Analysts to assess potential impact of UN Palestine vote

Mid East experts David Makovsky and Ghaith al-Omari will participate in a Q&A

David Makovsky, left, and Ghaith al-Omari will speak on UN recognition of Palestinian statehood.

With Palestinian representatives calling for international recognition of a Palestinian state, Brandeis will host two leading Middle East policy analysts in the program, “UN Recognition of Palestinian Statehood: A New Dawn or Another Debacle?”

The Schusterman Center for Israel Studies and the Crown Center for Middle East Studies will sponsor the talk on Sept. 7 at 5 p.m. in Hassenfeld Conference Center. 

Panelists David Makovsky and Ghaith al-Omari are experienced observers of, and participants in, negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.

Al-Omari advised the Palestinian negotiating team throughout the permanent status negotiations (1999 to 2001) and participated in the Camp David summit and the Taba talks. Makovsky covered the peace process from 1989 to 2000 in his previous career as an award-winning journalist.

The two men spent the 2009-2010 academic year touring campuses to discuss ways in which pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian students can work together to bring about peace in the Middle East and on campus. Together, they will assess the prospects of the Palestinian initiative and the significance of its success or failure.

Makovsky is the Ziegler Distinguished Fellow and director of the Project on the Middle East Peace Process at the Washington Institute and an adjunct lecturer in Middle Eastern studies at Johns Hopkins University. He is the co-author of the 2009 book “Myths, Illusions, and Peace: Finding a New Directions for America in the Middle East.”

Makovsky's 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 is a former executive editor of the Jerusalem Post, was diplomatic correspondent for Haaretz, one of Israel's leading newspapers, 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, he received a bachelor's degree from Columbia University and a master's degree in Middle East studies from Harvard University.

​Al-Omari currently is the executive director at the American Task Force in Palestine (ATFP). He has served in numerous positions within the Palestinian Authority, including as director of the International Relations Department in the Office of the Palestinian President, and advisor to current President Mahmoud Abbas when Abbas was prime minister. In these capacities, he provided advice on foreign policy – especially vis-à-vis the United States and Israel – and security.

After the breakdown of 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. 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.

Ilan Troen, director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies, will introduce the program. A Q&A session will be moderated by Shai Feldman, Judith and Sydney Swartz Director for the Crown Center for Middles East Studies. 

The program is supported by the Israel on Campus Coalition.

Additional information on the program, link to the live webcast and form to submit questions to the panelists can all be found at the Schusterman Center's website.

The event is free and open to the public. Priority for questions will be given to Brandeis students, but it is free and open to the public. Doors open at 4:45 p.m.


Categories: Humanities and Social Sciences, International Affairs

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