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“Stop giving Palestinians a pass” asserts Ambassador Dennis Ross, one of America’s foremost foreign policy experts on the Middle East

Dennis Ross speakerIn an op-ed for the New York Times, Ambassador Dennis Ross, one of America’s foremost foreign policy experts on the Middle East, has argued that the Palestinian Authority’s application to the International Criminal Court is only the latest example of its preference for political symbols over true negotiation with Israel that would require concessions.

He calls on European leaders who support Palestinian statehood to stop giving the president of the Authority – Mahmoud Abbas – a free pass, and to put greater pressure on it to seriously consider difficult compromise.

Dennis notes that “Palestinian political culture is rooted in a narrative of injustice; its anticolonialist bent and its deep sense of grievance treats concessions to Israel as illegitimate. Compromise is portrayed as betrayal, and negotiations…will inevitably force any Palestinian leader to challenge his people by making a politically costly decision.”

But going to the United Nations does no such thing, he argues, because “it puts pressure on Israel and requires nothing of the Palestinians.” Resolutions are typically about what Israel must do and what Palestinians should get. If saying yes is costly and doing nothing isn’t, Dennis asks, why should we expect the Palestinians to change course?

Click here to read the full article.

For more information, or to book Ambassador Dennis Ross as a keynote speaker for your conference or event, please contact Leo von Bülow-Quirk at or call 0044 (0) 20 7792 8000.


John Hulsman, expert speaker on risk, outlines how Obama should respond to the Gaza crisis

John Hulsman speakerJohn Hulsman, an expert speaker on risk and the political economy of the Middle East, discusses what brought about the Gaza crisis and what Obama should (and crucially should not) do about it.

John describes how renewed upheaval in the region began when the bodies of three kidnapped Israeli teenagers were found dead, allegedly taken by low-level Hamas militants. In response, a Palestinian teenager was seized and burned alive by Israeli thugs. This back and forth game of “sickening logic” has continued to escalate, as torrents of rockets were exchanged between Israel and Gaza. As Israel threatens to broaden the campaign into a ground war, John argues that “the Middle East tragedy will become a catastrophe if Obama missteps now.”

John notes that, entirely correctly, the Obama administration has offered to broker a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel to stop the needless bleeding. However in doing so, several rules of thumb ought to be strictly observed:

  1. Obama must reiterate the basic point that it is unlikely that Hamas wanted this conflict.
  2. A ceasefire backed by the Americans would give Hamas a face-saving way out of its present muddle.
  3. It is imperative that the White House opts for a limited, tactical deal; Obama must not try for more than this.

Click here to read the reasons why.

To find out more about John Hulsman, or to book him as a speaker, please contact Alex Hickman at or call +44 (0) 20 7792 8004.

Dennis Ross on Syria’s role in Israeli-Turkish relations

A scholar and diplomat with more than two decades of experience in Soviet and Middle East policy, Ambassador Dennis Ross is particularly well-known for his roles as foreign policy advisor to Clinton and Obama. He has recently co-written an interesting article with Moran Stern, a Lecturer on Jewish Civilization at Georgetown University and at American University’s Centre for Israel Studies.

Drawing on their areas of expertise, Dennis and Moran explore how past and current developments in Syria have affected Israeli-Turkish relations and suggest ways in which the two countries could reinstate their deep strategic cooperation.

In the 1990s Turkey and Israel had a particularly close and fruitful relationship, which weakened and fizzled out in the following years. Now Syria’s civil war has “posed a new set of challenges and opportunities for renewed Israeli-Turkish ties.” Dennis and Moran suggest that because the two countries have shared interests on Syria this may well encourage their cooperation on security, economic and humanitarian issues.

Using historical analysis the authors “attempt to explain the evolution of Israeli- Turkish relations through the prism of Syria” with the belief that understanding the background of this situation is key to developing a stable post-war Syria.

Click here to read the article in full

To find out more about Dennis Ross, or to book him as a geopolitical speaker for your conference or event, please contact Leo von Bülow-Quirk at or call 0044 (0) 20 7792 8000.

Listen to Dennis Ross on BBC Radio 4’s Today show discussing his fears for Syria

Ambassador Dennis Ross, former foreign policy advisor to Presidents Clinton and Obama, has over 12 years of experience shaping US involvement with Middle East peace processes. He spoke to Sarah Montague on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today’ news and current affairs show this morning about Palestine and Israel and his fears for Syria.

Following the news that Palestinian leaders are considering restarting a peace treaty with Israel after the EU decision to stop funding to Israeli projects, Dennis gave his opinion on both matters.  He revealed that he thinks the EU decision is a mistake and suggested that the Secretary of State must believe that there is a real possibility of achieving meaningful negotiation with Israel to even contemplate the move.

When questioned on whether the US should be more engaged with Syria, Dennis said he would like to see an approach that aims to change the balance of power on the ground and supports those in the opposition who are committed to a nonsectarian Syria.

Click here to listen to the clip in full (approx. 2 hours 34 minutes in)

To find out more about Dennis Ross, or to book him as a geopolitical speaker for your conference or event, please contact Leo von Bülow-Quirk at or call 0044 (0) 20 7792 8000.

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