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The US Presidential Election, Prospects and Implications Roundtable Discussion

In partnership with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Pal-Think for Strategic Studies held a virtual roundtable discussion which urged political decision-makers and Palestinian leaders to promote and improve the Palestinian discourse and narrative within the American society in light of the progressive movement supporting the Palestinian cause in the US and in the Democratic Party in specific. 

Pal-Think hosted Mr. Matthew Duss, Foreign Policy Advisor to Senator Bernie Sanders, to speak on “The US Presidential Election, Prospects and Implications” through the discussion. 

One of the attendees was Mr. Hannes Alpen, Director of the German Friedrich Ebert, Jerusalem, as well as a group of academics, intellectuals, experts, specialists, and representatives from the civil society organizations, and diplomats from Jerusalem, Europe, and Ramallah. Mr. Omar Shaban, Director of Pal-Think, moderated the seminar and explained “This discussion aims at identifying the implications of the US elections on the Palestinian cause especially in the light of conflict between the Democratic Party and its main rival – the Republican Party, and the different vision each has on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Mr. Jehad Abusalim, Ph.D. Candidate at New York University joined the discussion as a translator. Mr. Albin pointed out that Freidrich is committed to the ideas, values, and principles of democracy and always seeks to achieve social justice between varying social components. Albin stated that the Trump’s administration undermined confidence in the Democratic Party when the latter forcibly imposed its vision on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Trump Wins Scenario:

Mathew expected the Trump’s policy will not change towards the Palestinian cause if he was re-elected; furthermore, he will promote his current approach on the basis of power and individuality rather than the basis of right and international law. He mentioned that Trump’s policy can be concluded through his determination to destroy any independent Palestinian political body and emphasize the extreme right-wing idea which anchors on that Palestinians are second class citizens in Israel. 

Biden Wins Scenario:
Duss believed that the win of Democratic candidate Joe Biden in the upcoming presidential elections may contribute to the return of the United States to international consensus, the promotion of the two-state solution in accordance with United Nations resolutions, and the opening of lines of communication between Washington and Ramallah, which paused by Donald Trump’s vision.

Duss ruled out that Biden would take the step of returning the US embassy from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, since this step would not serve to resolve the conflict, while Biden might take other steps for the Palestinians, such as reopening the office of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) mission in Washington, opening the US consulate to the Palestinians, and refinancing UNRWA, and establishing a positive and productive relationship with the Palestinian leadership.

Regarding the annexation plan, Duss said: “Biden rejects the annexation decision, and I believe that he will not recognize it and will not give it legitimacy if it was applied by Israel.”

Narrative Promotion and Unity:

Duss called on political decision-makers and leaders in Palestine to promote and develop the Palestinian narrative within the US society, in light of the growing positions of supporting the Palestinian cause within the Democratic Party.

Winning and Losing Scenarios:

Duss did not express his prediction about the potentially elected US president, but he indicated that the American Democratic Party candidate Joe Biden is ahead of President Donald Trump by ten points at the national level, in addition to his progress in the states that the Democrats lost in the previous presidential elections in 2016, such as (Wisconsin).

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