Who Speaks for the Palestinians at the Negotiating Table?

By Blakely, Andrew | Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, December 2009 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Who Speaks for the Palestinians at the Negotiating Table?


Blakely, Andrew, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs


On the heels of the tripartite summit held in New York, journalist-and now Council for the National Interest (CNI) executive director-Helena Cobban, speaking at Washington, DC's Middle East Institute on Sept. 24, examined the possibilities for capable and credible Palestinian representation in peace negotiations. A frequent contributor to the Boston Review and the Christian Science Monitor, Cobban has spent much of her career deciphering and analyzing Palestinian internal politics as they relate to the peace process.

She began by highlighting the recent changes to the political context in Washington, DC. The Obama administration is the first to define the pursuit of a just and lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace as being in the strategic interests of the United States. While this represents a significant and positive departure from the policies of the Clinton and Bush years, Cobban emphasized the need for President Obama to do more to "dominate and drive" the peace process.

The administration, Cobban said, must demonstrate that U.S. interests are not just limited to the activation of the process, but also extend to its completion. Furthermore, Washington must prove its readiness to "use all the levers of national power to shape the behavior of both sides." President Obama, in particular, needs to present a compelling and lucid vision of what the region at peace might look like. Last, Cobban stressed that the U.S. should insist on specific terms of reference on which a peaceful settlement of the conflict will be based, such as the Arab Peace Initiative.

Turning to Palestinian developments, Cobban noted that certain caveats must be attached to any evaluation of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. His position has been severely compromised by the Obama administration's inability to deliver a settlement freeze, Cobban said. Despite Abbas' difficult situation, Cobban expressed confidence in his ability to negotiate, citing his lifelong commitment to the Palestinian diplomatic approach. Whether he is capable of negotiating authoritatively, however, remains to be seen.

For Abbas to represent Palestinian interests at the negotiating table, Cobban said, he must coordinate effectively with all the Palestinian political factions, Hamas in particular.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Who Speaks for the Palestinians at the Negotiating Table?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?