Implications of the Fatah Conference

December 19, 2016
11:00 am -

Event Description

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies hosted a by-invitation lunch discussion on Monday, December 19, from 12:00pm to 1:00pm on the impact of the recent Fatah Conference where Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas oversaw the party’s first internal elections in seven years. The conversation featured Grant Rumley, research fellow at FDD who recently returned from the Conference; and Sarah Yerkes, visiting fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. Jonathan Schanzer, Vice President for Research at FDD, moderated the conversation.

On the heels of the Seventh Fatah Conference, Grant Rumley and Sarah Yerkes discussed the impact of the conference and the political situation surrounding it, including who was and wasn’t invited and what it means for the ongoing rift within Fatah. The experts discussed how Washington might respond to Abbas’s consolidation of power over Fatah and the implications for Abbas’s possible successors.

Grant Rumley is a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, where he focuses on Palestinian politics. Grant has published in leading media outlets including Foreign Affairs and Foreign Policy, and contributed commentary to The New York Times, Reuters, and Newsweek. He is the author of the 2015 FDD report “The Race to Replace Mahmoud Abbas: Understanding and Shaping Palestinian Succession.” Prior to joining FDD, Grant was a visiting fellow at Mitvim, The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies, where he authored, “Back to Basics: The Evolution of the Palestinian UN Campaign.” While in Jerusalem, Grant also founded and edited The Jerusalem Review of Near East Affairs. Previously, Grant served as a consultant in Washington on issues related to counter-terrorism, the Middle East, and war-gaming strategies. He is the co-author of the forthcoming book, The Last Palestinian: The Rise and Reign of Mahmoud Abbas.

Jonathan Schanzer is the Vice President for Research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) and a part of the leadership team of FDD’s Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance. He is the author of State of Failure: Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas and the Unmaking of the Palestinian State, which argues the main roadblock to Palestinian statehood is the Palestinian Authority’s political dysfunction and mismanagement. His previous book, Hamas vs. Fatah: The Struggle for Palestine is still the only book on the market that chronicles the Palestinian internecine conflict. Previously, Dr. Schanzer worked as a terrorism finance analyst at the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Sarah Yerkes is a visiting fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution and a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs fellow. She is a former member of the State Department’s policy planning staff, where she focused on North Africa. Previously, she was a foreign affairs officer in the State’s Department’s Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs. Yerkes also served as a geopolitical research analyst for the U.S. military’s Joint Staff Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate (J5) at the Pentagon, advising the Joint Staff leadership on foreign policy and national security issues. Her research focuses on the relationship between the state and society in the Middle East. She is currently examining the trajectory of the secular, liberal revolutionaries of the Arab Spring. Yerkes has published and presented her research on political reform and civil society in the Middle East in a variety of academic and policy forums.



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