians feel often conceals a sinister domestic agenda. This agenda entails maintaining a political system that is largely based on a tribal and sectarian setup where ‘outsiders’ are seen as a threat and fear is used to control people. More importantly perhaps, this state of affairs is pushing Palestinian refugees beyond the Arab region and, in so doing, it inadvertently fulfils one of the objectives of the Zionist ideology, namely the dispersal of Palestinian refugees away from their homeland. Hence, the Arab political argument is designed to mislead and does not in any way serve its stated purpose of preserving Palestinian identity. In effect it deprives Palestinian refugees of basic human rights. It has been a formula that kept the refugees in limbo for the third and fourth generations without bringing the resolution of their plight any closer. The refugees therefore were neither able to return to their homeland, because of Israeli objection, nor were incorporated or treated

118 Abbas Shiblak equally with the citizens of host Arab societies. This pushed many Palestinians towards exile abroad. With the start of their journey in exile, the Palestinian refugees’ search for passports had started in earnest. With no Palestinian state in sight and the Palestinian passport issued by the GAP gradually losing official recognition, Arab states became more willing to accept Jordanian passports for Palestinians as de facto. Refugees who found themselves in other countries were encouraged to come to Jordan in their search for a passport. Prominent Palestinian figures, the wealthy and professionals were all lured to Jordan and acquire Jordanian nationality. Some were offered official posts in the Jordanian government. It was a state of loss, confusion and search for survival at a time when Palestine as an idea, a country and an entity was dismantled and inherited by the Zionist forces and by the Jordanian army. The Bedouin Jordanian army, which was led by British officers at the time, was rounding up activist nationalists among Palestinians in the West Bank and monitoring any opposition activities among the population as well as in the camps, keeping the borders with Israel quiet. Those who were suspected of political activities during 1950s and 1960s had to spend a long time in jail and were asked to publicly renounce their political affiliation before they were issued with new passport and allowed to travel. Passports are increasingly perceived not only as means of identification but more as means of control for ensuring the loyalty to the government of the day. Borders control and visa restrictions caused further fragmentation of the Palestinian society now turned into scattered communities in exile. Palestinians who were residing in Israel found themselves (until 1967) living under military rule, besieged by the Israeli army and not being able to travel or even to communicate with other Arabs or with relatives in the neighbouring Arab countries. They were even boycotted by Arab states for holding new Israeli passports. Nevertheless, unlike TD holders, Palestinian refugees who were holding Jordanian passports were able to travel in Arab countries with less difficulty and were being granted visas to work in the Gulf States, privileges that were not always available to the TD holders. The regulations regarding the status of the Palestinian refugees were rarely issued in the form of new laws by the legislature, but instead, as administrative decrees taken by the executive or the security agencies that pay lip-service to the needs and interest of the refugees or help their cause. These decrees were mostly arbitrary and without judicial review or any possibility of being challenged. A sudden change of heart by host governments as a result of political conflict with the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) leadership followed with collective punishment of ordinary Palestinians ensuing on more than one occasion. Their status was redefined from residents with full citizenship rights to foreigners whose residency status is uncertain or insecure. The civil and social rights they enjoyed for three decades were withdrawn overnight in Egypt in 1979, against the backdrop of the political rift with the PLO following the Egyptian–Israeli peace accords. In Jordan, the late King Hussein used Jordanian citizenship as a way to gain influence among the stateless Palestinians and to exert pressure on the PLO. He offered, for instance, the notables of Gaza Jordanian nationality in the late 1960s and early

Passport for what price? 119 1970s as part of his efforts to undermine the support base of the PLO. At a later stage, in 1988, when it became clear that the Palestinian National Council (PNC) was going to adopt a declaration calling for the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, once Israel ended its occupation of these territories, the king issued a royal decree on 31 July surrendering his claim to the West Bank and severing legal and administrative ties with it. The nullification of the 1950 unity of the two sides of the river Jordan, which was initially imposed then on the Palestinians, triggered major changes in the legal status of West Bank residents. Article (2) of the royal decree stipulates: ‘Every person residing in the West Bank before 31st July 1988 is to be considered a Palestinian, not a Jordanian citizen.’ As a result, more than two million Palestinians living in the West Bank who were carrying Jordanian passports effectively became stateless overnight (Bakr 1995). The intention from the outset seemed to be accepting the wishes of Palestinians whom the king never consulted yet the outcome appeared to punish them, since there was no Palestinian state in existence as yet. Consequently, what is considered to be a preservation of the refugee identity instead becomes a legal instrument that excludes and marginalises Palestinian refugee communities in host Arab states and turns them into ‘legislative ghettos’. The Gulf States fired the last shot by officially revoking the Casablanca Protocol when the LAS Council convened in 1991, agreeing that domestic laws of each country should from now on have priority (LAS 1996, 1998).2 The agreement lifted any legal or moral obligations on LAS members to be bound by the Protocol. Even when nationality laws were amended in some Arab countries to allow certain previously excluded or stateless groups to be naturalised, Palestinian refugees were excluded on political grounds. Both Lebanon and Egypt, for instance, under certain conditions allow the granting of nationality to newly born stateless children. Yet, if the father is a stateless Palestinian, his children are excluded. The more recent amendment in Egypt of 2004 to the 1975 Egyptian nationality law allows children of an Egyptian woman who is married to a non-Egyptian to have Egyptian nationality under certain conditions in an attempt to reduce statelessness. However, in practice, the authorities choose to refuse application if the father of the children is a stateless Palestinian. Although the amendment does not explicitly mention this, it has been reported that the Ministry of Interior has the full discretion to refuse applications for children born to an Egyptian mother and a stateless Palestinian father. This seems ironic as the majority of mixed marriages are with Palestinian men holding a TD and the authorities do, however, accept applications if the father is a Palestinian bearing another nationality, e.g. Jordanian.3 In 1994, the Lebanese authorities clearly stated that the amendment to the nationality law, which resulted in the naturalisation of over 100,000 foreigners, excluded Palestinians from benefiting from the scheme. The row and debates that followed this amendment are still ongoing. It was reported recently that the Lebanese government may be forced to withdraw nationality from some people, mainly Palestinians, ‘who may have slipped through the net in the process’.4 Some of the Gulf States, including Saudi Arabia, have been giving contradictory signals as to whether the recent nationality law amendment of 2005,5 which

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allows foreign residents to be naturalised under certain conditions, includes stateless Palestinians. On the other hand, Jordan, unlike in 1948, refused to grant Jordanian citizenship or at least passports of convenience to the displaced Palestinians from Gaza. Additionally, there are the estimated 60,000 who found themselves in Jordan following 1967 War (Al-Abed 2002). They used to have Egyptian TDs but were barred from entry to Egypt or to Gaza as they were not included in the census carried out by the Israelis following their occupation of the Strip in 1967.

The impact of statelessness The right to nationality is a fundamental human right. Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 lays the foundation by declaring ‘everyone has the right to a nationality’. Citizenship is nothing less than what Marshall and others described: ‘the right to have rights . . . Remove this priceless possession and there remains a stateless person, disgraced and degraded in the eyes of his countrymen’ (Marshall 1950). It is the right from which other rights and entitlements derive, especially in developing countries where entitlement to basic rights is strongly linked to nationality rather than residency as in liberal democracies in Europe and the United States (Castles and Davidson 2000). These include the right to education, medical care, work, property ownership, travel, registration of civil matters, state protection and full participation in a world composed of states. Changing the status of people to non-citizens or threatening the security of their residency status with little consideration given to the rule of law generates insecurity and a loss of control over one’s life. Its devastating impact leaves a deep psychological and social imprint for generations. The Independent Commission on International Humanitarian Issues (1988) rightly notes that ‘the stateless are less protected than refugees’ (UNHCR 1988). Institutional discrimination leads to marginalisation, social exclusion, and vulnerability of stateless communities. Stateless communities are the first to pay the price for political instability and insecurity in the countries in which they reside. Without access to education or employment, stateless communities are exposed to political manipulation, exploitation, black market conditions, poverty and social unrest. The effect on host societies cannot be ignored. Statelessness leads to social tension and regional instability. There is a positive correlation in the Middle East between large-scale displacement and the eruption of major conflicts. Impoverished and marginalised refugee communities remain one of the main destabilising factors in the region. This has no better illustration than in the case of the Arab–Israeli conflict. Discrimination and denial of rights for Palestinian refugees in host Arab states have often been justified as ‘a political necessity to keep their cause and identity alive’. Commenting ironically on such a view, the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish (1995: 16) describes the plight of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, which he experienced while living their in the 1970s. The reality is, however, that such policies failed to bring any durable solution to the refugee problem. To the contrary, it creates further misery and hardship on the refugees and pushes thousands of them out of the host Arab societies to seek work, security and equality beyond

Passport for what price? 121 the Arab region. This has been better expressed by a young Palestinian who sought asylum in the UK in these words: Being uprooted from one’s own homeland is a devastating experience. To live as a stateless [person], deprived of basic rights in the country of refuge, means that you are doomed. By being uprooted, you may have lost the past; by losing your basic rights, you are losing the future as well.6 The majority of the Palestinian communities in Europe, for instance, are holders of Lebanese and Egyptian TDs, thus they have left countries where armed conflicts and discrimination are more persistent and stronger (Shiblak 2005). Today restrictions are imposed in various degrees in most Arab countries, affecting the outlook of generations of refugees in exile especially in Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq and the Gulf States where these countries’ respective governments pursue a strict policy of exclusion. Their engagement in host societies and their contribution are severely curtailed while their freedom of movement and their rights to family reunification are largely compromised. Statelessness to a large extent, perhaps more than any other factor, has shaped the experience of these communities in exile for generations. The emergence of the Palestinian resistance groups in the late 1960s and the 1970s as a powerful movement that speaks out on behalf of the Palestinians, and the political turbulence that swept the region as a result of the Gulf wars, added further complications to the status of the Palestinian refugees. The fluctuation of the relation between the PLO and Arab governments had adverse effects on the status of the Palestinians in these countries. Armed conflict between the PLO and its local supporters in Jordan in 1970 and in Lebanon during 1975–82 had a profound effect on the Palestinian communities in these countries that led to large influx and more restrictive policies towards the Palestinians. Differentiation between the PLO leadership and the ordinary Palestinians became more and more blurred in the eyes of the predominantly autocratic and sectarian regimes. There were extremely restrictive measures against Palestinians, some of which can be described as having an element of vengeance, including mass expulsion and even massacres in some cases. Palestinians experienced these in various Arab countries at different times. For example, in Jordan following the military assault on the PLO resistance factions in 1970–1 many were killed and around 50,000 where forced to leave and their passports withdrawn or not renewed. This led to a new phenomenon of undocumented Palestinians that currently exists in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Libya and some of the Gulf States. The disagreement between the Egyptian government and the PLO (after the signing of the peace agreement between Egypt and Israel in 1979) was followed by the expulsion of hundreds of Palestinian who were studying or residing in Egypt at the time. The massacres in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in September 1982 in Lebanon targeted Palestinians and were carried out by Maronite militias supported by the Israel army. More than 500,000 of Palestinians in Kuwait and other Gulf States during 1991–2 were expelled because due to PLO leadership’s support of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait (Shiblak 1991). The expulsion of around 15,000 Palestinians from Libya in the summer of 1995

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was due to the dissatisfaction by the Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, with the Palestinian–Israeli peace agreement of 1993 (Shiblak 1995). Recently following the war on Iraq in 2003, Palestinians in Iraq have had to endure various sectarian acts of vengeance including killing, evacuation and deportation at the hands of armed militias.

The issue of protection At present about ten million Palestinians are de jure stateless persons. They fall broadly into four main groups: 1 Holders of the ‘refugee travel document’ issued by host Arab states that include Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and Iraq. 2 Holders of the passport of convenience, mostly temporary Jordanian passports held mainly some inhabitants of the West Bank including Jerusalem who still carry Jordanian passport for convenience but not prove of citizenship by the Jordanian authorities. 3 Holders of the Palestinian passport/TD issued by the PA, which is still considered a TD until a fully fledged Palestinian state comes to existence. 4 Unknown number of undocumented refugees in various Arab countries whose documents were not renewed by the host countries that issued them. Also Palestinians who exceed time allowed by Israel on their visit visas and live without valid documents in PA-controlled areas. The Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza is based on a continuous process of land grabbing, fragmentation and displacement of the Palestinians. This problem is magnified by the uncertainty facing Palestinians’ residency status in some Arab states. More than 200,000 Gazans with Egyptian TDs were stranded in countries such as the Gulf States, Jordan and at the international border ports of almost every Arab state. Moreover, undocumented and unregistered refugees in Lebanon and Syria who fled persecution in countries of first refuge are unable to regularise their visas, travel or even move outside the camp. They are simply denied entry or renewal of their documents from their first country of refuge (Frontiers 2005). They are effectively ‘non-documented’ refugees. A number of the 40,000–50,000 Palestinians who entered the PA-controlled areas are still without valid documents as their application for family reunification has either been denied or not yet been determined by the Israeli authorities, thus they are confined to their homes and risk being arrested at Israeli checkpoints.7 Hundreds of Palestinian families that are TD holders from Egypt or Iraq were stranded following the invasion of Iraq in 2003 on the borders with Jordan and Syria in harsh desert camps. They found no refuge in the neighbouring Arab countries and had to settle in third countries that were not known as settlement countries for refugee in the past such as Brazil, Chile and Iceland (UNHCR 2008). This phenomenon of unwanted and stranded Palestinian communities illustrates the human costs they have endured as a result of their statelessness. There is growing

Passport for what price? 123 awareness by the international community and human rights agencies that the statelessness aspect of the Palestinian refugees should be recognised and they should no longer be excluded from the international protection regime and relevant instruments of international law. This includes the conventions related to refugees and stateless persons, which should apply to the Palestinian refugees too (Akram and Goodwin-Gill 2000). Indeed, on the applicability to Palestinian refugees of Article 1(d) of the 1951 Convention relating to the status of Refugees, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in October 2002, adopted the view that the Convention should apply to Palestinian refugees beyond the five areas of UNRWA operation; namely Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (UNHCR 2002). This also explains why the agency recently decided to include more than half a million Palestinians living in the Gulf States under its protection and to expand the agency’s activities to Palestinians in Iraq, Libya and Kuwait, especially those living in the border camps (UNHCR 2007). It is important to note that Palestinian refugees’ dependence on international aid is accelerating at an alarming rate. The crippled economy and harsh conditions in the PAcontrolled areas, especially in Gaza as a result of the ongoing Israeli siege, destruction and the ongoing restrictions on work and freedom of movement of the Palestinian labour force by Israel as well as in most Arab countries, have made Palestinians inhabitants of PA areas more dependent on international aid. More Palestinian refugees presently rely on international relief assistance than at any other time since 1967 War. More than 80 per cent of the refugees in Gaza and more than half of those in the West Bank rely on food aid. On the other hand, more Palestinians presently live under the poverty line and more than half of their labour force is unemployed in Gaza and Lebanon (Grandi 2007). Such dependency on international aid would indeed leave psychological and social scars and a loss of dignity among the Palestinians refugee communities and impact on their ability to sustain themselves. The form of economic incorporation of a specific group into society clearly has a decisive bearing on their overall situation and wellbeing including emigration. Statelessness is a major ‘push’ factor leading to large-scale migration and displacement. There is a positive correlation between statelessness and asylum seeking in industrial countries. The number of young Palestinian men ready to risk their lives on the shores of the Mediterranean and South East Asia in order to seek asylum, illustrates, among other things, the quest for security of citizenship and to escape from the daily humiliation and the uncertainty that statelessness causes. It is almost impossible at present for any Palestinian TD holders to be allowed entry to the main labour market in the Gulf States if he does not live and work there already. It should be noted that the majority of the around 250,000 or so Palestinians living in Europe today are stateless holders of Lebanese and Egyptian TD or expired Israeli laissez passer documents (Shiblak 2005: 26). They sought asylum in Europe because of armed conflicts or when their residency status in the host Arab countries became increasingly insecure. In most cases, they were denied the right to return to these countries. Thousands of middle-class stateless Palestinian families who lived in the Gulf States and had the financial ability to travel headed after the invasion of Kuwait

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to Canada and Australia and Europe, in search of a passport and citizenship. They were virtually buying citizenship with the life savings to secure the future of their stateless children. What was previously considered as a politically incorrect and subversive act such as when Jordan in the 1950s ‘clothed’ the refugees with its nationality, now became a vital document if not a life-line that stateless refugees are willing to pay any price for. Only those fortunate Palestinian entrepreneurs with the right connections are welcomed to join the club of ‘citizens’ in the host countries through investment schemes offered by these countries such as Jordan, Canada and Lebanon. The majority of those who emigrated beyond the Arab world try now to come back mainly for work in the Gulf States. Having obtained a foreign passport gives them a feeling of security and protection against expulsion or ill-treatment. Unfortunately it is a protection that cannot be extended when they travel to their occupied homeland where they are most in need for consulate protection of their embassies (CPFPH 2008; Electronic Intifada 2008). Although Israel has no sovereignty on the occupied territories, it applies certain rules, against international law, on PA inhabitants as if they were Israeli citizens. It refuses to recognise a foreign passport that some Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza have acquired from living abroad and does not allow them to use it on entry. It only treats them as a PA passport or TD holder. The protection for Palestinians holding foreign passports ceases if they have Palestinian IDs. In some cases such protection ceases if the holder of foreign passport is of Palestinian origin no matter whether he/she has a Palestinian ID or not. Most of the Western consulates are either reluctant, refuse to intervene or are unsuccessful when they try to assist Palestinians visà-vis Israeli authorities. Since 2000, Israel has also been preventing Palestinians from the PA areas from using the Tel Aviv Airport, the only civil airport in use in Israel/Palestine after the Gaza airport was destroyed. Travelling to and from the PA areas Palestinians have to embark on an agonising journey that takes them across the Allenby (aka King Hussein Bridge) to Jordan or through Rafah from Gaza to Egypt, which has been mostly closed since June 2007 when Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip. Israel also denies entry to many Palestinians, holders of foreign passports, who are not holders of Palestinian ID cards, from visiting or staying in the territories. This is also the case with many foreigners working for international agencies in the occupied territories. This is done under the most abused word in Israeli political terminology, ‘security’ (Electronic Intifada 2008). Indeed, the long-standing argument among used by Arab official circles that granting full citizenship rights would harm their cause is no more valid or acceptable. There is more awareness and recognition now by the refugees, human rights advocates, as well as among Palestinian officials that the lack of citizenship rights has a far-reaching human as well as political price that in fact causes further misery to the refugees rather than serving their cause. This might explain the statement by the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who for the first time by any Palestinian official departed from the old familiar rhetoric and welcomed in an interview on 14 July 2005 the naturalisation of Palestinians ‘if any of the host Arab government chose to do so’. An opinion poll that was carried out following the statement showed that the majority of Palestinians agreed with him (PCPO 2005). The statement came

Passport for what price? 125 in response to a debate on whether the Palestinians should benefit from amendments made on nationality laws in some Arab countries that allow naturalisation under certain conditions of foreigners who contributed to their adopted countries after long years of residency.

Citizenship and the search for a durable solution In highlighting the fact that most Palestinian refugees are also stateless, Takkenberg (1998: 195) rightly notes that being a refugee – stateless, dispossessed, not having the passport of a state, not having even the theoretical option of returning to one’s country, in other words not having the right to have rights – ‘has been at the very heart of the Palestinian refugee problem’. He rightly argues that the element of statelessness has been the most significant part of the refugee aspect in profoundly affecting the lives and the wellbeing of the Palestinian people. It has been pointed out that a sovereign Palestinian state would act as a catalyst in resolving the refugee issue and in putting an end to statelessness among Palestinians. However, it has to be taken into consideration that the refugee issue is multifaceted and perhaps more than any other of the ‘final status’ issues has strong regional dimensions. There should be no illusions, therefore, that the objective of a durable solution could be achieved without a regional framework based on: (1) a comprehensive peace settlement that includes all host Arab countries; (2) that this should be in the context of full commitment to human rights and; (3) with options being given to the Palestinian refugees themselves for repatriation inside Israel, return to PA-controlled areas, compensation and full citizenship rights in the countries in which they choose to live. In fact, these rights are not contradictory and do not cancel each other out, therefore they should be available to the refugees in any future political settlement. The American scholar Donna Arzt suggested in 1997 that a future peace settlement should change the status of the refugees into ‘normal citizens’ in the countries where they live. Arzt (1997) further argued that a ceiling should be imposed on the number of refugees allowed back to their homes in Israel proper. This link between settlement and limited return attracted strong criticism from the Palestinians not because they do not agree to being ‘normal citizens’ in the states they live in but because of the attempt to restrict the numbers of refugees allowed to return. Arzt’s (1997) argument seems to have been based on the unrealistic assumption, often repeated by Israeli officials, that refugees would return in large numbers. This would, in their view, flood Israel and constitute a threat to the ‘Jewish’ character of the state. It is an argument that is unrealistic and seems to have been designed to create fear among Israeli public to deny the right of Palestinian refugee for repatriation in principle. What is important for the Palestinians is that Israel should acknowledge in principle their right of return to their country. For the Palestinians, this is an individual right that Israel can not take from them. For the majority of Palestinian refugees, the return to their home is far deeper than actual physical return. It is about the narrative, their history, their collective memory and identity. In reality, they are aware that

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not many refugees will actually take up the option to return should it arise. In fact there is enough evidence to suggest that fewer refugees would ultimately choose to return to their original homes inside Israel than the numbers cited by both Israeli and Palestinian sides. Population mobility is usually far more complex than simply asserting the legal right of the refugees to be in an area identified as ‘homeland’. Sari Hanafi (2008a: 32–56) and others have examined some of the sociological, economic and cultural aspects that determine mobility in the Palestinians’ case while making use of case studies of forced migration worldwide. Hanafi (2008a) concluded that people usually make up their mind rationally and not emotionally when it comes to deciding where to live. Factors they consider include matters affecting their wellbeing, employment, housing, family, community social network, freedom, security, equality and standing before the law. The first publicised survey of its kind conducted among Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and the West Bank and Gaza by the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research (2003) on ‘Preference and behaviour in a Palestinian–Israeli permanent refugee agreement’, found that no more than 10 per cent of the respondents were willing to move to and live in Israel (Shikaki 2003). It is difficult to assess the accuracy of such findings at a time when no other options are actually available to the refugees, but the survey is certainly an indicator that cannot be dismissed simply on political grounds. Presently, Palestinians can hardly think of a positive outcome of the peace agreement with Israel or the DOP, also known as Oslo Accords of 1993. Yet, one of the main DOP achievements is the official termination of the application of Israeli measures on Palestinian civil affairs. This includes the ‘emancipation’ of the Palestinian passport. Though it is widely recognised by great number of states, it is unique in the sense that it is the only document that has two contradictory titles both stamped on it. It is a ‘passport’ as the Palestinian would like to call it and it is a ‘travel document’ as the Israelis would like to describe it. What is clear, however, is that until a fully fledged Palestinian state exists, neither passport nor the travel document would be considered as legal proof of citizenship. Beside that, the reality on the ground is that Israel still retains total control of movement across border crossings and has reinstated most of the restrictions it applied before the peace agreement since the year 2000. These include imposing security requirements for travel on those under the age of 35, freezing of applications for family reunification since early 2000 and only allowing a number of visitors, estimated to be 40,000, who exceeded their stay in the PA areas to stay, and denying Palestinians holders of foreign passports entry or extension of their visa. These measures brought more fragmentation, deprivation and made a mockery of the Palestinian passport whereby Palestinians can travel to almost any country in the world but not within their own country.

Conclusion More than any thing, the statelessness aspect has shaped the experience of the exiled Palestinian refugees. Statelessness exposed the Palestinian refugee to various degrees of discriminatory practices in Arab host states. It has had a profound

Passport for what price? 127 effect on their mobility, welfare, livelihood and their ability to build better future and to sustain themselves. Statelessness among the Palestinian refugees should be acknowledged and dealt with by the international community, the regional host countries and the concerned agencies of the UN. The refugee issue stands at the heart of any political settlement to the Arab–Israeli conflict. A fully fledged and viable Palestinian state would be a catalyst to resolve the refugee issue. However, a Palestinian state would neither in itself put an end to the saga of statelessness among Palestinian refugees nor resolve all the aspects of the refugee issue. One of the main elements in any durable solution to the refugee issue is the question of citizenship or lack of it among Palestinians. A peace agreement should widen the options for the refugees and address all aspects of the refugee issue including the rights of repatriation to Israel, return to a Palestinian state, compensation and equality and full citizenship rights in countries where refugees choose to remain or to live in the future. The regional aspect of the refugee issue therefore should not be overlooked. All regional and international actors should be involved. Thus without a comprehensive peace agreement that includes all the Arab host governments within the UNRWA areas of operation and beyond, a complete resolution of the refugee issue will remain illusory.

Notes 1 The figures are given in an interview with the author in 20 April 2006, Cairo. 2 LAS Council of Ministers, Resolution no. 5093 in 1991. 3 Interview with Palestinian families and UNHCR officials (Cairo Office), 2–9 April 2006; interview by Ambassador M. Subeih, Head of Palestinian permanent delegation to LAS in Al-Sahrq Al-Awsat (Arabic daily), 2 August 2004; also by the Egyptian Minster of Justice in Al-Quds Al-Arabi (Arabic daily), 29 June 2004, London; statement by the Egyptian Ministry of Interior in Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, 18 January 2005. 4 The Minister of Interior estimated that nationality had been withdrawn from round 4,000 naturalised persons, Al-Hayat (Arabic daily), 2/1/2004. 5 See statement by Deputy Interior Minister Naser Ben Hamad Al-Hanaya, in Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, 21 October 2005. 6 Nabil, a Palestinian young man from Lebanon who sought asylum in the United Kingdom, interview with the author, 8 February 2002. 7 Figures given by the Palestinian Ministry of Civil Affairs, 2003.

8

Dynamics of humanitarian aid, local and regional politics The Palestine refugees as a casestudy Jalal Al Husseini and Riccardo Bocco

This chapter explores the Palestinian refugees’ legal status in the Near East: Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. It will focus more particularly on the ‘Palestine refugees’, namely those Palestinian refugees (and their descendants) living in the above-mentioned countries/territories registered by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for the Palestine Refugees in the Near East (see Table 8.1).1 The 4.6 million Palestine refugees constitute about four-fifths of the total number of Palestinian refugees living in the Near East and two-thirds of the total number of Palestinian refugees around the world, estimated at about 7.5 million (Badil 2006: 49). The Palestine refugees have lived under a variety of different national jurisdictions. Formal citizens in Jordan since 1949, the majority of those residing in the other host countries have remained stateless. On the socioeconomic level, they have been subjected to various discriminatory systems, from quasi-parity in Syria to sheer marginalization in Lebanon. Beyond these differences, two patterns have nevertheless contributed to define them as one cohesive, transnational, refugee category. The first pattern is the prevalence of the ‘right of return’ in their collective narratives (Farah 1997: 259–98). Predicated on resolution 194 (III) of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA),2 the ‘right of return’ has been instrumental in shaping the refugees’ legal status as well as their daily relationships with host societies (Aruri 2001). The notion of the ‘right of return’ has also conditioned the development of the refugee camps’ physical and housing infrastructure. While the legal relevance of such a claim is hardly questionable, it seems legitimate to inquire about its salience for most refugees after 60 years of exile. The second pattern is the existence of UNRWA, whose temporary mandate has been regularly extended by the UNGA since 1949. UNRWA has gradually established itself over the years as a ‘quasi-state’ institution taking on responsibilities traditionally assigned to national governments in the field of education, health care, relief and social welfare services and, since the early 1990s, micro-credit and microfinance (Bocco 2009). How do the refugees perceive the Agency’s mandate, six decades after its establishment? How does UNRWA’s humanitarian mandate fit within the larger political and socioeconomic contexts of its operation fields? Combining findings of recent surveys with information drawn from primary and secondary sources, this chapter highlights the interplay of humanitarian,

Dynamics of humanitarian aid, local and regional politics 129 Table 8.1 UNRWA registered refugees (30 June 2009) West Bank Gaza Strip

Jordan

771,143

1,090,932

1,967,414 421,993

467,417 4,718,899

Increase in RRs 2.2 over the previous year (%)

3.0

1.9

1.3

2.3

2.2

RR as percentage of total RRs

16

23

42

9

10

100

Existing camps

19

8

10

12

9

58

RRs in camps (RRCs)

195,770

499,231

339,668

224,194

126,453 1,385,316

RRCs as percentage of RRs

25

46

17

53

27

Registered refugees (RRs)

Lebanon Syria

Total

29

Source: UNRWA in Figures – Figures as of 30 June 2009, Public Information Office, UNRWA Headquarters, September 2009.

socioeconomic and political considerations that have shaped the refugees’ status in the Near East during two distinct phases of their history, namely before and after the signing in Washington of the Declaration of Principles (generally known as the ‘Oslo Accords’) between Israel and the PLO in September 1993. The Palestine refugee experience offers a textbook example of how the relationships between humanitarian agencies, donor and host authorities and refugees evolve in such a way as to maintain, over decades, a status quo predicated on the hypothetical advent of a regional peace. This chapter also sheds light on the potential lines of fragmentation and cohesion that have appeared among Palestinians during the ‘Oslo process’ over such crucial issues as the very meaning of the ‘right of return’ and the role of UNRWA.

