Effective today I will no longer be updating the original Palestinian Refugee ResearchNet website. The PRRN blog will continue to function, as will the FOFOGNET news and discussion list. I’ll also leave the original website online for the next year or so.
There are several reasons for doing this. First, managing the blog is far easier than managing the original site, especially since the project is no longer funded and relies on volunteer labour (myself and my son David, who handles much of FOFOGNET, plus the occasional guest contributor to the blog). Second, the original site was set up in 1996 when there was much less information available on the refugee issue, much less of it was available online, and search engines were less effective. All of that has changed too. Third, there isn’t much that the original site does that we can’t cover as well with blog and email list.
Finally, the original website was set up in part to support the so-called “Ottawa Process” of track-two discussions and policy research that the government of Canada initiated in the mid-1990s. Canadian government interest in this has faded over the years, however, both with the deterioration of the peace process but even more so since the first election of Stephen Harper as Prime Minister in 2008. The latter marked the start of a major shift in Canadian government policy towards the more extreme end of the Israeli political spectrum, to the point that the PLO has considered asking that Canada be removed from any responsibility for the refugee issue should multilateral negotiations ever be resumed.
Over time, I plan to beef up this blog, transferring some key material over from the original PRRN website. If there are features or material you would like to see added here, do let us known by emailing me or leaving a comment below. In the meantime—Happy New Year to all our readers!