A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Friday, November 13, 2009

Palestinian January Elections Postponed: Now What? Thoughts from Nathan Brown and MEI's Annual Conference

UPDATED: I originally said C-SPAN didn't cover the peace process panel. They did.

Well, this is only slightly less unexpected than the sun rising in the East, given the fact that Hamas has said there would be no elections in Gaza, and that Abu Mazen's stepping aside leaves Fatah without a candidate in the West Bank, but it now seems to be official that there won't be Palestinian elections in January. Also see here.

So where do we go from here? Nathan Brown, who follows Palestinian political evolution closely, has both a commentary at Carnegie and a guest post on Marc Lynch's blog, both addressing his call for some sort of "Plan B." Read his ideas; this is going to be a major subject of discussion and debate for some time to come.

The last panel of MEI's Annual Conference on Tuesday was devoted to this issue, and C-SPAN posted video of the peace process panel here. [Some other coverage by C-SPAN are up at the C-SPAN site: Zalmay Khalilzad's banquet address; the panel on Gulf Security; and the one on the Future of Iraq.] The presentations by Khalil Shikaki and Daniel Levy were particularly pointed. Robert Dreyfuss of The Dreyfuss Report has posted on the panel already.

Watch the C-SPAN video. Sorry, but it's unembeddable, so you'll have to click on over there.


al-Farabi said...

Khalil and Dan spoke with great eloquence and at times ferocity. I was particularly pleased with Dan's reference to Clinton's 'unprecedented' remark. Khalil, as per usual, laid out a persuasive narrative of Abu Mazen's strategic thinking.

I also really enjoyed Murhaf's take on Syria. He rightly expressed the possibility of moving Syria away from its alliance with Iran, but at the same time recognizing that the West probably should not expect a clean break. Additionally, he did away with the notion, oft repeated in the echo chamber of WINEP, that Syria cannot make peace with Israel.

Superb panel. Well worth the wait.

Michael Collins Dunn said...

As al-Farabi said. Nor did my mentioning Shikaki and Levy intend any slight to my old friend and colleague Murhaf Jouejati, who spoke on Syria, or Ambassador Daniel Kurtzerl, who provided the overview.