The evolution of the Palestine refugees’ status in the Near East It was during the 1950s that the Arab League formally established the legal and political guidelines for the Palestine refugees’ integration in each of the Arab host state. Despite numerous infringements, these guidelines are still regarded as the standards to which the Arab states should adhere. Statelessness as a means of preserving the ‘right of return’ Maintaining the refugees as stateless persons in order to retain their Palestinian nationality and thus preserve their ‘right of return’ is the major principle that has

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guided the Arab League’s ‘Palestine refugee’ policies.3 Apart from a few exemptions, all Near East Arab countries have adopted this principle, providing mere travel documents to the refugees (Takkenberg 1998). Jordan has from the outset departed from this general trend. As early as late 1949, it started conferring citizenship to all Palestinians residing in the areas under its control on both banks of the Jordan River. This included the Palestinian refugees and their descendants to whom the authorities continued to vow to struggle for the liberation of their homeland. In so doing, Jordan created ‘temporary refugee-citizens’, formally endowed with citizenship rights and duties pending the day when they would be given the right to choose to return to Palestine or to stay in Jordan. This naturalization policy4 has enabled the refugees to participate in Jordan’s national politics and facilitated their absorption in the local and regional job markets. Such a liberal attitude has nevertheless had, up to the emergence of the PLO in the 1960s, a political cost. For while the refugees’ ‘right of return’ and entitlement to receive UNRWA’s assistance was upheld in national and international forums, any notion of a separate ‘Palestinian identity’ in Jordan’s internal politics was banned by royal decree. The inhabitants of the official refugee camps jointly administered by UNRWA and the host authorities have symbolized the refugees’ humanitarian plight as well as their struggle against permanent resettlement for the sake of the ‘right of return’. Camp refugees have long opposed any structural improvements in the camps because that could be interpreted as a permanent resettlement. Moreover, the necessity to maintain the temporary character of the camps resulted in UNRWA and the host authorities imposing drastic limitations on the housing units’ growth. This, combined with demographic growth, restrictions on camps’ extension, widespread poverty and poor material and financial investment, has led to the deterioration of the refugee camps’ physical and environmental conditions. Today, the camps and their inhabitants epitomize the dilemma pertaining to the refugees’ terms of integration in the host countries. In turn, this dilemma has spawned ambivalent representations of the camp refugees, either in terms of the ‘last guardians of the right of return’ or as major obstacles to the host countries’ socioeconomic development. The ‘positive’ discriminatory regime established by the Arab League was compensated by numerous resolutions aimed at ensuring that the Palestinian refugees would be treated on par with the host countries’ citizens in such socioeconomic fields – not covered by UNRWA – as employment, residency, mobility and higher education. However, these recommendations, as synthesized by the Casablanca Protocol of 1965 (UNHCR 2009), have never been fully implemented. The modalities of the refugees’ integration in the Arab host countries have been predominantly dictated by internal considerations. The refugees’ demographic weight5 and their active political involvement, first in opposition factions (such as the Baath and Communist parties or the Muslim Brotherhood) then in the PLO-led Palestinian national movement, has just but reinforced the fear amongst the Arab host societies that their prolonged presence may remain a potential threat to their internal stability (Sayigh 1997). The socioeconomic discrimination imposed by each host country on the Palestine refugees, most often in the name of the ‘right of return’, has varied over time. In

Dynamics of humanitarian aid, local and regional politics 131 Lebanon, authorities have prevented the socioeconomic absorption of the Palestinian refugees for fear that any major improvement in their living conditions ‘led to resettling the Palestinian refugees and their eventual assimilation’ (Prime Minister Rafik Hariri quoted in Bowker 2003: 75). Accordingly, the Lebanese authorities have since the 1960s subjected them to the laws pertaining to foreigners in such matters as employment, acquisition of property, taxation and social security. Suspended after the conclusion of the ‘Cairo Accords’ in 1969, these discriminatory regulations have been fully enforced upon the Palestinians since their abrogation in 1987 (Suleiman 2006). In contrast, Syria has undertaken legal steps placing Palestinians on a par with its nationals in the economic and social fields. Such a liberal stance may also be explained by the fact that the Palestinian refugees in Syria have never constituted more than 3–4 per cent of the total population. In the West Bank and Gaza, refugees have benefited from the same social and economic rights as the indigenous population. In Jordan, observers have pointed out a number of informal discriminations against ‘Jordanians of Palestinian origin’ in the fields of employment in the public sector (especially the military and intelligence services) and of representation in national institutions (Abu-Odeh 1999). The fate of the West Bankers, refugees and non-refugees alike, offers a stark illustration of the Palestinian’s vulnerability. Following King Hussein’s 1988 decision to sever all administrative and legal links between the Hashemite Kingdom and the West Bank, in recognition of ‘the PLO’s ambition to embody the Palestinian identity on Palestinian soil’ (King Hussein 1988), the West Bankers were stripped of their Jordanian citizenship, thus becoming stateless ‘would-be citizens’ of a future Palestinian state. Since 1988, they have been considered foreigners in Jordan, together with the ‘Gazan’ displaced persons who were transferred to Jordan following the 1967 Arab–Israeli war (UNRWA 2009; Abed 2006: 17).6 UNRWA as an unintended guardian of the ‘right of return’ The second component of the ‘Arab refugee system’ has to do with the politicization of UNRWA’s mandate. In the eyes of the Western powers, UNRWA’s humanitarian assistance on behalf of the Palestine refugees was to be temporary and mainly directed towards facilitating their socioeconomic integration in the host countries. Relief aid was to be discontinued by the end of 1950 and gradually superseded by a works’ programme to be terminated by mid-1951. The Arab host countries were to bear the onus of monitoring the refugees’ socioeconomic conditions following UNRWA dismantlement. However, during the discussions that preceded the adoption of UNGA resolution 302 (IV) pertaining to the establishment of UNRWA, the Arab host states managed to link directly the Agency’s mandate to the implementation of resolution 194 (III). Hence, while paragraph 5 of the resolution states that the Agency’s activities ‘would not be prejudicial to the provisions of resolution 194 (III)’, its paragraph 20 directs UNRWA to ‘consult with the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine7 in the best interests of their respective tasks, with particular reference to paragraph 11 of General Assembly resolution 194 (III)’.

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The organic link thus established between UNRWA and resolution 194 (III) was only but one of the factors that contributed to root UNRWA in the lives of the refugee communities. UNRWA’s institutional characteristics have had a similar effect. Unlike sister agencies, such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), UNRWA has directly administered its humanitarian programmes thanks to its ever-growing number of local employees,8 thereby acquiring the trappings of a ‘quasi-governmental mission’ (Buehrig 1971). UNRWA’s prevalence amongst the Palestinian communities also stems from the demise, or non-involvement, of other organizations such as the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine (UNCCP), created in December 1948. Although its mandate was never terminated, it has become the symbol of the United Nations’ (UN) inability to resolve the Arab–Israeli dispute. For its part, the UNHCR, which was created by the UNGA about the same time as UNRWA, excluded from its protection mandate any refugee ‘receiving from organs or agencies of the United Nations other than the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees protection and assistance’.9 This is obviously the case of the UNRWA-serviced Palestine refugees, although the Agency’s general assistance mandate has never included the protection activities covered by the UNHCR.10 Consequently, UNRWA has been perceived by the refugees as a unique reflection of the international community’s recognition of their ‘right to return’. Its registration card became a political symbol: the only official documentary evidence of the refugee status and it is still widely held as a ‘Passport to Palestine’ or as a prop likely to further compensation claims (Plascov 1981: 64–5). This explains why nearly every UNRWA step has been scrutinized by the refugees through the prism of its conformity with the ‘right of return’. It is on these grounds that most refugees were reluctant to engage in the collective small- and large-scale reintegration works programmes devised by the Agency in the 1950s; conversely, the refugees approved of the individual reintegration policy pursued by UNRWA as from 1959/60. Based on educational and vocational training programmes, it led to the professional reinsertion of a large number of them, whether as local UNRWA employees or as skilled labour, in the Gulf countries in particular (Schiff 1995). In contrast, UNRWA’s institutional foundations have remained weak. Its three- to five-year mandates have prevented its staff from engaging in long-term planning. And its budget, based on voluntary contributions from the members of the international community, has fallen short of keeping pace with its increasing financial needs, three-quarters of which are devoted to the local staff salaries (UNRWA 1995: 9). Recurrent budget deficits have compelled UNRWA to adopt austerity measures in the form of curtailment of traditional services or the lack of maintenance of its educational and medical facilities. Despite these adverse measures, the Agency’s services output are still renowned for their relative efficiency, notably in the field of education. Furthermore, the Agency has continued to be held as a stabilizing ‘peace servicing’ factor in the Near East in the eyes of the Western donor countries and as a symbol of the preservation of the refugees’ rights (Forsythe 1971: 1–3).

Dynamics of humanitarian aid, local and regional politics 133

Palestine refugees and the challenges of the ‘Oslo peace process’ The Declaration of Principles of September 1993 significantly affected the trilateral refugee–UNRWA–host country relationship. By setting a time frame of five years for the settlement of all components of the Arab–Israeli conflict, including the refugee issue, the ‘Oslo Accords’ brought up to date the handover agenda that the UNRWA’s founding resolution of December 1949 had set at the heart of the Agency’s operational mandate. Under the aegis of the UN Secretariat, UNRWA devised in association with the newly established Palestinian Authority (PA), a handover strategy aimed at fostering ‘UNRWA–PA’ cooperation during the interim period. As UNRWA put it in early 1995, the PA was first to be targeted: since the population of the West Bank and Gaza, regardless of refugee status, is Palestinian and the interim self-government applies to the entire Palestinian population living in the autonomous areas. In the case of the host countries . . . it is clear that any handover will require either a political resolution of the refugee issue or a resolution of the General Assembly. (UNRWA 1995: 10–11) In line with this ‘West Bank/Gaza first’ policy, in December 1993 the UNGA asked UNRWA to contribute to the economic and social stability of the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) (UNGA 1993). The Peace Implementation Program (PIP) from 1993 to 2000 aimed at setting up a permanent socioeconomic infrastructure in Gaza and the West Bank, mainly through the improvement of the camps’ infrastructure and job creation schemes. Besides, UNRWA undertook internal measures in preparation for its phasing out. First, new teachers were hired on short-term contracts and contract termination indemnities were estimated for the entire UNRWA staff (UNRWA 1995: 33); second, in July 1996, the Agency’s headquarters were moved from Vienna to Gaza (the PA’s stronghold) instead of Beirut, its original location. On its part, the PA sought to dismantle the camps through their integration within the neighbouring municipalities. In the eyes of the Palestinian leadership, refugee camps had become no more than symbols of poverty and socioeconomic dependency on international charity that hardly fit its vision of a fully-fledged sovereign state meant to serve as a model for the Arab world (Kodmani-Darwish 1997: 157). Excluded from the bilateral format of the peace process talks, the Arab host countries found themselves at the mercy of decisions taken separately by Israelis and Palestinians. The prospect of being compelled to resettle the Palestinian refugees led some Arab host countries to further strengthen their internal discriminatory regime towards the refugees. Resorting to various excuses – from the necessity of preserving the ‘right of return’ to the importance of implementing the Taef peace agreements of 1989 – the Lebanese government has kept enforcing legal restrictions against the Palestinian refugees, in relation to employment, access to public universities and inheritance rights (Suleiman 2006; Meier, 2008). Pushing the refugees

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to emigrate permanently became a cornerstone of Lebanon’s policy vis-à-vis the Palestinians (Mattar 2000: 261). Such a policy seems to have been rather successful: while the number of Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA in Lebanon amounted to about 392,000 people in 2003, the actual number actually residing in the country was estimated by other sources at less than 200,000 (Ugland 2003: 17). Jordan’s initial strategy differed, as its leadership had bet since the early 1990s on a forthcoming peace in the Near East. In October 1994 King Hussein signed a peace treaty with Israel that explicitly alluded to the permanent settlement of the refugees in Jordan. Article 8 of the ‘Wadi Araba Treaty’ on refugees and displaced persons underscored the ‘massive human problems caused to both Parties by the conflict in the Middle East’ and the ‘need to further alleviate those problems at a bilateral level or multilateral level’ (paragraph 1). This included ‘agreed United Nations programmes and other agreed international economic programmes concerning refugees and displaced persons, including assistance for their settlement’ (paragraph 2). In the following years, the hopes nurtured by the Palestinian and Jordanian leaderships in the peace process were crushed by the deterioration of the Israeli–Palestinian relations. What is more, both of them saw their ‘pro-peace’ stance meet with fierce internal opposition. In the West Bank and Gaza, the refugees coalesced as early as 1993 around the ‘Union of the Refugee Youth Activities Centers’ and launched campaigns aimed at putting centre-stage the ‘right of return’ on the Palestinian national agenda; they also warned against the dissolution of both UNRWA and of the camps it serviced before the achievement of a just peace agreement. By 1996–7, the once-envisaged early dissolution of the camps and the transfer of UNRWA’s activities to the PA had become taboo issues. The informal Israeli–Palestinian peace initiatives that have taken place since 2000 have institutionalized a gradual approach to UNRWA’s handover process whereby the Agency should be phased out in accordance with an agreed timetable of five years as a targeted period. In Jordan, opposition to the ‘Wadi Araba’ process came from refugee groups and opposition parties as well as nationalist ‘Transjordanian’ pressure groups that started questioning the refugees’ double-identity as Jordanians of Palestinian origin , thus reviving the dreaded scenario of ‘the alternative Palestine state in Jordan’ (AbuOdeh 1999: 235–48). Under the pressure, in the late 1990s Jordan joined Syria, Lebanon and the Arab League in condemning any plan aimed at giving away the refugees’ political rights, despite the promises of compensation made to them by the Western sponsors of the peace process. The one conclusive legacy of the ‘Oslo peace process’ remains the refugees’ and host authorities’ new positive attitude towards the camps’ management. The notion of a sustainable improvement of camps’ physical infrastructure had become one of the refugees’ main claims. Collective socioeconomic rehabilitation programmes were to be clearly differentiated from resettlement schemes aimed at burying the ‘right of return’. In this spirit, the refugees welcomed UNRWA’s PIP projects, even though these were balanced by a net reduction of the Agency’s general budget. The PLO Department of Refugee Affairs bolstered this developmental trend in 1996–7 by establishing in each camp of the West Bank and Gaza Strip ‘Services

Dynamics of humanitarian aid, local and regional politics 135 Committees’ whose mandate to date is to implement, in coordination with UNRWA, developmental projects in the camps. Since the early 2000s, Jordan, Syria and even Lebanon have followed suit in modifying, to various extents, their overall approach to camp development. This shift may be interpreted as an attempt to reconcile the camps’ harsh realities with their drive for long-term socioeconomic modernization and with political stability. The Jordanian authorities, who since the mid-1970s had taken over UNRWA’s role as caretakers of the camps’ physical infrastructure, have been the most pro-active in this field. Since 2000, they have regularly integrated the refugee camps in some of the country’s development policies.11 The Syrian authorities have assisted UNRWA in the implementation of large-scale water/wastewater and housing rehabilitation in several camps of the country.12 Finally, since 2005, Lebanon has been more favourable to camp rehabilitation projects, including in the PLO-controlled camps of southern Lebanon where access to construction material had previously been restricted. Similarly, the reconstruction of those areas of the Jenin camp in the West Bank that were demolished by the Israeli army in April 2002 and that of the Nahr el-Bared camp in Lebanon – literally razed in the course of the clashes that opposed the fundamentalist Fatah al-Islam faction and the Lebanese army in 2007 – were both conducted in such a way as to endow them with suitable housing and community spaces (UNRWA 2010b).13 One of the most remarkable aspects of all these recent camp projects is that they have involved the refugees in their various stages: from the design of the rebuilt areas to their maintenance following UNRWA’s intervention (Wilkinson 2003: 43–6). This shift in the refugees’ and host countries’ attitude towards camp development has been accompanied by dramatic changes in the way the Palestinian leadership conceives of the ‘right of return’. It has actually favoured a pragmatic solution chiefly based on the repatriation of the 1948 refugees and the 1967 displaced persons to the territories of the future Palestinian state, namely the West Bank and Gaza, and on a compensated resettlement outside Palestine.14 Similarly, the current Arab negotiation platform elaborated by the Arab Summit in Beirut in 2002 calls for the ‘achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem to be agreed upon in accordance with UN General Assembly resolution 194’ within the framework of a two-state solution, but without specifying the modalities of implementation of that resolution.15 In parallel, host countries have taken integrative steps towards the Palestinian refugees as a whole. For instance, the Jordanian authorities have sought to strengthen their ‘Jordanian’ identity by trying to co-opt them within the several nation-wide campaigns they have launched since the early 2000s in order to unify the various segments of the country’s population.16 And even the Lebanese authorities, who had so far been reluctant to engage the Palestine refugees on internal issues, established a Lebanese–Palestinian Dialogue Committee (LPDC) in October 2005, whose aims are to tackle inter alia the outstanding socioeconomic, legal and security issues related to the Palestinian refugees residing in Lebanon, in collaboration with UNRWA (LPDC 2009). Host countries, however, have been careful to predicate their camp interventions on purely humanitarian grounds and not as policies for refugees’ assimilation. In

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March 2005 the Arab countries flatly rejected Palestinian President Abu Mazen’s suggestion that host countries confer citizenship on the Palestinian refugees residing on their soil pending the achievement of a permanent status agreement (Mazen 2005). The failure of the peace process, together with Israel’s intransigence regarding the issue of the ‘right of return’, have left the Arab countries with little room for manoeuvring. Moreover, their concerns over the gradual dismantling of UNRWA, as well as over the internal socioeconomic and political challenges likely to be brought up by any revision of the legal system ruling the Palestinian refugees, have not been alleviated. As things stand, the preservation of a manageable sub-optimal status quo is therefore considered preferable to the uncertainties related to any indepth overhaul of the refugee status. To some extent, this also holds true for the PA: although the refugees were allowed to participate in the 1997 and 2006 legislative elections and therefore are represented in the PA’s legislative council, West Bank camps have remained separate administrative entities and did therefore not get involved in the 2005 municipal elections (Signoles 2001: 318–22). But what do the refugees think of their present situation? So far, refugees’ collective voices have mainly been conveyed, and interpreted, through institutional stakeholders. The core issue has revolved around the commitment to the ‘right of return’, underscoring lines of fragmentation. Some, mostly refugee activists, have insisted on the ‘sacrosanct’ character of that right, conceding at most that it would be up to the refugees themselves to decide whether they wish to implement it or rather receive compensations. Other stakeholders, including PLO officials, have claimed that only a small portion of the refugees would decide to return to their homes if they were given the opportunity to do so (Khalaf 1990: 92–112).17 From this, a host of other significant issues arise: in the absence of breakthrough in the peace process, how do refugees regard their status in both the humanitarian and political dimensions? What significance do they attach to their registration with UNRWA? How do they assess their status within their host societies? What are the main problems they face as refugees? UNRWA: a basic services provider or a proof of ‘refugee identity’? This section tackles the Palestine refugees’ opinions about their ‘refugee status’. It is mainly based on the findings of a quantitative survey (the Near East Project (NEP) survey) conducted with Palestine refugees in the Agency’s five fields of operations (or ‘host countries’) in August–September 2005 by the Graduate Institute of Development Studies (IUED-Geneva University) and the University of Louvainla-Neuve (Belgium) in coordination with UNRWA.18 In addition to the traditional socioeconomic topics covered by living conditions surveys (including poverty, education, health and housing status), the questionnaire included two general questions referring to the issue at stake. The first question pertains to the refugees’ perceptions of UNRWA in terms of the benefits accruing from it. The second question explores the refugees’ views about their status in terms of problems they faced as refugees. Is being registered with UNRWA more a means of getting access to its basic services; does it rather constitute a proof of refugee status likely to promote a

Dynamics of humanitarian aid, local and regional politics 137 ‘refugee identity’ in exile and/or to be used as a legal prop for future claims to repatriation and compensation; or, alternatively, has it become, 60 years after its establishment, a meaningless institution?19 The NEP survey first indicates that UNRWA has remained a ‘meaningful’ institution in the eyes of a large majority of refugees across the Agency’s fields of operations.20 As shown by Table 8.2, only a small minority of refugees think otherwise, in the West Bank and Lebanon in particular. These may include registered refugees who do not use UNRWA services,21 or refugees dissatisfied with them, respectively.22 They may also comprise refugees disillusioned with the peace process and therefore unconvinced that recognition of their refugee status is likely to lead to a partial or full recovery of their rights, either through repatriation and/or compensation. Table 8.2 also shows that in all fields of operations except Gaza, the bulk of refugees (up to three-quarters of them in Jordan) see proof of refugee status as the main advantage of registration with UNRWA. These findings confirm coexisting patterns related to the UNRWA–refugee relationship: first, the importance of the political, instrumental significance the refugees still attach to being registered with the Agency. Second, the declining quality of UNRWA’s services due to budget restrictions may have jeopardized their salience in the eyes of the refugees (UNRWA 2005a: 7–9). Gaza’s specificity in that regard may stem from its unique socioeconomic and humanitarian contexts. The only field predominantly inhabited by Palestinian refugees (over two-thirds of the total Gaza population) (PCBS 2009), it has traditionally been, just behind Lebanon, UNRWA’s most financially endowed area of operation in respect of its regular educational, healthcare and relief and social services: $153 per capita per two-year period, as compared to $117 in the West Bank, $100 in Syria and just $61 in Jordan (UNRWA 2008).23 UNRWA’s operational significance in Gaza has further been reinforced since the outbreak of the al-Aqsa Intifada in 2000. Since its refugees have been the main beneficiaries of the emergency programmes in the OPT (IUED 2001–8).24 Such a commitment has been most welcomed by the Gaza population at large. A poll carried out in Gaza by the Norwegian research institute FAFO in September 2005 indicated that over three-quarters of the population expressed confidence in UNRWA, as opposed to one-quarter who mainly trusted the PA institutions (Fafo 2005, 2009).25 In order to better grasp the refugees’ relationship with UNRWA, we crosstabulated these overall findings with an independent variable: the ‘area of residence’ variable relating to the location of the interviewed refugees, either inside or outside Table 8.2 Main advantage of registration with UNRWA (in per cent) Gaza

West Bank

Syria

Lebanon

Jordan

Proof of refugee status

49

58

67

62

76

Access to UNRWA services

48

26

23

27

18

None

3

15

9

10

6

Other

0

1

1

1

0

Source: NEP project, 2005.

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a camp. It was initially assumed that more camp refugees would emphasize the importance of UNRWA as a basic services’ provider. While the Agency is expected to provide such services to all registered refugees, whatever their area of residence, camps are usually the only locations to host the full gamut of the Agency’s schools, clinics, relief distribution and social centres. Moreover, as the NEP poll has shown, camp refugees are on average poorer than non-camp refugees,26 and they also tend to use UNRWA services in higher numbers.27 Table 8.3 shows that our assumption holds true in the West Bank, Jordan and Syria. Conversely, in Lebanon and Gaza, namely the host countries with the highest percentages of camp refugees (53 per cent and 46 per cent, respectively, see Table 8.1), refugees living outside camps attached more importance to UNRWA’s services than the camp dwellers. In Gaza outside the camps, access to such services was even considered by refugees as more important than securing refugee status. The data from Lebanon and Gaza reflect the unique importance ascribed by refugees to UNRWA as a basic services’ provider in these host territories, whatever the quality. In Lebanon, where camps gather most if not all of UNRWA facilities, restrictions on access to governmental services and the high costs imposed by private institutions render the Agency’s services comparatively more valuable for non-camp refugees. In Gaza, the non-camp refugees’ emphasis on UNRWA’s services reflects the similar degree of poverty inside and outside camps, and attests as well to the Agency’s overall popularity in this field of operation.28 The ‘cost of refugee-ness’ Beside registration with UNRWA, two additional factors have contributed to shape the refugees’ lives in the Arab host countries: their legal status as ‘stateless’ people – except in Jordan – and their submission to more or less discriminatory socioeconomic regimes. What perception do the Palestine refugees have of their current situation? The NEP survey has endeavoured to tackle this question by asking the refugee respondents to identify the three main problems they usually face due to their specific status. During the data processing phase of the survey, the respondent’s answers were categorized into eight significant ‘problem categories’. Most of these categories pertain to problems directly linked to the terms of their integration in the host country: ‘economic problems’ (or ‘poverty’); ‘unemployment’; ‘mobility’ (internally, or opportunity to migrate, or forced displacement); ‘substandard housing and environment’; ‘insufficient aid and substandard services’; and ‘discrimination’ (in general or specifically related to ‘employment’, ‘political’ and ‘social’ types of discrimination). One category related to the refugees’ symbolic attachment to their place of origin: ‘loss of homeland/longing for return’. The following paragraphs will focus only on the most significant problem mentioned by the refugees. The findings of the survey (Table 8.4) indicate that, except for Syria, discrimination stands out as the first main problem faced by the refugees, affecting around one-fifth and up to nearly one-third of them across the host countries. This is also true in Jordan, despite the comparatively more favourable legal status conferred on most refugees as citizens. This rather surprising finding

51

2

0

Access to UNRWA services

None

Other

Source: NEP project, 2005.

