The Palestine Question Since Oslo: Current Options and Future Strategies



The 2006 Palestine Center Annual Conference

“The Palestine Question Since Oslo:
Current Options and Future Strategies”

Friday, 27 October 2006


Keynote Speaker
Participants: Dr. Beshara Doumani

Panel I – Internal and Regional Dynamics since Oslo
Participants: Dr. Lisa Taraki and Mr. Khaled Hroub



Panel II – The International Arena

Participants: Dr. Naseer Aruri, Dr. Nur Masalha, Diana Buttu, and Dr. Robert Jensen


Panel III – (Round Table) Future Strategies

Participants: Dr. Beshara Doumani, Dr. Nur Masalha, Diana Buttu, Dr. Robert Jensen, Dr. Lisa Taraki and Mr. Khaled Hroub


The struggle for Palestinian national rights has been undergoing a steady deterioration since Oslo in 1993. Palestinian independence and a viable state have been pre-empted by Israeli military might, U.S. disengagement, the absence of international law and Israeli unilateralism which has replaced the land for peace formula making a viable two-state solution impossible.

How have the Oslo Accords transformed internal Palestinian politics? What effect has it had on Arab politics? What role has the international community, including the United Nations and the European Union played in shifting the basic elements of the peace process?

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Beshara Doumani, is Associate Professor at the University of California, Berkley, specializing in Middle Eastern history. He taught at Birzeit University in the Occupied West Bank in the early 1980s and at the University of Pennsylvania for most of the nineties. Dr. Doumani is author and editor of several books, including Family History in the Middle East (2003) and Rediscovering Palestine (1995). His most recent work is Academic Freedom After September11 (Zone Books, 2006), a collection of essays from various academics about the challenges to academic freedom posed by September 11. He has also published numerous articles in various journals. His latest publication is “Open Forum: Strategizing Palestine,” Journal of Palestine Studies (Spring 2006) with co-guest editor George Bisharat. He currently sits on the editorial boards of International Journal of Middle East Studies, Journal of Palestine Studies and Palestinian Review of Society and History and is a contributing editor for Middle East Report. He is co-producer of the radio program, Voices of the Middle East and North Africa at KPFA in Berkley. Dr. Doumani is a frequent commentator on Middle East affairs appearing in various talk shows and local and national radio and television news programs. He is currently working on three projects: academic freedom in the U.S.; modern social history of the Palestinians and family history in the Eastern Mediterranean with a focus on relationship between property, gender and Islamic law.

Panel I – Internal and Regional Dynamics since Oslo

Dr. Lisa Taraki discussed “Internal Dynamics: Palestinian Society and Polity since Oslo.” Dr. Taraki is an associate professor of Sociology and Dean of Graduate Studies at Birzeit University in Palestine. She has written and published on the Palestinian national movement, Islamist gender politics, and urban social history. She is editor of and a contributor to Living Palestine: Family Survival, Resistance and Mobility Under Occupation (Syracuse University Press, 2006). Dr. Taraki is currently working on a book on the social history of Ramallah.

Mr. Khaled Hroub discussed “The Regional Dynamics: Oslo and Arab Politics.” Mr. Hroub is Director of the Cambridge Arab Media Project which is associated with the Centre of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at the University of Cambridge. He also worked for the Middle East Programme of the International Institute of International Studies in London. Mr. Hroub hosts a weekly book review program for Al-Jazeera TV and is author of several books including his most recent Hamas: A Beginner’s Guide Pluto Press, 2006). He is a weekly contributor to Arab daily newspapers, has written for the International Herald Tribune and his academic writings have appeared in several publications including Middle East Journal, Middle East International, Journal for Palestine Studies and Shu’un Arabyya.

Panel II – Regional Dynamics: Carrying the Torch?

Dr. Naseer Aruri discussed “The U.S. Role: Transforming the International Arena against Palestinians.” Dr. Aruri is Chancellor Professor (Emeritus) of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. He is the author of numerous articles and books including most recently Palestine and the Palestinians, 2nd ed. with the late Samih Farsoun (Westview Press, 2003). A specialist on Palestinian refugee right, Dr. Aruri is editor of Palestinian Refugees: The Right of Return (Pluto Press, 2001). He has served on the boards of numerous humanitarian organizations, including Human Rights Watch – Middle East and Amnesty International and is an active member of The Jerusalem Fund Board of Directors. Dr. Aruri has spoken and published widely on a variety of issues relating to Palestinian human rights.

Dr. Nur Masalha discussed “The New Policies of the European Union.” Dr. Masalha is a Reader and Programme Director at the School of Theology, Philosophy and History at Saint Mary’s College (U.K.). He is Director of the Holy Land Research Project which seeks to establish a major university program in Holy Land and Palestine Studies in the United Kingdom. He is editor of Holy Land Studies: A Multidisciplinary Journal. Dr. Masalha has written several books and articles on the Palestinian issue in English, Spanish and Arabic. He has published over 40 review articles and book reviews in academic journals and current affairs magazines, including International Affairs, Journal of Palestine Studies and International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. Dr. Masalha has two forthcoming books, Religion and the State in Israel and Palestine (Zed books, 2006) and The Nakba, Memory and Identity in Arabic (Madar-Palestinian Centre for Israeli Studies, 2006).

Diana Buttu discussed “The United Nations: A Changing Role?” Ms. Buttu is a lawyer residing in the West Bank. Born in Canada and educated in Canada and the U.S., she left California in September 2000 to join the Palestinian negotiating team as one of its legal advisors. She attended the final round of Palestinian-Israeli negotiations in 2001. Following the breakdown of negotiations, Buttu became active in lobbying and advocating for Palestinian rights. In 2004, she was part of the delegation that litigated Israel’s wall before the International Court of Justice. In 2005, she was one of the Palestinian advisors involved in the discussions surrounding Israel’s evacuation from Gaza, she continued to reside in Gaza. In December 2005, she resigned from her advisory post. A frequent media commentator on Israel’s occupation of Palestine, she has appeared on major American, European, and Canadian news media outlets. Ms. Buttu now resides in the West Bank city of Ramallah where she is a political analyst and advisor to a private sector company.

Dr. Robert Jensen discussed “The Role of the Media.” Dr. Jensen is an associate professor in the School of Journalism at the University of Texas (UT) at Austin. Prior to his academic career, he worked as a professional journalist for a decade. At UT, Dr. Jensen teaches course in media law, ethics and politics. He is Director of the Senior Fellows Programs, the honors program of the College of Communication. He is the author of several books, the most recent being The Heart of Witnesses: Confronting Race, Racism and White Privilege (City Lights, 2005). In addition to teaching and research, Dr. Jensen writes for popular media, both alternative and mainstream. His opinion and analytic pieces on such subjects as foreign policy, politics and race have appeared in papers around the country.

Panel III – (Round Table) Future Strategies

Dr. Beshara Doumani, Dr. Nur Masalha, Diana Buttu, Dr. Robert Jensen, Dr. Lisa Taraki and Mr. Khaled Hroub