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Return, Resettlement, Repatriation:
The Future of Palestinian Refugees in the Peace Negotiations

Source: FOFOGNET Digest, 22 April 1996

by Salim Tamari, Institute of Jerusalem Studies

Final Status Strategic Studies
Institute for Palestine Studies
Beirut, Washington, and Jerusalem

February 1996

Appendix: Refugee Glossary
Multilateral Negotiations: Established in 1991 by Madrid Peace Conference to supplement the Israeli-Palestinian, and Israeli-Arab (Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan)bilateral negotiations. Over 40 nations and international organization are involved in the multi-laterals. They include five working groups covering: disarmament, water, environment, economic development and refugees. Syria and Lebanon have boycotted the multi-laterals from the beginning. The agenda of the MLs are determined in a Steering Committee convened by the co-sponsors.

Refugee Working Group (RWG): One of the five multi-laterals (qv) in which over 40 states and international organization discuss the issue of Palestinian Refugees and their future in the Middle East peace process. Their are six regional parties to the RWG: Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Syria,Lebanon and the Palestinians. Both Syria and Lebanon have boycotted the RWG. The RWG has met six times (Moscow, Ottawa [twice], Oslo,Tunis, Antalya, and Cairo). Canada is the head of the RWG.

Intersessionals: Those are technical meetings convened by the multilaterals in between plenary sessions. The RWG has had a number of intersessionals to discuss the seven themes of the refugee committee. Those included intersessional on the definition of the family (Tunis 1994), and on refugee research and data basis (Oslo,1993-4), and family reunification (Paris, 1994).

Co-Sponsors: Russia and the US are the co-sponsors of the multi laterals according to the terms set in the Madrid Peace conference. They call for the steering committee and plenary sessions of the MLs.

Shepherds: Shepherds are the heads of sub-committees in the Multi-lateral negotiations. The RWG has six shepherds: (1) France (family reunification); (2) Norway (databases); (3) USA (Human Resource Development and Job Creation; (4) Italy (public health); (5) Sweden(Child Welfare); (6) The European Union (Economic development and social infrastructure).

Gavel Holders: Gavel Holders are the heads of the five working groups of the Multilaterals. They set the agenda of each plenary in consultation with the co-sponsors along the guidelines provided in the steering committee. Canada is the 'gavel' of the Refugee Working Group.Between 1992 and 1995 the Gavel holder of the RWG was Marc Peron,a civil servant from External Affairs who wrote the "Vision Paper on Refugees".

Quadripartite Committee: The Quadripartite Committee on Displaced Persons was established by the terms of the Oslo Accords (DOP) to discuss 'modalities for the admission of 1967 displaced persons to the West Bank and Gaza.'It is made up of delegates from Jordan, Egypt, Israel and Palestine. The QPC met for the first time in Amman in March 1995.It meets every three month at the ministerial level, and monthly as a technical committee of experts.

Displaced Persons: Dps are exiles from the West Bank and Gaza who lost their homes during, and as a consequence of, the war of 1967. Several meetings of the QPC were taken by the issue of defining who is included by the term 'displaced person'.

Refugee: The term 'refugee' designates Palestinians who lost their homes in 1948 in the areas that became later the state of Israel. UNRWA defines a Palestinian refugee as those permanent residents of Mandate Palestine in the years 1946-1948 who lost their homes and became exiles from the territories over which Israeli established control in the war of 1948. There were attempts made in the RWG to include in the term 'refugees' Jewish refugees to Israel, and other refugee minorities in the Middle East (Kurds, Southern Lebanese,etc.) but those were not accepted by the plenary of the RWG.

The Bajolet Report: Guidelines for enhancing the procedures for Family Reunification in the Occupied Territories made after the recommendations of the head of the French Shepherd to the RWG, Bernard Bajolet. The main features of this report stress the need for transparency in the procedures for FR schemes, and monitoring mechanisms for measuring progress made in implementing these procedures.

Vision Paper: A paper presented to the RWG by Marc Peron, Canadian head of the Committee between 1992-1995, to break the deadlock reached by negotiations over refugees. The paper attempts to open for debate what it calls 'taboos', such as the 'right of return' and 'resettlement of refugees.'

Late-Comers: Translation of the Hebrew term for Palestinian residents of the West Bank and Gaza who lost their residency in the period (1967-1995) while travelling outside the country. The Israeli Military Administration has a policy of cancelling the residency of citizens who stay more than 3 years abroad. There are more than 120,000 such cases and they are being negotiated in the QuadripartiteCommittee.

Oslo 2: The Interim Agreement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip which was signed in Washington on September 28th, 1995 containing significant guidelines for establishing residency for returning Palestinians (see Appendix 2, below).

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