47

Proof of refugee status

Gaza noncamp

0

4

43

53

Gaza camp

1

16

24

59

West Bank non-camp

1

11

31

57

West Bank camp

1

8

16

75

Syria non-camp

1

11

33

55

Syria camp

Table 8.3 Main advantage of registration with UNRWA per place or residence (in per cent)

1

14

29

56

Lebanon non-camp

1

6

25

68

Lebanon camp

0

6

16

78

Jordan non-camp

0

6

26

68

Jordan camp

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sheds light on the informal discrimination these refugees have been subjected to in past years, especially in the field of recruitment in the Jordanian public sector. Being for the most part fully fledged citizens, refugees in Jordan may have higher expectations in this regard. Further in-depth analysis on the ‘discrimination’ variable reveals that where Palestine refugees formally benefit from the same legal status as the host population, namely Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza, discrimination is mostly defined in ‘general/social discrimination’ terms. Conversely, political discrimination is seen as the main problem where refugees are stateless and can therefore not participate officially in the country’s national politics, namely in Syria and Lebanon. Whether these refugees would accept to be involved in national politics through the partial or full regularization of their situation in the host country remains an open question. However, the above-mentioned rejection of President Abu Mazen’s 2005 initiative indicates that this option is not in the offing. Be that as it may, referring to ‘discrimination’ as a problem –whereas it is still often held by the host authorities as a ‘positive’ step meant to preserve the refugees’ ‘right of return’ – confirms the refugees’ questioning of the legal status system set up for them by the Arab countries in the 1950s. Socioeconomic problems either in the form of (un)employment or poverty also rank high amongst the refugees’ main problems, except in Syria. In Lebanon, the restrictive job regulations they are subjected to, combined with their status as stateless persons, render refugees particularly vulnerable.29 In the OPT, more contextual patterns prevail. In Gaza, the refugees’ focus on unemployment betrays the very high level of refugees declaring themselves unemployed when the survey was undertaken (40 per cent versus 26 per cent in the West Bank), which is mainly due to sheer lack of access to jobs in the Strip itself or in Israel. In general, the NEP survey attests to the adverse effects of the al-Aqsa Intifada on the refugees’ general living conditions, expressed either in terms of unemployment in Gaza or of poverty in the West Bank. In the same vein, the serious degradation of the housing and environment conditions in the OPT since 2000 was highlighted by the comparatively higher numbers of refugees of these territories that referred to ‘substandard housing and environment’ as their primary problem, in the camps more especially.30 Problems related to access to aid and access to basic services were perceived as relatively secondary when compared to the more fundamental problems of discrimination, employment and poverty. They nevertheless constitute a salient ‘problem category’ amongst refugees residing in Jordan and in the West Bank, namely those fields where the refugees expressed the least interest in the operational aspect of UNRWA’s services (less than one-fifth of the respondents in Jordan), or in registration with UNRWA as a whole (up to 15 per cent of the respondents in the West Bank) (see Table 8.2). In any event, such findings indicate that little consideration for UNRWA and its services does not necessarily entail outright disregard for them. Finally, while references to problems related to longing for return are present in all fields, they only rank high in Syria. Understandably, nearly 60 years after the exodus, such feelings are less prevalent than day-to-day problems.31 However, this

Dynamics of humanitarian aid, local and regional politics 141 should not be interpreted as to minimize the refugees’ attachment to their ‘right of return’. Its full recognition as a principle of international law by Israel and the international community has remained one of the refugees’ main demands since 1948. It also stands out as one of the PLO’s main demands within the framework of the permanent status talks with Israel, regardless of the modalities of its implementation. The symbolic interpretation of UNRWA’s registration made by a majority of refugees as a proof of their status also testifies to the preserved significance of the vested rights attached to it. Table 8.4 also highlights the specificity of the Palestine refugees’ situation in Syria. Reflecting the relatively liberal socioeconomic regime tailored for them by the Syrian authorities, less emphasis was set on problems that are pervasive elsewhere, such as employment, discrimination and insufficient basic services. Conversely, they come out as comparatively much more prone to mobility problems. Confirming this figure, migration-related data from the NEP survey indicate that only one out of ten respondents in Syria had not migrated either internally or outside the country, compared to about one-third of them in Jordan and in the West Bank and about half of them in Lebanon and in Gaza. The high proportion of refugees referring to mobility problems in Syria may have different causes. It might precisely result from the refugees’ relatively little concern for the other problems – discrimination in particular – usually referred to in the other host countries. It might also result from several factors specific to the mobility situation in Syria. With regard to external labour migration for instance, refugees in Syria may have been considered on average less ‘competitive’ on the regional labour market given their comparatively lower educational attainments and language skills.32 In addition, the departure of the Syrian troops from Lebanon in April 2005 deprived many non-qualified refugees from Syria (as well as Syrian nationals) of an external job outlet. Explaining the low levels of internal migration in Syria, when compared to Table 8.4 Refugees’ main problems per host country (in per cent) Jordan

Lebanon

Syria

West Bank

Gaza

Economic (poverty)

12

5

7

22

17

Employment

19

33

5

5

26

6

2

2

15

16

Discrimination

26

30

6

27

17

Aid and services

14

8

4

16

7

Loss of homeland/longing 12 for return

6

24

9

6

Mobility (West Bank forced displacement)

1

4

40

3

4

10

11

12

3

7

Housing and environment

Other Source: NEP project, 2005.

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regional levels, a Fafo report put forward such factors as the guaranteed ownership of the dwelling, near parity in social services and little variations in wage levels, offering few incentives to migrate; and expensive housing costs in large cities (Khawaja 2002: 21).

Conclusion The refugees’ status in the Near East has been shaped to a large extent by the legal ‘refugee system’ set up by the Arab states in the wake of the 1948 exodus around two priorities: the preservation of the refugees’ ‘right of return’ and the handling of the refugees’ social and economic needs in accordance with the host societies’ internal interests. This explains why, behind the common Arab discourse in favour of the refugees’ ‘right of return’ through the implementation of resolution 194 (III), there remain large disparities in the refugees’ legal, political and socioeconomic status and realities across the Near East. In spite of the many turbulent events that have marked the relations between the Palestinian refugee communities and their host countries since 1948, the ‘Arab refugee system’ is still in place. Resolution 194 (III), the cornerstone of the refugees’ claims, is still endorsed by a large majority of the UNGA’s member states. Moreover, despite chronic budget shortages, UNRWA is still fully operative in its five fields of operations vis-à-vis the refugees. In this respect, the 2005 NEP survey highlighted the prevalence of the political value the refugee ascribe to their registration with the Agency, namely as a proof of their refugee status rather than as a source of basic services (except in Gaza). This may be a matter of concern for UNRWA. The fact that only a minority of refugees (roughly one-third of them) perceives access to its services as an advantage accruing from registration also reflects dissatisfaction with the state of UNRWA’s services. Also questioned by the refugees is the discriminatory system set up by the Arab host countries to preserve their ‘right of return’. Improving the modalities of their integration in these countries, especially in the economic and social fields, is no more seen by the refugees, inside and outside camps, as a threat to their political rights; quite the opposite. These findings may be policy relevant for the way any permanent status agreement can be perceived and implemented by the refugees and the host countries. The first issue concerns the notion of resettlement. Given Israel’s refusal to consider any return of the refugees in accordance with the provisions of resolution 194 (III), resettlement has been repeatedly presented by Israeli and Western stakeholders as the ‘magic solution’ likely to solve quickly and permanently the Palestinian refugee problem. Our survey’s findings allude to the fact that, should the resettlement option prevail, its implementation in a post-peace agreement context would necessarily entail, in each of the host countries, potentially destabilizing reappraisals of the refugees’ formal and informal statuses at all local and national levels. The uncertainties surrounding the modalities of resettlement are compounded by the fact that, despite the laudable efforts displayed by the informal settlement proposals that have flourished since the late 1990s, the issue of compensation for refugees (in exchange for their ‘return’ to their original homes) has not yet been clearly defined, either

Dynamics of humanitarian aid, local and regional politics 143 with regard to the amount of the compensation sums involved or to the modalities of payment.33 Furthermore, neither the host countries (who were excluded from the bilateral, Israeli–Palestinian, format of the permanent status talks) nor the refugee communities have been directly consulted on such crucial matters. More worrying, from a refugee perspective, is the emergence among international, Arab and even some Palestinian stakeholders of a new ‘pragmatic’ interpretation of the notion of ‘return’ that encapsulates it within a two-state solution. According to this interpretation, the bulk of the refugees in the diaspora would be granted a ‘right of return’ limited to the future Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, rather than to their original homes now located in Israel. This approach was never formally endorsed either by the Arab countries or by the PLO, mainly because Israel has never initiated the necessary reciprocal conciliatory steps. It also fails to consider the current lack of absorption capacity of the OPT and to address the demands for return of those refugees already residing in the West Bank and in Gaza. The unconditional recognition of the refugees’ ‘right of return’ to Palestine therefore remains at the core of the refugees’ self-perceptions and political claims. Their response to any peace plan that would sell out their ‘right of return’ to the original homes, villages and towns in exchange for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state might very well trigger violent responses, especially in the absence of coherent and rewarding compensation, alternative repatriation or resettlement schemes.

Notes 1 UNRWA’s current Consolidated Eligibility and Registration Instructions define Palestine refugees as being persons ‘whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict. Palestine Refugees, and descendants of Palestine refugee males, including legally adopted children, are eligible to register for UNRWA services’, see UNRWA (2006a). 2 Paragraph 11 of this resolution (December 1948) resolves that: ‘the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the governments or authorities responsible’. 3 Resolution 231 of 17 March 1949 adopted by the Arab League Council states ‘that the lasting and just solution of the problem of the refugees would be their repatriation and the safeguarding of all their rights to their properties, lives and liberty, and that these should be guaranteed by the United Nations’. Unlike Resolution 194 (III), repatriation is not predicated on a peace agreement between the Arab States and Israel. 4 By conferring citizenship to the Palestinians living on Jordanian territory (refugees and indigenous West Bankers), King Abdullah I intended to benefit from the Palestinian population involvement in the Jordanian state-building, see Mishal (1978). 5 The Palestine registered refugees in Jordan constitute over one-third of the total host country population, while they averaged 10–11 per cent in Lebanon (see UNRWA 1992). The sensitivity of the Palestinian demography in the two host countries is related to different reasons. The Hashemite Kingdom fears that it could become an alternative Palestinian state in the future. In Lebanon, the naturalization of Palestinian refugees

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Jalal Al Husseini and Riccardo Bocco (mostly Sunni Muslims) has been perceived as a menace for the political system, because potentially altering the balance of confessional communities’ representation. The number of such displaced ‘Gazans’ today reaches about 200,000 people; 125,000 of them are registered with UNRWA in Jordan. Displaced ‘Gazans’ are given twoyear temporary ‘travel documents’ while the ‘West Bankers’ are given five-year ‘travel documents’ (UNRWA 2010a). The UNCCP, which has been a ‘dormant’ body since the 1960s, is the political body created by resolution 194 (III), paragraph 2 (11 December 1948) to bring about a comprehensive peace agreement between Israel and the Arab countries. The number of local staff has grown from about 6,000 to more than 30,000 employees between 1950 and 2010. See Article I.D of the Convention and article c) of the UNHCR Statute. The Palestine refugees were also excluded from the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, which provides a universal definition of the term ‘refugee’. Despite numerous pressures from the PLO, UNRWA has repeatedly refused to endorse physical protection activities as a formalized component of its activities. For an updated juridical debate on the UNRWA’s protection mandate, see the contributions of Goddard et al. (2009). For instance, the Social Productivity Program that aimed inter alia at upgrading the poor areas’ infrastructural networks has also covered the camps. See http://www.espp. gov.jo/about%20espp.htm (accessed 25 April 2009). For infrastructural projects in Damascus camps, see http://www.un.org.sy/forms/pages/ viewPage.php?id=48 (accessed 25 April 2009). Syria’s flagship programme is the ‘Neirab’ camp rehabilitation project near Aleppo, where the infrastructural and housing works in this camp are preceded by a re-housing of part of its inhabitants in another area, the informal Ein al-Tall camp (see Byrne 2005: 44–51). See UNRWA’s website on the Nahr el-Bared camp’s reconstruction (UNRWA 2010b). The ‘Taba Accords’ (2001) and the ‘Geneva Initiative’ (2003) provide for the return of a small amount of refugees to Israel under a family reunification scheme, not as an implementation of a ‘right of return’; see Keller (2004). Similarly, PLO’s official statements since 1988 have confirmed the necessity of resolving the refugee issue according to the relevant UN resolutions, while ‘the right of return’ has continued to be regularly spelled out in the Arab leaders’ discourses. For example, one of the main goals of the ‘Jordan First’ initiative was to ‘deepen the sense of national identity among citizens’, see Daily Star (2003). In the same vein, a 2003 survey carried out among refugee communities in the OPT, Jordan and Lebanon has found that although almost all refugees demanded the recognition of the ‘right of return’, only 10%, on average, were actually looking forward to implementing it outrightly (PCPSR 2003). This survey covered a randomly drawn sample of about 2,000 respondents per field of operation aged 16 and above selected from UNRWA’s list of refugees and residing in UNRWA’s fields of operation. This sample was stratified according to gender and age, and allowed for analysis at national/governorate level. It provided a confidence interval of some +/–1 per cent for the five fields and a confidence interval of 2.2 per cent in each of them. The survey is an outcome of a conference organized by UNRWA and the Swiss government entitled ‘Meeting the Humanitarian Needs of Palestinian Refugees in the Near East’, held in Geneva in June 2004. The detailed findings are available on the UNRWA intranet. Only a synthesis report is publicly available, see Bocco et al. (2007). Question 66 of the survey is a multiple choice question that was formulated after numerous talks with host-country representatives and UNRWA staff. It reads: ‘What is in your own case the main advantage of being registered with UNRWA? (multiple answers): Access to UNRWA services/Proof of refugee status/Other [specify]/None /Don’t know/ no answer.

Dynamics of humanitarian aid, local and regional politics 145 20 Cross-tabulations used for the sake of analysis passed the statistical significance tests. Findings have been contextualized and interpreted in the light of other NEP survey’s findings, as well as other surveys. 21 In the field of primary education for instance, less than 44 per cent of Palestine refugee children in the West Bank (and in Jordan) attended the Agency’s primary schools, compared to over three-quarters in the other fields of operations (Al Husseini et al. 2007: 37). 22 A majority of refugees in Lebanon (60 per cent) said they were dissatisfied with the Agency’s education services. Refugees living in the other fields of operations were more positive about these services, from half of the refugees satisfied in Jordan to about three-quarters of them in the West Bank and Gaza (Al Husseini et al. 2007: 47). 23 For regular programmes UNRWA’s Lebanon field has the largest capita budget, reaching $168 per capita; see UNRWA (2008). 24 For a documented overview of the evolution of the living conditions in the OPT since the outbreak of the Second Intifada see IUED (2001–8). 25 See Fafo (2005). More recently, a poll conducted in March 2009 following the January 2009 Israeli attacks against Hamas in Gaza confirmed this trend: nearly 70 per cent of Gazans gave a positive opinion about UNRWA as opposed to less than 50 per cent for the various Palestinian institutions See: http: http://www.fafo.no/ais/middeast/opt/ opinionpolls/poll2009.html (accessed 28 May 2010). 26 The NEP survey shows that as many as 57 per cent of the camp refugees in Jordan belong to the lowest or the lower-mid income quintile as opposed to 35 per cent of non-camp dwellers. The results are respectively 49 per cent and 35 per cent in Syria and 47 per cent and 33 per cent in Lebanon. In the West Bank and Gaza, conversely, the rate of poor or very poor respondents is not higher inside than outside camps (Lapeyre and Bensaid 2006: 31). 27 For instance, the vast majority of camp refugee children attended UNRWA primary schools: from around 85–8 per cent in Jordan and the West Bank, to around 95 per cent in Lebanon, Gaza and Syria (Al Husseini et al. 2007: 38). 28 In and outside camps, refugees with low/very low incomes are comparatively more numerous to consider UNRWA a source of basic services. However, this trend is not linear, which may reflect the fact that, since 1992, eligibility for the Agency’s primary education and health care is no longer based on the criteria of income and need but on refugee status (UNRWA 1992: paragraph 35). In Lebanon, no clear pattern is singled out. This may be ascribed to the rigid discriminatory legal status imposed by the authorities upon the refugee population that has resulted in a relatively homogeneous dependence on UNRWA. 29 This said, unemployment amongst refugees is not higher than amongst the host population: 13 per cent of refugees (NEP 2005) versus 11.5 per cent of nationals in Lebanon (Lebanese sources 2001); and 14 per cent of refugees (NEP 2005) versus 13.2 per cent nationals in Jordan (Jordanian sources 2006). Rather than unemployment, the assumption here would be that low labour participation rates are the refugees’ actual problem outside Palestine. The activity rates of Palestine refugees (men and women) are lower than that of the population of the host countries (Bensaid and Lapeyre 2006: 17–18). 30 Namely 44 per cent of camp refugees compared to 17 per cent of non-camp refugees in the West Bank; and 38 per cent of camp refugees compared to 23 per cent of non-camp refugees in Gaza (Rueff and Viaro 2007). 31 Data analysis on this variable shows that it is amongst the refugees older than 60 years of age, namely those who may have lived in ‘pre-1948 Palestine’ or in times when the possibility of recovering Palestine was less remote than today, that homesickness/longing for return is the most cited (54 per cent of the 60+ age group in Syria for instance). Another category concerned is the younger 16–20 years old group (41 per cent of the 16–20 age group in Syria). This may reflect a feeling of frustration at still being refugees subjected to the stigmata of exile at a time when the prospect of recovering the original

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homes (or to be compensated) either by force or through negotiations with Israel, seems to have vanished. 32 The NEP survey indicates that over half of the (16 of age and above) Palestine refugee population in Syria (51 per cent) dropped out of school before completing the basic school cycle, as compared to 38 per cent in the West Bank, 35 per cent in Jordan and 29 per cent in Gaza. Only refugees in Lebanon claim a higher percentage of ‘basic education dropouts’: 54 per cent. Yet, refugees in Lebanon (as well in Jordan, Gaza and the West Bank) claim relatively higher levels of proficiency in languages (including Arabic and English) (Al Husseini et al. 2007: 19–31). 33 The ‘Clinton parameters’ of December 2000, the ‘Taba agreements’ of January 2001 and the ‘Geneva Accords’ of December 2003 limited themselves to general principles, including the setting up of an international compensation fund.

9

Reparations to Palestinian refugees The politics of saying ‘sorry’1 Shahira Samy

Introduction On 22 December 2007, the Israeli newspaper, Ha’aretz, ran a short news item about Israeli President Shimon Peres apologizing for the Kafr Qasem massacre of 1956, in which Border Police Officers killed 47 residents of the village (Ha’aretz 2007). ‘A terrible event happened here in the past, and we are very sorry for it,’ Peres said. ‘I have chosen to visit Kafr Qasem, where in the past a very serious event occurred that we greatly regret . . ..’ According to the newspaper, Kafr Qasem’s mayor Sami Issa interprets these words as an apology, ‘“we regret” and “we apologize” are the same thing,’ he said. Speaking with local leaders, Peres also used the word apology according to the president’s spokeswoman. Peres is the first sitting president to ‘apologize’ for the massacre (Segev 2007). In his comment on Peres’ apology five days later, Israeli historian Tom Segev highlighted the links between this massacre and the creation of the Palestinian refugee problem through existing plans to expel the village’s inhabitants to Jordan (Segev 2007).2 Although this incident concerns a specific small-scale injustice, the scholarship of the new historians has unravelled the links between such massacres in the land of historical Palestine and the creation of the overall Palestinian refugee problem. This situation thus touches on a much larger population than the inhabitants of Kafr Qasem. Peres’ visit and signs of remorse bring into the forefront the question of what modes of redress are adequate to the plight of the Palestinian refugee community. In this context, how an alleged apology ought to be viewed from a redress perspective and compared to worldwide acts of remorse and contrition is what this chapter seeks to explore. Palestinian refugees presently stand as the largest and most protracted case of displacement in the world. According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) census, the number of registered Palestinian refugees in June 2009 stands at 4,718,899 (UNRWA 2010c) representing approximately 18 per cent of the total number of refugees in the world. UNRWA’s figure covers about three-quarters of Palestinian refugees worldwide.3 The multidimensional nature of the Palestinian refugee problem marks it as an issue going far beyond being a mere case of displacement. The Palestinian refugee problem is primarily an intrinsic part, not only of the Israeli–Palestinian

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conflict, but also the wider Arab–Israeli one as well. This complex nature has had its impact on the various solutions put forward throughout the history of the conflict in an attempt to seal the refugee problem. Consequently, such is the context within which issues such as the right of return of refugees, resettlement and reparations are examined. While acknowledging the centrality of repatriation and resettlement to an eventual solution to the Palestinian refugee issue, the present chapter will solely focus on the reparations dossier. Worth noting is that whereas repatriation and resettlement are mutually exclusive, due to their spatial nature, the issue of reparations – as perceived by this study – stands on a different level and is not necessarily a substitute to either of them. Efforts to deal with the refugee problem are ongoing, despite the stalemate in formal negotiations. In the midst of such efforts, and for the purpose of settling the refugee issue with the adequate dose of justice and de facto application of such justice, the issue should not only be addressed, but also more necessarily, redressed. This chapter thus seeks to focus on the politics of reparations in relation to Palestinian refugees. Reparations in this context are not approached from a legal perspective, nor are issues concerning technicalities of compensation and modalities of payment examined. Rather, reparations are tackled as a form of transitional justice. In that sense, reparations are viewed as a political process whereby displacement and dispossession are regarded as a historical injustice in search of adequate redress, rather than as a classical case of displacement calling for the measures devised by the international regime of durable solutions. How parties to a conflict approach reparations, how they conceive of a historical injustice and how they address redress to that injustice are all crucial elements to a reparations cycle. This does not imply that both perspectives do not overlap. On the contrary, they ought to be viewed as complementary, thus bearing fruits on none other than the parties seeking to move to a post-conflict situation through redressing a past injustice. In short, the modern literature and best practice of reparations worldwide is brought in to the Palestinian refugee issue in an attempt to view it from a fresh angle and contribute to the chances of a sustainable solution. The diversity of the case studies may lead to a first-hand impulse to dismiss them as irrelevant to the Palestinian case. However, the value of these cases is to highlight the process of reparations itself in addition to its various elements. Such a scrutiny of process, as opposed to specificity of detail, puts the three cases under focus (the Korean case, the Japanese American case and the Palestinian case) on par for fruitful comparison. A valid question at this point is about what reparations are in more concrete terms and what forms they take. The following section presents a general brief notion of reparations, a concept born in the sphere of law, later evolving in other disciplines as well. In the course of the chapter, I will further proceed to focus on apology as a form of reparation. Specific attention is directed towards how international practice in post-conflict situations approaches apologies in a quest for redress. The analysis will particularly seek to unravel the dual relationship between compensation and apology. International practice spells out the friction between both. Can apology

Reparations to Palestinian refugees 149 suffice as a mode of redress? On the other extreme, is obtaining compensation a satisfactory measure to provide a sense of justice and redress? This chapter will probe those issues and present the cases of Korean comfort women and Japanese American internment as examples of how international practice has reacted to this tension. This paves the way to the final section highlighting the history of how the Palestinian refugee issue has been approached in diplomacy as far as compensation and apology are concerned. The study ends with drawing parallels between international practice regarding reparations and the evolution of the Palestinian case. It will argue that addressing the Palestinian refugee case from a reparations perspective ought to include recognition of the injustice for which an official apology is due.

Reparations as a notion of redress [O]nly when present pain rooted in past harms was addressed and, to the extent appropriate, redressed could there be justice. And only when there was justice could there be reconciliation and a foundation for genuine hope and cooperation. (Eric Yamamoto quoted in Minow 1998: 102)

Professor Yamamoto’s quote encompasses the many ingredients found in the general notion of redress: the search for an adequate address to a past injustice in pursuit of justice as a route to reconciliation. Yamamoto’s depiction of reparations is the product of the intellectual and practical development of redress in modern international history. In its broader context, the idea of redressing past injustices has significantly elaborated throughout the course of the past century. And perhaps, the many confusing interlinked terms used interchangeably with which the literature abounds – such as redress, reparations, compensation and restitution – mostly reflect the need to understand why nations apologize, the meaning of human injustice, structuring a theory of redress and the various forms of the latter. Grappling with a definition of reparations is no easy task. Scattered between disciplines as diversified as law, philosophy, politics and history, various approaches to the notion of reparations surface in the literature. In that context, it is important to note that reparations first emerged as a legal concept and continues to be of great interest to legal scholarship. In general, the international law understanding of justice is the address of the commitment of a wrongful act through various legal redress forms already previously determined such as restitution of property, compensation and satisfaction.4 If such is the nature of the legal approach to reparations, other disciplines have generally discussed violations of human rights as a wrongful act necessitating redress, the former not necessarily being a breach of law, nor the latter aiming at ascertaining a right. The other approaches to reparations view it as a path to remedy injury caused by a wrongful act. In simpler words, it’s the idea of how parties approach redress to a historical injustice in order to move to a post-conflict situation.

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This study approaches reparations as a broad umbrella term for redress taking a variety of forms. What form is most adequate is not a pre-fixed formula, and this, in fact, is the major characteristic of reparations as a mechanism of transitional justice. South African judge and international war crimes prosecutor, Richard Goldstone, addresses this matter in the following statement: In a perfect society victims are entitled to full justice, namely trial of perpetrators and if found guilty adequate punishment. That ideal not being possible some societies find other solutions. A national amnesia is bound to fail. Managing the past has to be implemented but there is no standard formula. In most cases the choices will be limited by political, military and economic conditions. And whatever solutions, the results will be mixed. (Richard Goldstone quoted in Minow 1998: x) Goldstone’s quote emphasizes that the various approaches to reparations are in fact an array of interpretations of justice and attempts to operationalize it. The search for justice and the route best taken in its pursuit is the subject matter of thoughts offered in regard to reparations as a general notion of redress. Such as the case with other philosophical terms, there is no consensus either on the meaning or on the applicability of justice in the international realm. Rights then, the obligation to amend an injustice and remedies, is the language spoken by international law in pursuit of justice through reparations. Other disciplines draw on a different vocabulary and points of reference in their search for justice, moving away from punishment and the obligation element heavily evident in the legal approach. Absent may the obligation be, the responsibility if not legal – rather moral or out of self-interest – is there. The various forms of remedy have also developed throughout the international quest for redressing injustices. In its entry on reparations, the Penguin Dictionary of International Relations sheds light on this development. Penguin defines the term as follows: [C]ompensation claims made of an effected upon vanquished by the victors following the cessation of hostilities. Reparations may involve financial payments and/or physical requisition of goods. By exercising reparations the victor (s) may be seeking to indemnify itself/themselves for losses incurred during the war. Additionally, reparations may be seen as an instrument that will reduce the ability of the vanquished to wage war or otherwise pose a security threat in the future. (Evans and Newnham 1998) The concept of reparations has moved on since this definition was coined. Strictly linking reparations to an act of war is an issue that has evolved to a more associated connection with a broad notion of a historical injustice, and distanced from the concept of victor/vanquished as highlighted in the above-stated definition. The development of the concept also progressed towards a wider inclusion of forms

Reparations to Palestinian refugees 151 of redress. The latter, as outlined by the definition, were confined to financial payments in addition to restitution proper. The incorporation of other forms of reparations such as apologies, for instance, is a novel phenomenon in the sphere of reparations practice. Moreover, the futuristic look included in the above-stated definition, by deeming the act of reparations as an element catalysing non-repetition of war, has also broadened to a future-looking perspective concerned with reconciliation between the conflicting parties. This brings us to the discussion of forms of reparations and the connections between apologies and compensation. A question predominantly posed in the literature on reparations is formulated as follows: is there a hierarchy of forms of redress and a most-adequate model? Is there one adequate form of redress? Should governments issue apologies? Should apologies be made in conjunction with payments to victims? Could redress consist of money paid to victims without issuing an apology? Does money have to reach victims themselves or could it be in the form of investments, services or both in the victim’s community in lieu of compensating victims individually? (See, for example, Brooks 1999a: 8.)

Apology and compensation as forms of reparations Whereas compensation was recognized as an early form of reparations, apology only emerged recently, but soon became particularly evident in a number of cases in the modern history of reparations. As recently as February 2008, the Australian parliament issued an official apology to its Aborigine population for the policies of assimilation practised against its members in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries (see for example Samy 2008). In the following pages, I wish to highlight two particular examples: the case of the Korean comfort women and that of the internment of Japanese Americans. Combined, these cases illustrate the prominence of an apology within a reparations claim, as well as the dual relationship between apology and financial compensation among other issues.

