The present paper on the Palestinian refugee problem is the first concept paper that has emerged from the Joint Working Group deliberations. It is our hope that it will contribute to the discussion of this sensitive issue among decision makers, scholars, and the general public, and help to frame the issue in ways that will make it more amenable to productive negotiation.
The Joint Working Group is a project of the Program on International Conflict Analysis and Resolution (PICAR). in a long-standing, unofficial third–party effort to promote resolution of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, based on an approach called interactive problem solving. Using this approach, we have over many years brought together politically engaged and, in some cases, highly influential Palestinians and Israelis for private, confidential discussions, facilitated by a panel of social scientists who are knowledgeable about international and intercommunal conflict, group process, and the Middle East. These discussions take place in intensive workshops designed to enable the parties to explore each other's perspective and understand each other's concerns, needs, fears, priorities, and constraints. On the basis of this analysis, participants are encouraged to engage in a process of creative, joint problem solving in order to generate new ideas for solutions to their conflicts that are responsive to both sets of needs and fears. The ultimate goal is to transfer the insights and ideas gained from these interactions into the public debate and decision–making processes in the two communities.
The present paper on the Palestinian refugee problem is the first concept paper that has emerged from the group's deliberations.
Alpher, Joseph, and Khalil Shikaki. "The Palestinian Refugee Problem and the Right of Return." Working Paper 98–07, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, 1998.