Palthink profile

About Pal-Think:

In less than 8 years, Pal-Think was able to build for itself a respectable name in the Palestinian society as one of the most prominent Palestinian think tanks. Pal-This enjoys great relations with all Palestinian political sectors and has managed to build strategic partnerships with some of the most active international organizations. The work that Pal-Think has been showing since its establishment reflects the strength of its management and the qualifications and expertise the organization enjoys. There are many reasons why Pal-Think is a great fit to be a partner in other projects, and the following explains the answer:

Profile:

Pal-Think for Strategic Studies is an independent non-profit think and do tank that aims to stimulate and inspire rational public discussions and consensus for the well-being of the Palestinians. Pal-Thinks work is structured around a dual focus on 1) in-depth research and 2) civic society empowerment through project work; this way Pal-Think aims to give a clear platform for constructive debate and dialogue and to produce up to date research relevant of the Palestinian cause and the situation in the Middle East. There are multiple Palestinian and international researchers, authors, politicians and activists connected to Pal-think and its work. Up to now, some of Pal-Thinks main priorities have been to conduct research about the reconstruction of Gaza as well as the reconciliation- and peace processes of sustaining a shared Palestinian unit, both politically, geographically and socio-economically. A great effort has also been placed on actively engaging the young Palestinian population in meaningful political work and empowering them to take part in the civic life in Gaza.

History

Pal-Think is based in Gaza, one of the most conflicted areas in the world. The organisation was established in 2007 as a reaction to the controversial election in 2006, which was the point of origin of the current internal division of the political system in Palestine. After the elections in 2006 the political scene changed, not only within domestic policy in Palestine; the international community’s approach and policies towards Palestine changed drastically.

A group of Palestinian researchers and community activists with a diverse background in different fields of academia and with a diverse knowledge of the Middle East, its current problems, potentials and possibilities establish Pal-Think in an effort to ensure in depth research on the development of Palestinian after the election. Since 2006 Palestine, and particularly Gaza have witnessed a devastating de-development, which calls for an increased effort to understand and act towards the injustice and violations that is going on. Rational thought and the integration of the civil society in the process of reconciliation, reconstruction and development of a strong Palestine is what motivates the work of Pal-Think.

Vision 

To be a frontrunner in the mediation of the Palestinian reconciliation and peace process and to contribute to the building of a free and democratic Palestinian society

Mission

Pal-Think believes in the power of the Palestinian civil society, and it aims to qualify the general public debate in Palestine through empowering the voice and capacity of the Palestinian people. Through a dual focus on research and civic empowerment, it is the mission of Pal-Think, not only to give the Palestinian people a voice, but also to give them tools to take power over their own lives and to be an active part in changing the situation in Palestine to develop a united and democratic Palestinian society.

Ambitions

Pal-Think for Strategic Studies is ambitious to be:

  • A highly credible and effective scholarly research unit
  • An active and visible actor in the Palestinian and international society
  • A frontrunner in the mediation of the Palestinian reconciliation process
  • A platform for constructive and creative thinking as well as a safe space for critical dialogue and discussion
  • Explorative of new and innovative ideas relevant to the Palestinian cause
  • An attractive partner for the international civil society aiming to support the Palestinian cause
  • A channel, bringing Gaza and Palestine to the world through international networks and research collaborations
  • An influential lobby unit for international awareness of the Palestinian cause on the terms of the Palestinian society and its people

Pal-Thinks Organisational Structure

Pal-Think was established in 2007 and is based on democratic values with the board of directors being responsible for the development of the organisation and the appointment of the Director who has the daily responsibility and to whom the staff reports. While it is the ambition of Pal-Think to establish an organisational structured around a sustainable and democratic chain, to ensure transparency and accountability, the organisation is still finding its structural ground while in rapid development and growth. Based in one of the most conflicted areas in the world and highly reliant on donor funding, the capacity of the organisation is in constant change and development. The annual general assembly, where the board of directors is appointed, is a time for assessment of the work of Pal-Think and where goals are set for the coming term.

Board of Directors

The Pal-Think board of directors consist of 19 members representing a variety of researchers and academics as well as representatives from the private and public sector in Palestine.

