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Conference: The Two-State Solution and Beyond: Perceptions for the Future of the Palestinian Cause and Possible Settlements
09.06.2017

This conference, held in Bikfaya Lebanon from June 9-10, 2017, discussed the future of the two-state solution for Palestine. Discussions at the event included the following themes defining the current phase of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict: 

  • The tendency of the Israeli elite as well as the Israeli government to religious and national extremism and the growing role of the “settlement lobby”, and these are continuous and developing transformations that started many years ago.

  • The division within the Palestinian National Movement and its erosion as well as the weakening of the PLO amongst Palestinian coalitions inside and outside Palestine.

  • Deep transformations within the Palestinian society in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, on the economic, social and political levels, which sheds the light on the need to think about their meanings and possible repercussions.

  • The decline in the stature of the Palestinian cause on the Arabic arena due to the fact that Arab societies and governments are busy with their internal and regional conflicts.

  • The decline in the international interest given to the Palestinian cause amidst a feeling of inability to launch a meaningful negotiation path that may save the “Two-State solution”.

In such a situation, a growing number of regional and international circles consider that the “Two-State solution” is part of the past, and that the growing Israeli settlement activity cancelled the possibility of establishing an independent and viable Palestinian entity… which leaves Palestinians waiting for the unknown and leaves the door open to many scenarios: 

- Revival of the Two-State solution on the Arab and international levels due to the difficulty of coming up with another option, and due to the need for fighting the sources of extremism and terrorism that are using this cause as a justification to spread extremism and justify it.

- The scenario of one bi-national State “one vote for one voter” that is an option refused by the majority of Israeli Jews, and welcomed by a growing number of Palestinians.

- The multilateral regional solution scenario, including Jordan and Egypt, that focuses on a regional exchange of territories and regional arrangements to solve the issue of the “Palestinian demographics” and assimilate the “State of the remains” that will result from the Israeli settlement insatiability, and here one could include other countries (Lebanon for example) to solve the issue of Palestinian refugees.

- The scenario of sliding towards violence or any type of comprehensive chaos (armed intifada, new wars in Gaza Strip, the success of Jihadi and Islamic movements in occupying some lands and imposing rules of influence).
The suggested conference will stretch over two days and includes six sessions (two hours per session) other than the opening session, which means six working hours daily with coffee breaks and lunch break (8 hours).


Conference Agenda

9 June 2017

9:00 – 9:30 Arrival and registration

9:30 – 10:15 Opening remarks:
- Maison du Futur, President Amine Gemayel
- Speech by Nabil Shaath on behalf of the President of the Palestinian Authority
- Al-Quds Center for Political Studies, Oraib El Rantawi
- Konrad Adenaeur Stiftung, Peter Rimmele
- Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies, Roland Freudenstein

10:15 – 11:45 Session 1:
The crisis of the Palestinian national movement on the national and Islamic fronts: erosion of power in Palestinian circles, transformations in the structure of the factions and their ability to understand new generations of Palestinians, entry of different Salafi movements to the Palestinian community

Moderator: Nawaf Kabbara, University Professor and Writer

Speakers:
-Nabil Amr, Former Minister, Palestinian authority
-Fahd Suleiman, Deputy Secretary-General of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of
Palestine
-Mohsen Saleh, Head of Al Zaytouna Center

Discussion

11:45 – 12:00 Coffee Break

12:00 – 13:30 Session 2:
Transformations within the Palestinian Society, internally and in the diaspora: questions of citizenship and integration (especially Jordan), economic and social structures in the West bank and their ability to produce “the economy of resistance”, the situation in Gaza Strip, and new players in the environment of the Palestinian camp (Lebanon, Syria and Jordan)

Moderator: Sami Aoun, Professor at Sherbrooke University, Quebec-Canada, (MdF, BM)

Speakers:

-Taher Al Masri, Former Prime Minister, Jordan
-Hani Al Masri, Director of Masarat Center.
-Suheil Al Natour, Chairman of the Palestinian Human Rights

Discussion

13:30 – 15:00 Lunch

15:00 – 16:30 Session3:
Transformations within the Israeli Society:
The tendency to religious and social extremism and the impact of the conflict on the future perceptions for solving the Palestinian issue 

Moderator: Khairallah Khairallah, Journalist and Writer

Speakers:

- David Makowski (Skype), Senior researcher in the Washington Institute for Near East Policy
- Lara Friedman, (Skype), President of the Foundation for Middle East

Discussion

10 June 2017

10:00 – 11:30 Session 4:
Palestine in a changing regional environment
Analysis of Arab positions and of important regional positions – Turkey and Iran

Moderator: Mona Fayyad, University Professor and Writer, Lebanon, (MdF, BM)

Speakers:

- Hassan Nafiaa, Professor of political science, Cairo University
-Mahmoud Soueid, Former General Director of the Institute for Palestine Studies
- Oraib El Rantawi, General Director of Al Quds Center

Discussion

11:30 - 11:45 Coffee Break

11:45 – 13:15 Session 5:
Palestine in the new international environment:
Europe after the Brexit, the rising Russia, and the United States under Trump.

Moderator: Mahmoud Soueid, Former General Director of the Institute for Palestine Studies

Speakers:

-Mohammad Shtayyeh, Member of the Central Committee of Fateh
-Hussein Ibsh, writer and researcher in Palestinian and Arab affairs
-Roland Freudenstein, Policy Director, Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies

Discussion

13:15 – 14:45 Lunch Break

14:45 – 16:15 Session 6:
Options and perceptions in a new reality:
Where are we heading? The “Two-State” horizons and what goes beyond that in two discordant readings of the possible ways to save this solution.

Moderator: Oraib El Rantawi, General Director of Al Quds Center

Speakers:

-Adnan Abou Aude, Chief of the Royal Hashemite Court
-Nassif Hitti, Former Arab League Ambassador to France, Italy and Vatican
-Hussein Abu El Namle, Researcher in Israeli Affairs

Discussion

Confernce Report