Shaml undertakes and commissions research that investigates the social, economic and legal life experiences of Palestinian refugees and Palestinian communities in the diaspora in a thematically comprehensive and comparative fashion. Shaml's current research encompasses three main areas of study: Memories of Exile (Palestinian Oral History), Right and Sociology of Return, and Transnational Life.
- Oral history: Shaml believes that there is no solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict without the acknowledgement of Israel's moral responsibility for the creation of the Palestinian refugee problem and its ongoing colonial practices.
- Right and Sociology of Return: The implementation of the right of return is the key for any durable solution Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Shaml is interested in understanding the sociological and economic factors that will influence the refugees’ decision to realize this right.
- Transnational life: Transnational life of the Palestinian refugees is an issue which encompasses all the study of the Palestinian refugee and diaspora in their place of exile and of migration.
Shaml research has focused on the legal status of the Palestinian refugees in a problematic emergence of nation-states in the Middle East explored in “Bidoon: Statelessness in the Arab World”.
- Space, life and refugee camps: urban perspective: The research attempts to merge development theory and urban planning highlighting the refugee camps in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as particularly challenging cases in Palestinian development. The objective is to explore the effects of de-development on the West Bank and Gaza Strip since 1967 and its implications on urban planning and architectural forms. This is particularly relevant to projections and scenarios of municipal and local planning as well as repatriation of Palestinian refugees.
Palestinians living as migrants or refugees in the diaspora face tremendous legal and political difficulties. They are alienated because of the absence of their right of return to the villages and towns from which they were expelled in 1948 and 1967 and they also lack the ability to make a choice regarding their futures. In addition, they are often burdened with a precarious legal status in the countries in which they reside, particularly in the Middle East. Even in the Palestinian territories, the urban situation of the refugee camps is very problematic. Shaml is engaged in advocacy and awareness to redress these problems in creative ways. The center directs a cinema club forum activity in refugee camps and cities of the West Bank and Gaza dealing with Palestinian and foreign issues of identity and refugeehood, and publishes books, monographs and a periodical newsletter.
- Constructing the Memory of the Youth in Jenin Refugee Camp: Summer school training in Preparing Photo Exhibition and in Oral History collecting in the Jenin Refugee Camp
- Commemorating 57 Years since the Nakbeh: Palestinian destroyed villages photo exhibition, commemorating Palestinain villages inside 27 refugee camps both in Gaza and the West bank.
- Reconstructing the Youth Memory: Jalazon and Nuseirat: We have chosen to execute the program using Across Borders Project as the facilitator due to their undisputed expertise, professionalism and knowledge of the field. The two camps were selected from their portfolio, and the partners there have been targeted according to their suitability for an institution-building program. The Across Borders Project will be responsible for the implementation of the project, with the support of Shaml. Among its objectives is to build the capacities of the participating organizations in the camps
• Advocacy and Awareness:
Palestinians living as migrants or refugees in the diaspora face tremendous legal and political difficulties. They are alienated because of the absence of their right of return to the villages and towns from which they were expelled in 1948 and 1967 (as enshrined in UN General Council Resolution 194) and also the absence of the right of choice for their future. In addition, they also confront an oftentimes precarious legal status in the countries in which they reside, particularly in the Middle East. Even in the Palestinian Territories, the urban situation of the refugee camps is very problematic. Shaml is engaged in advocacy and awareness to redress these problems, emphasizing both their immediate, political and legal dimensions, as well as their historical context. Abbas Shiblak was consulted in many occasions about many cases of refugeeness and statelessness. Following are some projects to this end.
- Cine-Club: Identity and Refugees: With the support of the Fredrich Ebert Stiftung and in cooperation with Al-Quds educational TV, we have launched a series of film screenings and discussions to explore different aspects of the theme ‘Identity and Refugees’. The discussions, which are amongst experts in the field, film-makers, and audience members, will be televised by Al-Quds educational TV, and six additional members of the Ma’an broadcasters’ network (local TV, reaching the whole of the West Bank and Gaza).
- Advocacy through Shaml Website : The Shaml website is a highly valuable source of information, not only informing people of our own research projects and opening up a forum for discussion of current issues, but also placing at their disposal a range of other material, such as our image library and the database of audio files of the oral histories we have collected so far. This is an invaluable service for researchers international or local, whether living in the Territories under occupation, thus unable to travel and work freely due to Israeli restrictions, or living in the diaspora or inside the green line.
