This House believes Palestinians risk becoming their own worst enemy

Tuesday April 01 2008
MOTION PASSED by 71% to 29%


Akram Baker

Speaking for the motion
Akram Baker

Akram Baker is an independent political analyst and co-founder of the Arab Western Summit of Skills (AWS). AWS is a platform for Arab and Western professionals working towards increasing efficiency and transparency in the Arab world.

In the early 1990s, during the Madrid peace process and in the run-up to the Oslo Accords, Mr. Baker was Senior Communications Adviser to the late Palestinian statesman Faisal Husseini. During that time he was also Senior Communications Adviser for the multi-lateral negotiations on the economy and water.

He spent the next ten years in Germany before moving back to the Occupied Territories in 2003. From 2003 to 2007 he led the restructure and reform of institutions in the Middle East including the Palestine Monetary Authority, the Palestine Investment Fund and the Central Bank of Egypt.

In late 2007, after a long and public legal battle, he was denied residency status in the Occupied Territories by Israel and was forced to leave the country with his family. They now live in Berlin.

Mr. Baker is a frequent speaker and commentator on Middle East policy issues, appearing on BBC, CNN and German TV. His articles have appeared in the International Herald Tribune, The Council on Foreign Relations, The Daily Star (Beirut) and the Palestine Report among others.

He studied English Literature and Political Science at Bir Zeit University and at the University of Hamburg.


Hind Khoury

Speaking against the motion
Hind Khoury

Hind Khoury is the Delegate General of Palestine in France and the former Minister of Jerusalem Affairs.

She joined the Mahmoud Abbas government as Minister of State for Jerusalem Affairs in early 2005 where her role was to raise awareness of Jerusalem as a vital issue in the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Her office also helped Palestinians living in Jerusalem with legal assistance and on development issues. Mrs. Khoury held the position until 2006 when she moved to Paris to take up her current job.

From 2002 to 2005 she worked as a senior adviser to the Norwegian Representative Office to the Palestinian Authority (PA) on reform of the PA, aid to human rights projects and donor co-ordination. In 2001 she was a researcher on the European Union's East Jerusalem development programme.

Prior to that Ms Khoury was active in Palestinian civil society for many years, working in the fields of human rights and private sector development. She worked for several international organisations including the United Nations Development Fund and UNESCO.

Mrs. Khoury studied economics at Bir Zeit University and at the American University of Beirut. She also studied management at Boston University.


Munther Dajani

Speaking for the motion
Munther Dajani

Professor Munther Dajani is Dean of the Faculty of Arts at Al Quds University in Jerusalem and Director of the Issam Sartawi Centre for the Advancement of Peace and Democracy.

He is also the co-founder of the Wasatiyya (Moderation) movement which is committed to finding alternatives to extremism on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Professor Dajani has written extensively on Palestinian issues as well as on economics and democracy.

From 1996 to 1997 he was Director General of the Palestinian Ministry of Economy and Trade. His next position was as Director of Research at the Palestinian Centre for Regional Studies, which he held until 1999. He then established Political Science and Diplomatic Studies at Al Quds University and became the department head.

Professor Dajani was born in Jerusalem and his family was the custodian of the King David Tomb for many generations.

He lived in the United States for twelve years, during which time he earned an MA and a PhD from the University of Texas-Austin.


Saree Makdisi

Speaking against the motion
Saree Makdisi

Saree Makdisi is a well known commentator on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and a professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Los Angeles.

His most recent book is Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation, which will be published in the US in May. The book offers what Archbishop Desmond Tutu calls "a compelling account of the lives of ordinary Palestinians suffering under occupation".

Professor Makdisi has written on the Palestinian issue for a number of publications including the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Nation, the Houston Chronicle, London Review of Books and the San Francisco Chronicle.

He has also published numerous articles and books in his scholarly fields of study - the culture of modernity and the aftermath of that culture in the contemporary Arab world.

Professor Makdisi comes from a family of leading academics and intellectuals. Both his grandfather and father have taught at the American University of Beirut and his mother is a writer. He is the nephew of the late Edward Said.

Professor Makdisi earned his PhD from Duke University.


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