A seminar on “Representation and Elections for the Palestinian Diaspora Communities: Vision, Problems, and Technical” was held in Istanbul on Sunday 2 February 2020, within a workshop organized by the Popular Conference for Palestinians Abroad and the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) at sabahattin zaim university.
What are the problems facing Palestinian refugees?
Fadi Al-Zaatari, a researcher at the CIGA, sheds the light on the problems facing Palestinian refugees such as the absence of legal documents, passports, identity cards and the inability to officially register marriage or obtain a birth certificate for children. These problems face many Palestinians in Jordan, especially the refugees from the Gaza Strip. Such measures mainly hinder access to an accurate number of refugees, since many are not legally registered and therefore cannot be fully counted.
According to a study made on camp committees in Jordan, it showed that the electoral system in Jordan is unfair and designed to restrict Palestinian representation; and that these associations must have a greater political role.
"The census of the Palestinian people needs methodologies that are mainly based on mobilization and preparations for discussions to be presented by the participants, for example, mapping the presence of Palestinians through Palestinian communities” Al-Zaatari added.
How Arab governments deal with the Palestinian refugees?
Dr. Muhammad Yasser Amro, Director of the Academy of Refugee Studies, in his turn talked about the numbers of Palestinian refugees in the host countries. He discussed the classification of Palestinian refugees in Jordan who have Jordanian passport with national number, but not a Palestinian ID or UNRWA card.
However, the relationship between the government of Jordan and the Palestinian refugees is based on integration and naturalization, excluding the people of Gaza, investing the Palestinian presence politically, and withdrawing nationalities, besides the emergence of negative voices and measures. In addition to the rejection of resettlement and an alternative homeland socially and politically. Dr. Amro noted that the common base that can be worked on with Jordan is the issue of rejecting resettlement.
With regard to the relationship of the Lebanese government with the Palestinian refugees, Dr. Amro pointed out that the instability of Lebanon reflects on the relationship with the Palestinians; as well as the sectarian division in Lebanon to be reflected on the Palestinians and their civil rights.
Dr. Amro considered that the environment in Lebanon is repelling for Palestinian youth, and that the Lebanese decision makers and elites in Lebanon consider the Palestinians as a burden.
Regarding the relationship of the Syrian government with the Palestinian refugees, Dr. Amro said that the government granted legal and civil rights for the refugees, as well as a Palestinian document with the exception of the right to vote and stand for election. He added that the relationship was strained due to the Syrian crisis, and there is a state of disintegration of the nature of Palestinian society in Syria.
Hassan Imam from the INSAN Center for Civilization Studies talked about the feasibility of electronic voting and its challenges, especially during the registration process. He highlighted the possibility of penetration during voting or manipulation during the screening process.
Imam also talked about Blockchain technology as a new perspective in information technology. This technology relies on decentralization in transferring and storing data with the ability to encrypt and protect the process from manipulating and maintaining the transparency standard.
According to Imam, the voting process goes through three stages, namely, recording who is eligible to vote, then conducting the voting process, and finally counting. Imam believes that elections using Blockchain technology can be achieved.
The researcher Amr Al-Nazer, in his turn, pointed out the solutions to all problems that might interfere with the idea of e-election. In addition, the technological tools cannot be dispensed with, and must be viewed from a strategic angle and not only as tools