Featuring: Sam Bahour (Applied Information Management), Dana El Kurd (Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies), and Omar Rahman (Brookings Doha Center).
In this session we explore issues related to internal Palestinian politics, including the question of if, when and how to hold elections, political and institutional reforms, political succession (post-Abbas), and prospects for Fatah-Hamas reconciliation.
This webinar is Part 8 of an 8-part series of webinars. For recordings of the other sessions in this series, please click here.
For resources shared in this webinar, scroll down.
Sam Bahour is an American-Palestinian writer and management consultant living in Ramallah. Sam does business consulting as Applied Information Management (AIM), specializing in business development with a niche focus on the information technology sector and start-ups. He is also the Chairman of Americans for a Vibrant Palestinian Economy. He helped establish PALTEL and the PLAZA Shopping Center. Until recently, he served on the board of trustees of Birzeit University and was the University’s treasurer. He is also a Director at the Arab Islamic Bank and a board member at Just Vision. Bahour is co-editor of HOMELAND: Oral History of Palestine and Palestinians (Olive Branch Press). He writes frequently on Palestinian affairs and his work is posted at www.epalestine.com. Follow Sam on Twitter – @SamBahour / https://twitter.com/SamBahour
Dana El Kurd received her PhD in Government from The University of Texas at Austin in June 2017. She specializes in Comparative Politics and International Relations. Dana works as a researcher at the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies and as an assistant professor at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies. Theoretically, Dana is interested in the conflicts between states and their societies and the contentious politics they produce. She examines how authoritarian regimes try to implement policies and how external intervention may affect their success. Her research lies at the intersection of comparative and IR research, particularly with regards to international influence on regime development. Substantively, Dana is interested in international involvement and authoritarianism within the Arab world. Her multi-method research focuses on how authoritarian regimes in the Arab world have maintained durability, as well as the societal impact of this authoritarianism on political engagement. Follow Dana on Twitter – @danaelkurd / https://twitter.com/danaelkurd
Omar H. Rahman is a visiting fellow at the Brookings Doha Center, where he is writing a book on Palestinian fragmentation in the post-Oslo era. Rahman is a writer, analyst, and multimedia journalist specializing in Middle East politics and American foreign policy. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Foreign Policy, Rolling Stone, The Guardian, Lawfare, PBS NewsHour, VICE, Quartz, The National, Al Jazeera English, and World Politics Review, among others. Prior to joining Brookings, Rahman was a research analyst at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, where he focused on the geopolitics of reconstruction in Yemen, Arab Gulf foreign policy in the Horn of Africa, and the political economy of the Gulf region. As a journalist, Rahman was most recently an editor at World Politics Review in New York, where he focused on the Middle East and North Africa. Prior to that, he was the Senior Middle East Correspondent for Argus Media in Dubai, covering the energy industry in the region, as well as an editor and market reporter for Argus Media in New York. Rahman holds a Master’s degree in Politics & Global Affairs from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where he was a White House Correspondents’ Association scholar and an International Fellows Program scholar. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia. Rahman has guest lectured on Palestinian identity, the Egyptian revolution, and the international relations of the Middle East at George Washington University. He spoke on panels including the United Nations Media Seminar on Peace in the Middle East in Geneva and been interviewed by numerous print and television outlets for his expertise on the Middle East. Follow Omar on Twitter – @omarrahman / https://twitter.com/omarrahman
- Here is a set of fact sheets by IMEU on key Palestinian governing bodies:
- On the PLO – https://imeu.org/article/who-represents-the-palestinians-officially-before-the-world-community
- On the Palestinian Authority – https://imeu.org/article/what-is-the-palestinian-authority
- On Fatah – https://imeu.org/article/what-is-fatah
- On Hamas – https://imeu.org/article/what-is-hamas
- An overview of the geographically fragmented Palestlnian body politic: https://ecfr.eu/special/mapping_palestinian_politics/geography/
- Palestinian analyst Jamil Hilal writes on the political disintegration of the Palestinian national movement, and the role Oslo plays in that reality: https://al-shabaka.org/commentaries/palestinian-political-disintegration-culture-and-national-identity/
- Sam Bahour on the necessity of “Palestinian institutional rebirth” https://sbahour.medium.com/palestinians-are-done-conceding-72595a74e1b4
- For more on security coordination between Israel and the PA, check out this FMEP podcast: https://fmep.org/resource/occupied-thoughts-the-end-of-pa-security-coordination-with-israel-w-peter-beinart-ghaith-al-omari-neri-zilber/
- See Dana El Kurd’s book “Polarized and Demobilized: Legacies of Authoritarianism in Palestine” https://www.hurstpublishers.com/book/polarized-and-demobilized/
- Dana El Kurd on the PA’s authoritarian clamp down on Palestinian civil society https://www.mei.edu/publications/mechanisms-co-optation-palestinian-territories-neutralizing-independent-civil-society
- On the role of the PA as the largest employer in the West Bank and Gaza, and its impact: “The Politicization of Public Sector Employment and Salaries in the West Bank and Gaza” https://al-shabaka.org/briefs/the-politicization-of-public-sector-employment-and-salaries-in-palestine/
- On the Palestinian leadership crisis: “Lost in the Chaos: The Palestinian Leadership Crisis” https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0163660X.2015.1125834?journalCode=rwaq20
- Al Haq – a leading Palestinian human rights group – responds to Israel’s revocation of travel permits for PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki: https://mailchi.mp/eb8ad49b9706/al-haq-condemns-israels-denial-of-freedom-of-movement-of-palestinian-foreign-minister-riad-malki-4429882?e=6fe01cec1e
- An important piece on this prisoner payment system, by Shibley Telhami for Brookings: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2020/12/07/why-the-discourse-about-palestinian-payments-to-prisoners-families-is-distorted-and-misleading/
- Omar Rahman has written, “The real threat to Palestine is a crisis of leadership” https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2020/02/13/the-real-threat-to-palestine-is-a-crisis-of-leadership/
- The European Council on Foreign Relations has a very nice portal on the upcoming Palestinian elections, featuring facts and analysis: https://ecfr.eu/special/mapping_palestinian_politics/elections-2021/
- Sam Bahour on why he is pessimistic about the upcoming Palestinian elections: https://sbahour.medium.com/the-plo-is-about-to-self-destruct-by-ballot-box-6aa0108236b3
- …And Sam Bahour on what he sees as a constructive way for Abbas to proceed at this moment “A Decree from the President of Palestine that makes sense” by Sam Bahour (March 2021) https://sbahour.medium.com/a-decree-from-the-president-of-palestine-that-makes-sense-b764815e5c5b
- “The Israeli and Palestinian elections offend democracy – each in their own way” by Salem Barahmeh https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/mar/17/israeli-palestinian-elections-democracy-polls-palestinians
- Omar sees opportunity, writing – “Why elections are key to re-energizing Palestinian politics” https://www.972mag.com/palestinian-authority-elections-accountability/
- Omar Rahman also offers – “From confusion to clarity: Three pillars for revitalizing the Palestinian national movement” https://www.brookings.edu/research/from-confusion-to-clarity/
- “Elections can’t fix the Palestinian Authority” by Dana El Kurd https://www.972mag.com/palestinian-authority-elections-democracy/
- A collection of Palestinian perspectives on leadership, including a piece by Dana on the role of and opportunities for the Palestinian diaspora in the U.S. https://al-shabaka.org/focuses/focus-on-palestinian-political-leadership/
- From 2012, when Hamas reformed its charter, Palestinian analyst Tareq Baconi wrote: “Why now is the time to talk to Hamas” https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/may/02/hamas-charter-antisemitism