Decision Points


Can the Bennett-Lapid Government Last, and Who Comes After Abbas?

Season 3, Ep. 10
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s visit to the White House this week is a timely reminder of potentially new political dynamics in Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Israeli has just exited the whirlwind of four elections in two years, replacing long-serving Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu with an extraordinarily diverse coalition. Meanwhile, the PA has postponed its first planned election since 2006 and is still led by President Mahmoud Abbas, who is reportedly eighty-six years old. For Israel, the question is whether the new government can survive the formidable challenges looming at home and abroad. For the Palestinians, many are wondering who will succeed Abbas and what will happen the day after he leaves the scene. To answer these questions, David Makovsky closes season 3 of Decision Points with political experts Ben Caspit, Tal Schneider, Ghaith al-Omari, and Ibrahim Dalalsha. Ben Caspit is a senior columnist for the Israeli daily Maariv. He has worked as both a print commentator and radio/television anchor during his distinguished three-decade career, focusing on politics, diplomacy, military affairs, and the peace process. Tal Schneider is a political correspondent for The Times of Israel and a former Washington correspondent for Maariv. In 2012, she won the Tel Aviv Journalists Association Award for Excellence in Digital Journalism. Ghaith al-Omari is a senior fellow at The Washington Institute and former executive director of the American Task Force on Palestine. He also served as an advisor to the negotiating team during the 1999-2001 permanent-status talks and held various positions within the Palestinian Authority. Ibrahim Dalalsha directs the Horizon Center for Political Studies and Media Outreach, a think tank based in Ramallah. Previously, he served as senior political advisor at the U.S. consulate-general in Jerusalem for two decades.

The Abraham Accords One Year Later: Can They Change the Middle East?

Season 3, Ep. 9
August 13 marked the first anniversary of the breakthrough normalization agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates—a deal followed shortly by accords with Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco. In addition to strong U.S. mediation, several broader forces brought these countries together, including mutual concerns about Iran, Arab recognition of how Israeli technology could help their societies, and a desire to bolster the stability of pro-Western governments amid questions about America’s long-term commitment to the Middle East.  Now that some Arab leaders see Israel as part of a solution to their challenges and are unencumbered by the enmity of the past, what will it take to deepen these relationships and extend them to other states? How does the Palestinian issue play into this effort? And what can Washington do to strengthen the Abraham Accords? To discuss these questions, David Makovsky hosts renowned experts Ebtesam al-Ketbi, Amos Yadlin, and Thomas Friedman. Ebtesam al-Ketbi is founder and president of the Emirates Policy Center and the first Arab woman to lead a think tank. Additionally, she is a professor of political science at United Arab Emirates University and a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council’s Consultative Commission. Amos Yadlin was executive director of the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University from November 2011 to May 2021. He also served in the Israel Defense Forces for forty years, including posts with the General Staff and as chief of military intelligence. Thomas Friedman is an internationally renowned author, reporter, and columnist. He has written seven New York Timesbestsellers and received three Pulitzer Prizes—two for reporting from the Middle East and a third for his columns about 9/11.See for privacy and opt-out information.

One State or Two States? Trends in Israeli and Palestinian Public Opinion

Season 3, Ep. 8
In recent years, public support for the two-state solution has continued to erode on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian divide. Each party suspects that the other has completely given up on the idea, further weakening the political will and public trust needed to preserve it. Can leaders lead the public on this issue, or does the public lead them? Will Israel’s new government attempt to narrow these points of difference, and are the Palestinians still open to such gradualism? In this episode, David Makovsky hosts Khalil Shikaki, David Pollock, and Tamar Hermann for a discussion on what polling can tell us about these issues. Where does current Israeli and Palestinian public opinion fall on the two-state question, and what deeper insights does the data hold? Khalil Shikaki is the director of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah and a senior fellow with the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University. David Pollock is the Bernstein Fellow at The Washington Institute and director of Project Fikra. Previously, he served as senior advisor for the broader Middle East at the U.S. State Department. Tamar Hermann is a senior research fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute and academic director of the Viterbi Family Center for Public Opinion and Policy Research.Audio clips from AP “Peace Agreement Signing In Washington (A)” i24News “20 Years Since the Outbreak of the Second Intifada”See for privacy and opt-out information.