Refugees / Practical Issues:

Oversight and Implementation

An elaborate plan that deals with refugee residency options and compensation would require a complex implementation mechanism (IM).

One option would be to build the IM out of an existing body to minimize the need for negotiating an entirely new bureaucracy. The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which actively deals with such issues, might seem like a natural choice. However, given the politics surrounding the UN and Israel, Israelis have largely dismissed this option.  Another option could be to use the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee within the World Bank, a longstanding donor structure that has worked to fund the PA and international NGOs for Israelis and Palestinians. 

 

Alternatively, the IM could be run by a new agency within the PLO or as part of the new Palestinian government, potentially boosting the Palestinian leadership’s credibility, which could be helpful in light of compromises it would likely have to make on other issues. Still, Palestinians might hesitate to take on such a complex process that will inevitably be the subject of criticism and complaints.

Lastly, there is the possibility of a newly-established international agency, composed of representatives of the two parties, regional stakeholders, and international members. Both Israelis and Palestinians have favored this idea in past negotiations, including an independent international commission, and an international fund, with significant participation from the World Bank. Still, the parties have differed over the level of detail to be included in an agreement, with Palestinians supporting a higher level of detail, and Israel supporting most details to be worked out later with the IM. 

 

The effectiveness of the IM would depend on the level of engagement with Israel, the new Palestinian state, the US and the international community. With expectations high, there will be intense pressure on the IM to deliver rapid results.

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