About the Panelists

Ghaith al-Omari

David Makovsky

UN Recognition of Palestinian Statehood: A New Dawn or Another

Panelists: David Makovsky and Gaith al-Omari

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

This September, Palestinian representatives called for a unilateral
 declaration of statehood in the United Nations. The implications and 
consequences of such a step will be explored by two experienced
 observers and participants in Israeli/Palestinian negotiations:  David
 Makovsky, Ziegler Distinguished Fellow and Director of the Project on
 the Middle East Peace Process at the Washington Institute and Ghaith al-Omari, Executive Director at the American Task Force in Palestine 
(ATFP) and advisor to then Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas. 

Introduced by Ilan Troen, Director of the
 Schusterman Center for Israel Studies
Moderated by Shai Feldman, Director of 
the Crown Center for Middle East Studies.

This program is cosponsored by the Crown Center for Middle East Studies and supported by the Israel on Campus Coalition (ICC).

Prior to the public talk, the panelists spoke with local faculty as well as student leaders.


Ghaith al-Omari is Executive Director at the American Task Force in Palestine (ATFP). Prior to that, he served in various positions within the Palestinian Authority, including Director of the International Relations Department in the Office of the Palestinian President, and advisor to former Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas. In these capacities, he provided advice on foreign policy -- especially vis-à-vis the United States and Israel -- and security. He has extensive experience in the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, having been an advisor to the Palestinian negotiating team throughout the permanent status negotiations (1999–2001). In that capacity, he participated in various negotiating rounds, most notably the Camp David summit and the Taba talks. After the breakdown of the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, he was the lead Palestinian drafter of the Geneva Initiative, an unofficial model peace agreement negotiated between leading Palestinian and Israeli public figures. Mr. al-Omari is a lawyer by training and a graduate of Georgetown and Oxford universities. Prior to his involvement in the Middle East peace process, he taught international law in Jordan and was active in human rights advocacy.

David Makovsky is the Ziegler distinguished fellow and director of The Washington Institute's Project on the Middle East Peace Process. He is also an adjunct lecturer in Middle Eastern studies at Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).  Mr. Makovsky is the coauthor with Dennis Ross of the 2009 book Myths, Illusions, and Peace: Finding a New Direction for America in the Middle East (Viking/Penguin). Mr. Makovsky is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies. His commentary on the peace process and the Arab-Israeli conflict has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, the International Herald Tribune, Foreign Affairs, and Foreign Policy. He appears frequently in the media to comment on Arab-Israeli affairs, including PBS's Newshour with Jim Lehrer. Before joining The Washington Institute, Mr. Makovsky was an award-winning journalist who covered the peace process from 1989 to 2000. He is the former executive editor of the Jerusalem Post, was diplomatic correspondent for Israel's leading daily, Haaretz, and is a former contributing editor to U.S. News and World Report. He served for eleven years as that magazine's special Jerusalem correspondent. A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Mr. Makovsky received a bachelor's degree from Columbia University and a master's degree in Middle East studies from Harvard University.