In mid-November, the Palestinian Authority (PA) will ask the United Nations General Assembly to change its status from "observer state" to "non-member state." PA president Mahmoud Abbas argues that the change would strengthen his hand in negotiations with Israel over a two-state solution. A similar move at the U.N. Security Council failed last year when the U.S. vetoed efforts to recognize Palestinian statehood.
This week, the State Department warned that "unilateral actions," such as seeking a change in the PA's member status, would jeopardize the stalled peace Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
Noted Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi will speak about these developments in the light of the long conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as other Middle East developments such as the Arab Spring and its aftermath.
An Oxford University-educated historian, Khalidi has taught at Oxford, Harvard and American University, and was co-founder of the Institute of Palestine Studies.