Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Panelists Discuss Future Strategies for Negotiating Peace in Palestine

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Panelists Discuss Future Strategies for Negotiating Peace in Palestine

Article excerpt

The Jerusalem Fund held a July 12 panel discussion at the Palestine Center in Washington, DC entitled "Negotiating Peace: Motivations, Mechanisms and Methods." The event was the second of the Jerusalem Fund's annual intern-organized lecture series. This summer's series examined "the extent to which Palestinian leadership represents Palestinian interests, and how their national objectives are at all manifest."

Panelists focused on future Palestinian negotiation strategies following the failure of its bid for state recognition at the United Nations. Khaled Elgindy, visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution's Saban Center for Middle East Policy, opened the panel by analyzing why the peace process has failed.

In Elgindy's opinion, "The peace process, negotiations and two-state solution ought to be complementary, but this is not always the case." He stressed the importance of outside intervention in the peace process due to the "imbalance of power" between Israel and Palestine.

The Quartet, comprising the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations, which was intended to represent the international community in the negotiations, has actually "exaggerated the imbalance of power between Israel and Palestine and given the U.S. even greater dominance over the process," Elgindy argued.

He cited the fragmented nature of the peace process as one of the main reasons for its failure, ascribing the fragmentation to "distorted third party intervention." He characterized the international community's actions as "microlateralism," because, he said, the "bilateral process became an effort to micromanage the affairs of the Palestinians."

Morever, Elgindy continued, this fragmentation has stretched into several realms. There is territorial and demographic fragmentation in the West Bank, he noted and a political fragmentation, evidenced by the split between Hamas and Fatah. …

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