The two cases: Korean and Japanese American The Korean comfort women Known as ‘comfort women’ for their forced role of providing ‘comfort’ to the Japanese troops in military brothels during the Second World War, they are also called halmoni (grandmothers) in Korea, where many of these women originated. ‘Sex slaves’ is another term associated with them. Up to 200,000 comfort women were sexually enslaved by the Japanese Imperial Army from around 1932 to the end of the Second World War. The Japanese government denies responsibility for the system. Sixty years after the end of the war, survivors of the sexual slavery system are denied justice and are still calling for full reparations. Although the existence of the comfort women operation (jugun ianfu) was first exposed in 1948 when Batavia (now Jakarta) hosted public trials concerning the

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sexual internment of Dutch women, it was not until 1990 that a Japanese official, Prime Minister Miyazawa Kichi, offered an unofficial apology for the acts perpetrated by the military against the comfort women.5 More recently, the Japanese Diet, although refusing to issue an apology, has allocated money to administer a fund for Asian women. The form and source of such redress, however, raised important questions (Brooks 1999b: 87). More controversial than Japan’s refusal to apologize was its approach to monetary redress. Japan established the Asian Women’s Fund to aid comfort women in need and support projects addressing contemporary women’s issues. The fund purports to represent the Japanese people’s ‘feelings of apology and remorse’ by allowing them to contribute directly. The fund is financed by private donations and the government only pays administrative fees (Brooks 1999a: 89). This attempt of redress was met by criticism. Comfort women and advocacy organizations argue that this is not redress in the form of reparations, for atonement can only be achieved through money paid by the government in the form of personal compensation, along with a formal apology from the Diet. They maintain that the Asian Women’s Fund is a welfare system because individual payments are based on socio-economic needs rather than moral restitution. Such payments add to the overall sense that Japan is failing to take responsibility for its actions (Brooks 1999a: 89, Hicks 1999: 113–25). It took changing attitudes towards women’s rights, as well as campaigns by women, to turn the comfort women issue into a larger one over women’s rights (Hicks 1999: 114). At some point in 1990, Emperor Akihito expressed ‘intense sorrow’ at the wrongs inflicted on Korea. Korean activists however did not regard this as atonement for the lack of adequate apology (Hicks 1999: 116). Meanwhile, in June 1990, the Japanese foreign ministry denied any government responsibility for the sexual slavery of Korean women. No public apology, disclosure, memorial or compensation was forthcoming (Hicks 1999: 117). Many women refused the payments, seeing them as an attempt by Japan to evade its responsibility. Only about 260 former sex slaves received money – 2 million yen (£10,110) each. The fund was discontinued in 2007 and no plans have been announced for a replacement (McCurry 2005). To this day, the Diet has not issued an official apology. Prior to moving on in the analysis, it may be useful to shed light on the struggle of the Japanese Americans for redress in order to evaluate similarities and differences between the two reparations movements in their approach to apology and compensation. US reparations to Japanese Americans The roots of the Japanese American reparations movement are anchored in the search for redress by Americans of Japanese origins for the unfounded incarceration of 120,000 of their community by the US government in 1942. At the peak of rivalries between the two countries during the Second World War, the targeted population was suspected of treason and collaboration with the enemy. In response to a congressional inquiry, political lobbying and lawsuits, Congress

Reparations to Palestinian refugees 153 passed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. Through the Act, Congress authorized a presidential apology and the payment of $1.2 billion in compensation to Japanese Americans incarcerated by the USA without charges or trial on account of their race (see Yamamoto and Ebesgugawa 2006: 257–83). In addition to apology and compensation, the 1988 Act also created a fund to educate the public about the government’s false assertion of ‘national security’ to restrict civil liberties. President Reagan signed into law the bill that expressed apology as well as authorized financial compensation. On that occasion Reagan said ‘no payment can make up for those lost years. What is most important in this bill has less to do with property than with honor, for here we admit wrong’ (Minow 1998: 112–13). The apology mandated by the Civil liberties Act was ultimately made through a letter from President George Bush to each person eligible for reparations. The reparations cheque accompanied the letter, both of which were sent by registered mail (Yamamoto and Ebesgugawa 2006: 274). The Japanese American redress movement was onerous. Many Japanese Americans contributed, and their community overwhelmingly considered reparations a great victory. As Yamamoto and Ebesgugawa point out, in a successful reparations movement an entire community re-engages with the issues of justice and belonging (Yamamoto and Ebesgugawa 2006: 258). The dynamics The journey of the Japanese Americans and the Korean comfort women towards the search for reparations to the historical injustice inflicted upon them signals a number of observations about the inclusion of apology and compensation within a reparations process. To start with, the two case studies draw attention to how intricately related compensation and apologies are to both the victims and perpetrators’ acknowledgement of the wrongful act. The latter may appear as an inclusion of what may at first sight be interpreted as a new element in the equation of forms of reparations. However, ‘acknowledgement of the wrongful act’ has never been absent from the discussion revolving around both forms of reparations. This issue is perhaps more apparent in the case of the Korean comfort women than in that of the Japanese Americans. In the Japanese American case, recognition of the wrongful act was never contested. The struggle for reparations was concentrated on lobbying Congress for redress, rather than seeking to prove the injustice took place. However, in the Korean comfort women’s case, there was denial of the injustice occurring, then significant resistance to the mere acknowledgement of responsibility for the injustice, let alone offering reparations. In fact, this very much resembles the case of Israel’s official stance denying responsibility for the creation of the Palestinian exodus. Apology in the context of Korean comfort women thus represents the approach to the issue of acknowledging the creation of the injustice, and by consequence, responsibility to repair. This very question of acknowledging a wrongful act and the willingness to redress on behalf of perpetrators is sometimes mistakenly taken for granted. Such

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an argument perceives the international system prevailing in the aftermath of the Second World War as a political environment where morality and justice are replacing realpolitik as the drive for politics, and thus increased attention is paid to moral responsibility. We see this quite clearly in the arguments advocated by Elazar Barkan (Barkan 2000: xi). According to this line of thought, the need for redress to past victims has become a major part of national politics and international diplomacy (Barkan 2003: 91). Barkan even pushes it to the point whereby ‘the moral dispute [over historical injustices] has come to be about interpretations, means, and timing, more than about principle’ (Barkan 2000: xii). This opinion is often mentioned in the literature on reparations to highlight the atonement aspect of the US government and its desire to seek contrition for the internment of the Japanese Americans. Yet, advocates of this opinion neglect the fact that such an apology wouldn’t have occurred without the campaign pushing for it. The same applies to the Korean comfort women case, whose plight may have never come to light had it not been for the efforts exerted by the victimized group. As a thoughtful African American, lamenting the hitherto unsuccessful campaign for reparations for slavery put it in reaction to the success of the Japanese American case: ‘why them and not us?’ (quoted in Yamamoto and Ebesgugawa 2006: 276–7). It is worth pausing for a moment to reflect upon the description of the Japanese American reparations as ‘successful’. This observation in fact heralds an important question: what exactly are the criteria for the success of a reparations act? By consequence, to what extent does a notion of ‘success’ relate to the duality of apology and compensation in the context of modern reparations processes? From the discussion above, the notion of successful reparations to both the victimized group in search of redress, as well as to the scholarship devoted to the issue seems to relate to matters such as the nature of apology, the scope of the damage or loss at stake, in addition to the question of hierarchy and most adequate forms of reparations. These are sometimes expressed in the literature as the ‘complexity’ and ‘completeness’ of reparations processes. The following paragraphs elaborate on the matter. In the case of Korean comfort women, on the one hand, the notion of success could not be fulfilled without an official apology. To them, unofficial acts did not count. And an act of remorse clearly identifying the government’s responsibility towards the injustice they suffered would have to precede/accompany financial payments. The Japanese American case, on the other hand, was perceived by its victims as successful for the official apology accompanied by an act of compensation. The ongoing debate over such issues in the literature reveals a diversity of opinions though. One argument mainly attributes the success of this reparations case to its ability to quantify a historical injustice and translate it into a specific sum acceptable to both the victims and perpetrators as compensation (Barkan 2003: 95–6, Brooks 1999a). On the other side of the spectrum, the success of the Japanese American programme comes on sole account of the government’s apology and bestowal of symbolic reparations fostering long overdue healing for many, thus restoring a measure of dignity (Yamamoto and Ebesgugawa 2006: 276–7). In fact,

Reparations to Palestinian refugees 155 the explicit aim and the actual effects of the reparations law in the case of the Japanese Americans is considered to illustrate the symbolic significance of official acknowledgement of wrongdoing in paying respect to a community of survivors (Minow 1998: 100). In this context, public acknowledgements of wrongdoing and statements of contrition are considered to reflect a growing international interest in restorative steps towards justice. However, apologies are thought to be superficial, insincere or meaningless unless accompanied by direct and immediate actions such as payment of compensation that manifest responsibility for the violations (Minow 1998: 114–16). This directs the discussion to issues of ‘complexity’ and ‘completeness’ of reparations programmes, which I wish to discuss in order to further highlight the duality of apology and compensation in the context of reparations. Complexity implies there is no mutual exclusivity between apology and compensation as a most adequate form of reparations. In his taxonomy of reparations, Pablo De Greiff underscores the importance of designing reparations programmes that are ‘complex’ in the sense that they distribute a variety of benefits (material and symbolic) such as apology and compensation. From such a perspective, a reparations programme should ideally display integrity, therefore delivering more than one kind of benefit, which should internally support one another (De Greiff 2006: 2). This is the very reason why the Japanese American reparations programme is described as successful. It has been able to establish links between material compensation and other forms of reparations such as official apologies and educational initiatives despite the fact it provided to individual beneficiaries what in the US context are not tremendous bountiful benefits (De Greiff 2006: 4). In fact, in the case of displacement in particular, a relevant argument is put forward as follows: if redress is to promote justice for refugees, it must not only involve compensation for lost property, but also the return of property and accountability for the human rights violations that led to and exacerbated displacement (Bradley 2005: 14). Compensation alone may be seen as a means of legitimizing human rights violations, particularly ethnic cleansing, as it may mistakenly imply that money can substitute for the protection of human rights. Here, compensation alone becomes more problematic as a form of reparation as it may be perceived as releasing the state from any further obligations towards refugees, usually without admitting responsibility for any wrong-doing (Bradley 2005: 14). Discussing apology and compensation as forms of reparations also relates to the issue of the nature of the loss, damage and related remedy. Apology and compensation may ultimately cover various perceptions of loss and damage thus offsetting a sense of injustice that may be felt by a particular category of victims. It is worth noting that ‘completeness’ of a reparations programme refers to the ability of the programme to cover, at least in principle, the whole universe of potential beneficiaries. Leaving categories of crimes or victims unaddressed virtually guarantees that the issue of reparations will continue to be on the political agenda (De Greiff 2006: 6–10; Minow 1998: 93).

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Even though planners of a designed compensation programme may take all possible measures to provide justice, a sense of injustice will still prevail. Compensation by default is designed, calculated and pre-fixed and some victims may unavoidably be jeopardized. Apology, as a general act of contrition, has the potential of covering each and every individual harm as personally perceived by individual victims, and may thus provide a more overarching sense of justice and acknowledgement of a past harm. In the context of displacement in particular, the full restitution approach (Restitutio in integrum) has addressed this issue. Proponents of this approach acknowledge that in order to repair the bond between the refugee and the state of origin, the reparations process must address both material and moral damages. While property restitution and compensation may be used to repair material harms and promote physical security and well-being, moral damages are better addressed through apologies, trials and truth commissions designed to uphold state accountability. The responsible state is obliged to provide full restitution that not only addresses property issues but also speaks to non-material human rights violations through mechanisms such as apologies (see Bradley 2005: 14–15). The overall debate over apology and compensation as forms of reparations illustrates how both issues are intricately interlinked, and are at the forefront of perceptions of justice when parties approach a conflict and wish to move on to a post-conflict situation in which a past harm is adequately redressed. The following section highlights how diplomacy has approached issues of apology, compensation and acknowledgement of a wrongful act in the context of the search for a remedy to the Palestinian displacement and dispossession.

The Palestinian refugee case Numerous rounds of negotiations since the end of the 1948 war and first waves of Palestinian displacement have tackled one aspect or the other of the refugee problem. This section overviews how compensation, apology and related acknowledgement of the injustice appeared in the various rounds of negotiations, and reflects on how parties have approached those interlinked issues. This overview will highlight the contrast between international practice placing weight on the duality of apology/compensation on the one hand, and the Palestinian–Israeli peace track overlooking the centrality of apology and acknowledgement of the wrongful act within the search for remedy to Palestinian displacement and dispossession on the other hand. Israeli–Palestinian peace negotiations are presently grounded in an internationally designed peace blueprint drafted by an international quartet comprised of the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations (UN). The Road Map concerned with establishing a Palestinian state in the first instance hasn’t put forward any vision for the refugee issue, which leaves the door open as to what may come next in relation to the refugee dossier. The Road Map in fact follows the same trend that emerged since the inception of the conflict in treating the refugee file as part of an overall conflict.

Reparations to Palestinian refugees 157 The Road Map also established as one of its foundations the Beirut Arab summit declaration of March 2002. The summit’s vague declaration section on refugees called for ‘achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem to be agreed upon in accordance with 194’.6 Apart from that, the Road Map is silent on all aspects of how the refugee issue might be resolved. The first international response to the Palestinian refugee problem was in 1948 with the establishment of the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine (UNCCP) by virtue of United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194 (hereinafter 194). The UNCCP set off with the general task of assisting the governments and authorities concerned to achieve a final settlement of the Palestine question, to provide protection and promote a durable solution for Palestine refugees. It was argued that if the refugees could be resettled and/or repatriated, the major obstacle to a peace settlement would be removed. Thus, proposals for coping with the refugees shifted back and fro between repatriation to Israel or resettlement in the surrounding Arab countries (Peretz 2001: 2; Takkenberg 1998: 25). When little or no progress on repatriation or resettlement was achieved, the UNCCP concentrated on refugee compensation as per 194 as a means of opening the door to peace talks. Israel, however, insisted that discussion be limited to the technical aspects of property evaluation and the UNCCP ultimately failed to effect any substantial agreement on compensation (Takkenberg 1998: 27; Peretz 2001: 13). By the middle of the 1950s, even compensation had waned in importance. The beginning of the 1990s and the convening of the Madrid peace process was another international attempt to revive dormant efforts of peace between Palestinians and Israelis. Forty years after the third-party effort of the UN, the peace process was conceived beyond the direct auspice of the international organization and was based on Security Council Resolution 242 rather than 194, the former open to looser interpretation than the latter.7 The refugee issue was discussed in Madrid on a multilateral track although by virtue of the nature of the peace initiative after years of dormant negotiations, the refugee question was treated on humanitarian considerations and no discussion of the reparations question took place. Overall, the Refugee Working Group (RWG) established by the Madrid process was an international framework in which certain aspects of the refugee problem were discussed among others.8 It is worth noting in the context of the present analysis that the first negotiating round between the parties to the conflict illustrated differences between the publicly articulated positions of Israel and the Palestinians on the refugee issue, with the former insisting on the resettlement and rehabilitation of refugees, while the latter emphasizing the Palestinians’ right to compensation and return. These may therefore be considered as differences over both the nature of the refugee issue and thus the level of a solution, the views reflecting a perception of a legal problem vs. a humanitarian one. As Brynen describes the RWG, it was a process of ‘quasi-negotiation’ characterized by disagreement among the parties as to whether they are negotiating, and what it is they might be negotiating about (Brynen 1997). Soon after, the Oslo Agreements signed between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1993 shifted the focus of the peace efforts from

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multilateral tracks as envisaged by the Madrid Framework, to a bilateral path and deferred discussion of the refugee issue to final status negotiations that eventually never took place. The Camp David summit convened by the US in 2000 was an attempt to bring together the two parties’ leaders for an overall agreement. With the weight of the discussion more tilted towards the issues of Jerusalem and borders, the summit in fact lacked in-depth discussion of the refugee question in general and reparations in particular, and only succeeded in paving the way for the Second Intifada.9 Interestingly, a few months later, the Taba negotiations, confined to the Israeli and Palestinian delegations, produced what most analysts deemed to be the most comprehensive discussions of the refugee file, especially in terms of compensation, although concretely no agreement was reached.10 Reflecting on the Taba talks, Yossi Beilin, chief Israeli negotiator on the refugee file, describes the compensation issue as complex but, he said, ‘it can be resolved’ through the refugee rehabilitation channel facilitated by funds to be collected from various entities worldwide. The pending issues, according to the Israeli negotiator, were to address ‘what the Palestinians call Right of Return’ and the question of the responsibility for creation of the refugee problem (see Beilin 2004: 230–9). On the question of responsibility in particular, Beilin outlines the Israeli perspective in its non-paper where it stated acceptance of responsibility for being a partner in its solution (emphasis added). The Israeli non-paper did not contain an explicit acceptance of 194. Israel was in fact not accepting responsibility in its legal sense nor by implication a responsibility in the creation of the injustice. Instead, it offered a joint historical narrative in collaboration with the Palestinian side. Beilin states that the agreement would include a concise history of events in the eyes of each party, recognition of the suffering and distress of the refugees and separate interpretations of 194 (Beilin 2004: 230–9). In contrast, in their non-paper at Taba, Palestinians had demanded that Israel recognize its moral and legal responsibility for the forced displacement and dispossession of the Palestinian civilian population during the 1948 war, and for preventing the right of return of the refugees to their homes in compliance with 194 (Palestinian Refugee Research Net 2001). This overview of the diplomatic trajectory of Palestinian–Israeli negotiations triggers a number of reflections: In spite of the more detailed discussions at Taba, have the parties’ positions regarding a solution to the refugee problem from a reparations perspective changed over the decades of peace-related efforts? The principal Israeli preconditions as presented at the mediation conferences of the UNCCP, were mainly that it accepted no moral or political responsibility for the creation of the refugee problem, that compensation should be part of a general peace settlement and that there would be no restitution of property (Lynk 2003; Peretz 2001: 88; Caplan 1993)11 In addition to these principles was the Israeli insistence that compensation be poured into a collective fund, which would be utilized for the resettlement of the refugees elsewhere, reflecting its optimal solution to the refugee problem. The essence in the Israeli position since the first peace efforts in 1949 has remained unchanged all through. The Palestinian – initially Arab – position on the other hand at the UNCCP

Reparations to Palestinian refugees 159 mediation conference, was that Israel bore the principal responsibility for paying compensation. In the event that Israel would be unable to pay the full amount, the Arab position considered the UN also responsible because of its role in the 1948 partition. The Arabs further insisted that Palestinian refugees had to be given free choice about returning to their homes, and only then could compensation be determined as between those returning and those resettling elsewhere. They have also demanded that compensation be paid to individual claimants should reflect the true value of the property and that the refugees must be represented at the different stages of the negotiations. At present, the Palestinian position is anchored on demanding implementation of 194, demands acknowledgement of responsibility and is willing to discuss compensation on a rights-based approach. This very brief overview highlights how the main baggage of 60 years of diplomacy consists of the treatment of the refugee issue on two different levels: Israel treating it as a humanitarian condition, on the one hand, its voluntary benevolent responsibility mainly based on alleviating a welfare situation; the Palestinian side, on the other hand, approaches the refugee issue as an injustice calling for redress through the adequate rights devised by international law. There has never been agreement over the acknowledgement of responsibility, admission of the injustice, moral contrition or modes of redress. It thus comes as no surprise that a reparations agreement was never concluded, despite high hopes in Taba engendered by detailed discussions of technicalities of compensation programmes. This is largely due to disparate macro political perceptions of the conflict rather than a micro faulty compensation scheme.

Conclusion The diplomatic history of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians attests to the hitherto failed attempts to redress, or in some instances, merely ‘address’, the refugee problem. Relentlessly falling under the banner of searching for solutions to Palestinian displacement and dispossession, the various notions of solutions overviewed in the last section though seem to falter when scrutinized from a reparations perspective. This chapter has endeavoured to illustrate how successful reparations imply addressing, in addition to adequately redressing, the injustice at the core of the conflict en route to a post-conflict situation. The story narrated throughout the previous pages particularly focused on the duality of apology and compensation as two forms of reparations. A predominant question was to probe whether international practice favoured one or the other form as a most adequate mode of reparations. Another question was to explore if both forms were in fact complimentary or rather mutually exclusive. As noted by the analysis of the Korean comfort women and Japanese American cases, there is no pre-designed prescription for reparations. Nonetheless, acknowledgement of the wrongful act proved to be a prerequisite to reparations. No matter what forms parties to a conflict decide to adopt as redress, no reparations process in international practice seems to take place without the acknowledgement of the injustice by its perpetrators.

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The analysis has further illustrated that this issue of acknowledgement directly relates to the enclosure of apology as form of redress. The dynamics of the Korean comfort women’s search for redress, for example, has clearly shown how apology was directly linked to acknowledgement of the injustice that was initially denied by the Japanese government. Moreover, much as international practice illustrates how the absence of apology is problematic to reparations, so are non-official apologies merely expressing regret, for their failure to denote responsibility, contrition and the political willingness to redress a past injustice. In fact, the essence of what differentiates an apology as part of a reparations process from what is an empty meaningless gesture dismissed as hollow and worthless, is that very nuance between ‘we say sorry’ and ‘we are sorry’. Nonetheless, this chapter has not targeted sole examination of the significance of apology as a form of redress. Rather, emphasis has been placed on the duality of apology and compensation as another form of reparation. International practice has again demonstrated that the act of contrition remains fragile, as does the reparations process, if not complemented by further modes of redress such as compensation. By the same token, this chapter has also pointed out that monetary compensation alone does not atone for the injustice unless accompanied or preceded by an official apology. Despite international practice stressing contrition and atonement as principal elements of reparations, ‘sorry’, however, has been consistently absent from all rounds of negotiating redress to Palestinian refugees. The Palestinian case has shown that prospective solutions proposed to settle the refugee problem were more tilted towards compensation alone as a desirable mode of redress. Accordingly, there has been a tendency in diplomatic and scholarly circles to measure ‘success’ by a yardstick of calculations, technicalities of compensation mechanisms and establishments of funds. Absent from the success criteria was an acknowledgement of the wrongful act of displacement and dispossession, an official act of apology or responsibility to redress creation of an injustice. The previous section has shown that throughout the history of negotiations, the state of Israel was at most ready to express regret for the plight of the refugees and their current dire humanitarian condition. Such a regretful approach denies the refugee community recognition of responsibility for its creation and is far from being an act of contrition addressed to healing a past wrong. The matter is thus bereft of its political connotations to be presented as a welfare humanitarian concern. From this perspective, it becomes problematic to consider that the Taba negotiations, for example, were ‘almost there’ for the mere fact the talks progressed in matters of technicalities alone. For these reasons, the Taba talks remain an incomplete blueprint for reparations. The importance of a reparations process in modern history does not stem from dwelling on the past and settling accounts between two rival camps. Reparations are a mechanism to turn a wrongful past into a vehicle for a better future. This is only possible by addressing the past and acknowledging the injustice that occurred – not by overlooking it. The Israeli–Palestinian peace process has hitherto not managed to establish even recognition of the injustice that lies at the core of the conflict and a willingness to atone. A reparations process cannot seem further away.

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Notes 1 An earlier draft of this chapter has appeared in the International Journal of Human Rights (Samy 2010). 2 The soldiers involved in the incident were sentenced to lengthy prison terms, but all received pardons. The brigade commander was sentenced to pay the symbolic fine of 10 prutot (old Israeli cents). According to Ha’aretz, Cabinet ministers have expressed remorse several times in the past. Former education minister Yossi Sarid publicly apologized for the event and worked to add it to the national history curriculum in the 1990s. Former tourism minister Moshe Katsav, who was later appointed president, also said that the families of the victims deserve an apology (Ha’aretz 2007). 3 The writer is aware of limitations of the UNRWA definition of refugees. Figures are presented as a general indication of the Palestinian refugee population. 4 See, for example, the International Law Commission articles on ‘State Responsibility’ and the draft basic principles and guidelines on the ‘Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Violations of International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (Draft Principles on Reparation)’, which were prepared under the auspices of the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to restitution. 5 Under the comfort women system, an estimated 200,000 women were held as sex slaves for the Japanese imperial army during the Second World War. 6 Paragraph 11 (iii) states that the General Assembly ‘resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the governments or authorities responsible’. 7 Article 2.b of Security Council Resolution 242 does not go beyond the vague statement of affirming the necessity ‘[f]or achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem’. 8 For detailed analysis of the Madrid framework, see Peters (1996). 9 For accounts of the Camp David talks, see for example Agha and Malley (2001), Hanieh (2001) and Ben-Ami (2005). 10 For accounts of the Taba negotiations, see for example Eldar (2002) and Beilin (2004). 11 Except for a brief initiative in the early years of the conflict when restitution was considered, see Masalha (2001).

Part IV

Memory, agency and incorporation

10 ‘The one still surviving and viable institution’ Sylvain Perdigon

Introduction In the summer of 2008, Jam’iyyat In’ash al-Usra (The Society for Family Rejuvenation), an important women’s non-governmental organization (NGO) founded in 1965 and based in Al-Bireh, West Bank, commissioned to Sharif Kanana, the living spiritual father of Palestinian anthropology, the organization of a conference on ‘the role and the future of the Palestinian family’. The conference program is noticeable for its robust language: the rhetoric is of one of speaking the truth in an hour of emergency. After noting matter-of-factly that Palestinians have witnessed over the last hundred years ‘the virtual destruction of their society’, the planning committee propounds that ‘the family is the one still surviving and viable institution among them’. It then goes on to express ‘the need for a critical evaluation of the nature of the Palestinian family and the role it has played in their struggle for survival’.1 While scholars of Palestinian communities have evolved specific ways of demonstrating that the family constitutes ‘the one still surviving and viable institution’ amongst Palestinians, the ones first concerned seem to concur heartily. For example, my interlocutors in the refugee camps of Tyre (South Lebanon), where I lived for two years (2006–8) to conduct research on the ethics of refugee relatedness, often speak of the Palestinian family as of an exceptional reality – one enduring in circumstances of otherwise permanent upheaval, and one that gives Palestinian experience its distinct character and aura. In this chapter I shall not seek to either confirm or question the validity of this claim for the Palestinian community of Tyre. Doing so by assessing such specifics as residency and emigration patterns, the circulation and sharing of diverse forms of capital between relatives or kin marriage rates would yield results congruent with those of recent, excellent studies conducted in other Palestinian settings (Latte Abdallah 2006; Rosenfeld 2004; Taraki 2006). My aim is to bring out the peculiar truth and purchase this claim draws from its circulation in everyday life – its routine appearance, as a compelling trope or link, in the chain of words and silences that make ordinary family talk in the camps and gatherings of Tyre. What compels, I ask, speakers who are also mothers and fathers, daughters and sons, sisters and brothers, husbands and wives, to reassert so frequently the exceptionality of Palestinian family life? What do they allude to when they do? What does this exceptionality consist of?

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Pointing out an exception, after all, is also often affirming that a rule exists in other instances and acknowledging the power of this rule. My argument in this short chapter is that when the Palestinian refugees of Tyre speak of the family as the only institution that proved resilient to, and workable through, the calamity that befell the Palestinian people and its way of life writ large, they do not only, or primarily, refer to the continuities in patterns of family life that social scientists like to foreground and analyze. In doing so, they also, and more significantly perhaps, express a sense of departure from other inhabitants of this world: those who enjoy a recognized citizenship and whose survival and self-realization, for this reason, does not seem to hinge entirely on the branches of family trees. I suggest, in other terms, that the language of the Palestinian family as a one-of-a-kind reality is also one through which refugees register the open-ended deferment of Palestinian sovereignty and, most importantly, its bearings upon the deep, intimate recesses of their lives and relationships. In order to do so, I start by briefly analyzing the circulation and collusion of two discourses of the Palestinian family. One, traditionalist, associates Palestinian kinship with tribal values and rules deemed unfit for grounding the political subjectivity of modern citizens. The other, modernist, puts a premium on an understated individualism congruent with the circumscribed role allocated to kin-based dependencies in the doctrine of the modern, liberal state. I then turn to a series of family portraits, snapshots really, drawn from my time and encounters in the camps of Tyre, in order to conjure up the thick, actual, plural worlds of refugee family life that these two discourses fail to capture. Some of these vignettes are crisp, as it were, while others are hazier. Some are close-ups while others remain at a distance from individual subjects. The connections between them might seem, at first sight, loose. I call them ‘snapshots’ to acknowledge that they are contingent upon my situated, embodied point of view, and that much more lies out of the frame. In spite of these limitations, such a strategy seems to me good enough, in the space of a short chapter, to ‘increase the density of social representation to meet the density of actual social worlds’ (Povinelli 2006: 21), and their surprising patchiness as well. Various instances and configurations of cousin marriage are front-and-center in all but one of these vignettes. Such unions account for a good quarter of the 750 marriages, from 1948 to the present, which I surveyed in the camps and gatherings of Tyre. By deliberately playing up a practice often surrounded by suspicion, embarrassment, or controversy, I seek to lay bare the theoretical and descriptive challenges posed by usages (of genealogical ties in this case) that camp inhabitants carry on in defiance of the normative forms of relatedness promoted along liberal forms of political organization. My aim is not to provide an explanation for the persistence of relatively high rates of kin marriage in the camps and gatherings of Tyre. Indeed I specifically question the assumption that such regularities would reflect the unequivocal embrace, by Palestinian refugees, of a stable, clear-cut template for family life in order to cope with the uncertainty of their environment. One philosopher argued for the skeptical paradox that the following of a rule always implies a ‘leap in the dark’ (Kripke 1982: 55). It is such leaps in the dark, separating

‘The one still surviving and viable institution’ 167 the rule (so-called preference for parallel cousin marriage is only one peculiarly visible instance) from its actual bodying-forth in the everyday struggle for survival, that I seek to point out in these vignettes. The darkness in this case is that of life itself for a community whose political existence and place in the world remain in indefinite abeyance. The leap is, I believe, what endows family life in the camps and gatherings of Tyre with an aura of perpetual exceptionality.

