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The U.S. and the Palestinians

Stacie Pettyjohn - Visiting Instructor in the Department of Political Science at Case Western Reserve University

Friday February 13, 2009
12:30-1:30 p.m.
Crawford Hall - Room 9
Inamori Center
Case Western Reserve University

Dear Colleagues,

If the U.S. government is ever to be a force for settling the conflict between Israel and its neighbors, it will need to influence both sides.  The difficulties in influencing Israeli governments are evident enough.  But at least nobody objects to U.S. governments talking to Israeli governments, and the U.S. has a range of policy instruments that it could and occasionally does use to influence the latter.

In the case of the Palestinians, however, U.S. governments have often had policies of not talking to groups that claim to, and in some ways do, represent the Palestinian people.  The U.S. has sought to pick and choose representatives to whom it would talk – such as the Jordanian government rather than the PLO, or currently Fatah rather than Hamas.  U.S. governments have been particularly loath to publicly have relationships with Palestinian groups that used terror tactics, condemning them on those grounds.  They also have tended to insist that they would only work (publicly at least) with Palestinian groups that accepted Israel’s right to exist, and U.S. governments therefore sought public declarations of that acceptance before having public dealings.  These policies are based not only on the situation in Israel and Palestine, but also on arguments within the U.S. government, so the politics of U.S. diplomacy.

Just talking to each other is not enough of course: there have to be ways for the U.S. to influence the Palestinian side of the conflict, the U.S. has to be viewed as at least a trustworthy even if somewhat hostile party; and the U.S. government has to be able to offer credible rewards or sanctions.  A U.S. government that is viewed as in the pockets of the Israeli government, for example, may not seem worth negotiating with from the Palestinian side.  So the difficulties are immense – but the consequences of the status quo also are not attractive.

For our Public Affairs Lunch discussion of February 13, Stacie Pettyjohn, Visiting Instructor in the Department of Political Science, will talk about the past, present, and future of the relationship between the U.S. and the Palestinians, based on her dissertation research on U.S. foreign policy-making.  She focuses especially on the conditions under which the U.S. government decides to deal with groups with which it  has previously refused to (at least publicly) have a relationship.  With the change of presidential administrations this is an intriguing topic to say the least.  Please join us for what should be an enlightening discussion.

As usual, we will gather in Room 9 of the Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence, on the lower level of Crawford Hall, for free cookies, beverages, and brown bag lunch.

Best regards,
Joe White

About Our Guest

Stacie Pettyjohn came to Case Western Reserve University after holding fellowships at the Brookings Institution and the United States Institute for Peace, where she was working on completing her Ph.D. in the Department of Government and Foreign Affairs at the University of Virginia. Her research asks an unusual and important question: under what conditions, and for what reasons, does the United States choose to negotiate with insurgents against a regime that we consider an ally? Her case studies include Palestinian organizations in their conflict with Israel, Sinn Fein in its conflict with Great Britain, and the African National Congress in its conflict with South Africa. She has worked with some of the major figures in the study of U.S. policy in the Middle East, including her dissertation chair, William Quandt.

She has also taught courses at U.VA. both in middle east politics and in international relations, and received good reviews for her teaching. Stacie has taught courses on those topics, including POSC 272 and POSC 379 this academic year. Stacie is a graduate of Westlake High and of Ohio State, and her parents still live in Westlake.

Friday Lunch Upcoming Topics and Speakers:

February 20: China's Economy and Chinese Politics. Paul Schroeder, Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science, CWRU

February 27: The New (Maybe) Israeli Government. With Michael B. Oren, Senior Fellow, The Shalem Center, Jerusalem; and Peter J. Haas, Abba Hillel Silver Professor of Jewish Studies.

March 6: TBA

March 20: TBA

March 27: Promise and Problems of Alternative Dispute Resolution. Bill Leatherberry, Professor of Law , CWRU.

April 3: TBA

April 10: Exonerating the Innocent: The Impact of DNA Evidence. Paul Gianelli, Weatherhead Professor of Law, CWRU.

April 17: CWRU Students Report on the Election in El Salvador.

April 24: TBA.

The Friday Lunch discussions are held on the lower (ground) level of Crawford Hall.  Visitors with mobility issues may find it easiest to take advantage of special arrangements we have made.  On most Fridays, a few parking spaces in the V.I.P. lot in between Crawford Hall and Amasa Stone Chapel are held for participants in the lunch discussion. 

Visitors then can avoid walking up the hill to the first floor of Crawford by entering the building on the ground level, through the garage area under the building.  The further door on the left in that garage will be left unlocked during the period before the Friday lunch.  On occasion, parking will be unavailable because of other university events.

For more information about these and other Center for Policy Studies programs, please see

February 9, 2009

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Upcoming Events

The Code of the Warrior

Shannon E. French, Ph.D., Director, Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence

Tuesday February, 10, 2009, 4:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m., Moot Court Room (A59), Case Western Reserve University Law School, 11075 East Blvd., Cleveland, OH

Why do warriors need a code? Are the laws of war necessary? Are they enough? What can – and what should – motivate combat troops to show restraint in the “fog of war”? These are some of the questions Dr. French will address in her talk, along with related issues such as what returning warriors need and deserve from the society that sent them to war and what can be done to ease warrior transitions back into civilian life. Dr. French will also touch on the question of whether you can separate out questions about the just conduct of war from judgments about whether the war itself is a just endeavor. Is it possible to be an honorable warrior in an unjust cause?

Dr. French became the new Director of the Inamori Center on September 8, 2008. She is also the Inamori Professor in Ethics and a tenured faculty member in the Department of Philosophy in the College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. French was previously on the civilian faculty of the U.S. Naval Academy from 1997 to 2008 and served as Associate Chair of the Department of Leadership, Ethics, and Law. She received a B.A. degree from Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas. Her Ph.D. thesis at Brown University (Providence, RI) was titled, "The Problem of Motivating Ethical Behavior." Dr. French's research and scholarly interests include military ethics, leadership ethics, professional ethics, moral psychology, biomedical ethics, and environmental ethics.

A Nation in Fragments: Iraq and Archaeology

Magnus T. Bernhardsson, Department of History, Williams - His book on the topic of illicit trade in antiquities was given a lengthy and favorable review in a recent edition of The New York Review of Books.

Friday March 27, 2009, 4:30 p.m. , Recital Hall, Cleveland Museum of Art, Wade Oval, Cleveland, Ohio.

Magnus T. Bernhardsson specializes in the modern Middle East, specifically the political and cultural history of Hashmite Iraq (1921-1958). After earning his B.A. degree in theology and political science at the University of Iceland, he came to the United States and completed at Masters Degree in Religion from Yale Divinity School in 1992. After a year in Syria studying Arabic, he returned to Yale and finished a Ph.D. in Middle Eastern History in 1999. He is the author of several books and edited volumes including Reclaiming a Plundered Past. Archaeology and Nation Building in Modern Iraq (Texas, 2005). When not playing soccer with his children, he is researching and writing a book on religion and nationalism in modern Iraq.

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