Staff

The office at Pal-Think is divided roughly into three units: an administrative unit, a project unit and a research unit. Depending on the level of activity, projects and funding opportunities available, Pal-Think seeks to hire new relevant staff when possible and is also reliant on its great network of freelance workers who make contributions to Pal-Thinks work. Pal-Think aims to facilitate internships for relevant local and international students.

Affiliations

Pal-Think has an increasingly big international network consistent of likeminded NGO’s, donors and other previous and current project partners; as well as strong individuals from within academia and the public and private sector around the world. Pal-Think is currently in the process of establishing an external international researchers panel (EIRP) consistent of affiliated researchers and other relevant international stakeholders who wish to stay connected to Pal-Think and support its work.

Pal-Thinks Work

Pal-Think aim to act as incubator that hosts, triggers and promotes the intellectual debate around economic-, political- and social issues that matter for Palestinian-, regional- and international actors.  Pal-Think therefore works with a variety of themes, using different strategies and approaches depending on the particular activity or research project. Many of the efforts addressed by Pal-Think overlap-, compliment- and support each other as the complexity of the current situation in Palestinian have many intertwined layers. Pal-Think adjusts its efforts to meet recent developments within the Palestinian society, international discourses and current political activities.

The Research Unit

Pal-Thinks vision is to be a frontrunner in the mediation of reconciliation and peace promotion in Palestine. The current and historical situation in Palestine is characterised not only by the Israeli occupation and its devastating impact on the Palestinian society but by the complexity of multi-layered conflicts, which together form an increasingly unmanageable pattern of conflicts. Pal-Think aims to provide up to date research about the Palestinian cause by focusing on subjects related to the following overall layers:

  • The Israeli occupation
  • Internal division in Palestine
  • The humanitarian crisis in Gaza
  • The role of international actors and organisations

The Project Unit

While the Research Unit is the backbone of Pal-Think, the Project Unit acts as an attempt to engage the Palestinian civil society in making a positive change for themselves and the Palestinian society. While it can sometimes be difficult to pin point the exact positive impact research has on a society, the Project Unit takes departure in this research and seeks to use it in practice to support current and contextual needs of the Palestinian people. The Project Unit seeks to include and give ownership to the participants. Further, the project Unit seeks to it that the research, conducted by Pal-Think and its affiliated partners, is in the best interest of the Palestinian society and in line with the needs of the people, since this is one of the strongest and most important features of Pal-Thinks work – to be active, visible and involved within the Palestinian society and be able to ensure representation of the Palestinian citizens in the international community.

Program Areas

Pal-Thinks work can roughly be divided into four thematically defined categories. These program areas are the point of departure of all activities in Pal-Think. This is illustrated by a collaborate effort of the Project Unit and the Research Unit to compliment and support each other in the work on relevant issues related to one or more of the four Programs. The four program areas are the following:

  1. Politics and Governance

Pal-Think aims to conduct research and be a resource for local as well as international policy makers and lobbyists with an interest in the Palestinian cause. Through the focus on politics and governance, it is the aim to tackle some of the complex layers of the many conflicts in the region and to make policy recommendations for local and international policy makers and organisations. Further the aim is to strengthen political international awareness through network activities and to engage the Palestinian citizenry in dialogue about politics and the development of society.

Pal-Think focuses on issues such as:

  • The current and future political system in Palestine.
  • Active participation and democratization of the Palestinian political system.
  • The role of international organisations
  • Enhancing regional and international cooperation
  1. Reconciliation and Peace Promotion

The current internal division of Palestine, both politically, geographically and socially is one of the greatest threats to Palestinian unity. Pal-Think aims to promote alternative approaches to the current discourse of division by exploring and engaging in international

Pal-Think focuses on issues such as:

  • Reconciliation and peace processes
  • Cultural diversity, tolerance and acceptance of others
  • Bringing Gaza to the world
  1. Civic Empowerment and Education

Pal-Think aim to work towards strengthening the civic society and empower the Palestinian population to take action and work for their rights. Through civic education and political training, Pal-Think aims to empower the most vulnerable groups in society, hence targeting its project efforts specifically towards the Palestinian youth with an emphasis in trying to engage the young women.