Between the hamula and the NGO-sanctioned family In studies conducted within the state of Israel from the late 1950s to the early 1970s, British-educated Israeli anthropologists concerned themselves with the survival, or revival, of a kinship principle they took to structure social organization in the native Palestinian population (Cohen 1970, 1972; Rosenfeld 1957, 1958, 1968). The focus was on the ubiquitous hamula, the best approximation they could find of a clan, a ‘patrilineal association whose members were linked together by a network of complex relationships’ (Cohen 1972: 3).2 They sought out its manifestations in phenomena such as patrilineal endogamy or ‘political factionalism’ (Rosenfeld 1968: 740). The conclusion was often the same. Thus, for Rosenfeld, the state of Israel had had no significant effect on social and economic life, ‘the Arab village maintained a kin structure’ (1957: 59) expressive of a ‘feudal economy’ (1958: 1138). For Cohen, the resurgence of the hamula, ‘this old, indigenous form of political organization’ (1972: xiii) followed from ‘weaknesses in the maintenance of law and order in the villages by the [Israeli] government institutions’, and ‘cultural and social continuities from the past’ (1972: 177). Strikingly enough, these authors, in their examination of the hamula system, hardly touched on the 1948 violence, the new relations of domination between Jews and Arabs in Israel or the exceptional military regime applied to Palestinians until 1966. Such omissions led Talal Asad to denounce, in a sharp review of Cohen’s book, the reversal in these works of ‘the logical priority of ethnicity over political economy’ (Asad 1975: 259). Regarding the so-called resurgence of the hamula as a principle of political organization after 1948, it was, for Asad, ‘only vulgar idealism that allows Cohen to speak of the “same form”’ as the one that prevailed previously (1975: 270). The hamula constituted little more after 1949 than a mode of control, an imputed principle of identity and the only political existence allowed to ‘members of an exploited class who are prevented, because of Israel’s Zionist structure, from developing either a class-based or a nation-based political organization’ (1975: 273). In other terms, Cohen’s concept of the hamula and ‘political patriliny’ turned out to be, in Asad’s Marxist reading, ideological categories expressing the normative, marginalized status of Israeli Arabs in a Zionist state.3 I cursorily mention this old controversy regarding Palestinians within the state of Israel because it offers an important reminder: discourses that ostensibly constitute kinship into a discrete domain frequently pertain in fact to the allocation of political sovereignty. Speaking of family matters is often speaking of, and even for, the state as well. While the colonial context of Israeli anthropology provides a peculiarly visible example of this logic, there is probably more, here, than a reality relevant

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to colonialism only: indeed, the effect of a Western political theology, epitomized in Hegel’s famous reading of Antigone, which construes state authority as raising above the pre-political order of kinship and, at the same time, secures it as its support and mediation (Butler 2000: 5). But does it mean, as Asad seems to suggest, that there is no other materiality to the hamula, for example, than that of an efficacious discourse of domination and marginalization? One would expect refugee experience, whose context ironically reminds one of that in which the discipline of anthropology came into its own as the study of kinship in so-called ‘stateless societies’, to provide us with critical outlooks in this respect. In the Palestinian camps of Tyre, I make people laugh, or give quizzical looks, when I bring up the term hamula, which has little to no currency in everyday language. What’s standard is a modernist narrative of the Palestinian family that emphasizes sacrifices made by the first, largely uneducated, generation of Palestinian exiles in order to make education available to their children, and the achievements of the following generations, in Lebanon, in the Middle-East at large, and beyond. With nationalistic undertones, this narrative foregrounds both values of solidarity (al-ta’awun) held as traditional, and the resourcefulness and adaptability of the Palestinian character. It describes education (al-ta’lim) itself as a primary mediator of kin relatedness, and implies a temporality of kinship whereby orientation is given by the generational increment of knowledge, and more generally the understanding that ‘parents will implement convention – ‘socializing their children’ – while children will implement choice – making ‘their own lives’ (after Strathern 1992: 19). True, interlocutors often add to this narrative the important qualification that refugee society, and in particular refugee camps, remain ‘conservative’ (mohafez) or even ‘backward’ (mutakhallif) environments. But the invocation of conservatism does not essentially alter the temporal direction fixed in and by the narrative that describes the Palestinian family as moving away, in a restrained, appropriate fashion, from its traditions: what it conjures up is a frozenness, a constriction of norms, waiting for the release that would come with the accession of the Palestinian people to political sovereignty. I take the widespread presence in refugee households of Valentines – red and white teddy bears, cushions in the shape of hearts, with love messages in English – as similarly indicating desires, pervasive in refugee society, for globalizing forms of domesticity associated with the ‘intimate event’ of love, ‘exfoliating the individual from his or her social skin’ (Povinelli 2006): love (hobb), not tradition, is, or ought to be, what makes families. The gap between the aura of antiquity that my interlocutors attach to signifiers such as hamula and the intensity with which they often inhabit a modernist narrative of the family is intriguing. On the basis of her ethnographic work with families of political activists in the West Bank during the first intifada, the anthropologist Iris Jean-Klein made the provocative case that scholarly perspectives on social transformation in the context of the Palestinian national struggle are often obliquely biased by a form of political teleology. She argues that research on Palestinian gender and relatedness is commonly driven by the researcher’s will to demonstrate ‘that Palestinians [are] certain to be responsible modern political

‘The one still surviving and viable institution’ 169 citizens, and by assumptions about what modern citizens are’. Usually, the operation entails discreetly disconnecting them (for example through the foregrounding of the intifada ‘committee’ as a sovereign, emancipatory field of sociality) from the form of relationality indicated by local concepts of the house, dar and bayt, deemed morally inferior and unfit for grounding the political subjectivity of modern citizens (Jean-Klein 2003: 557–8). Similar assumptions could be shown to inform the activities of local and international actors active in the refugee society in Lebanon. It is, for example, apparent in the iconography of a campaign launched in May 2006 by a coalition of local NGOs to promote the civil rights of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, under the title ‘huquq madaniyyeh wussulan li-haq al-’awda’ (translated as ‘Civil rights in support of the right of return’). The poster advertising the campaign depicts a family standing at the threshold of a road rising straight up to the horizon. This family is not your idea of the hamula, not even of the typical bayt or dar: three members, a young mum, unveiled, wearing a dress that barely covers her knees, a clean-cut dad, and a single child. Again – but this time, in the framework of a democratic, participatory form of political sovereignty – the underlying motif is one of the sovereign state as drawing life from the family, at the same time as the good (but still virtual) state sanctions a certain form of the good family. In interviews I made in the camps and gatherings of Tyre, the endorsement of the modernist narrative of the family outlined above often entails, in a similar fashion, the discursive production of others – e.g. the fellah (peasant) out there in Rashidiyyeh, the ‘ghurani’ up there in Burj al-Shamali,4 the badawi (Bedouin) down there in the gatherings – whose family matters, interviewees presume, do not abide by the same temporality of emancipation and for this reason are barely intelligible, or only in the terms of jahl (such people are ignorant) or zu’ran (they are thugs, scoundrels, rogues). It is frequently the case even when the interview and genealogy of my interlocutor evince precisely the behaviors (frequent cousin marriage, high fertility rates, recurrent upheavals associated with polygamy or divorce and remarriage) that he (and, more rarely, she) will in other respects present as aberrant or antiquated. One gets the sense, then, that a certain lived experience of the family in refugee camps and gatherings cannot simply be claimed or accounted for. It is this sense of unintelligibility that I would like now to interrogate. As I hope to have made clear, I strongly suspect that it has to do with a political teleology of the (good) state and the (good) family, whereby relations are given intelligibility only when embedded in a liberal temporality of emancipation. There is little need to emphasize that, in the current coordinates of Palestinian refugee experience, the relevance of this political teleology is uncertain at best. I propose to turn to a handful of snapshots from the camps and gatherings of Tyre in order to illustrate not only how the uncertain status of Palestinian refugees in law produces such scripts of az’ar (rogue) relatedness, but also as an attempt to capture, ethnographically, individual subtexts that may return the intelligibility and dilemmas of kinship when it is thus experienced in a perpetual state of exception.

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Family trees, rawabit, and teddy bears We’ve hardly been sitting for ten minutes in Abu ‘Ali’s reception room in his house in al-Bass camp when he asks his son to bring what should be of interest to us: a family tree drawn on a large piece of cardboard. It is an artifact he was finally able to complete a few years ago, after a trip to Palestine in 1995 to collect the information he needed on relatives who are still living in Galilee. The common ancestor, six or seven generations away, lies at the bottom, and bears testimony to the rooting of Bayt Hassan in al-Quds.5 A trunk rises from there, and then a forest of splitting branches, including one that, associated with the place of al-’Abassiyyeh in North Galilee, leads to al-Bass refugee camp in Tyre, and a leaf where Abu ‘Ali points to the calligraphy of his own name and those of his male children. We talk at length about the labor involved in producing this stunning piece of work. Then, I explain to Abu ‘Ali that the family tree I would like to make with him is of a different kind: we would start from him, and from there explore his parents and grandparents, siblings, uncles and aunts, cousins and in-laws; that is, where they (men and women) were born, their current whereabouts, their trades and occupations, and the marriages they have contracted. Abu ‘Ali agrees excitedly, and predicts that information collected in this manner will evince the fine character of Bayt Hassan. Indeed the unfolding of the genealogical inquiry reveals a successful refugee family trajectory: a first generation enabled by a small capital and arboricultural skills brought from Palestine, finding a living in South Lebanon renting and developing orange groves; a second generation urged to pursue education opportunities, and able to secure good positions abroad (Saudi Arabia and Lybia) or locally in the social services of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO); a third generation still in the making, but similarly encouraged to pursue promotion through education and the acquisition of skills marketable in the world of today (computer science and medicine). If in the course of the interview Abu ‘Ali consistently emphasizes elements (such as the increase of knowledge from one generation to the other) pertaining to a modernist narrative of the family, he is equally keen, indeed even more so, on making clear for me that this successful story reflects the exceptional level of integration of the family, based on a strict discipline (adab), which he attributes in turn to a shared loyalty to an authentically Palestinian form of family life (taqalid). He explains how Bayt Hassan, which makes up for 500 of the 5,000 inhabitants of al-Bass, holds fiercely to a mraba’a (quarter) of the camp, at the price of considerable sacrifices (he has gotten into debts in order to pay the $30,000 needed to buy a house for his son rather than seeing him leaving the mraba’a). He describes the workings of a rabita (family league; pl. rabwabit) system in Bayt Hassan, which manifests itself for example in the mobilization of extended solidarity networks when one member needs costly medical treatment, or in the tight control exerted over family members tempted by such deviant behaviors as divorce or polygamy. He tells of epic episodes when Bayt Hassan closed ranks in violent times, in the mid-1980s against the Amal militia (‘we made clear we would kill ten Shi’a Lebanese for each

‘The one still surviving and viable institution’ 171 Hassan that would be hurt’), or more recently in a conflict with their archenemy family in the camp. He points out for me, as we review family members, marriage patterns repeated up to this day with another family from the same village in Galilee but settled in a gathering outside the camp, and hints at an old hierarchical order at work here when he lays upon the asymmetry in patterns of weekly visits. Marriages amongst his immediate relatives also evince the power of genealogy for the making of matrimony. His paternal and maternal grandparents were, respectively, awlad khal (MBD marriage) and awlad ‘amm (FBD marriage).6 His mother (aged 77) is bent ‘amma of his father (78) (FZD marriage). Two of his brothers (47 and 36) and one of his sisters (30) are respectively married to two sisters (32 and 30) and a brother (40) who are the children of Abu ‘Ali’s ‘amm and khala (that is, three FBD/MZD marriages). Abu ‘Ali’s daughter (31) is married to his own cousin (32) (FBSD marriage). The list could go on. (See Figure 10.1.) I leave Abu ‘Ali with the impression that, throughout our encounter, he never departed from the possibility for Palestinian kin relations to be told in the grammar of what British anthropologists once called the ‘corporate group’ (e.g. Fortes 1970). An overview of the actual network he describes bears witness to the rhetorical efficacy of a model of relatedness that largely allocates decisions pertaining to the facts of birth, marriage, childrearing and death to (the fiction of) a subject at once collective and sovereign, formed around a principle of descent, and fit for the refugee environment. Yet, if a figure of the patriarch haunts the realm of the family, its first and foremost expression lies in the terms my male interlocutors often impose to our conversation. Sitting on a shelf above Abu ‘Ali, next to a framed picture of Yasser Arafat riding a white horse, a big, white teddy bear stares at me in silence throughout the interview. ‘I love you!’ it proclaims in English, red heart

Figure 10.1 Marriages between relatives in Abu ‘Ali’s family.

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it holds in its hands, and I wonder about the registers in which, today again, the story was not told.

Jamal, Sara, and the vagaries of the law At the age of 44, Jamal has not enjoyed much of the bare conviviality of Palestinian refugee domesticity: until the age of seven, as he was living with his parents and siblings in a camp in the West Bank, and then (1967) in the suburbs of Amman; and since 1999, when he got married and started a family of his own, in Rashidiyyeh camp. In the gap between these two periods, domesticity has meant for him a wide array of arrangements. His mother was killed in 1970 during the assault of Jordanian forces against Palestinian camps. His father left Jordan and placed him in a PLOfunded orphanage in the Lebanese mountains (1970–3). Those were times when PLO-sponsored trips to Lebanon often dispensed with official authorizations to enter the country, so that the father’s decision turned out to be a fateful leap that propelled his seven-year-old son into the existence of an illegal immigrant also barred from returning to Jordan. Jamal’s father removed his son from the orphanage at the age of ten and arranged for him to spend two years with a Christian foster family in Jounieh (1973–6), which he had to leave in turn as Syrian troops made their first move into Lebanon. It was the beginning of a peripatetic existence as feda’i in military barracks, in ‘Ain al-Helwe camp (Saida, 1976–8), Arnun (South Lebanon, 1978–81), the basements of the Cité sportive (Beirut, 1981–2), and, throughout the 1980s, Tunis, the Beqaa Valley, Tripoli, Algeria, Beirut’s Borj al-Barajne camp, ‘Ain al-Helwe again, and finally, in the mid-1990s Rashidiyyeh – not to forget a five-year interval in Syrian jails (1987–91). Jamal got married in Rashidiyyeh in 1999 and, for the first time, took a house of his own. The first, that is, in a series of rented houses: residential instability remains a curse upon Jamal up to this day, as the extremely precarious status of an ID-less refugee results for him in chronic problems with landlords, sympathetic at first but soon tired of waiting for unpaid rents, and the renewed predicament of having to find a place within the confines of the camp. Jamal’s wife Sara is from Rashidiyyeh. At 31, she is the last daughter of the first wife of a polygamous, wandering father – a situation I found to be common amongst former feda’is and ID-less households, as if the dispersed authority of the father upon his progeny made room for the political-military leadership of the camps to intervene more directly into the placement of young women. The marriage she made, indeed, was a fateful leap in its own right. Given the patrilineal bias of both Lebanese refugee identification policies and, until recently, those of UNRWA, she knew, or maybe didn’t, that she would beget children with no existence in the sphere of law. What mattered little in 1976 has virtually become a matter of life and death, or at the very least a matter of what constitutes a life worth living, as the Lebanese state seeks to reassert, however laboriously, its sovereignty over its whole territory. As a matter of fact, Jamal’s last excursion to Tyre (a three-kilometer journey) dates back to 1999, on the day of his wedding. Since then, he has not left the camp, for fear of what would happen to his wife and children if he were to be

‘The one still surviving and viable institution’ 173 apprehended by the Lebanese authorities. In addition to the repeated humiliations of everyday life – access to such necessaries as health services, schools, or housing is continuously contingent on negotiations he enters from the weaker side – he and Sara bear the psychic and practical burden of imagining the future of their two girls and one boy (aged six, five, and three) in a world they entered deprived of any legal status. Jamal’s situation, specific in some regards but not uncommon in the camps of Southern Lebanon, displays in a peculiarly clear fashion the vulnerability of refugee families to the vagaries over time of barely readable legal environments. A most recent development at the time of our meeting (December 2006) illustrates again, and poignantly, the point, as well as the agency and reach of sovereign decisions that redistribute who falls within and without the boundaries of the law. In the wake of the embargo on the Palestinian Authority that the United States and the European Union decreed after Hamas’ victory in democratic parliamentary elections, the meager monthly allocation that Jamal was getting through Fatah from the PLO was discontinued. Finding it mortifying after a few months to contract debt upon debt, Sara decided to sell her marriage gold in order to reimburse the money she owed to neighborhood shopkeepers she has known forever and who, she says, are not doing that well either after all.

A great, unknown actress To visitors like relatives settled faraway (Aleppo, Miami) but drawn back to Tyre, at least in part, by the charisma of this most likeable figure, Emm Nasser likes to offer the face of a 67-year-old woman blessed with a joyful, close-knit family. She walks people around and emphasizes that all her four sons are not only married but still living, with wives and offspring, in the dar – one next door, one upstairs, and two on the other side of the alleyway – in a small gathering of refugees (originating in the lower classes of Haifa) that lies on one side of al-Bass. Two of her sons are married to the two daughters of her own sister living in Aleppo (MBD marriages). Her only daughter who left the dar did not go too far: she is married in the camp across the main road. In such circumstances, Emm Nasser does not fail to make explicit that what the visitor sees and what she’s been blessed with is the merry implementation of a Palestinian script of dar relatedness. The reference to Palestine, made in relation to a certain form of sociality, pertains here to selffashioning rather than a knowledge that the subject would enact while not being in its full possession. A number of times, I have seen Emm Nasser rushing to the house in order to put on her black, embroidered Palestinian dress so as to meet visitors in the proper outfit. And my own, temporary integration in the dar has been made in good part through dishes she brings to my house saying ‘nestlings don’t thank the mother-bird when she brings them food’ and ‘hada akl falastini falastini falastini, hada folklore’.7 However, Emm Nasser has slowly taught me, in bits of conversation, fragmentary allusions, oblique hints, to recognize under this congenial facade the signs of a tenacious melancholia, an undying grief whose extent I fully realized when

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I first saw her staying solemnly at home as, in the first hours of al-’id, the rest of the family was taking a trip up the hill to visit family graves. As for many women of her generation, this melancholia has to do, no doubt, with the hardly speakable memories of war(s) – 1982, in particular, the Israeli invasion, at which time her house was flattened, her husband imprisoned, and the pick-up truck in which her children were fleeing the South hit by Israeli shelling, leaving one of them between life and death for months, and ‘nervous’ (m’asseb) since then; and then again 1986, the War of the Camps, when two of her daughters suffered a violent assault at the hands of Lebanese neighbors, from which they never psychically recovered. But I also learnt to associate this grief with private experiences that set her apart in the family, and a sense that youth was stolen from her by bereavement and the circumstances in which she was made to enter matrimony at a very early age. Born in Haifa in the early 1940s, Emm Nasser was six years old when she became an orphan. Her father, a sailor in the British Navy, disappeared in the 1948 war. Her mother died of grief a couple of years after that. Emm Nasser and her two sisters grew up between the houses of various relatives in Palestine, before being placed in an orphanage in al-Quds. When she was 13, her grandmother took her for a visit to relatives in Tyre. She died as they were staying in al-Bass camp; Emm Nasser was married to ibn ‘ammha (FBS), the future Abu Nasser, and she’s remained in Tyre since then. This marriage between cousins was nothing like what fellahin do in places like Rashidiyyeh, her sons are anxious to emphasize: there was hobb, love. Still, I suspect that the fate of three, unmarried orphan daughters was a concern for the family at large, and one for which solutions had to be found without delay. I also wonder at times if what Emm Nasser silently grieves is not, as well, a vocation impeded by the hardships of her coming of age, and more generally the place allocated to her by this Palestinian script of domesticity she so ardently vindicates. An unexpected effect of her vagrant early years was the opportunity she got in al-Quds to appear on stages in theater projects organized by the orphanage, and the deep fondness for acting that these experiences fostered. She named her three daughters after famous Arab actresses of the 1950s and early 1960s. In the 1970s, she was able to turn up on theater stages again in cultural projects sponsored by leftist Palestinian organizations. In the 1990s, she even got small engagements in a couple of Iranian and Egyptian motion pictures shot in Southern Lebanon. Neighborhood kids knows her for one you can count on if you need an elderly woman for a part in a video project organized by one of the camp’s cultural centers. Besides, she and her husband and offspring certainly have a talent to turn everyday life into a masrahiyyah, a (mostly comical) theater play, but that’s another story. We see with Emm Nasser how seemingly similar family configurations – her family tree (see Figure 10.2) would not, overall, look very different from that of Abu ‘Ali mentioned above – and indeed the compulsory use of similar normative registers to speak of the family, may in fact indicate very different courses for the same set of historical events (exodus and exile) to fold into relationships. Thus, within the genealogical grid, that provides possibilities and even mandates for the making of relationships, there may take place subjective formations that confound this grid.

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Figure 10.2 Marriages between relatives in Emm Nasser’s family.

Bachelors’ corniche It’s July 2007. I meet Sma’in, 20, on the northern corniche of Tyre, which is buzzing with people in the early hours of this hot summer night. We have a little chat. He tells me that his sister Taghrid, who migrated to Germany a few years ago when getting married to ibn khalitha (MZS), is here on a visit (see Figure 10.3). I am glad to hear that, I tell him. When I conducted a long interview with his mother Fatmeh more than a year ago, she had described to me in detail how contact between herself and her daughter had been cut following a complicated dispute in the elders’ generation about the allocation of a shelter in Jal al-Bahr, the Palestinian Bedouin gathering where she lives at the northern periphery of Tyre. And not only had contact with her daughter been cut, but with her son Hasan as well, who also lives in Germany: Taghrid and Hasan are married respectively to the son and daughter of Fatmeh’s sister – on paper, a case of badal, ‘exchange’ marriage, although it is also a word that has all but disappeared from everyday language – and the elders’ dispute had spread at a distance along family lines. So, I am glad to hear that things are getting better, I tell Sma’in, because the pain of his mother was palpable when I met her a year before. He appreciates my concerns, tells me he is going to transmit my salutations, and that I should stop by anyway, to check out the laptop computer he recently acquired and that he is working on connecting to the internet directly from their tiny tin-roof house on the beach. And, after a silence, he asks me, again, only half-jokingly, if really I would not know of a French girl he could marry in order to enter Europe. ‘Even if she’s forty’, he specifies, in a burst of laughter. On those animated summer evenings, this section of the northern corniche of Tyre looks very much like a corniche des célibataires (bachelors’ corniche) – a scene, like that of the ball conjured up by Bourdieu in 1950s Béarn, where the social misery of structural outcasts is cruelly exposed (2002). Shabab (young men) from Jal al-Bahr sit on the fence and watch girls passing by in small bands, while couples

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Figure 10.3 Cousin marriages in Sma’in’s generation.

and families, including during the summer a significant number of emigrants who came back for vacation, sit around plastic tables and enjoy a cup of tea or a nargileh. Laughter, shouts, and teasing fill the air, but also envy and frustration. Because of strictly enforced rules on construction work in Jal al-Bahr, which lies on a section of the Lebanese coastline coveted by tourism investors, shabab consider it unrealistic to start a household of their own in the gathering, whose cramped space is already reaching a point of saturation. At the same time, their position in the labor market and Lebanon’s refugee laws make it hardly conceivable for them to get a house in a camp or in one of the new construction projects developing at the periphery of Tyre. In such circumstances, emigration to Germany has taken on among shabab the character of an obsession, as the only thinkable, desirable, route away from the future that Jal al-Bahr offers in the form of a dead end. And due to the longestablished (1980s) presence of a large community from the gathering in Germany, marrying a cousin has also become a pass to escape, through matrimony, the biopolitics of the refugee regime: thus for Sma’in’s friend and neighbor Muhammad who, without warning, celebrated two weeks ago his engagement with bint ‘ammo (FBD), also here on a summer visit from Germany. For those, like Sma’in, not in a position to claim a cousin for wife, there remains the life-and-death gamble of illegal emigration, and fantasies of a romantic, or internet-negotiated, encounter with a European woman. I have had numerous such little chats over two years with shabab from Jal alBahr. The imaginary of (being denied and recovering) citizenship looms large in the nuptial fantasies that these young people exchange on the corniche of Tyre. But the suggestion that they simply seek to use marriage in order to recover rights they have been denied by virtue of being born refugees, while pertinent, seems to me to be rather incomplete, especially in regard to the moral dilemmas with which their elders apprehend the new generation’s fantasies. The youths, for their part, consider for very good reasons that playing the marriage game in Jal al-Bahr is pointless since it cannot lead up to the result on which it is premised, the collective creation of hurmat al-bayt, a private realm. This sense of inhuman impossibility drives some of them to evolve an alternative ethics of marriage, foregrounding the imaginary of emigration and the plenitude associated with acquiring a recognized citizenship, over the procedures of al-ma’rifah, familiarity based on long-lasting

‘The one still surviving and viable institution’ 177 inter-knowledge, that have long authorized the making of intimate worlds in Jal alBahr. Some of their elders encourage and support these young people – not without discomfort or even distress – in their pursuit of a form of marriage validated not by al-ma’rifah, but by the escape it permits from the biopolitics of the refugee regime. For others, the foregoing of al-ma’rifah in the making of intimacy indicates little more than a frightful blindness to oneself and to the world. Such moral dilemmas as to what validates marriage and the reality of its bonding impregnate relationships with a pain that should not be underestimated. In the process of writing this chapter, I decided that I should pay a visit to Fatmeh to ask her how exactly the complex networks of alliances – a brother and a sister married to a sister and a brother, who are also their matrilateral parallel cousins – came into being. I had assumed until then that Fatmeh and her sister in Germany had more or less arranged the matter, and indeed it is how the common friend who had first introduced me to her more than one year before had described it to me. However, the story Fatmeh had to tell was different, and it is a story she told me with tears in her eyes. in In Jal al-Bahr five years previously, Taghrid received a visit from her cousin, whom she hardly knew since he had been living in Germany for the last two decades. At the second visit he asked for her hand in marriage. Fatmeh, whose relations with her own sister are fraught with ambivalence, strongly advised Taghrid against it. But I love the guy, said Taghrid. No, you do not, answered Fatmeh: what you are enamored with is the idea of emigration. Taghrid said that she was free, and the marriage was concluded. An overall similar story happened again a couple of years later with Hasan. Now, it turns out that Taghrid is caught in Berlin in a very unhappy marriage: Fatmeh speaks of her husband’s unemployment, of domestic violence, of a recent escape to a shelter for battered women. During her visit last summer, at the time I met Sma’in on the corniche, Taghrid said she wanted to stay in Lebanon and get a divorce. You’d rather die in Germany, said Fatmeh, than come back to this God-forsaken country. Taghrid went back to Germany.8

Conclusion: fleshing out the ‘state of exception’ Such vignettes illustrate, in their very patchiness, that there is no single way in which the family constitutes ‘the one still surviving and viable institution’ for Palestinian refugees in the camps and gatherings of Tyre. They support indeed the claim that, in these spaces, kinship ties anchor everyday survival by providing generative charts for thick material arrangements that frequently combine joint or fluid ownership, cousin marriages and diasporic networks. But they show, too, that such arrangements translate into a wide variety of familyscapes, configurations, and experiences. And they make apparent that family members can be, and frequently are, quite vulnerable to each other in these processes. In other terms, while my Palestinian interlocutors in Tyre would agree that the family constitutes for them ‘the only still surviving and viable institution’, it should not be taken to mean that they embrace a stable, autonomous order of traditions and clear-cut injunctions associated with a transparent notion of the good Arab family. Rather, the subject and predicates of this claim – ‘the family’, ‘survival’, and ‘viability’ – constitute, in actual refugee

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worlds, moving targets: powerful signifiers whose referents are often uncertain, plural at any rate, and pervaded with complicated affects. This simple observation allows one to flesh out, and to query perhaps, the alluring claim that the inhabitants of refugee camps live in a perpetual ‘state of exception’ (after Agamben 1998). While defendable in the register of law, this claim becomes deeply problematic, I believe, when it extends to describing refugee experience and subjectivity in terms of ‘bare life’, a Hobbesian world hanging only by the threads of basic biological dependencies and unbounded patriarchal authority. The snapshots gathered here illustrate the multiple idioms, verbal and non-verbal, that refugees deploy in the process of embodying far-reaching obligations towards relatives. In doing so, they also evince specific modalities of, and concerted efforts for, constituting the self as an ethical subject of one’s conduct towards relatives – even where the carrying on of moral codes seems to hinge on dependencies incurred in the struggle for survival. This labor of self-making in the deep recesses of intimate relationships is, I believe, central for understanding the morality of everyday life and the fabric of the future in a community whose political existence, and place in the world, otherwise remains in indefinite abeyance.

Acknowledgments Funding for fieldwork in Tyre was provided by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, the National Science Foundation, and the Social Science Research Council. I am also grateful to Veena Das, Aaron Goodfellow, and Pamela Reynolds for comments and suggestions on a previous version of this chapter (its shortcomings are mine). My gratitude towards the inhabitants of Nahr al-Samir, Jal al-Bahr, al-Bass, Rashidiyyeh, and Burj al-Shamali, who generously offered me their hospitality and their friendship, knows no limits.

