Arab American University – Palestine
Policy and Conflict Resolution Studies Center
2018 Annual Conference
Where do we go from here? Palestine between the Local, Regional and the Global
Dates of the Conference: June 22-25
Trump assuming office as the “leader of the free world” has prompted a new phase not only in America but in the global world as well. The fluctuation between the right and left in any system of governance is only normal in any democratic system as it reflects the voice of the people. However, what makes the “Trump Era” a new phenomenon is the fact that for the first time in the modern democratic scene, there is a president of a democratic country who capitalizes and nourishes divisive, racist, misogynist and populist sentiments. This in many ways has resulted in a change in the global political culture, where right wing leaders have found a legitimate venue to capitalize on people’s emotions of fear of the other, exclusionism and racist sentiments.
Netanyahu’s right wing government found fertile grounds to create new facts on the ground through continued settlement construction and proposing and enacting new laws that further harm the Palestinians and the two state solution as well as solidify the apartheid colonial system. Trump’s announcement of recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving the American embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem by 2019 and later his twitter declaration of putting “Jerusalem off the negotiating table” have prompted the Palestinians to declare that the US under Trump is biased and for this reason the Trump administration cannot be a just broker in any future peace negotiations.
The continuous mayhem in the Middle East, Islamophobia, the rise of global terrorism and the influx of immigrants to developing countries have resulted in the growth of extreme populism and separatist movements in the western world. With the ongoing conflicts in many parts of the Middle East and with the rise of new human disasters have marginalized the Palestinian cause and has put other persistent conflicts to the forefront.
The divisiveness of the Arab leaders and their conflicting interests have diluted their authority even further and with the perception of Iran as an imminent threat have created new affiliations that were not fathomable in the past. In a meeting with the CNN in Davos (Jan. 2018), Netanyahu has remarked that there are new coalitions in the Middle East and the Gulf forming that he would have never thought they would exist referring to the warming relations between the State of Israel and a number of the Gulf countries.
Those regional new dynamics have sidelined the Palestinian issue and pushed it to the margins in the face of new emerging priorities between the new regional powers as the historic powers such as Syria, Egypt and Iraq have been “neutralized.” The situation of the Palestinians is marginalized even further as a result of the continuous tension between the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. This ongoing conflict has weakened the Palestinian position in the global, regional and local scene.
The above mentioned global, regional and local developments have caused many scholars and politicians to declare that this period is the most threatening to Palestine’s existence since its occupation in 1948.
With the theme, “Where do we go from here?” this conference is an attempt to contextualize the global, regional and local dynamics in relation to the Palestinian case. We invite scholars to engage, theorize and consolidate the multiple ways in which the global, regional and local dynamics are threatening the future of Palestine and the Palestinian political entity. We also urge presenters to think of ways to move forward and for possibilities of finding opportunities under the present situation.
We have divided the conference to themes to tackle this topic. The aim of this conference is to come up with policy papers indicating the obstacles, threats and recommendations to thwart and minimize the inevitable threat to Palestine’s existence. Potential subjects that could be addressed under the theme “Where do We Go from Here?” include the following:
1. Social Media in Conflict Resolution
History of Diplomacy could be traced back to the beginning of interaction between human beings. There is no record of what ancient diplomacy was like, but there is no doubt that there was an activity, which involved sending messages to and from. The label Diplomacy was first given to this activity by Edmund Burke back in 1796. Before then it was known as “Negotiations.” In the 21stcentury, Diplomacy had been deeply influenced by the evolution of the Information Communication and Technology sector and this was witnessed in the role of social & digital media outlets in today’s politics.
1.1 Media Diplomacy
1.2 Social Media (Tweet and Facebook Diplomacy: a new medium of digital media)
1.3 The role of media to resolve/create conflict
2. Law & UN Diplomacy
The Rule of Law is the defining characteristic of our democratic liberal reality, however, many thinkers have cautioned against the ‘tyranny of the majority’ and the utilization of the law in forming new authoritarian realities. In the face of such threats, international law and conventions may have some effect on putting pressure against those forces. This session explores how Palestinians are to benefit from those international tools and mechanisms
2.1 the role of Palestinian diplomacy in the international arena
2.2 possibility to curb Israeli actions against the Palestinians
2.3 the internationalization of the Palestinian question
Negotiations have been the most widely preferred tool when it comes to the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. Negotiations were to bring about peace to the region, nonetheless, to this day, negotiations have delivered a process of endless talks. Given the new American administration and the rise of the extreme right to power. It is crucial at this time to reconsider negotiations:
3.1 Negotiations Vs Dictations
3.2 Creative alternatives to negotiations
3.3 3rd party intervention
4. The Local & Regional
New alliances are forming in the Middle East; many Gulf countries are warming up to Israel and new coalitions are forming to face an allegedly common enemy ‘Iran.’ The disunity of the Palestinian cause is epitomized in the ever increasing rift between Hamas and the PA. We need to comprehend those shifting patterns and understand how they are affecting the Palestinian cause.
4.1 Axes of normalization
4.2 Israel and a New Middle East
4.3 Hamas and Fatah
5. Jerusalem: politics and the Sacred
Since the emergence of the modern nation-state as a new form of governance, the relationship between politics and religion was severed and religion was privatized. However, since the 80s, religion was to take a major role in the public arena. This was hugely manifested with transnational ‘pariah’ organizations such as Islamic fundamentalism. Moreover, religion plays a major role in states’ decisions recently, one example is the Judaization of Israel and the utilization of religion as an exclusionary mechanism. Most recently and in the age of Trump and Pence it is through the Evangelization of the Palestinian Israeli conflict. Jerusalem is constantly affected by ‘religionizing’ the Palestinian Israeli conflict, some questions need to be addressed:
5.1 Jerusalem as the capital of the future Palestinian state
5.2 Jerusalem in light of the recently forming regional alliances
5.3 The Evangelization effect
5.4 How should the Palestinian authority respond in light of enacted Israeli laws which are creating new facts on the ground and infringing on the rights of the Palestinians
5.5 The role of the International law in Jerusalem