Palestine, and especially Gaza have one of the youngest- but most educated populations in the Middle East Region. Most of the young people have lived through three wars, which have resulted in devastation and lack of real livelihood opportunities. The current political situation in the region makes it difficult for the youth to link and apply their theoretical knowledge with practical experience and to engage in civil society and the political life in Palestine. These obstacles can influence the youth in a negative manner, resulting in radicalisation or for the youth to be stigmatized as idle. Pal-Think aims to activate the youth to become a positive influence in the development of an independent Palestinian state and to take precautionary measures against radicalisation by giving the youth a voice.

Pal-Think focuses on issues such as:

  • Youth, education and active participation
  • Radicalisation and alternatives to violence
  • Female empowerment and participation in the public sphere in Palestine
  • Entertainment projects for the children.
  1. Socio-Economics Development

Due to the siege, many people, especially in Gaza, have lost their livelihood opportunities and the unemployment rate is high, especially amongst the youth who are not able to fulfil their ambitions to contribute to society. The aftermath of the recent decades wars have further left Gaza in an urgent need of relief and development, especially within sectors such as sustainable energy, construction and export of goods. Pal-Think aims to support the development of an empowered public and private sector in Palestine, which can provide social welfare, jobs and increased stability and economic development to the Palestinian people.

Pal-Think focuses on issues such as:

  • Job creation
  • Empowering a sustainable private sector in Palestine
  • Ensuring welfare to the Palestinian people through a strengthening of an accountable public sector

Partners and Networks

Since its establishment in March 2007, Pal-Think has depended largely on its own resources and the voluntarily work by its directors and board members and its affiliated researchers. One of Pal-Thinks first and greatest supporters is the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA). The generous support of FDFA has contributed greatly to the birth and growth of Pal-Think. Currently Pal-Think is working to diversify its partners and sources of support and to increase its international and regional network, Hence along its work as a research unit and initiator for civic engagement, Pal-Think is in the process of building a strong network and relations with various local and international institutions. Pal-Thinks resent and current work is supported and initiated in partnerships with international organisations. In 2013 The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People (PAPP) commissioned Swiss Peace and Pal-Think to carry out a mapping study on the situation of the public civil servants in the health and education sectors in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. Other relevant partners count The Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES) in Germany and the European Institute of the Mediterranean as well as the U.S. Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI). Recently Pal-Think has increased its efforts for a greater focus on its research unit by signing a memorandum of understanding with Roskilde University (RUC) in Denmark.

Target Image:

Pal-Think for Strategic Studies is ambitious to be:

  • Highly credible and effective scholarly research center.
    •    Attractive to those who have an idea that needs further researching and exploration.
    •    A place that provides a supportive incubator to the liberal, free and diversified thoughts and ideas.
    •   A place that produces policy recommendations that attract the attention and the respect of the private sector, governments and civil society institutions.

Work Methodology:

Pal-Think aims to act as an incubator that hosts, triggers, and promotes the intellectual debate around the economic and political and social issues that matter for the Palestinian, regional and international actors.  Pal-Think realizes the specialty of the Palestinian case, where politics affects all aspect of life. Pal-Think enjoys good network with very wide range of external researches that are called upon request to produce policy papers and speak at public events and seminars Pal-Thinks prefers to keep the permanent staff at the minimum level. Throughout its work, Pal-Think has worked with Tens of external economists upon request.

Working Areas:

Reconciliation and Community

Over the last few years, the Palestinian reconciliation has been one of the most crucial issues that concerns the Palestinian society and affects the course of the political developments.  In July 2007, Pal Think for strategic studies initiated with self-financing a series of meetings which led to the production of its first policy paper “Emerging from the internal crisis…A road map for reconciliation”. Further efforts were exerted through implementing various projects for the same purpose; achieving the Palestinian reconciliation. Pal-Think‘s neutral position facilitates hosting both of the major contradicting political parties, Hamas and Fatah, and bring their views closer. Along four years, four projects were set up in this regard in cooperation with the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA).