Notes 1 http://www.inash.org (accessed September 5, 2008). 2 The patrilineal character of the hamula has been questioned in more recent works, and the hamula redefined as a ‘corporate patronymic group that was not genealogically integrated’ but in which membership ‘was expressed in a patrilineal idiom’ (Atran 1986: 281). 3 To be fair, Rosenfeld’s later analyses in particular (e.g. 1968, 1976), like more recent historical works (Miller 1985; Swedenburg 2003) give more attention to the role of the state (British, and then Israeli) in ‘shoring up’, through the promotion of the heads of hamulas, ‘a lineage power system that manipulates and maintains factions based on the use of women whose daily and marital fates are under the control of fathers, uncles and brothers just for this purpose’ (Rosenfeld 1968). 4 That is refugees originating from the villages of Sahel al-Hula (e.g. al-Zuq, al-Na’me, al-Khalsa), a large, swampy plain in north-east Palestine. This origin is often ethnicized in the discourse of other refugees, and the term ‘ghawarni’ endowed with derogatory connotations. Camp residents attribute to ‘al-ghawarni’ such negative features as a distinct, non-Palestinian geographic origin (often located in Africa), distinct racial features (darker skin), and despicable moral traits detectable for example in their alleged keenness to let women work, ‘bil-buyut’, as housemaids. It is very likely that the specificities of

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5 6 7 8

the environment of Sahel al-Hula entailed modes of production and of social organization that set its inhabitants apart from the fellahin and city-dwellers of northern Galilee. I have changed all names of persons and several names of the localities. M: mother; B: brother; D: daughter; S: son; Z: sister; F: father. For example, ‘MBD marriage’ means marriage of a male individual with his mother’s brother’s daughter. ‘This is Palestinian, Palestinian, Palestinian food, this is folklore.’ I have developed elsewhere a more sustained exploration of this case (in French), see Perdigon (2008).

11 ‘A world of movement’ Memory and reality for Palestinian women in the camps of Lebanon Maria Holt

Introduction In 2007, Um Saleh commemorated her sixtieth year in exile. Now 75 years old, she was born in Lydda, now the site of Israel’s main airport. She remembers that it had lemons, olives, figs and gooseberries. It also had schools and hospitals although, she said, girls did not usually attend school. She stayed at home with her family and did not learn to read or write. Um Saleh left Palestine when she was 14 years old, without her parents; they went to Jordan and she never saw them again. She was married in Lebanon and gave birth to five sons and five daughters. The family lived in Tell al-Zaatar refugee camp in Beirut; in 1976, her husband and three of her sons were killed during the siege and massacre that destroyed the camp. She moved to Damour, then Raouche in Beirut and in 1986, after the camp wars, she moved to the Gaza Building, a former hospital located in Sabra, an impoverished neighbourhood of Lebanese and Palestinians, situated next to the Palestinian Shatila refugee camp in Beirut. The marking of 60 years of Palestinian exile was accompanied by mourning and sorrow, especially in Lebanon where refugees expressed anger that their claims for justice and dignity have still not been addressed and that violence against them continues. In May 2007, battles between the Lebanese army and Islamist militants inside the Nahr el-Bared refugee camp near Tripoli caused approximately 32,000 Palestinian refugees to flee from their homes in panic. By July, the camp had been almost entirely destroyed and its inhabitants’ futures had become uncertain. This incident reinforced for Palestinians the lack of safety that has characterized their stay in Lebanon since 1948 and was highlighted by Um Saleh’s narrative. On this occasion, as on many previous ones, the refugees realized they can have no sense of permanent belonging or entitlement in Lebanon. Instead, the fate of present-day refugees, like that of Um Saleh before them, is typical of those forced to flee their homes and eke out an existence in an alien environment. Um Saleh remarked that she still feels like a stranger in Lebanon. Palestinian refugees ‘very commonly recall at least one incident where they were insulted . . . on the mere grounds of being a refugee’ (al-Hout 2004: 23). The Lebanese government too, through discriminatory practices, has made clear over the years its wish to be rid of the ‘Palestinian refugee problem’.

‘A world of movement’ 181 Um Saleh’s story, and the bleak fact that, after 60 years, the refugee crisis has still not been resolved, raises the question of identity and, in particular, how the identity of Palestinians in Lebanon has been shaped by violence, insecurity and lack of hope. How can a woman such as Um Saleh, whose grieving loss of homeland and family members has caused profound sadness, reclaim an identity frozen in time and space? In seeking to answer this question, I will analyse the problematic of how the reality of homelessness and contested notions of diaspora circumscribe the lives of refugee women. I will do this, first, by discussing gender identity and the particular practices, experiences and processes of change that inform refugee women’s lives; second, although the notion of a national, shared identity exerts a powerful influence on all Palestinians, one could argue that it has been badly damaged in recent years; finally, I will explore arguments about geographic identity, in terms of the ‘world of movement’ (Rapport and Dawson 1998: 4), that the refugees supposedly inhabit. By focusing on the ‘several overlapping senses of identity . . . involved in the process of how Palestinians have come to define themselves as a people’ (Khalidi 1997: 6), I will argue that the refugees are trapped in a conflict between, on the one hand, pride in themselves as a national entity that has survived numerous attempts to obliterate it. and, on the other hand, a constant sense of being unwelcome. I will also argue that it is unrealistic and unjust to expect them to solve this 60-year-old political crisis by themselves.

Methodology The chapter is based on fieldwork I carried out in some of the Lebanese refugee camps in 2006–7.1 The objective of my research was to evaluate Palestinian refugee women’s identity in Lebanon today by examining a series of factors: a knowledge and memory of where Palestinians come from; their history in Lebanon; the violence to which they have subjected; the changes that have taken place in women’s lives, changes that have occurred in the wider world and have an effect on the refugees; women’s relationships with the places where they live; and their hopes and imaginings for the future. My research uncovered a wealth of details about life in Palestine before 1948, the terrifying flight into exile and the early bewildering and bitter years in Lebanon. It explored the wide range of experiences, both positive and negative, that women have had in their own lives and it invited women to comment on sources of strength or empowerment, such as education, family life and religion, and also the particular difficulties they have faced. By highlighting the memories and experiences of refugee women, this chapter will consider how Palestinians live in the world today: they are a nation in exile, waiting to return to their homeland; a diasporic community scattered among the four corners of the globe; a victimized population seeking justice for grievances suffered over 60 years; a resistance movement. How, I will ask, do these multiple ‘identities’ affect the ways in which women behave and frame their stories? How are women using the attributes of identity to influence their future? The notion of ‘refugee women’ as a homogenized group raises a number of complex methodological issues. Listening to Um Saleh’s story was a humbling

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experience and made me question my own positionality as a western researcher and activist. I agree with Mohanty (2003) that we need to deconstruct terms such as ‘power relations’, ‘oppression’ and ‘resistance’ in order to shed light on the unique stories and overlapping experiences of individual ‘refugee women’. Rather than thinking about revolutionary struggles as ‘possessing power versus being powerless’ and women as ‘powerless, unified groups’, we need to examine ways in which ‘third-world women’ are ‘constituted as women through . . . kinship, legal and other structures’ (Mohanty 2003: 66–7). Post-colonial feminist theory has encouraged western feminists ‘to think about who they are speaking for when they speak of “woman” or “women”’ (Mills 1998: 99). Spivak argues that, if ‘the subaltern has no history, and cannot speak, the subaltern as female is even more deeply in shadow’ (Spivak 1993: 83), and therefore the western feminist theorist must ‘unlearn female privilege’ (Spivak 1993: 91) in order to re-think her own position ‘in relation to the subaltern’ (Mills 1998: 107). Thus, it is simplistic to view ‘Palestinian refugee women in Lebanon’ as a ‘powerless, unified group’. Instead, I must acknowledge my own position as an outsider and assess my claim to ‘speak for’ Palestinian women. The sole ground on which this is acceptable is as an act of solidarity in support of a group, Palestinian refugees, that has not been able to make its voice heard. While one can generalize to some extent about the refugees’ shared experiences of harshness and injustice, it is often more instructive to focus on the particular stories of individuals. Palestinian women regard themselves as rational subjects who are aware that, by talking about their own life experiences to outsiders, they are accessing a channel through which to ‘tell the world’ about the injustice done to Palestinians (see Sayigh 2002: 321). Living as they do on the margins, Palestinian refugees have ‘developed a particular way of seeing reality’ (hooks 1990: 341) and it is not the task of the western researcher to twist that reality to ‘prove’ her own arguments.

Meanings of identity and memory Wollen (1994: 189) suggests that ‘there are two types of identity: one for those who stay at home, and another for those who move around’. I would argue that there should also be a third category of those who move around unwillingly. Palestinians cannot forget that they were expelled from their homeland in 1948; they are equally insistent on their right of return. As Nadia, the head of a women’s organization working in Ain el-Hilwe camp, said, ‘the Palestinian identity is of primary importance. From birth, young people are taught that they are Palestinian and that Lebanon is not their country’. Peteet likewise argues that Palestinian identities are embedded in three sets of phenomena: First, the refugees were from Palestine and nowhere else. Violent displacement followed by the vigorous denial of a Palestinian national identity launched the objectification of their identities . . . The second set was constituted by the social and cultural crafting of place in the camps. Third, the militant

‘A world of movement’ 183 anticolonial political activities that unfolded in these places were productive of identities. (Peteet 2005: 99–100) This raises the question of how memory and identity buttress each other. Identity, in the words of Petersen and Rutherford (1995: 142), ‘is part of an infinite movement’. For Palestinian refugees, it is also a way of articulating memory and I would argue that notions of ‘infinite movement’ fail to address the core and real life experiences of Palestinians in exile. How then do perceptions of ‘identity’ vary between men and women? In the scholarship on memory, as Chedgzoy notes, ‘masculinity is rarely subjected to critical analysis’. Yet, she adds, ‘because memory is crucial to understanding oneself as a social subject, gender is inevitably at the heart of its workings’ (2007: 216). My work with Palestinian camp women supports this argument. For many women, work outside the home has become an economic necessity and yet some experience resistance from their husbands. Salwa in Rashidiyyeh camp, for example, told me how she had obtained a loan to open a dress shop but she had to get her husband’s permission to go ahead. She stressed the psychological aspect; her husband was satisfied because she was making a much-needed financial contribution and this created a positive atmosphere in their home. Minh-ha (1994: 15) argues that the consensus in patriarchal societies is that ‘streets and public places belong to men’ and this is why some of the women I met spoke of being constrained by their husband’s authority. Cockburn (1998: 11) has written about ‘coercive identities’ that ‘hold us hostage’. Whose ‘identity’, therefore, are we speaking about? For Palestinians as a national collectivity, identity is associated with homelessness and injustice, but also with struggle. While women and men share these fundamental facets of national identity, there is also an element of dissent. Many women remarked that they see politics as being male-dominated and ‘useless’; political leaders have failed to recover even an inch of Palestinian soil or to improve the living conditions of refugee communities. They have also appropriated the narrative of Palestine. How memory works, suggests Reading (2007: 220) – ‘who looks back, who has the authority to look back, who is believed when they look back, who is remembered as witnesses by those with authority, who is threatened with being forgotten – is complex’. It is also highly significant when attempting to retrieve and locate the lived experiences of women driven from their homeland. Sangster (1998: 87) is correct when she suggests that traditional sources ‘have often neglected the lives of women’ and this has sometimes resulted in assumptions about a woman’s role and a tendency to disregard women’s voices as authoritative historytellers. Sayigh (2007: 138) has written about the exclusion of women’s narratives from Palestinian national history, which, she argues, is ‘defined as knowledge of events, from which experience, especially women’s experience, is rigorously excluded’.

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Gender identity Jamila, a 35-year-old mother of four children in Rashidiyyeh camp criticized the popular committee that runs the camp. There was no electricity in the camp for ten days, she said, the wires were cut and only generators were working. She added: ‘The popular committee does not play a role to improve the daily living conditions of the camp; they only take care of themselves.’ Her words of criticism were echoed by Siham, a young woman in Bourj el-Barajneh camp, who remarked that she is not interested in politics; the leaders of the political parties are not doing anything good and she does not want to get involved. There are not many women involved in politics, she said, their priority is marriage and children. A number of women I met were similarly negative. A human rights worker in Beirut pointed out that, although the majority of those who participate in demonstrations are women, everyone notices that women are absent from, for example, popular committees and, therefore, people see the importance of training programmes for women: ‘women need skills and self-confidence; it is necessary to encourage women to participate’. According to the Hamas representative in Lebanon, Osama Hamdan, women have an important role in Palestinian society; they are responsible for their families and ‘this can be very tough’. The words he uses here both confirm women’s traditional place within the family and highlight the hardships they endure that cannot be described as ‘traditional’, such as the Israeli occupation and the violence of living as refugees in Lebanon. The role of protector of their families, which Hamdan ascribes to women, encompasses a wide range of activities and has permitted women to move well beyond the purely domestic sphere and assume an identity of ‘resisters’. Their experiences suggest we need to find ‘a language of identity which allows for difference and diversity’ (Kandiyoti 1993: 388). When a girl is growing up in a refugee camp in Lebanon, she receives formal and informal indications of her identity. At youth clubs and school, she learns about Palestinian history and geography. She is taught about Palestinian customs and traditions, such as songs, dances and food. From parents and grandparents, she hears about her own village in Palestine and quickly understands the centrality of return. Older people tell her about the injustice of being uprooted and forced from their country but they also tell of the ways in which Palestinians have resisted. An important period in the lives of many refugee women in Lebanon was between 1969 and 1982, when the Palestinian revolution flowered and ‘the call to mass armed struggle encouraged women’s full participation in the Resistance movement’ (Sayigh 2002: 319). Their recollections embrace a wide range of activities, from re-building and protecting the camps in the absence of men to fighting alongside men in the PLO and recruiting other women to the cause (see Peteet 1991). During this period, suggests Sayigh (2002: 320), ‘gender norms became an arena of conflict as women struggled with their families to join the Resistance or marry men of their own choice’. At the same time, as she grows up, the young woman learns what it means to be female in a traditional society and the restrictions that this tends to impose. Um Saleh, living in Palestine in the 1940s, was unschooled and this was regarded by the

‘A world of movement’ 185 majority of Palestinians at that time as normal, but today most girls take advantage of educational opportunities, including university degrees, and women’s contributions, as paid workers, have become increasingly important to the welfare of families. I was interested to hear more about the conflict between rising expectations and notions of a ‘woman’s place’ which spring, on the one hand, from traditional practices and, on the other, from the disadvantaged status of Palestinians in Lebanon. How do women make sense of these contradictions? Chatty and Hundt (2005: 178) argue that, for girls, ‘movement within the family and in the community is circumscribed . . . Girls tend to be burdened with household chores.’ Um Khalid, a mother of two teenage children in Bourj el-Barajneh camp, elaborated on this view; she told me that ‘there is discrimination against women; women are always criticized, and there is different treatment of boys and girls’. But, she added, ‘we are trying to change this; now women have a better role’. Aziza, a 44-year-old midwife in the same camp agreed that ‘now women are more liberated; they are more educated; they work in hospitals, schools and other places; it is not like the old generation’. Their assessment of improvements in women’s lives was supported by Hanan, aged 23 and working for a non-governmental organization in the camp, who confirmed that ‘today’s young women are completely different from the older generation. When the people came from Palestine, women were confined to the home and domestic activities. Now women are stronger than before; men are changing too; attitudes are changing’. But Zahra, an 18-year-old student, disagreed: ‘Girls do not have their freedom’, she said. ‘There is discrimination against girls; this is traditional. They are controlled by their parents and then, after marriage, the husband controls the woman.’ Other women spoke positively of the protection given to women by religion. Um Walid, a 45-year-old mother of seven children said that Islam gives a woman all her rights but the problem is that people follow tradition rather than Islamic principles. Her understanding echoed Zahra’s frustration with traditional modes of behaviour. Speaking from her own experience, Um Muhammad, a 67-year-old widow observed that a woman has many rights; if she is married, her husband is obliged to treat her well; he should not beat her, he should support and respect her, he should help her raise the children and should defend her. Beyond the practical difficulties of being female in a relatively conservative and claustrophobic environment, women must contend with certain mythologizing elements. Slyomovics speaks of the equation of ‘wife’ and ‘house’; the image of a woman, she suggests, ‘frequently a peasant woman, comes to embody the lost Palestinian Arab house’ (1998: 199). This embodiment continues to affect women’s self-image and emerged frequently in women’s narratives as they referred to the traditions of the past, such as dress, marriage customs and food. But this portrayal of the nation-as-woman, as others have observed, ‘depends for its representational efficacy on a particular image of woman as chaste, dutiful, daughterly or maternal’ (Parker et al. 1992: 6), and one could argue that it places great burdens on refugee women who are themselves caught between ‘being’ and ‘belonging’. There is a tension between Um Muhammad’s account of how a husband should behave and Salwa’s experiences with her own husband whose approval had to be sought before the financial enterprise of opening a dress shop could go ahead.

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The woman’s identity is also rooted in familial responsibility. The majority of the camp women, as Osama Hamdan observed, see their primary role as mothers, homemakers and protectors of their children. For example, Um Rashid, a mother of five, recalled the difficult times she experienced during the six-month siege by the Lebanese Amal militia in the mid-1980s; their children were starving, she said, so the women had to leave home to find food and then some of them were wounded by snipers. During the civil war, she added, ‘women had a big role in society’. However, the difficult conditions of the camps now make the traditional role of protector difficult. Parents are concerned ‘by growing frustration and anger in the camp – they listed problems such as lack of work and higher educational opportunities, congested space, social deviance, demoralisation and poverty – especially insufficient educational and recreational services available to children and youth’ (Serhan and Tabari 2005: 38). Khadija, who runs a women’s organization in Bourj el-Barajneh camp, observed that violence within the camp is increasing; as people live in small houses, there is nowhere for the children to play and therefore they grow frustrated; children are becoming more violent towards each other and sometimes take out their anger on their mothers. In addition, Sayigh suggests that ‘exile intensified some aspects of gender ideology, for example, the surveillance of young women and violence against those who deviated from assigned gender roles’ (2002: 319). Women’s identity as mothers also contains mixed messages. While on the one hand, as I have discussed, they feel a strong obligation to protect their children, women are also celebrated in Palestinian society as the ‘mothers of martyrs’ and the ones who give birth to more ‘children for the revolution’; these roles have associations with death and sacrifice. During conversations with women in the camps, I observed that, for most, the predominant instinct is to love and care for their children. Many expressed anguish at the recollection of sons and daughters killed during the conflict. Um Saleh, for example, lost three of her five sons in the massacre of the Tell al-Zaatar refugee camp in 1976 and she continues, she said, to live ‘in a sad situation’. There is also, for some, a sense that the sacrifice of their children may have been in vain. They expressed anger that, while they have played their part in producing children to continue the Palestinian struggle, their political leadership has been unable to deliver a satisfactory resolution of the conflict or even to provide hope.

National identity Bowman argues that ‘much of the initial process of constructing a sense of one’s identity lies in the activity of rejecting the appropriateness of definitions others attempt to impose’ (1993: 75). Swedenburg, too, speaks of Palestinians attempting ‘to construct an “authentic” identity for themselves’ (1991: 153–4). Identity is located in membership of a community and of a national entity. It is also linked to some notion of ‘place’ and, as such, it may have different implications for men and women. One could argue that women and men experience ‘place’ in different ways, that their relationships with places vary. Camp women’s recollections tended to focus

‘A world of movement’ 187 on home, the rituals and familiarity of everyday life, what Slyomovics refers to as ‘gendering memory of place’ (1998: xx). Although, for ‘many people, displaced and exiled from their homelands, places have long since ceased to provide straightforward support to their identity’ (Carter et al. 1993: vii), the place where a woman raises her children, still remains central to her sense of self. There are two aspects to consider here: first, the practical necessity of creating a tolerable environment in which to enact family life; and second, a broader, more abstract notion of community: although the Palestinians are rootless and adrift in ‘a world of movement’, they possess a strong shared feeling of belonging to one nation, which will one day be translated into a real home of their own. According to Layla, a 38-year-old married woman in Bourj el-Barajneh camp, wherever they are, Palestinians belong to one identity; they are Palestinian. Many others echoed this sentiment. The nakba of 1948 shattered the physical community of Palestinians. This event was of such profound significance that it continues to inform Palestinians’ identification with place in the present period. My research revealed a wealth of information about how women coped with the catastrophic move from Palestine. In their stories, women included many small details of everyday life. For example, Um Iyad, a 77-year-old woman who was born and married in Kabri, northern Palestine recalled that one night there was a wedding, they were dancing dabkeh; a man came and told them that massacres were being committed against Palestinian villages. He said that the Jews were coming, so they stopped dancing to prepare themselves. ‘The Jews had military equipment’, she said, ‘while the Palestinians had nothing’. Um Hisham described how her family were driven out of their village; they left at night, running and walking for 24 hours until they reached the town of Bint Jbeil in southern Lebanon. These stories, I think, exemplify some of the ways that women ‘remember the past in different ways in comparison with men’ (Sangster 1998: 89). Beyond the suffering implicit in the women’s stories, an extraordinary resilience emerges. Although some women found their memories too painful to recount, most were willing to re-live the journeys they have made, in a ‘gendering of the past’ that encapsulated laughter and sometimes tears. However, despite claims of a ‘levelling of status and identities in the refugee camps’ (Peteet 1995: 168), there are significant differences between Palestinian communities. Um Saleh in Sabra, who had recently visited her daughter in Jordan, pointed out that, in Jordan, Palestinians are treated better than they are in Lebanon; they are given Jordanian nationality, allowed to own their own houses and receive treatment in the hospitals. Um Selim in the same building agreed that, outside Lebanon, Palestinians are much better off; they live ‘like kings and queens’, she said. Even within Lebanon, individuals remark on differences between the camps and the inhabitants’ ways of behaving. For example, some of the women displaced to Beirut from the Nahr el-Bared camp in 2007 spoke about feeling ‘different’ from people in Bourj el-Barajneh. Rasha a 34-year-old woman, who had lived in Nahr el-Bared since 1986, remarked that she and her family ‘feel shocked’ by the way people behave and dress in Bourj el-Barajneh; she feels, she said, ‘like a stranger. It is completely different from life in Nahr el-Bared where people still follow village ideas; they are not modern and do not accept new customs’.

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For the refugees, all that remains of pre-1948 Palestine is ‘a country woven from memories, from songs, from stories of elders, from pictures, from old coins and stamps, from dreams that refuse to come to terms with an unfair reality’ (Kanafani 1995: 40). My own research delved into the period of the nakba in terms of women’s memories of places and local customs. Most of the elderly women I interviewed remembered village life in Palestine as a simpler, more trusting time. For example, Um Wissam, a woman who left Palestine when she was a child said that people had good hearts, they cared about each other; neighbours helped each other. Um Daoud, aged 73 and born in Acre, said that it was ‘like living in heaven’, a wonderful life. One could argue, of course, that these references to a ‘golden age’ are unrealistically rosy, but that would be to miss the essence of what these refugee women are actually saying. They are making an important comparison between an authentic life in a place where one belongs and feels ‘at home’ and a life of artifice and discomfort in an alien and inhospitable environment. It is not that women’s memories are inaccurate but rather they are a way of expressing a feeling of strong contrasts. They are also, as I said before, a method of articulating communal claims for justice. Peteet argues that ‘[r]esistance to exile . . . and resistance to the legal designation “refugees” are central motifs of Palestinian exile culture’ (1995: 171) and this awareness of their status as ‘refugees’ and the resistance it engenders came across to me strongly during conversations with women of all ages. Khadija in Ain elHilwe camp said that it is not enough for Palestinians to remember their country; when a person feels he is a refugee, he has no dignity; thus Palestinians feel different from others because they are refugees. The sense of despair and humiliation at their status as ‘refugees’ was repeated to me over and over again. Um Tariq, a 52-year-old woman with six children, for example, declared that being a refugee means that ‘something is missing’, and Um Hisham, who was born in Palestine and is now in her seventies, said she has a hatred of the word ‘refugee’. In the future, she believes their land will be liberated and they can return; then they will no longer be called ‘refugees’. There is a tension between a victimized or disempowered identity and an identity rooted in heroic struggle. Without a national liberation movement, ‘Palestinians’ sense of identity and spirit of resistance would be much impoverished and they would have difficulty imagining a future’ (Swedenburg 1991: 171–2). The image of Palestine and the process of imagining return provide a motivation for many refugee women. For Randa, a 45-year-old woman born and raised in Bourj elBarajneh camp, to live in Palestine would mean security and safety. It would be relaxing, even if she had to live under a tree; she would feel her existence had meaning; like other women, she stressed the importance of belonging. Um Marwan, a 58-year-old widow in the same camp, originally from Safsaf village, remarked that, when they lived in Palestine, ‘people were free, whereas in Lebanon they are living as refugees’. In conversations with camp women, I was constantly reminded of what has been lost. This aching sense of place often creates a somewhat romanticized image of Palestine. Women speak of an abundance of fruit and vegetables, of beautiful landscapes and, as Randa said, of a ‘meaningful existence’. I think

‘A world of movement’ 189 their nostalgia has two purposes. On the one hand, it evokes meaningful existence in stark contrast to the hopelessness and impoverishment of their present lives. Um Saleh remarked that, in Palestine, she has a country but, in Lebanon, she has nothing; if she lived in Palestine, she added, she would have her own house and everyone would be together. On the other hand, it asserts a continuing claim to the Palestinian homeland.

Exile, borders and diasporas Although, as Said writes, exile is ‘the unhealable rift forced . . . between the self and its true home’ (1990: 357), it has also been described as ‘a form of dissidence’ (Kristeva 1986: 296). In this section, I want to look more closely at the relationship between the Palestinian homeland and what the Palestinian people have become today: a dissident nation. Brah argues that ‘it is not possible to address the concept of diaspora without considering its relationship to the idea of borders’. She defines ‘borders’ as ‘arbitrary dividing lines that are simultaneously social, cultural and psychic’ and suggests that each border ‘embodies a unique narrative’ (2003: 625). But, as Khalidi says, borders ‘are a problem for Palestinians since their identity – which is constantly reinforced in myriad positive and negative ways – not only is subject to question by the powers that be, but also is in many contexts suspect almost by definition’ (1997: 2). For Palestinians, borders exist on several levels. They can be found in the heavily fortified frontiers constructed by Israel to prevent Palestinians from returning to their homeland; in the margins of camps that separate refugees from the host society; and in claustrophobic rhetoric that reduces the Palestinian struggle to the level of terrorism or irrelevance. For Palestinians in exile, ‘part of the process of crossing physical and metaphysical boundaries . . . is an investment in an idealized perception of the society of origin or homeland’ (Buijs 1993: 3). This ‘idealized perception’ has been passed down through generations and is reproduced by the daughters and granddaughters of those who fled. For example, a group of teenage girls in Qasmiyye camp in southern Lebanon spoke to me in 2007 about the places from which their grandparents came. Their narratives are couched in similar language to that of the older generation. Dalal, aged 18, said: ‘People lived together and loved each other as neighbours’, echoing Um Wissam’s words; and for Aisha, aged 13, and Rouhaina, aged 15, as for Um Daoud, Palestine is ‘paradise’, the ‘most beautiful country in the world’. But these young girls also expressed appreciation of the place where they live. The camp, as Farah (2006: 243) observes, ‘became a space upon which the inhabitants mapped out a Palestinian identity’; in Rouhaina’s words, the camp is ‘a sweet place . . . it has trees and spaces’. The people of Nahr el-Bared too, unexpectedly driven out of their homes in May 2007, spoke about their desire to return but, this time, they were not speaking of return to Palestine but to their destroyed camp. In Rasha’s words, ‘we had a lovely life, we lived peacefully’. The camp, for her, is equated with the homeland; ‘we forgot Palestine’, she said, ‘because we were living happily, we had land’. This is what Brah (2003: 614–15) describes as a ‘homing desire’ which, she argues, ‘is not the same thing as desire for a “homeland”.’

