The Arab Spring: Regional Developments. Impacts on Palestine and Israel - Foundation Office Palestinian Territories
The opening by Gershon Baskin and Hanna Siniora, IPCRI’s Co-CEOs, and Felix Dane, head of KAS office in Ramallah, gave a brief insight on the importance of the Arab Spring for the region and the fascinating developments in Tunisia and Egypt, the two prime examples for the success of the Arab uprising.
The first panel summarized the recent developments within the events of the Arab Spring and offered a regional overview from Tunisia to Saudi Arabia. Walid Salem, director of the Center for Democracy and Community Development in Jerusalem (CDCD), discussed the different stages of revolution in theory and applied them to the cases of Tunisia and Egypt. Salem argued that while liberalization has already begun in both countries, a transition to democracy can only start after elections have successfully been held in a clean manner. The process of democratization will be long and difficult and will most certainly suffer from several setbacks but recent developments leave no doubt that the transition will eventually be successful.
Ellie Podeh, head of the Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies Department at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, emphasized the imperative necessity to seize the opportunities that arise with profound political change. Israel and Palestine should therefore use this opportunity and re-launch the peace process.
The second panel started off with Hind Khoury, former Palestinian Minister of State for Jerusalem Affairs and former delegate general of the Palestinian Liberation Organization in France. Khoury shared her observations on the Arab Spring and outlined the political changes from women’s perspective. Mustafa Abu Sway, Professor for Islamic Studies at Al-Quds University and final contributor to the conference, spoke about democracy and Islam, illustrating especially the role of the shūrā in Political Islam.
The contributions offered a keen analysis of the region’s political status quo, leading to a lively discussion between the speakers and the numerous participants.