  • Engaging the community into the process of reconciliation (2008)
  • Continuing efforts towards reconciliation” Touching on core issue” (2008) Empowering the community in the Palestinian National Reconciliation (2009)
  • Influential Confidence Building between Decision Makers and the Community (2010)
  • Restoring the Cooperation amongst Community Actors towards a Reconciled and Civilized Society (2011)
  • Civil society’s Heavy Involvement in Restoring Unity, Democracy and Rule of Law. (2012)

Economic studies

Since its establishment in 2007 and in response to the reality and specialty of Palestinian case, Pal-Think worked intensively in tacking the economic aspects the ongoing issue and the future ones. In the economic field, Pal-Think organized the following activities:

  • In 2009 producing a documentary film entitled: Women can do it too!! (Empowering Women through Business Creation)
  • In 2011, we held a training course on “Promoting Free Markets and Entrepreneurship amongst youth in the Gaza Strip.
  • In April 2011, Pal-Think organized a conference entitled: “Two Years since SharmElsheikh Donors Conference and the Reconstruction of Gaza Strip Hasn’t Resumed yet” http://palthink.org/en/?p=557
  • November 2011 Pal-Think organized a seminar entitled “International Aid to Palestine, Lessons and Implications” that discussed the effectiveness of the International aid the Palestinian people, where the representative of the EU to the Palestinian authority Mr. John Rutter attended the seminar and addressed his audience. http://palthink.org/en/?p=605
  • In November 2011, Pal-Think in cooperation with Swiss peace produced the study: “Conflict Sensitivity Assessment INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE IN GAZA: AIDING FRAGMENTATION OR UNITY? http://palthink.org/en/?p=651
  • In June 2012 organized a session to discuss the status of Banking sector where Pal-Think hosting Dr. Jihad Alwazir, governor of Palestine Monetary Authority http://palthink.org/en/?p=610
  • In cooperation with the German foundation “Heinrich Boll Stiftung and Pal-Think held on October 2012, a seminar entitled “The Gaza Blockade: addressing consequences and recovery strategies” http://palthink.org/en/?p=745, Pal-Think worked with three external researches (tow females) to produce three policy papers that tackled the consequences of the Gaza blockade on three sectors: Private sector, higher education and women’s participation.

Euro-Mediterranean understanding and Cooperation:

Building on the belief that globalization has made what to be perceived as local problems are in need for regional and international cooperation in order to overcome them. Pal-Think played imitative role in enhancing the debate around such issues such as:   water, environment, energy, immigration, political Islam, Muslims in Europe and etc.

  1. In 2008, director of Pal-Think was a main speaker in the expert seminar “the EU’s aid to the Occupied Palestinian territory” which was conducted by CIDSE working Group on Palestine/Israel on, 7th of November 2008 in Brussels. The seminar discussed the way to improve the coherence and effectiveness of the EU’s aid to the Palestinians in line with the international law. cidse.org, http://www.cidse.org/Regions/IsraelPalestine/?id=1385
  2. In March 2010 organized a session  entitled “ The integration of Muslims in Europe, The case of the Netherlands” http://palthink.org/en/?p=288
  3. In March 2012 Pal-Think attended the seminar entailed “The Arab Spring and the future of Euro-Arab relations: a Palestinian perspective” which was held in Brussels sin March 2012 and was organized by European policy centre, EPC. http://palthink.org/en/?p=668
  4. In September 2012, Pal-Think arranged meeting with a group of Palestinian youth and the EU representatives operating in and out the Palestinian territories. In such meetings young men and women (university students, graduates, employees and workers) discuss current economic, political and social problems as well as suggestions and future visions. http://palthink.org/en/?p=695.
  5. In November 2012 Pal-Think held a seminar on the possibility of freeing the Middle East from nuclear weapons in cooperation with UNA-Scotland where members of the United Nations Association Scotland and UNA-Edinburgh address the audience in Gaza through video-conference technology. http://palthink.org/en/?p=765 .
  6. Member of the Academic Peace Orchestra Middle East which is created and administrated by Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF ) the academic piece orchestra middle east is a collaborative research group consisting of some 70 regional and international experts, who periodically meet at round-table conferences. The aim is to discuss pressing issues and develop innovative ideas for the establishment of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery vehicles in the Middle East.  Within these efforts in cooperation with other researches I co-authored the policy paper “Building on Experiences of Mediation in the Arab World, assessing Positive Conditions for the Middle East Conference. http://academicpeaceorchestra.com/
  7. October 2012 Pal-Think for Strategic Studies was granted full membership of EuroMeSCo (The Euro-Mediterranean Study Commission) is the main network of research centers on politics and security in the Mediterranean.