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As a result of their ‘forced dispersal and reluctant scattering’ (Gilroy 1994: 207), Palestinians became a diasporic community. There is an abundant literature on questions of ‘diaspora’, but how accurately does this term represent Palestinians in exile? Diaspora, defined as ‘a non-essentialist identity or culture, which is “hybrid,” made up of different “crossings” and difficult to “locate” in terms of territorial alignments’ (Anderson 2007: 272) is a way of conceptualizing the Palestinian nation, dispersed around the world; it represents a desire ‘to move away from the mythology of uniqueness’ (Hanafi 2005: 118). Cohen (1999: 272) characterizes Palestinians as a ‘victim diaspora’, caused by the formation of the state of Israel, but argues that, for ‘all victim diasporas, their experiences in modern nation-states have been enriching and creative as well as enervating and fearful’. hooks (1990: 341) has written of ‘marginality’ as a ‘site of deprivation’ but, she argues, ‘it is also the site of radical possibility, a space of resistance’. For Harik (1986: 316), while Palestinians are a diaspora ‘in that they are a population that lives outside the bounds of its ancestral home’, they fit more accurately into the category of ‘non-state actors’ aiming to become a nation-state. They are a scattered tribe ‘whose identity can only be secured in relation to some sacred homeland to which they must at all costs return’ (Hall 1994: 401–2). I agree with Cohen that Palestinians are a ‘victim diaspora’. They are also a reluctant diaspora aiming, as Harik says, to become a nation-state or a nation seeking to re-assemble itself as a territorialized entity. Rapport and Dawson (1998: 4) are correct too when they argue that there must be new ways of conceptualizing identity in the modern world; they suggest that a ‘world of movement’ can be understood ‘in terms of actual physical motion around the globe and also as an imagination’. In this sense, diasporic identity for Palestinians springs from a tension between their experiences in the ‘world of movement’ as being ‘enriching and creative’ and their yearning to become a nation-state, to be settled and, above all, to claim their rights. There are also gender differences involved in membership of the diaspora and these are associated with mobility and restriction. Some young men living in the camps speak of emigrating elsewhere, to improve their lives and prospects; the desire to emigrate ‘is seen as a method by which children protect themselves against their reality and as a possible way out’ (Serhan and Tabari 2005: 41), but young women feel they have fewer options. Um Samir in Rashidiyyeh camp said that young people are always thinking about leaving because they have no opportunity to get married or build a house and, even if they are educated, they have no chance of finding work. Optimistic assessments of transnational populations and ‘a world of movement’ fail to do justice to the Palestinian ‘diaspora’. While it is certainly the case that the Palestinian community contains numerous individuals who move around and feel themselves to be citizens of the world, most of the refugee women I met in Lebanon bemoan the fact of being stuck. Even if they have relatives in other countries, some are not able to move far beyond the perimeters of the camp. They are constrained by poverty and legal structures. Moreover, most have no wish to be part of a ‘world of movement’; their most frequently expressed desire is to return to the villages of their ancestors and to live like ‘normal’ people.

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Conclusion Based on the findings of my research, I would like to offer three conclusions. First, the narratives of refugee women exhibit extraordinary resilience. The memories of elderly survivors of the nakba provide important insights into the trauma of flight in 1948 and the early difficult years of exile. They enrich male-dominated historytelling with ‘a female tradition’ (Ashcroft et al. 2007: 233). They are related in spellbinding and often humorous detail and have become the basis of a communal narrative of survival. Women have passed on to their children both memories of a different life and society in their homeland and the determination to survive difficult conditions and the injustices of exile. The moral strength of these women encouraged the next generation to take a more proactive approach towards the liberation of the homeland, and here too women played a key role. Second, the activities of women have had an impact on the character of Palestinian national identity. Appadurai (1996: 145) points out that ‘imagination and agency are far more vital to group mobilization than we had hitherto imagined’. In their search for an ‘authentic’ identity and in an effort to raise and protect their children, women have contributed qualities of steadfastness and the ability to cope with adverse and frequently violent conditions. The lives of Palestinians in Lebanon provide a model of how a community forced into exile, subjected to unremitting violence and consistently delegitimized by the international community can use the limited means at its disposal to forge a revolutionary movement that was able to restore national pride to Palestinians in exile, create the beginnings of a Palestinian state (in terms of cultural, political and economic institutions), and mobilize some women to play a significant role in the resistance movement; in other words, to create ‘a site of resistance’. Although the Palestinian national movement in Lebanon was destroyed by the Israeli invasion of 1982 and hopes for the successful resolution of the problem of Palestinians in Lebanon were dashed by the 1993 Oslo Accords, the model of resistance and survival continues to influence the exile community, including women. My third conclusion focuses on the need for real change. The voices of Palestinian refugee women in Lebanon contribute towards a rich tapestry of experience. From the elderly women with their memories of a long-lost homeland to the teenage girls who demand a more tolerant future, one gets little sense of passive acceptance of their fate. But it is not only narratives and memories but also real and concrete actions that can make women’s lives more bearable and I would like to offer several suggestions. To begin with, despite the refugees’ lack of faith in the Lebanese government, it claims to be making moves to improve Palestinian living conditions and this should be encouraged, especially by the international community. Next, also to be encouraged is the growth of programmes for women to educate them about their rights and to provide them with new skills. Third, the refugees, their representatives and their supporters must continue to place pressure on their own national governments to prevent the ‘refugee issue’ from being excluded from the Palestinian–Israeli peace process or to be treated solely as a humanitarian concern. Finally, processes of dignity should not be neglected, for example programmes and

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provisions for the elderly, the construction of play areas for children and the right and ability to improve housing and living conditions within the camps. I want to return, in conclusion, to the voices of the women and girls who are the subjects of this chapter. Speaking to me in 2007, Amina, a survivor of the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacre, said: ‘We still hope to return . . . this lives in our hearts every day’. Um Mounif in Bourj el-Barajneh camp, whose son was killed during the Amal sieges of the 1980s, said that she imagines life in Palestine would be like her parents’ life in the past; she would like to return to her own village. Aisha, aged 13 and living in Qasmiyye camp, remarked that she would like to go back to Palestine ‘because it is my country’. To find a solution that includes these women and the many others who contributed their stories to my research, the various components of the international community must learn how to heed their voices.

Note 1 The project was funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council. During five periods of fieldwork in Lebanon during 2006–7, covering nine weeks, I interviewed a total of 65 women in Bourj el-Barajneh and Shatila refugee camps in Beirut, the Gaza Building in Beirut and Rashidiyyeh, Ain el-Hilweh and Qasmiyye camps in the south, ranging in age from 13 to over 80. The material collected has been augmented by fieldwork carried out in 2003. The interviews were conducted in Arabic and translated into English by a local translator. The names of all women interviewed for this chapter have been disguised.

12 Politics, patronage and Popular Committees in the Shatila refugee camp, Lebanon Manal Kortam

Introduction Since their forced exile from Palestine 62 years ago, Palestinian refugees in Lebanon have remained among the most disadvantaged when compared to Palestinian refugees dwelling in other Arab host countries. While the whole Palestinian community in Lebanon is under official legal discrimination, the situation of the individual Palestinian depends on whether one is a camp dweller or not. The situation for camp dwellers is particularly harsh, constituting what Sari Hanafi has termed a ‘closed space’ that reinforces the segregation of the community (Hanafi 2008b). Of all countries hosting the refugees, Lebanon has the highest rate of Palestinian camp dwellers (51 per cent). In Syria, the percentage of camp-based refugees decreases by almost half (27 per cent) and in Jordan only 16 per cent of the refugees remain in camps. These numbers are an indicator of the harsh economic situation facing Palestinians in Lebanon. The camps have been depicted by many authors as a populated urban setting rife with poverty and environmental problems. The Palestinian camps in Lebanon constitute a very complex space where different actors intervene. Although some actors limit their intervention to humanitarian services or development in the camps (such as the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and many nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)), some others have assigned themselves as legal spokesmen of the Palestinian refugees and have imposed their authority (political factions, Popular Committees). Yet none of them guarantees protection for the Palestinians in the camps. Such a situation creates a climate of insecurity within the Palestinian communities in the camps; marginalized by the host country and by the peace process, they feel abandoned by their local leadership, which is unable to agree on a proper mode of governance to improve their situation. The camps came under the authority of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) after the Cairo Agreement of 1969. But the evacuation of the PLO’s military forces in 1982 after the Israeli invasion and the subsequent decline of its power in Lebanon have had negative consequences for the living conditions of the Palestinians in Lebanon, particularly the camp dwellers. Indeed, after 1982 the camps became an arena for the formation of a web of complex power structures composed of two Popular Committees (one formed by pro-Syrian factions

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and another by PLO members), political factions (pro- and anti-PLO), Islamist Palestinian and non-Palestinian groups, imams, NGOs and UNRWA. The capacity of these actors to play a major role in camp governance depends on the balance of power between them. In this chapter I consider the Palestinian camps as ‘political systems’, within which different dynamics and modes of interaction subsist. I analyse the capability of various political actors (Popular Committees, political factions) in ‘treating’ the emerging needs of the refugee community. This article focuses on Shatila, a run-down Palestinian refugee camp located in Beirut. The choice of this camp as a case study is due to its unique history of self-governance: a committee elected by the residents to improve their lives in the camp was in the end defeated by the camp’s ruling ‘Popular Committee’, which includes unelected representatives from different Palestinian political factions. Those two entities are considered mediators between the Palestinian public on one side and the PLO representatives in Lebanon and the Lebanese authorities on the other. The research in this chapter is based on interviews with the Shatila camp’s main actors (NGOs, committees, political factions) and other individuals carried out during work for my Master’s thesis in winter 2006. And later on, in winter 2008, more interviews were conducted for the purpose of developing this article. The chapter begins with a brief overview of the Palestinian refugees exiled to Lebanon since 1948 and the history of Shatila camp. Then I present the living conditions in the camp, before delving into the governance of the camp and the process of forming an elected committee that could solve the many social problems in the camp.

Palestinian refugees in Lebanon: a brief history The Palestinian tragedy started directly after the vote for Resolution 181 by the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) on 29 November 1947. Palestinians rejected the UN Partition Plan to divide their homeland into separate Jewish and Palestinian states, but in 1948 the establishment of the state of Israel was unilaterally declared. In the ensuing battles, Israeli troops planned and carried out the systematic expulsion of the Palestinians (Morris 1986). The ethnic cleansing exercised by the Israeli Army and its precursors forced around 750,000 Palestinians to flee their homeland; approximately 100,000 of them were driven northwards across the Lebanese border (Khalidi 2001). Lebanon’s primary impact on the refugees was to separate them by sect and class. Middle-class urban Palestinians settled freely in Lebanese cities and encountered few difficulties in obtaining employment and after that being granted Lebanese nationality. This route was barred to the mass of poor, rural refugees who were subject to economic exploitation and who remained in mainly Muslim agricultural or urban areas, where they provided seasonal agricultural labour and constituted a cheap labour pool for public and private construction (Sayigh 1994: 23). The areas designated by the host country for Palestinian settlement became the official recognized refugee camps. During the first two decades of exile (1948–67) conditions in the camps were harsh. Palestinians were in dire poverty and dependent

Politics, patronage and Popular Committees 195 on relief services provided by UNRWA, which was created in 1950 to provide humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian refugees. The 1969 Cairo Agreement marked a new era in the Palestinians’ history in Lebanon after a year-long series of battles with the Lebanese Army. The agreement ‘liberated’ the camps from the oppression of the Lebanese Military Intelligence (the Deuxieme Bureau) and allowed the PLO to govern the camps. A new order, which will be discussed later on in this article, was set up in the camps under PLO control. In the following decade (1967–75) the situation for the Palestinians in Lebanon improved, but living conditions remained harsh, as a majority of homes still had no running water by 1971 and fully half had no sanitation and sewage by 1980. Increasingly, the Palestinians came to be employed by various PLO institutions (hospitals, factories, social centres and armed groups).

Shatila camp: a brief overview Based on oral testimonies, Rosemary Sayigh’s work (1994) traces the early history of Shatila camp. According to her, it was founded by a mujahidin leader (qa’id), Abed Bisher (also known as Abou Kamal), who was in Lebanon on an arms-buying mission for the Mufti of Jerusalem on 15 May 1948 when the Israelis closed the border. Hoping to find a space in which to gather together the people of his village, Majd al-Kroom, Bisher went to see someone called al-Basha Shatila, who gave him permission to use a plot of land. The donated land was not much bigger than a field, a narrow oblong strip about 200 by 400 metres. Then Bisher managed to procure 20 tents from UNRWA, and went to all the places where Majd al-Kroom villagers were scattered and brought them, as well as relatives, friends and associates from other nearby villages, to Beirut. He wanted Shatila to grow as rapidly possible, aware that the larger its population grew, the harder it would be to evict people. Bisher kept in continuous contact with UNRWA in order to procure the things that the refugees needed – distribution of milk and rations, tents and so on. In early 1950 there were around 20 families; a few months later the number had grown to 60. By the early 1960s there are said to have been 3,000 people in and around the camp. Although more than half of Shatila’s original population was from Majd al-Kroom, some 25 other villages in north-western Galilee were represented (Sayigh 1994: 35–7). In June 1982 Israel launched a second invasion of Lebanon, which was far larger than the first one in 1978. The camps and Palestinian Revolutionary Movement (PRM) locales were particularly targeted by the Israeli forces and the level of devastation was high, leading to the departure of the PLO from Lebanon. There was a negotiated settlement whereby the PLO agreed to withdraw from Lebanon in return for US guarantees for the safety of ‘law-abiding Palestinian non-combatants left behind in Beirut’. After the PLO evacuation, however, the Israeli Army encircled the camps of Beirut and unleashed its allied right-wing Lebanese militia forces on Shatila and the adjacent neighbourhood of Sabra, resulting in the wholesale massacre of at least 1,500 civilians (Khalidi 2001). Inhabitants began to return within days, clearing the rubble and patching up their homes. There was a double urgency

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to the rebuilding: not only was winter approaching, but the Lebanese Army was back in charge of the Beirut camps; everyone expected that building restrictions would soon be reimposed (Sayigh 1994). At first sight, the Israelis’ apocalyptic invasion of Lebanon during the summer of 1982 appeared to have created a radical shift in the Lebanese and regional balance of forces. Later on, Syria’s policy towards the Palestinians in Lebanon was primarily determined by its policy towards Lebanon as a whole, and concurrently by its drive to control the PLO, in line with Syrian regional strategies and objectives. In February 1984, Lebanese Shi’ite Amal militiamen took over army positions around the camps and on 19 May 1985, battles between them and Palestinian forces began. Shatila was under its first siege until 23 June 1985. The second siege came one year later; it lasted from 29 May until 27 June 1986. The third and last siege from November 1986 to April 1987 was harder and made complicated by severe internal tensions and splits within the camp (Sayigh 1994). These two years are known in Palestinian history as ‘the War of the Camps’,1 which was also waged in Borj el-Barajneh camp in Beirut and in the camps of the south. Amal did not manage to take control of any camps, but intensive bombardment led to the total obliteration of Sabra and the destruction of 80 per cent of homes in Shatila and of 50 per cent of homes in Borj el-Barajneh. Hospitals, schools and other facilities were destroyed in the fighting (Khalidi 2001). In all, approximately 2,500 people were killed, some of them because of lack of medical attention, as a result of the interminable Amal sieges of the camps. After the end of the war in 1987, a Syrian force took over Amal’s positions around the Beirut camps, controlling entry and exit. They prohibited the free movement out of or in to the camps and the entry of building materials. These prohibitions remained in force for more than a year, turning Shatila into a prison of rubble. Yet the Syrians did not give protection. On more than one occasion, Amal militiamen sprayed bullets at men standing near the camp’s entrance (Sayigh 1994: 329). Violent Palestinian infighting erupted sporadically in the period following the War of the Camps, most notably in Beirut camps in May 1988 between Arafat loyalists and dissidents, which resulted in the victory of the Syrian-backed dissidents (Khalidi 2001). After their victory, Syrian-backed factions such as Sa’iqa (a Palestinian branch of the Syrian al-Baath party created in 1966), Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) (a breakaway faction from PFLP in 1969) and Fatah Intifadah (split from Fatah in 1983)2 took over the governance of the Palestinian camps and formed their own Popular and Security Committees.

Changes in camp social fabric From the 1950s, many waves of migration led to the demographic explosion of the camps’ area. These population transfers resulted from several factors and turning points in Lebanese and Palestinian history: the eradication of three Palestinian camps during the civil war (Tall al-Za’tar, Jisr el-Basha, Quarantine); the pull of Beirut’s construction boom in the 1990s; the push of low wages and landlessness

Politics, patronage and Popular Committees 197 in the rural hinterland; and war in the south. This influx would radically change the character of the camps’ area, encouraging the growth of commerce and service institutions as well as low-cost urban housing (Sayigh 1994: 37–8). Later on, Shatila became a shanty town attracting migrant workers (Sudanese, Syrians and Kurds). Of course, the camp also shed its population through emigration, starting after the massacre of Sabra and Shatila in 1982 and peaking after the end of the War of the Camps in 1987. Many migrated to Scandinavian countries and to Germany. Others moved to an unofficial camp, ‘Wadi el Zine’, on the edge of the southern Lebanese town Sidon. All these ‘in-and-out’ waves resulted in changes in the social fabric of the camps. Today, some 50 per cent of Shatila’s 16,000 residents are not Palestinian, while a quarter of the Palestinian residents are relative newcomers to the camp. Of the non-Palestinians, two-thirds are Lebanese while the other third are of various other nationalities (Sudanese, Sri Lankan, Syrian, etc.).

Living conditions: from bad to worse After the War of the Camps, Shatila was a makeshift camp. There was neither control over nor planning for the construction process. Shatila was overcrowded: its houses were smaller and more crowded than in other camps and its streets narrower (Sayigh 1994). Because the camp area cannot be enlarged, the residents need to find alternative ways of fitting more people into the already cramped space. Their remaining option is to add additional stories to existing houses, although building regulations prohibit this (Knudsen 2005b). The extreme population density of Shatila is immediately apparent to any visitor. About 8,532 refugees live in an area of less than 40,000 square metres that forms an especially dense part of the camp. In the Shatila camp, there are only two main roads, neither of which is wide enough to allow for two small cars to pass each other. Most ‘streets’ are no wider than a corridor and do not allow for two people to walk side-by-side. Many houses are dilapidated and even structurally unsafe; overcrowded, with several persons living and sleeping in one room; and unhygienic and lacking proper water and ventilation. Infrastructure systems have, from the beginning, only been designed for the short or medium term. According to the Palestinian Association for Human Rights (Shahed), water and electricity services are scarce in the camp. Some people, however, profit from transforming these basic services into private businesses (Shahed 2005). Environmental health conditions are extremely bad, with damp, overcrowded shelters and open drains. The sewerage system needs considerable expansion while the camp’s residents drink contaminated, unsafe water supplied through a poor distribution network provided by the Beirut Municipality or through four public water wells. The overloaded sewerage of the water network has led to the contamination of water, which causes a range of environmental and health problems. Most of the men in Shatila camp work as labourers or run grocery stores and other small enterprises (hairdressers, pharmacies, restaurants, etc.). Shatila’s inhabitants experience the same economic conditions as Palestinians in other camps.

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The rate of unemployment among Palestinians is very high, 60 per cent according to Richard Cook.3 The main employment opportunities for Palestinians are with UNRWA, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society or Palestinian political organizations. Work with NGOs is not permanent for the Palestinian employees; some are employed on projects or on yearly contract. The agricultural and construction sectors provide employment on a temporary basis. Lebanese enterprises could, but do not, offer job opportunities to Palestinians, who usually are either unemployed or underemployment (Hanafi and Tiltnes 2008). No job security is offered with any kind of employment. The vast majority of Palestinians depend on remittances for their living and on UNRWA aid, as pointed out by the Commissioner-General of UNRWA in her report on 26 September 2005: Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are among the most disadvantaged in the region. They have limited access to government services or the labor market, and they have to depend almost entirely on the agency [UNRWA] for basic services. Unemployment among refugees is high and living conditions poor. Comparing this report with her most recent, in July 2008 (covering the period from 1 January to 31 December 2007), she added that: [I]n June 2005, the Ministry of Labour of Lebanon allowed registered Palestine refugees born in Lebanon to work at manual and clerical jobs and to obtain work permits, both of which were previously denied. Palestine refugees were still effectively prohibited from practicing several professions, including medicine, law, journalism and engineering. Unemployment among refugees was high and living conditions poor . . . Palestine refugees have limited access to government services and have to depend almost entirely on the Agency for basic services. Legislation preventing Palestine refugees from buying immovable property remained in force. Palestinians in Shatila share roughly the same poor health and educational conditions as those of other camp-dwelling Palestinians in Lebanon. These conditions are especially harsh for the more vulnerable residents. Education levels among Palestinians are in constant decline,4 something that is worrying for the future of the Palestinians. Many factors are behind this situation; teachers use basic traditional methods and schools have double shifts. Palestinians in Lebanon stand out as having the lowest levels of educational achievement compared to Palestinians in other areas and compared to Lebanese schools. In terms of human capital, there is high illiteracy relative to the national population and refugees in other areas (Delage 2008: 12).5 Health conditions are the main concern for the Palestinian refugees. They are denied access to the Lebanese health insurance system and to Lebanese public hospitals unless the facility has a contract with UNRWA. The level of psychological distress is considerably higher among Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon than in other countries and access to health services is only getting more difficult.

Politics, patronage and Popular Committees 199 Palestinian communities are currently registering an increasing level of violence, which is a cause-and-effect relationship (Delage 2008: 13). In the Shatila camp there are two elementary schools run by UNRWA; one UNRWA health centre with an average of 79 patients per day; and a dental care clinic. Another NGO clinic is near the camp, and it provides maternal and child care. In addition, a number of NGOs are active in Shatila, including Al-Najda, Beit Atfal Al-Soumoud, Norwegian Peoples’ Aid, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society and the Children and Youth Centre. The services they provide include health clinics, cash assistance, summer activities, kindergartens and rehabilitation centres. The prospect of future decent employment would improve secondary problems such as school dropout, male student underperformance in the earlier stages of education, drugs and violence (Delage 2008: 12). The PLO’s resources were limited after the Organization evacuated in 1982 and the resultant closure of social institutions that used to provide work opportunities and social services for Palestinians. These limited services were further reduced after the launching of the peace process in 1991, when funds were channelled to support the new Palestinian National Authority. UNRWA depends on states’ donations, and its services are steadily shrinking. Yet, the major problem in the deterioration of Palestinians’ situation in Lebanon is the discriminatory politics imposed by the Lebanese state aimed at excluding the Palestinians from the economic, social and civic life of Lebanon. In that sense, Lebanon does not grant Palestinians any rights, either as residents or as ‘foreigners’. The refugees do not correspond to any jurisdiction set by Lebanese law. Their legal status is characterized by a legal void. The Lebanese state has eradicated their legal status and produced entities that can be neither named nor classified by law. Lebanon has replaced the military siege by a political siege, constituting what Agamben called a ‘state of exception’ (Agamben 2005). In such a situation the vast majority of Palestinians in Lebanon are pushed into being completely dependent on their local service providers (political factions, Popular Committees, NGOs). In the next section I therefore analyse as a case study the mode of intervention of those actors in alleviating the ‘siege’ of Shatila camp.

Governing Shatila camp The Cairo Agreement of 1969 gave the PLO the authority to govern the camps in Lebanon in order to ‘liberate’ the population of the camps from the oppression that was exercised by the Lebanese Military Intelligence. The PLO proceeded by establishing two institutions as responsible for the governance in the camp. First, the Palestinian Armed Struggle Command (qiyadat al kifah al mussalah) served as a local police in the camps. It had the task of ensuring public order and the power to detain offenders. It is regarded as the executive power of the Popular Committee. Second, Popular Committees (al lijan al sha’abiya) operated as a municipality, with responsibility for maintaining services such as electricity, water, garbage collection and the handling of small disputes by arranging mediation and reconciliation (sulhah). The committees included representatives of each political group in the national

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movement, representatives from the popular organizations such as the women’s union, independents6 and traditional elders in the camp community (Peteet 1987: 33). Popular Committees also conducted numerous infrastructural projects in the camps (such as the implementation of water and sewerage systems). In addition, the PLO established different social institutions that were the main providers of social services and work opportunities for Palestinians. Since pro-Syrian factions took over Popular Committees in 1988, as previously noted, those committees have been unable to meet people’s needs and provide basic services. This has not prevented them, however, from claiming monthly fees for the improvement of services. In Shatila, the Popular Committee is dominated by ‘pro-Syrian’ factions. Its performance in governing the camp was disappointing, especially with regard to reconstruction. The committee facilitated illegal construction inside the camp after Beirut’s construction boom in 1993, when many displaced during the civil war moved to Shatila because they could not afford to live in other places in central Beirut. The Popular Committees are currently seen not only as inefficient but also as the cause of many problems, using their power to advance their own political and individual interests. The words ‘corruption’ and ‘political and individual interests’ are frequently used in Palestinian popular parlance to describe the Popular Committees’ attitude. This situation has created a tremendous mistrust between the population and the political leaders and the Popular Committees ‘parachuted’ by those leaders. Consequently, the Popular Committees can no longer play their role in conflict resolution. Currently, no effective regulatory mechanisms for conflict resolution exist in the camps. Usually the conflict ends with the most powerful side being victorious.7 In some cases, key family figures (wujaha’) can play a mediation role in family or even political conflict.8 The ‘neutrality’ of UNRWA and the limitation of its mandate to service provision further complicate the situation. The incapability of the Popular Committee in Shatila to ensure basic needs eventually pushed the camp’s inhabitants to take matters into their own hands: they formed a social movement and elected a local committee responsible for improving living conditions in the camp. The importance of this elected committee is that it is a unique experience among all the refugee camps in the Middle East region. So, how were the inhabitants of Shatila able to take such a remarkable step?

The committee of Shatila’s camp population By 2004, conditions in Shatila had become desperate: electricity was cut off for nine successive months, and violent confrontations frequently erupted, while both problems were met with complete disdain on the part of the Popular Committee. In these circumstances, a group of the camp’s activists decided to break the wall of silence and to take action. Together, they formed a ‘Follow-up and Reform Committee – FRC’ (lijnat al-moutaba’a wa al-Islah). Their name reflected their mission, which was to follow up people’s needs through reform in order to improve living conditions in the camps. Various social classes and professions were represented in this committee; included were a mosque imam, doctor, gym

Politics, patronage and Popular Committees 201 director, electrical engineer, entrepreneur, labourer, employee, teacher and social worker. Against this background came the sudden death of the Popular Committee’s Chairman, leaving a decision-making vacuum before they could nominate his successor. The two most influential factions in the camp are Sa’iqa and Fatah alIntifada, and each pushed for their candidate to become the new chairman. Hamas was weak at that time and Fatah was powerless in trying to rebuild its presence in the camp for the first time after Syria’s departure in 2005. The FRC seized this opportunity and held a public meeting on 9 May 2005 to discuss a solution to the camp’s dismal social and living conditions (electricity, water, sewage, health, education, social violence). Around 200 people attended the public meeting. They concluded that only an elected accountable body could be a catalyst for improvement. At the same time, in order to avoid any misunderstanding or misinterpretation, they clarified that this elected body was not conceived to be an alternative for any existing authority in the camp, as it would never undertake any political activity. Its mandate was limited to improving the living conditions of the Palestinians in the camp. The mosque was the most efficient public space to discuss the camp situation and to decide on an election principle for this committee. Its imam, Cheikh Bassam Kayed, had a major role in mobilizing for the election. At that time, the Palestinian Human Rights Organization (PHRO) had finished a training course with youth on ‘Observing Elections, Monitoring and Documenting Violations’, designed to teach participants perspectives on democracy and good governance in the Palestinian community. The PHRO was thus encouraging the election process and had established good relations with the mosque’s imam, in addition to PFLP’s Youth Organization.

Election preparations The FRC had only two weeks and limited resources to prepare for the elections in a tense and insecure atmosphere. Despite this, the committee succeeded in setting up all the arrangements needed. Candidacy and electoral conditions were well defined. The voters included Palestinian men and women living in the camp and being at least 18 years of age. Identification cards were required to prove age and residence. This condition was necessary to prevent factions from sending voters from outside the camp. An eligible candidate had to fulfil the following requirements: be a male Palestinian who lived permanently in the camp, be at least 21 years old, hold a secondary degree at least, be known for his good reputation, not be a member of any political faction and be able to give time for public service. This gender-biased criterion was justified by the members whom I interviewed with the assertion that there is a lot of trouble in serving the community and women cannot bear it. People were encouraged to apply for candidature. Among 35 applicants, 32 were accepted and three were rejected as they did not fulfil the requirements. This left 29 candidates to compete for 11 seats. The election campaign was animated by pamphlets, posters and banners.

