Brit Tzedek v'Shalom is hosting a series of Town Hall conference calls which will focus on the pressing questions raised by the death of Palestinian Authority Leader Yasser Arafat last week: Who will lead the Palestinians? How will the new leadership emerge? What is the situation on the ground now? How will recent events impact the prospects of a negotiated solution to the conflict?

To address these questions and others, we have invited leading Palestinian academics and activists to discuss different aspects of the rapidly changing political landscape. As we, American Jews, struggle to keep abreast of the rapidly developing situation in the region and to make sense of it in the context of our understanding of the past and present and our aspirations for the future, we thought it important to engage Palestinian perspectives in the discussion.

The details of our first two calls follow below. Extended bios of our presenters follow the details of the calls.

These conference calls will entail a briefing by each presenter followed by questions and answers. You will be able to ask questions by emailing them to both before and during the call.

We hope that you will join us for what we anticipate will be a prescient and engaging series of discussions. 


With: Amjad Atallah, an advisor to the Palestinian Negotiations Affairs Department and to Mahmoud Abbas, and Omar Dajani, a former senior legal advisor to the Palestinian negotiating team and political advisor to U.N. Special Envoy Terje Roed-Larson.

Monday, November 22nd at 8:00 EST

Dial: (702)751-3330. When prompted enter access code 123432#. You will be charged for the cost a state-to-state telephone call by your service provider.

Related News Coverage:
Palestinians Turn toward Future as They Continue to Mourn, by James Bennet, New York Times, November 14, 2004.


With: Ray Hanania an internationally syndicated columnist and founder of Yalla, Salaam (Palestinian Peace Now), and Saffiya Shillo, the President of the Palestinian American Congress-Chicago chapter and the former Director of the Chicago office of the Arab American Institute.

Tuesday, November 30th at 9:30 EST

Dial: (702)751-3330. When prompted enter access code 123432#. You will be charged for the cost a state-to-state telephone call by your service provider.


Amjad Atallah is director of the Strategic Assessments Initiative, an organization committed to providing pro bono legal and policy assistance to parties involved in peace negotiations. For the past three years, Mr. Atallah has advised the PLO's Negotiations Affairs Department, and Mahmoud Abbas' office, in peace negotiations with Israel on international borders, security, and constitutional issues. He was also responsible for liaising with US government officials in Washington, D.C. on these issues. He coordinated Palestinian cooperation with the Sharm El-Sheikh Fact Finding Committee (the Mitchell Commission), the General Zinni and Secretary of State Powell missions, and was heavily involved in discussions pertaining to the Quartet "Roadmap", including monitoring mechanisms and other forms of third party involvement.

Omar M. Dajani's legal, political, and diplomatic skills have placed him squarely in the center of one of the world's most troubled regions: the Middle East. As Political Advisor to United Nations Special Envoy Terje Roed-Larson from 2001 to 2003, Mr. Dajani was intimately involved in a range of U.N. initiatives to foster peace in the region. Proficient in Arabic, he played a lead role in marshalling and organizing international efforts to support Palestinian legal and political reforms, and represented the U.N. in donor groups supporting Palestinian elections, the development of rule of law, and civil society mobilization. Prior to joining the U.N., Mr. Dajani was Senior Legal Advisor to the Palestinian negotiating team, where he gained unique experience in preparing and negotiating complex agreements covering a variety of contested matters including borders, security, law enforcement, trade and financial issues in peace talks with Israel.  He is currently an Assistant Professor of Law at the University of the Pacific's McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, California.

Ray Hanania writes an award winning syndicated column analyzing Middle East events, is an author of several books, and is a humorist, satirist and professional stand-up comedian who launched his public comedy performances after September 11th to help break through the growing hatred and animosity. Hanania is the only Palestinian-American to write a regular nationally and internationally syndicated column. In his columns which analyze Middle East events, he seek to define "the moderate Palestinian voice" clearly seeking the moral position between right and wrong in a region overwhelmed by tragedy and suffering. Hanania has also served as the National President of the Palestinian American Congress (1995-1996) to which he was elected on a platform of peace. He attended the 1993 White House peace signing between Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, and participated in numerous meetings with President Clinton, President Arafat and officials of the Palestinian and Israeli Labor governments. He was a board member with Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam through the 1990s. He currently serves on the Entertainment Council of One Voice for Peace. He is also a founder of Yalla, Salam! (Palestinians for Peace Now) which seeks to express a Palestinian voice of peace in today's bitter conflict. His most recent book is The Moral Jihad which explores why Arabs and Muslims must face the growing extremism from within and denounce violence and injustices committed in their name.

Saffiya Shillo is President of the Palestinian American Congress-Chicago chapter, a board member of the Palestinian American Women's Society and board president of Arab American Family Services (a social service agency serving the Chicago area's Arab and Muslim community, of which the majority is Palestinian). She previously worked as Director of Ethnic Affairs for the State of Illinois' Office of Lieutenant Governor and prior to that was Director of the Arab American Institute's Chicago office. She is very involved in Jewish/Israeli-Palestinian dialogue in the Chicago area and has given presentations at area synagogues and Hillels. Ms. Shillo currently works as a domestic violence/sexual assault counselor in Chicago's Arab community.

Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, The Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace
11 E. Adams Street, Ste 707
Chicago, IL 60603
Phone: (312) 341-1205
Fax: (312) 341-1206

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