http://www.euromesco.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1469&Itemid=82&lang=en

Related Publications:

1)EU Global Strategy Expert Opinion – No44 – 17 March 2016, Director of Pal-Think, Omar Shaban http://www.iss.europa.eu/publications/detail_eugs-opinions/article/omar-shaban-founder-and-director-of-palthink-for-strategic-studies-gaza/

2) “The Arab Spring in Comparative Perspective” Director of Pal-Think, Omar Shaban is a contributor to this paper: March, 2015 http://www.iemed.org/publicacions-en/historic-de-publicacions/joint-policy-studies/the-arab-spring-in-comparative-perspective

3) “Back to Gaza: A New Approach to Reconstruction”, By: Sultan Barakat and Omar Shaban, Jan, 2015 http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/research/files/papers/2015/01/12-gaza-reconstruction/english-pdf.pdf

4) “The Case for a Collaborative Council for Gaza’s Reconstruction”, By: Sultan Barakat and Omar Shaban, Oct, 2014 http://palthink.org/en/?p=7642

5) Case Study: “Renewable Energy in the Gaza Strip: Short, Mid, and Long Term concepts” Oct, 2014 http://palthink.org/en/?p=7668

6) “The Reconstruction of the Gaza Strip: Lessons from the Past and Challenges of the Future” Sep, 2014: http://palthink.org/en/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Reconstruction-of-Gaza1.pdf

7) “National Reconciliation and Peace with Israel Are Complementary Not Contradictory” Feb, 2014: http://palthink.org/en/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Policy-Paper-National-Reconciliation-and-Peace-with-Israel-Are-Complementary-Not-Contradictory.pdf

8) “Palestinian Basic Law: Are Public Freedoms Protected?” Jan, 2014 http://palthink.org/en/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Policy-Paper-Palestinian-Basic-Law-Are-Public-Freedoms-Protected.pdf

9) “The Exacerbating Electricity Crisis in Gaza and Urgency of Finding Strategic Solutions” Jan, 2014 http://palthink.org/en/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Policy-Paper-Electricity-Crisis-in-Gaza.pdf

10) “The Crisis of Gaza Strip Crossings: some Possible Solutions?”, Jan, 2014 http://palthink.org/en/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Gaza-Crossings.pdf

11) “One for all, All for One: Diversity and Pluralism in the Palestinian Society”, Nov, 2013 http://palthink.org/en/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Diversity-final.pdf

12) “Youth of Palestine: Charting a Path Out of Extremism” Dec, 2013: http://palthink.org/en/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Youth-and-Extreemism-Final.pdf

13) “Policy papers for Project: Enriching Political Public Debate”, Oct, 2010 http://palthink.org/en/?p=596

14) “Empowering the Role of Community in the National Reconciliation” Oct, 2009: http://palthink.org/en/?p=593

15) “Towards Sustainable National Reconciliation”, Sep, 2008 http://palthink.org/en/?p=589

16) “First Road map towards exit from the present Palestinian crisis”, Oct, 2007 http://palthink.org/en/?p=599

PalThink Projects and Donors:

Year Project Donors Budget
2007 · Production of policy paper “Emerging from the present Palestinian crisis: A Road map towards exit” Full self-financing 7,000 $
2008 · Engaging the community into the process of reconciliation 

· Continuing efforts towards reconciliation” Touching on core issue”

FDFA (Switzerland)

 

35,000 $
2009 · Empowering the community in the Palestinian National Reconciliation

 · Enriching Political Public Debate

· Women can do it too!! Empowering Women through Business Creation

FDFA (Switzerland)

Friedrich Ebert Stiftung

Fraser institute

42,000 $

12,500 $

12,000 $

2010 · Influential Confidence Building between Decision Makers and the Community

· Promoting Free Markets and Entrepreneurship in the Gaza Strip

· Towards a diversified, democratic and institutionalized Political system in Palestine

· Summer Programme

FDFA (Switzerland)

Atlas Economic Research

Friedrich Ebert Stiftung

SDC (Switzerland)

45,000 $

2,500 $

30,000 $

40,000 $

2011 · Restoring the Cooperation amongst Community Actors towards a Reconciled and Civilized Society.

