Palestine International Institute (PII) is the first and only Palestinian NGO to specialize in gathering academic and scientific information about communities of Palestinian origin living Diaspora.
The Institute came to be in 2002, in response to a severe lack of information about Arab and Palestinian communities around the world. Available studies were poor and scattered.
In addition, regular and effective connections among these communities were lacking, there was almost no connection between these communities and Homeland.
PII’s comprehensive approach has been a great motivation for its creative thinking, which without direct involvement in politics, simulates major activities within the core of the broader Palestinian national movement.
PII’s projects ain to set up a two-way link of interation between our communities abroad and Palestine as a cause, a homeland and a future independent state.
PII also aspires to establish solid bridges among these communities to empower Palestinians in the West to join their efforts towards serving Palestinian national interests around the world.
The complications of the Palestinian national cause have been historically linked to various origins, some of which are the following:
A- The flow of settlers into ‘historic Palestine’, which led to the establishment of the first colony in Palestine in 1882.
B- The subsequent British Mandate that paved the way for the creation of the State of Israel on Palestinian land, and the collective dispersion and emigration of the Palestinians since 1948.
C- The occupation of the remaining parts of Palestine in 1967, which led to the emigration of yet another segment of Palestinians, and was followed by various disastrous events and clashes.
To understand the Palestinian situation, one must grasp many key facts, most notably:
1. The Palestinian national cause has been the subject of unprecedented world attention, as indicated by the number of resolutions adopted by the United Nations and its predecessor, the League of Nations. It is widely known, however, that none of these resolutions have been implemented.
2. Israel’s borders have extended well beyond the boundaries designated by UN Resolution No. 181, which stipulated the partitioning of Palestine, and now exceed 78.5 percent of the territory of historic Palestine. The pre-June 4, 1967 ‘disputed areas’ constitute only 21.5 percent of Palestine.
3. The Palestinian national cause is a problem inherited from the colonial past. This legacy is reflected both in the conventional military occupation and the drive to push Palestinians out through settlement expansion.
4. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict has increasingly become a struggle for existence rather than for borderlines, as politics have merged with demography, and could accordingly turn into an open-ended war in the future.
5. The creation of an independent and sovereign Palestinian State, with Jerusalem as its capital, will not solve the problem of two thirds of the Palestinian people living in Diaspora. Many objective and realistic studies assert that even if combined political miracles materialize, the promised Palestinian State could not absorb more than 35-40 percent of the Palestinian people, due to political, economic, geographical and demographic considerations, to name but a few.
6. The large number of Palestinians found living outside their homeland is part of a global phenomenon of displacement, involving many different people of the world who have been exposed to forced or voluntary migration, for different political, security, social or even personal reasons.
7. The migration of Palestinian people from their native land and among the countries of the Diaspora continues to be caused by economic and political hardships, and has led to a substantial brain drain of Palestinian intelligentsia from the region. Following their dispersal, many Palestinians have distinguished themselves within their new communities, accumulating unique expertise that has made them invaluable to the local fabric of these countries in many cases. This migrant-immigrant segment of Palestinians is an invaluable human treasure of rare potential, and a possible strategic resource for the Palestinian national cause.
8. The differences between the Palestinians and other dispersed groups are as follows:
- A: A lack of communication and connection among the communities of the Diaspora, and subsequently the absence of sufficient information about communities of Palestinian origin.
- B: Based on this reality, and recognizing the role played by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) during a given period, we have witnessed failure at establishing effective, sustained and systematic links of cooperation in the service of the Palestinian cause. Such contacts are currently nonexistent among the Palestinian communities, between them and their homeland, within the Arab and Muslim communities, or with the host societies.
- C: Websites and libraries are void of any specialized or semi-comprehensive studies specifically addressing any Palestinian community as such. In fact, the available studies are sporadic and inadequate.
- D: Lack of a specialized, professional establishment to study, connect and support these communities and set up a systematic mechanism to regulate the transfer of expertise, with the goal of assisting the cause of Palestine not only in the media, but also in the scientific, economic, and national fields. There remains a need to motivate Palestinian communities and involve them in the formation and founding of local political lobbies in support of the Palestinian people’s rights and cause.
- E: With the shift of attention to the burgeoning Palestinian Authority, the PLO’s efforts to mobilize Palestinians living abroad declined in the nineties. This fact actually underlines the need to create a specialized institute to work side by side with the official circles in Palestine and Jordan, in order to eliminate the existing vacuum and to bridge the current gap between Palestinians in the homeland and those in Diaspora.
Initiative & Mission
The Initiative and the Mission
Sharing the same national pain, hope and concern, the founders of PII met to explore the measures needed to confront the realities of exile. They developed a concrete, clear and comprehensive vision of what could be done to keep all Palestinians connected to their homeland.
Through a systematic effort, embodying the national aspirations of Palestinians, PII hopes to achieve:
1. Coherent links among Palestinians living in exile.
2. Channels of contact for Palestinians living in exile to assist their countrymen in the homeland, as well as in future independent state of Palestine (with Jerusalem as its capital).
3. A stronger connection between those living in exile with their kinsmen living in the Arab world, especially in Greater Syria and specifically Jordan.
The General Goal
The general goal of PII is to conduct various types of research on the Palestinian communities living in exile and to provide interrelated services which will keep Palestinians living inside and outside of Palestine connected to their homeland as well as to each other.
In this respect, PII is the first institute of its kind, specializing in gathering the information about communites of Palestinian origin living in Diaspora in such areas as Europe, Latin and North America, Australia and a number of Arab countires. Field studies carried out in those countries are the basis of the scientific research done by PII.
1. To encourage Palestines living in Diaspora to strengthen their community ties and activities in their host countries, in order to preserve the Palestinian national culture and traditions, as well as to improve the image of Palestinians within their host countries.
2. To promote interaction among the communities of Palestinian origin, both in West and in the Arab countries outside Greater Syria and Egypt.
3. To foster positive relations between Palestinian Diaspora communities and their host countries, in order to improve the international image of the Palestinian people, their cause and to dispel stereotypes and discrimination against Arabs.
4. To develop economic, scientific, cultural, and investment ties between the Palestinian Diaspora communities and their homeland.
5. To disseminate accurate information about Arabs and Palestinians living in exile, in order to help the international media and world decision-makers to have a more informed understanding of the Arab position, including the Arab and Palestinian communities’ collective and individual contributions to world civilization.
6. To put the final outcome of all PII research activities at the disposal of all concerned individual and institutional researchers.