- Advocacy through Publication:
- Advocacy through Participation in Workshops Concerning the Refugee Issues : As part of our networking activities to strengthen contacts with the research community, to advocate on behalf of the refugees, to raise awareness of issues related to the occupation in the international arena, and to benefit from shared experiences and potential cooperation opportunities locally, regionally and internationally, Shaml staff participated in the following activities:
• Linking the Diaspora to Palestine :
Shaml has a number of initiatives to build and enhance links between the Palestinian diaspora and the Palestinian Territories. Currently, we are in the process of establishing an umbrella network for refugee issues.
Shaml has also initiated an feasibility study for PIN (Palestinian International Network), headed by Dr. Asad Abdel Rahman
• Resource center:
Shaml also makes available resources for research and scholarship on Palestinian refugees and the Palestinian diaspora, including an online library and documentation unit, a growing oral history database, and an archive of images and pictorial material pertaining to the Palestinian diaspora. All our holdings are available to researchers and the wider public, on whom we also rely for our ongoing acquisitions of material.
- On Line Library Unit: Shaml has designed a specialized database called the Online Oral History Archive, which incorporates materials gathered by individual researchers and institutions covering the experiences of Palestinian refugees and migrants. These include publications, papers, manuscripts, digital and analogue records, etc. The Online Oral History Archive is accessible to all researchers, and can be searched on line at the following address: http://db.shaml.org/library/oralhistory_intro.htm. All documents are filed according to the geographical location of Palestinian refugee camps or communities, and/or relevant research issues. The database is being assembled as part of an ongoing compilation of research and major projects related to Palestinian oral, political and social history. Our growing bibliography on this topic is categorized by relevant populations and geographic areas, and the model of analysis utilized. Ongoing archiving of existing materials on Palestinian oral, political and social history is being undertaken by Shaml project director Dr. Lena Jayyusi who works to identify material, projects and relevant researchers in the Palestinian territories, Jordan and Israel.
- Diaspora Image Database: Shaml houses a growing archive of portraits, landscapes, art, commercial and industrial photos and snapshots pertaining to the Palestinian diaspora, with the aim of documenting and preserving the Palestinian national heritage, and the social, economic and cultural life of Palestinians in exile. Materials are gathered through an ongoing campaign that aims, inter alia, to build stronger links with individuals and institutions that possess or can help in collecting relevant images and photos. The campaign is being conducted throughout communities in which Palestinians reside. Shaml publishes online the visual materials that it acquires through this effort, at http://db.shaml.org/photo-library/. and makes them available for public access and display in museums, galleries and published studies, particularly encouraging their use in places where the Palestinian Diaspora resides. The archive can be browsed on-line. The photographs collected are restored, preserved and archived in a climate controlled storage area designed to prevent further deterioration of prints and negatives.
- Archive on the Palestinian Refugee issues : This archive is the first comprehensive archive about Palestinian refugee issues. It is searchable online by key words, date, and type of documents. http://db.shaml.org/archiver/default.htm
• E-Book (CD)- "The Palestinian Diaspora in Europe" Challenges of Dual Identity and Adaptation.
Edited: Abbas Shiblak
• The Palestinian Refugee Camps in the West Bank
Dr. Najeh Jarrar
• Still On Vacation
Dr. Sharif Kanaana
Series No. The Monograph
1 "Civil and Citizenship Rights of Palestinian Refugees" & "Palestine Refugees at the Crossroad of 1996 Permanent Status Negotiations"
Abbas Shiblak & Uri Davis
2 "Israeli Plans to Resettle the Palestinian Refugees 1948 -1972"
4 "The League of Arab States and Palestinian Refugees' Residency Rights"
"Israeli Resettlement Schemes for Palestinian Refugees in the West Bank & Gaza Strip Since 1967"
Norma Masriyeh Hazboum
6 "Reintegration of the Palestinian Returnees"
NichVan-Hear & others
9 "The Palestinians in Egypt and North Sinia"
Abdul-Kader Yassin , Sari Hanafi & Saint-Martin
11 "League of Arab States Resolutions on Palestinian Refugees’ Residency Rights in Host Arab States"