At least 20 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli occupation forces (IOF) since the start of the year.
Arabs must continue to speak out about the Palestinian struggle for justice amid increased Israeli aggression against Palestinians, scholars said during the first Annual Palestine Forum in Doha.
The Forum, which runs until January 30, is hosted by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies and the Institute for Palestine Studies.
Addressing the opening session, Tarek Mitri, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Institute for Palestine Studies, said the conference is essential in supporting and strengthening Palestinian unity.
Mitri highlighted the unified Arab agreement, citing the findings of the recently launched Arab Opinion Index to the Palestinian cause.
The survey, which is the biggest of its kind on a regional level, found that over 80% of respondents believe Israel is a threat to Palestine and the Arab world.
In Qatar, 79% of respondents said the Palestinian cause concerns all Arabs while 11% believed it only concerns Palestinians alone. A mere 6% of those surveyed rejected both stances.
Mitri also praised Arab sentiment toward Palestine during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 as Arab fans and players expressed solidarity with Palestine.
The Palestinian flag, armband, and black-and-white scarf, known as the keffiyeh, were spotted across all stadiums, in a clear show of unity amid the ongoing Israeli occupation.
During his opening lecture, Azmi Bishara, General Director of the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, gave a rallying cry for Arabs to remain persistent in discoursing the Palestinian struggle for justice.
He cited that this is more valid now than ever due to the apparent increase in passivity towards the issue and the recent normalisation policies by regional governments.
Since the start of the year, Israel has killed more than 20 Palestinians amid international concerns over further bloodshed.
According to Bishara, the Forum will provide a space to bridge the gap for Palestinians, researchers and academia worldwide to have a rational and responsible discourse about Palestine, its history, and its struggle.
He said such forums have become repetitive and may not influence policymaking as leaders won’t take due to their lack of interest in taking action against the occupation.
“Researchers have a duty to respond to misrepresentation, not with escalation and emotive appeals, but through rational, moral discourse that can be addressed to Arabs and Jews, and East and West, and translated into any language,” Bishara said.
He added that Arabs must “reaffirm the ideas and principles we must continue to uphold because the occupation and settler regime wants us to get tired of repeating them.”
More than 60 research papers will be presented in the forum out of over 300 submitted.
The papers will cover workshops on various topics related to Palestine studies, such as Palestinian history, the Palestinian cause, apartheid and settler-colonialism, and Palestine in Arab and international relations, among others.