The Middle East Institute's George and Rhonda Salem Family Foundation and the SAIS Conflict Management Program are proud to host Robert Danin, Khaled Elgindy, and Oussama Kanaan for a discussion about the fiscal crisis facing the Palestine Authority and the political implications of the PA's deteriorating economic situation. In mid-September, the IMF and the World Bank issued a report saying that the Palestinian financial crisis will worsen unless foreign funding increases and Israel eases restrictions on economic activity. Neither solution looks imminent and protests in response to the economic hardships have turned into an indictment of President Mahmoud Abbas's policies, raising questions about the future of the PA's leadership. Danin, Elgindy, and Kanaan will examine the economic and political fallout stemming from the latest crisis and explore the role of the international community in finding a way out.
Robert Danin is the Eni Enrico Mattei senior fellow for Middle East and Africa studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. He headed the Jerusalem mission of the Quartet representative, Tony Blair, from April 2008 until August 2010. A former career State Department official with over 20 years of Middle East experience, Danin previously served as deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs with responsibilities for Israeli-Palestinian issues and Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt. He also served at the National Security Council for over three years as director for Israeli-Palestinian affairs and the Levant and as acting senior director for Near East and North African affairs. Danin also served as a Middle East and Gulf specialist on the secretary of state's policy planning staff and as a State Department Middle East political and military analyst. He holds a doctorate from Oxford University.
Khaled Elgindy is a fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution.. Between 2004 and 2009, Mr. Elgindy served with the Negotiations Support Unit (NSU) in Ramallah as an adviser to the Palestinian leadership on permanent status negotiations with Israel, and was a participant in the round of negotiations launched at Annapolis in November of 2007. Mr. Elgindy's previous experience includes serving as a policy analyst for the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, and as a professional staff member for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs. He also held positions at the Arab American Institute and the National Democratic Institute.
Oussama Kanaan is the International Monetary Fund's mission chief for the West Bank and Gaza, and for Syria. He was previously the IMF's resident representative in Jerusalem. He has worked on several regions, including former Soviet Union countries and East Africa, and also in the IMF's Fiscal Affairs and Policy and Development Review departments. Kanaan has served as alternate executive director at the IMF Board. He has published in the areas of trade, growth and development, and holds a Ph.D. in economics from Yale University.
Moderator: Hussein Ibish is a senior fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) and executive director of the Hala Salaam Maksoud Foundation for Arab-American Leadership. Ibish has made thousands of radio and television appearances and has written for many newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and the Chicago Tribune. He was the Washington, DC correspondent for the Daily Star (Beirut). From 1998-2004, Ibish served as communications director for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the largest Arab-American membership organization in the United States. From 2001-2004 he was vice president of the National Coalition to Protect Political Freedom.