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The promised day Twenty-second May 2005 was meant to be a turning point in Shatila’s history in general and in the lives of the resident Palestinians in particular. And in fact it was very significant for the Palestinian population, who were fed up with their illegitimate leaders and needed a radical change. It was considered a step forward towards self-development. The participation rate was significant: some 783 electors participated in the election, about 30 per cent of eligible voters, while the organizers had envisaged a turnout of 400 voters maximum. Public places such as youth centres were used as polling places. Standard election principles, rules and procedures were respected (polling places, ballot boxes, lists, secrecy, etc). Election observers, such as Shahed, PHRO and youth organizations, confirmed the integrity of the process. International election principles and a code of conduct for election observers were guaranteed. This election surprised not only Palestinians from other camps, but also the Lebanese media. ‘Festival’ was a common word used to describe the day of the election. Joy, hope, enthusiasm, these terms accurately describe the state of mind of the masses. Um Mahmud told a reporter from a local newspaper (Assafir 2005): ‘I left my bed and I came to vote in spite of my illness, hoping that if we have representatives in the committees we will have basic services and the corruption will end.’ The atmosphere of Election Day encouraged many people to vote, including former abstainers who did not believe in the seriousness of the elections.

Efficient in spite of its short period of operation The Committee of the Camp’s Population (CCP) brought together members from different social segments; but what is important is that technocrats (engineers and medical doctors) succeeded in making the CCP very different from Popular Committees in all the camps in Lebanon. The CCP had two years to achieve the expected results. As a start, they organized a meeting with the Lebanese authorities that are charged with to providing services to the camp (Electricity of Lebanon, municipality of the region, and the Lebanese Water Company). The CCP made a huge effort and succeeded in resolving the electricity problem in the camp through direct negotiations with the Electricity of Lebanon Company. They succeeded in persuading some households to abide by the rules by installing electricity meters to replace illegal connection lines. Then they purchased an additional electricity transformer to reduce the load on the two existing ones, in addition to purchasing new cables and repairing the damage in the network. A French twin organization to the camp supported them in these repairs. The water supply was and still is a big problem in the camp, especially with regard to contamination. Even though they tried to clean the wells of the camp and changed the water pumps, the contamination problem remained. The committee took over responsibility for garbage collection on holidays and weekends. Some residents also went to the committee to resolve their social and family problems. All CCP decisions were taken by majority vote: each

Politics, patronage and Popular Committees 203 decision required 7 out of 11 votes to be carried through, whereas in the Popular Committees, each specialized committee forwards the case to the general secretary of the committee for a final decision on a given matter.

The end of the success story The success of the CCP threatened the ‘legitimacy’ of the Popular Committee. The dominant political actors and factions wanted to prevent a new popular and dynamic force in the camp from changing the status quo and imposing a new balance of power. Their political and individual interests were at stake. Water and electricity services are commercialized in the camps so repairing those services limited their benefits. Shortly after the CCP elections, the (pro-Syrian) factions making up the Popular Committee agreed among themselves on a candidate to replace the former president. This was done to limit the role of the CCP and stop them from gaining power at the Popular Committee’s expense. Later on, the PLO established another, rival Popular Committee, which further complicated the situation. Around six months after the establishment of the CCP, six of the committee members withdrew their membership because they could no longer ignore the threats directed at them. Nearly all the CCP members agreed that popular support was necessary for their committee to keep on working, to empower its position in the community and to overcome the vested interests of powerful actors who tried to co-opt the committee and create distrust between its members. Moreover, one CCP member, Hassan Abed el Hadi, found that a lack of trust between committee members was one of the major reasons for its collapse. The refugees’ chronic insecurity and the lack of protection further discouraged them from expressing their support for the CCP. They were afraid of the oppression that could be exercised by the dominant political actors and factions.

Conclusion Whereas originally Popular Committees were assemblies of traditional political and social elites and notables, they gradually developed into a political administrative organ composed only of representatives from various political factions. Popular Committees can still be found in every Palestinian camp. They are the equivalent of municipal administrations and are, among other things, responsible for conflict resolution within the camps and with the host authorities. Usually, Popular Committee members have social capital as social or political leaders. However, they no longer represent the various social groups of their communities. In spite of the fact that the CCP attempted to remedy the illegitimate structure of the Popular Committee in the camp, it failed to sustain itself. This led to a serious crisis of governance that Shatila camp, like other camps in Lebanon, has witnessed with tremendous repercussions for the life of the population. Since their first arrival in Lebanon, Palestinian camp dwellers have been under control, surveillance and ‘state of exception’, not only by the Lebanese authorities

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but also by different Palestinian factions, depending on the balance of power between them. The lack of a unified political authority has had negative effects on all aspects of refugee life: social, economic and political. Although the political factions limit their authority to particular domains in the camps, some of them create a climate of fear. The lack of protection, accountability and transparency as well as the lack of democratic mechanisms are a determining factor in the creation of a culture of fear among the Palestinian communities in Lebanon. The conflict of interest between various Palestinian factions and the struggle for power have created a chaotic situation in Shatila as well as in other camps. However, the Lebanese policy of legal discrimination and marginalization is the major reason leading to this lamentable situation of the Palestinians. The legal void characterizing the Palestinians’ status in Lebanon and the ‘state of exception’ imposed by the Lebanese state is manifested by the suspension of the rule of law (Hanafi 2006). Internal and external factors prevent the establishment of a proper governance system inside the camps. The position of the Palestinians in Lebanon and their exclusion from political, social and economic life in their host country deny Palestinians the opportunity to create formal structures of representation in public life. Furthermore, they are marginalized not only when it comes to decision-making in Lebanon but also in the process of decision-making concerning Palestinian–Israeli political negotiations. We can also see these dynamics being played out internally in the Shatila camp where political factions (through the Popular Committees) seek to prevent the residents from organizing themselves to improve their own living conditions.

Notes 1 To learn more about the resistance and the survival of the Palestinians in Shatila during the War of the Camps, see Sayigh (1994). 2 For more details on PLO loyalists and Syrian-backed factions, see Brynen (1990). 3 Richard Cook, ‘Palestinian camps and refugees in Lebanon: priorities, challenges, and opportunities ahead’, lecture at American University of Beirut, 21 May 2008. 4 The percentage of success in preparatory education by UNRWA pupils significantly deteriorated from 68.6 per cent in 2004/5 to 45.2 per cent in 2006/7. 5 Male camp illiteracy is two times higher than in Gaza and West Bank. It is also twice as high as the Lebanese national population (17 per cent compared to 9 per cent). 6 ‘Independents’ was a category created by Yasser Arafat in order to reassure other factions that Fatah did not have a majority of seats, while he used to make a deal under the table with the so-called independents to gain their vote. 7 A common expression used by many Palestinian individuals when asked about mechanisms for conflict resolution inside the camp. 8 Usually each extended family would have one person who is consulted on important issues.

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Index

Abbas, M. 124 Abdel-‘Al, M. 35 Abdellah, G. 34 Abou Samra, D. 17 al-Absi, S. 100, 110 access to basic services 140, 141 acknowledgement of wrongful acts 153, 159–60 action planning 91–3, 95 actors in camp governance 30–2; Yarmouk camp 40–4 Adawi, J. 113–14 Agamben, G. 5, 81, 178, 199 Agier, M. 4, 24–5, 74 Ahmad, U. 55 aid 122–3, 140, 141; organizations 25–6 al-Qaeda 47 Amal militia 53, 196 Amari camp 86 Amro, T. 115 al-Anayn, A. 107 Aouragh, M. 59 apology 8, 147, 151–6, 159, 160; Palestinian refugee case 156–9, 160 Arab League 116, 119, 129, 130 Arafat, Y. 51, 58 Arendt, H. 5 Armed Struggle Command 108, 199 Arzt, D. 125 Asad, T. 167 Association for the Defence of the Rights of the Internal Displaced in Israel 62 asylum seeking 123 Australia 123, 151 Ayn al-Hilwa camp 101, 107; Taamir 101 baladiyya (municipality) 40–1 Barghouthi, M. 43–4 Barkan, E. 154

basic services see services Bauman, Z. 20 Beddawi refugee camp 97 Beilin, Y. 158 Beirut 7, 67–80 Beirut Declaration (2007) (Zaki) 106, 108 Bisher, A. (aka Abou Kamal) 195 Blin, L. 45 Bolton, J. 23 Bourdieu, P. 1–2 Bourj el-Barajneh camp 186, 187, 196 Bourj al-Shemali camp 59 Bradley, M. 155 Brah, A. 189 British Mandate 113–14 buffer zones 21 buildings 72; Mar Elias camp 73, 74; Shatila camp 197 Bush, G. 153 Buss camp 79 Byman, D. 21, 23 Cairo Agreement (1969) 36, 70, 193, 195 camp-based refugees 52–3, 68–70; see also camps Camp David Summit 158 Camp Development Pilot Project 82, 83 camp improvement 7, 81–96, 134–6; conflictual planning 87–93; hurdles and obstacles 83–5 Camp Improvement Plan/ Programme 87, 91, 92–3, 95 camp officers 30–1 camps 23, 24–5, 130; governance of see governance of camps; history of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon 194–5; Iraqi refugees 18, 19, 20; kinship and

Index 225 marriage strategies 8–9, 165–79; memory and reality for Palestinian women in camps of Lebanon 9, 180–92; Oslo peace process 133, 134–6; refugee identifications 6–7, 50–64; as spatial devices 18; see also under individual camps Canada 123 Casablanca Protocol 116–17, 119, 130 Chedgzoy, K. 183 citizenship 5, 7–8, 113–27, 136; denial of statehood and Palestinian citizenship 113–16; as a political instrument 116–19; and the search for a durable solution 124–6 Civil Liberties Act (1988) (US) 153 Civitas project 60–1 Coalition of the Right to Return 58, 62 Cohen, A. 167 Cohen, R. 190 comfort women, Korean 151–2, 153–6, 160 Committee of the Camp’s Population (CCP) 59, 200–3 Committee of Social Development 41 community development 83; see also camp improvement compensation 8, 151–6, 159, 160; Palestinian refugee case 156–9 completeness of reparations 155–6 complex urban environments 81–2; see also urbanization conflict 120; carriers of 23; conflictual planning 87–93 conservatism 168; conservative Islam 45 containment 22; spaces of 18–21 control 48, 71–2 Convention on Refugees (1951) 25, 38, 122 cousin marriage 166–7, 173, 174, 175, 176, 177 Damascus 70 Daouk (Sabra) camp 53, 121 Darfur 26 Darwish, M. 120 Dawson, A. 190 De Greiff, P. 155 Declaration of Principles (DOP) see Oslo Accords/Process Deheishe camp 86 democratic centralism 51–2 denial of statehood 113–16 diasporic refugees 52, 189–90

Directorate of Palestinian Refugee Affairs (DRA) 58, 63 discrimination 120, 130–1, 133–4, 138–40, 141; Lebanon 117, 130–1, 133–4, 140, 180, 199 displacement 6, 13–28 dissidence 189–90 Doraï, M.K. 79 Douglas, M. 14 East Jerusalem 115–16 economic activities: Mar Elias camp 73–4; Shatila camp 197–8 education 90–1, 184–5; Shatila camp 198–9 Egypt 5, 17, 118, 119, 121 elections 60–1; local committee in Shatila camp 201–2 emergency, refugees in 4 emigration 176–7, 190 employment 140, 141, 198 enclaves 15–18, 21 ethnic spaces 15–18 Europe 123 exception: space of 9, 38; state of 3, 5, 32–4, 178, 199 exclaves 15–18, 21 exclusion 48 exile 189–90 factional competition 56–7 Fadlallah, M.H. 104, 106 family 75; refugee status, marriage strategies and 8–9, 165–79; two discourses of 167–9; women’s role 184, 186 family leagues 170 family trees 170–2, 174–5 Far’ah camp 58 Fatah 43; Nahr el-Bared camp crisis 98–9, 107–8 Fatah Intifada 100, 196 Fatah al-Islam 36, 44–5, 97, 100, 101–2, 105, 107–8, 109 Fawwar camp 7, 82, 85–93; conflictual planning 87–93; initial fears and mistrust 87–90; master planning vs action planning 91–3; prioritising needs 90–1 feminist theory 182 Ferris, E. 4 Follow-up and Reform Committee (FRC) 200–1 forced migration 22, 194

226

Index

Foucault, M. 30, 47–8 full restitution approach 156 Future Movement 98, 99, 100–2, 108 gatherings/unofficial camps 67, 197 Gaza Strip 20, 115, 122, 137, 138; Israel’s blitzkrieg of January 2009 62; legal status of Palestinian refugees 128–46; numbers of Palestinian refugees 3, 129 gender identity 183, 184–6 General Authority for Palestine Arab Refugees (GAPAR) 30, 39, 40–1 General Union of Palestine Workers (GUPW) 43 Geneva Conference (2004) 83, 85 Gibson, T. 93 Golan Heights 115–16 Goldstone, R. 150 governance of camps 6, 29–49, 93–4; multiple actors 30–2; Nahr el-Bared 29–39, 44–8; three models of 46–8; Shatila camp 199–204; Yarmouk 29–32, 39–48 Government of All Palestine (GAP) 115 governmentalities 29, 46, 47 grassroots mobilisation 93–4 Hadi, H.A. el 203 Hamas 173; governance of camps 43, 44–6, 47; Nahr el-Bared crisis 104–5, 106, 108–9 Hamdan, O. 104, 105, 184 hamula 167–9 Hanafi, S. 61, 125, 193 Haq al-Awda (Right of Return) movement 58, 62 Harik, I. 190 Hariri, B. 101–2, 105, 108 Hariri, R. 99, 100 Hariri Tribunal 99 health conditions 198–9 Hilal, J. 51, 86 Hizbollah 98, 99, 103–4, 109 Hmoz, Z. (aka Abu Tarek) 87 Hughes, M. 40 human rights 5, 119–20; denial of 117, 120 humanitarian space 6, 25–6 Hussein, King 118, 131, 134 identity: camp refugee identification 6–7, 50–64; gender identity 183, 184–6; meanings of 182–3; national identity see

national identity; UNRWA and proof of refugee identity 136–8, 139; women in Lebanon camps 181, 182–9 identity documents (IDs) 115, 116, 124 immigrant communities 69–70 Independent Commission on International Humanitarian Issues 120 infrastructure 73 internal migration 74, 75–6; internally displaced persons (IDPs) 4, 52 Internal Security Forces (ISF) 32, 33, 36 international aid see aid International Habitat 37 international law 149–50 international migration 74, 77–9; emigration 176–7, 190 International Organization for Migration (IOM) 18 Iran 17 Iraq 121; cartographic violence, displacement and refugee camps 13–28 Islamic Jihad 43 Islamist movements 44–5 Israel 15, 20–1, 24, 125–6; denial of statehood and Palestinian citizenship 114–16; establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 14, 72, 194; IDs, passports and TDs 116, 123–4; invasion of Lebanon in 1982 53, 70, 191, 195–6; laws pertaining to Israeli citizenship 114; Palestinian right of return 125–6 Israeli–Palestinian peace negotiations 156–9, 160; Oslo Accords/Process see Oslo Accords/Process Jacobsen, K. 77 Jacobson, L.B. 40 Jam’iyyat In’ashal-Usra (Society for Family Rejuvenation) 165 Japan, and Korean comfort women 151–2, 153–6, 160 Jean-Klein, I. 168–9 Jenin camp 55–7, 135 Jensen, M. 46 Jewish state 113–14; see also Israel Johnson, P. 85 Jordan 14, 23, 25, 26, 187, 193; annexation of central area of Palestine 114; citizenship as a political instrument 117–18; and GAP 115; Iraqi refugees 14, 17, 18; killings and expulsions in early 1970s 121; legal status of Palestinian refugees 128–46; numbers of Palestinian

Index 227 refugees 2, 3, 129; temporary refugeecitizens 130 Joseph, I. 70 July War (2006) 99 Jund e-Sham militants 101, 110 Kafr Qasem massacre 147 Kayed, B. 201 Khalidi, M. 195, 196 Khalidi, R. 189 kinship see family Korean comfort women 151–2, 153–6, 160 Kurds 14 Kuwait 121 League of Arab States (LAS) 116, 119, 129, 130 Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) 72, 97, 100, 104, 105, 106, 109 Lebanese–Palestinian Dialogue Committee (LPDC) 32, 38, 135; Nahr el-Bared crisis 97, 99, 102–3, 105, 106 Lebanon 14, 23, 121, 122, 193; discrimination against Palestinian refugees 117, 130–1, 133–4, 140, 180, 199; governance of camps 6, 29–39, 44–8; history of Palestinian refugees 194–5; Iraqi refugees 17; Israel’s invasion in 1982 53, 70, 191, 195–6; legal status of Palestinian refugees 39, 71, 128–46, 199; Mar Elias camp 68, 72–9; marginalization of Palestinian refugees 70, 71–2; Nahr el-Bared camp see Nahr el-Bared camp; nationality law amended 5, 119; numbers of Palestinian refugees 2, 3, 129; relations with Palestinians and the Nahr el-Bared crisis 97–110; Shatila camp see Shatila camp; urbanization of refugee camps 7, 67–80; women in camps of 9, 180–92 legal status 8, 128–46; challenges of the Oslo peace process 133–6; evolution of 129–32; and family 172–3; Palestinians in Lebanon 39, 71, 128–46, 199; problems faced by refugees 138–42; Syria 39, 128–46 Libya 121 liminality 21 local committees 71; Fawwar camp 86; Shatila camp 59, 200–3; Yarmouk camp 40–1 local identity 50–64 longing for return 141 Lutz, C. 15, 16

Madrid peace process 157 Makkawi, K. 33, 99, 102, 106 Malkki, L. 14, 26 Mar Elias camp 68, 72–4, 79; migration and evolution 74–9 marginalization 70, 71–2 marriage 8–9, 176–7; between relatives 166–7, 171, 173, 174, 175, 176, 177 mass weddings 46 matter-out-of-place 14 Mazen, A. 136 memory: and identity 182–3; memories of war 174; and reality for women in camps of Lebanon 9, 180–92 Microcredit Community Support Program 42 migration 67–80, 141–2; emigration 176–7, 190; forced 22, 194; international 74, 77–9; key role in evolution of refugee camps 74–9; Palestinian migrations 74, 75–6; Shatila camp 196–7 Millennium Declaration 95 Millennium Development process 95 mistrust 84–5; Fawwar camp planning project 87–90 mobility 7, 20–1, 67–80; place and 69–70; problems 141–2; world of movement 190 modernist narrative of the family 167–9 Mohanty, C.T. 182 moral damages 156 Mujahed, A. 55 mukhtars 42 Mundt, A. 4 municipality (baladiyya) 40–1 Murabitoun militia 53 Mustafa, A. 53–4, 56–7 Nabulsi, K. 52, 60–1 Nahr el-Bared camp 59, 72, 135, 180, 187; crisis 7, 71, 80, 97–110; governance 29–39, 44–8 Nakba (disaster) of 1948 1, 187, 194 narrative, women’s 9, 183, 184–91 Nasrallah, S.H. 103, 104 national identity 183, 186–9, 191; and local identity in refugee camps 50–64 national liberation movements 51–2 nationality: laws 5, 119; right to 119–20 Near East Project (NEP) survey 136–42 needs, prioritising 90–1 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) 73; NGO-sanctioned family 167–9; Shatila camp 199

228

Index

Oslo Accords/Process 56, 116, 129, 157–8, 191; IDs and passports 116, 126; Palestinian refugees and the challenges of 133–6; political divisions 98–9; refugee identification 51–2 Ottoman Empire 113 Pakistan 114 Palestine: British Mandate 113–14; cartographic violence, displacement and refugee camps 6, 13–28; romanticized view of 188–9; UN Partition Plan 114, 194 Palestine Arab Refugee Institution (PARI) 39 Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) 37, 50, 57, 58, 70, 71, 118, 157–8, 196; camps in Lebanon 193, 195, 199, 199–200, 203; democratic centralism 37; Jordan and 118, 121; Nahr el-Bared crisis 98–9, 102, 103, 104–5, 105–7, 108; need for reform/revival 60–1, 61–2; relations with Arab governments and status of Palestinian refugees 121; Vienna document 33, 35 Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) 42–3 Palestinian Armed Struggle Command 108, 199 Palestinian National Authority (PNA) 50, 51, 59, 60, 199, 116, 122, 133, 136, 173 Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research 125–6 Palestinian family 8–9, 165–79 Palestinian General Women’s Union 42 Palestinian Human Rights Organization (PHRO) 201 Palestinian Legislative Council 104 Palestinian National Council (PNC) 50, 58, 60, 61 Palestinian national identity see national identity Palestinian passport 122, 126 Palestinian Scout Association 43 Palestinian state: desire for 190; proposed in UN Partition Plan 114; as a solution 125, 126 Palestinian Youth Organization 43 Palestinianization 24 Palestinians Register 60–1 Partition Plan 114, 194 passports: Jordanien 117–18, 121–2; Palestinian 122, 126

Peace Implementation Program (PIP) 133 Peres, S. 147 Peteet, J. 182–3 phantom sovereignty 30–2 place 186–7; and mobility 69–70 planning: action planning 91–3, 95; conflictual 87–93; master plan 91–3; strategic 95 policing 36; community policing 33–4 ; police stations 35–6 politics: citizenship as a political instrument 116–19; fall-out of Nahr el-Bared crisis 7, 97–110; political divisions 98–100; refugee camps as political systems 193–204 Pollack, K. 21, 23 Popular Committees 9, 30, 34, 35, 184; de-legitimizing 36–7; Nahr el-Bared camp 35, 36–7, 44; Shatila camp 59, 194, 199–200, 201, 203 Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine–General Command (PFLP–GC) 196 post-colonial feminist theory 182 post-conflict reconstruction 35 poverty 2, 3, 140, 141 property, buying 75–6 pro-Syrian committees 44 protection 121–4 protracted refugees 4–5 Qaffisheh, M. 114 Qassem, Sheikh N. 104 Al-Qutub, I. 68–9 Rapport, N. 190 Rashidiyyeh camp 75, 184 redress 149–51, 159; see also reparations reduction of services, perceived 89 Refugee Convention (1951) 25, 38, 122 refugee file 98, 109 refugee studies 6–9, 68 Refugee Working Group (RWG) 157 regional refugee councils 58 registration: advantages of 136–8, 139; registered refugees 2–3, 128, 129, 147; and responsibility 25, 26 rejectionist groups 98–9, 100, 109 religious leaders 42, 45 reparations 8, 147–61; apology and compensation 151–6; as a notion of redress 149–51; Palestinian refugee case 156–9, 160

Index 229 repatriation 26, 148; see also right of return resettlement 142–3, 148 resistance 58–9, 184, 188, 191; Jenin camp 55–7; Shatila camp 54–5 restrictions 120–1, 126, 133–4 right of return 87–9, 103, 125, 128, 135, 141, 142; limited to future Palestinian state on West Bank and Gaza 143; statelessness as a means of preserving 129–31; UNRWA as an unintended guardian of 131–2 Right of Return movement 58, 62 rights: civil 5, 103, 169; denial of 117, 120; group rights 52; human 5, 117, 119–20; group rights 52; Universal Declaration of Human Rights 119; see also right of return Road Map 156–7 Rose, N. 46 Rosenfeld, H. 167 Sabra camp 53, 121 Sa’iqa (Vanguard for the Popular Liberation War) 43, 196 Saniora, F. 34, 99, 101 Saudi Arabia 117 Sayigh, R. 51, 53, 54–5, 74, 75, 184, 186, 195, 196 sectarianism 15–18, 19 secular groups 98–9, 109; see also Fatah, Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) security 21–6; critique of security-based sovereignty 37–9; governance reduced to 34–9 Segev, T. 147 segregation 6, 29–30, 48 self-organization 57–9, 71; Shatila camp 9, 59, 200–3 Separation Wall 116 services: access to 140, 141; provision of basic services 136–8, 139; reduction in 89; services committees 134–5 Sfeir, J. 67–8, 72 Shatila camp 9, 73, 121, 193–204; changes in social fabric 196–7; Committee of the Camp’s Population (CCP) 59, 200–3; FRC 200–1; governance 199–204; history 195–6; living conditions 197–9; Popular Committees 59, 194, 199–200, 201, 203; sieges 53–5, 196 Shlaim, A. 114 Sidon 101 sieges 53–7; Jenin 55–7; Shatila 53–5, 196

slums 82; upgrading 94–6 Smith, M. 4 Social Safety Net (SSN) program 42 space: ethnic and sectarian 15–18, 19; of exception 9, 38; humanitarian 6, 25–6; spaces of containment 18–21 Spivak, G.C. 182 state: family and 167–9; formation 3–4, 52, 62; instability 74; Jewish 113–14 (see also Israel); Lebanese and refugee camps 37–9; Palestinian see Palestinian state; Syrian and Yarmouk camp 41 state of exception 3, 5, 32–4, 178, 199 statehood, denial of 113–16 statelessness 7–8, 113–27; impact of 119–21; issue of protection 121–4; as a means of preserving the right of return 129–31 status, legal see legal status Sudanese 78–9 Sunnis 16, 98 surveillance 48 Sustainable Cities Programme 95 Syria 25, 26, 122, 193, 196; Fatah al-Islam and Nahr al-Bared camp 100; governance of camps 6, 29–32, 39–48; Iraqi refugees 17, 18; legal status of Palestinian refugees 39, 128–46; numbers of Palestinian refugees 2, 3, 129; stewardship of Lebanon 99; War of the Camps 196 Taba negotiations 158, 159, 160 Tabar, L. 56, 57 Takkenberg, L. 52, 124 Tell al-Zaatar camp 75, 106, 186 Terry, F. 24 transit, refugees in 4 travel documents (TDs) 116–17, 121 tribes 16; tribal structure in Yarmouk camp 42 Turkey 17 Turner, B. 20 Turner, V. 21 Tyre 165, 170–8 Ugland, O.F. 2 undocumented refugees 122 unemployment 140, 198 Union of the Refugee Youth Activities Centers 134 unions 43, 60 United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine (UNCCP) 132, 157, 158–9

230

Index

United Nations Convention on Refugees (1951) 25, 38, 122 United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) 29 United Nations General Assembly 1; resolution 181 114, 194; resolution 194 128, 131 United Nations-HABITAT (UN-HABITAT) 93–4, 95, 96 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) 25, 67, 94, 95, 96, 132; applicability of UN Convention on Refugees 122; Iraqi refugees 18, 20 United Nations Partition Plan 114, 194 United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) 57, 67, 103, 122, 128, 142; advantages of registration with 136–8, 139; basic services provider vs a proof of refugee identity 136–8, 139; camp governance and phantom sovereignty 30–2; camp improvement 87–93, 94, 95, 96; Camp Improvement Programme 85; Geneva Conference (2004) 83; governance of Yarmouk camp 42; Infrastructure and Camp Improvement Department 83; institutional arrogance 84–5; Mar Elias camp 72; Oslo peace process 133, 134; Palestinian refugee identity 24–5; re-coding 23–4; registered refugees 2–3, 128, 129, 147; registration card as political symbol 132; registration and responsibility 25, 26; research and planning project with Stuttgart University 82, 83–5; Shatila camp 195, 198, 199; Shelter Rehabilitation Programme 92; unintended guardian of the right of return 131–2; Urban Planning Unit 83 United States (US): occupation of Iraq 13, 14, 15, 16–18, 26; Palestinian emigrants to 113–14; reparations to Japanese Americans 152–6 unofficial camps/gatherings 67, 197

urban dispersal 19–20 urban integration 70–4 urban planning 7, 81–96 urban refugees 68–70 urbanization 7, 81–2, 84, 94; refugee camps in Beirut 7, 67–80 Vanguard for the Popular Liberation War (Sa‘iqa) 43, 196 victim diaspora 190 Vienna document 32–4, 34–5 violence 199; cartographic 13–28 virtual cities 81–2 Wadi Araba Treaty 134 Wadi el Zine 197 War of the Camps 196 warehousing 4–5 Weizman, E. 81 West Bank 20; Far’ah camp meeting 58; Fawwar camp see Fawwar camp; Israel’s occupation of 115, 122; Jenin camp 55–7, 135; Jordan’s annexation of 114; King Hussein’s surrendering of legal claim to 118; legal status of Palestinian refugees 128–46; new category of IDPs 22; numbers of Palestinian refugees 3, 129; statelessness 118, 131 women: Korean comfort women 151–2, 153–6, 160; memory and reality for women in the camps of Lebanon 9, 180–92; siege of Shatila camp 54–5 Working Group (Fawwar camp) 90 world of movement 190 World Refugee Survey 4 Wratten, E. 93 Yarmouk camp 69; governance 29–32, 39–48 Zaki, A. 102, 105–7, 108, 110 Zetter, R. 27 Zionism 117