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Europe and Palestinian Elections

Europe and Palestinian Elections

Tue, 15 Dec 2020 18:30 - 20:30 Greenwich Mean Time (UTC±0)

Register here.

This webinar seeks to discuss both the feasibility of Palestinian elections and the role of Europe in aiding the electoral process

Following the meeting between senior delegations from Hamas and Fatah at the Palestinian Embassy in Istanbul on 24 September 2020, the Palestinian milieu has been rife with talk about a new moment for national reconciliation and the real possibility of elections taking place in the foreseeable future. Seeking to end the 14-year-long intra-Palestinian divide, the talks concluded with the acceptance – by both parties – of a common vision for action. This call of action, which is a large reason behind the newfound election optimism, signaled that both sides will use the medium of national elections as they attempt to iron-out pre-existing points of contention.

With Joe Biden winning the US election on 3 November 2020, however, many analysts familiar with internal politics in Palestine have sought to downplay the likelihood of elections now taking place. Indeed, with the likely absence of the material conditions that pushed Palestinian factions into breakthrough reconciliation efforts – namely, the Deal of the Century, prospective annexation, and Israel-Arab normalisation – many have sought to speculate that Mahmoud Abbas is now inclined to shelve reconciliation in the hope that the pressure on the PA will be relieved amidst Trump’s exit.

The provision of elections provides the opportunity to introduce renewed leadership based on popular support in the hope of facilitating reconciliation, unity, and a restrategising of the Palestine question. Long overdue following a protracted electoral hiatus, Palestinian legislative, presidential, and national council elections are a vital component of bridging the institutional illegitimacy and accountability gap that has characterised Palestinian governance hitherto.

In this context, this webinar seeks to bring together experts from across the Palestinian political spectrum, as well as in Europe, to discuss two broad themes. Firstly, whether Palestinian elections are a possibility amidst a Biden presidency and the seeming return to the pre-Trump status quo and, if so, what conditions are necessary in precipitating elections? Secondly, the webinar will look at Europe’s role as a mediator in the Middle East Peace Process insofar as: a) calling for elections in Palestine; b) pressuring Israel to make electoral provisions; and, c) maintaining impartial throughout the process.

It is hoped that the provision of this webinar will allow participants to obtain both more clarity with regard to where we are situated vis-à-vis Palestinian elections, while also obtaining an understand as to how Europe can positively impact Palestine’s journey towards a renewed democratic process.

Speakers:

  • Dr. Anders Persson – Political scientist specialising in EU-Israeli-Palestinian relations. Author of ‘EU Diplomacy and the Israeli-Arab Conflict, 1967-2019’
  • Ms. Evin Incir MEP – Vice-Chair of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Palestine (DPAL)
  • Mr. Hani Al-Masri – Director General of Masarat, the Palestinian Centre for Policy Research and Strategic Studies
  • Mr. Thomas Hammarberg – Swedish MP and former Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights (2006-2012)
  • Mr. Hugh Lovatt – MENA Policy Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR)

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