· Advancing Democracy in Palestine

FDFA (Switzerland)

Friedrich Ebert Stiftung

52,000 $

20,000 $

2012 · Civil society’s heavy involvement to restore unity, democracy and rule of law.

· Assessing the damage of the Gaza blockade and strategies to cope with the consequences”

· Palestinian strategic options 

FDFA (Switzerland)

Heinrich Boll Stiftung

Oxford research group , UK

65,000 $

7,000 $

1,500 $

2013 · Toward holding policies accountable, respecting women rights & empowering tolerance.

· Mapping Study on the Situation of the Public Civil Servants in the Health and Education Sectors in the Gaza Strip,

· 20 years after Oslo Accords What went wrong & ways to return to track!

FDFA (Switzerland)

Swiss Peace &  UNDP

Heinrich Boll Stiftung

85,000 $

 

3,200 $

2014 · Consolidating the common interests of the Palestinian people.

· Renewable Energy as a Sustainable Solution to the Electricity Crisis in Gaza Strip

· Youth as Agents of Positive Change (1st Phase)

· Aid Watch Palestine

· Gaza Visiting Research Fellowship

FDFA (Switzerland)

FES

MEPI

Rosa Luxemburg (RLS)

Heinrich Boll Stiftung

68,000 $

17,500 $

27,460 $

4,200 $

2,000 $

2015 · Youth as Agents of Positive Change (2nd Phase)

· Youth House for Diversity and Democratization

· Bringing Palestine to the World & Bringing the World to Palestine

· Towards Becoming an Entrepreneurial Society through Promoting Youth Entrepreneurship in Gaza

· Increasing Civil Society’s Role in Palestinian Reconciliation (1st & 2nd phases)

MEPI

EED

Friedrich Ebert Stiftung

MEPI

FDFA , Swiss Peace, UNDP and Birzeit University

57,360 $

90,500 €

12,000 $

35,455 $

88,000 $

2016 · Towards Becoming an Entrepreneurial Society through Promoting Youth Entrepreneurship in Gaza

· Regaining the Attention to the Palestinian Issue

· Youth Coalition for Reconciliation and Tolerance

· Increasing Civil Society’s Role in Palestinian Reconciliation (3rd phase)

MEPI

Friedrich Ebert Stiftung

EED

FDFA , Swiss Peace, UNDP and Birzeit University

70,000 $

12,000 $

35,000 $

45,000 $

 

2017 · The Palestinian Issue on the core of the Region and International Politics

· Strengthening the Civic Education and Democratic Values of the Gaza Youth 

· Regaining Culture and Spirit of Democracy

· Increasing Civil Society’s Role in Palestinian Reconciliation (4th phase)

· Building Strategic Capacity: Empowering Civil, Political and Emerging Constituencies in Palestine and Israel (first phase)

Friedrich Ebert Stiftung

CFLI

NED

FDFA , Swiss Peace, UNDP and Birzeit University

EU, Oxford Research Group

12,000 $

17,500 $

35,000 $

42,000 $

 

17,000 $

2018 · Building Strategic Capacity: Empowering Civil, Political and Emerging Constituencies in Palestine and Israel (2nd phase)

· The Benefits of Non-Violence as a Culture and Instrument for Conflict Resolution Domestically & Regionally

· National Dialogue with and through universities and COS’s in Palestine

· Enhancing Cooperation among Palestinian CBOs to strengthen a future Palestinian state

· Promote Tolerance and Entrepreneurship

EU, Oxford Research Group

FXB

FDFA , Swiss Peace

UK – Jerusalem

Atlas Network

20,000 $

118,000 $

33,000 $

120,000 $

15,000 $