Mada al-Carmel – The Arab Center for Applied Social Research held its annual conference for 2023 at the end of May in Nazareth. Mada has now held this annual conference for seven years, each year broaching a pressing matter or issue related to Palestinians in Israel. Using critical approaches and new theoretical perspectives, the conference aims to addresses each such issue from a variety of angles: social, political, economic, etc. The subject and title of this year’s conference was
“The interrelations among Palestinians in historic Palestine: social, political and economic dynamics”
On the eve of the conference, Mada hosted a dialogue session with Dr. Amahl Bishara, Professor of Sociology at Tufts University in the United States, on the subject of her book, Crossing a Line: Laws, Violence, and Roadblocks to Palestinian Political Expression. The session was held via Zoom and live-streamed on Mada’s Facebook page. It was moderated by Dr. Areej Sabbagh-Khoury, a lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a member of Mada al-Carmel’s Research Committee.
The conference itself opened with introductory addresses by historian Dr. Johnny Mansour, a member of Mada al-Carmel’s Board Committee, and by Dr. Mohannad Mustafa, General Director of Mada al-Carmel. Dr. Mansour raised numerous questions concerning the nature and form of the relationship between Palestinian groups on either side of the Green Line, a relationship that is the starting point of the conference research. Dr. Mustafa then discussed the various historical and political contexts that have furthered either fragmentation and division, or unity and cohesion between different sections of the Palestinian people.
These opening remarks were followed by a review of an opinion poll of Palestinians in Israel conducted by Mada al-Carmel.
Dr. Sami Mahajna, associate lecturer in education and psychology at the Arab Academic Institute of Education, Beit Berl College, analyzed and presented the results of the survey in a lecture entitled “Relationships at the Margins: A study of the nature of relations between the two sections of Palestinian society on either side of the Green Line.”
The first panel of the conference, on the subject of “Economic Relations: Social and political approaches” was moderated by
Dr. Mtanes Shihadeh, Director of Policy Unit at Mada al-Carmel. The following three addresses were delivered during the panel: the first was a presentation on “Prospects for Palestinian Economic Cooperation and Integration across the Green Line,” given by Dr. Rabeh Morrar, Director of Research at the Palestinian Economic Policy Research Institute -MAS, and Associate Professor of Economics at the An-Najah National University, on behalf of the MAS Institute. The second, entitled “Between Two Sides – A People Practicing Unity and Fragmentation: Commercial relations between Palestinians inside the Green Line and from Jenin,” was delivered by Dr. Areen Hawari, Director of the Gender Studies Program at Mada Al-Carmel. The third presentation was given by Muhammad Qa’adan, a master’s student in sociology at University College Dublin, Ireland, on the subject of, “Military Rule, Smuggling and Border-Construction: The disruption and restoration of Palestinian relations along the armistice line.” Comments to this session were given by Dr. Youssef Awawdeh, former lecturer at the An-Najah National University and former head of the Kufr Kanna Local Council.
The second panel, which addressed “Social Relationships: Pedagogical and feminist approaches” was moderated by
Dr. Hawazin Younis, a lecturer at the Netanya Academic College. During the session, Dr. Islam Abu-Asaad, a researcher on educational psychology, gave a talk on “Perceptions and Applications among Educators of Policies of Evaluation and Inclusion for Palestinian Students from the West Bank and in Arab Schools in Israel.”
Dr. Suhad Daher-Nashif, a lecturer in the sociology of health at the School of Medicine, Keele University, United Kingdom, gave a talk about a study undertaken by herself and Dr. Areen Hawari, with the title of, “A Mountainous Journey, an Arduous Journey: The lived experience of Palestinian women from the 1967 Occupied Territories married and living within the Green Line”.
Ms. Helena Ighbariya, a social activist and Director of the Social Services Office in the Municipality of Umm el-Fahem, gave comments to this session.
Mada al-Carmel streamed all sessions of the conference on its social media pages, and published all the studies and research presented at the conference into a book. At the conclusion of the conference, Mada presented study grants to master’s and doctoral students participating in its Seminar Program for Graduate Students, in celebration of their contributions and achievements.
** The conference was supported by the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung.