The end of Yasser Arafat’s decades-long dominance of Palestinian politics and his complete control over the Palestinian Authority begs the inevitable question: who will lead the Palestinian people? While Arafat is revered by Palestinians as the symbol of their struggle for independence, many others—especially in the United States and Israel—view him as an obstacle to peace. His departure from the political scene presents new opportunities as well as fresh challenges for Palestinians, Israel, the Bush administration, Arab leaders, and the international community. The response of these actors will determine whether the transition to a new governing structure will be orderly or erupt into chaos and whether it will be possible to move ahead in the peace process without Arafat.
The Saban Center for Middle East Policy and the Brookings Institution will convene a panel of experts to discuss the pending changes in Palestinian politics in the aftermath of Yasser Arafat’s departure. Participants will take audience questions.