Mouin Rabbani

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Mouin Rabbani

IPS senior fellow since 2008. An independent analyst specializing in Palestinian affairs & the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Mouin Rabbani joined IPS as senior fellow since 2008. He is an independent analyst specialising in Palestinian affairs and the Arab-Israeli conflict, and a contributing editor of Middle East Report (MERIP).

He served as a Senior Analyst/Middle East with the International Crisis Group - with his focus on Palestinian affairs and the Arab-Israeli conflict. Previously he worked as Palestine Director of the Palestinian American Research Center, and before that as project director for the Association of Netherlands Municipalities in a project to establish the Association of Palestinian Local Authorities. From 1988-1990 he was volunteer researcher at Al-Haq, and among other things served as General Editor for the 1990 Al-Haq annual report A Nation Under Siege. His writings have appeared in the Journal of Palestine Studies , Middle East International , Middle East Report , Third World Quarterly , The Nation, and other publications.



Is a two-state solution still possible?
Al Jazeera English
In the words of one Israeli opposition member of parliament: "When Jerusalem burns, everything burns". Nahman Shai fears a newly passed law in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, could lead to more unrest in the Middle East. The Israeli...
What Now For the Palestinians?
Mouin Rabbani, discusses where Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israeli capital on BBC's Newshour. Access here .
Can Muslim leaders alter Trump's Jerusalem decision?
Al Jazeera English
Jerusalem's status - as part of Israel, or Palestine, or both - has long been a controversial issue many politicians have shied away from. But President Donald Trump changed decades of US policy last week by recognising the holy city as...
Why is Netanyahu trying to rewrite history?
Al Jazeera English
Benjamin Netanyahu says it was the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem who gave Hitler the idea of wiping out the Jews during World War Two. Senior Fellow Mouin Rabbani challenges the Israeli premier's revision.
Inside the Middle East Q&A
The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
Mouin Rabbani, Former Head of Political Affairs, UN Special Envoy for Syria, sits with Basma Alloush, Associate Editor, Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy to talk about Palestine, Syria, and the successes and failures of UN...
Starvation as a tool of war in Syria
Al Jazeera English
Mouin Rabbani, IPS Senior Fellow and former Head of Political Affairs for the UN special envoy for Syria, spoke to Al Jazeera about the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria.
On Escalating Violence in Palestine
Al Jazeera English
Mouin Rabbani appeared on Al Jazeera's Inside Edition panel to discuss the recent violence in Jerusalem.
Gaza Disengagement and Its Aftermath
France 24
Senior Fellow Mouin Rabbani on the Gaza's predicament ten years after the Israeli withdrawal from the territory.
Interview with Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) Finland
ICAHD Finland
Palestine Studies Senior Fellow Mouin Rabbani spoke to ICAHD Finland on the following subjects: What is the impact of the Arab uprisings on the question of Palestine? What is your view of issue of the one state solution vs. two state...
Redrawing the Middle East
In a panel discussion hosted by the BBC, Senior Fellow Mouin Rabbani discusses the Middle East in the aftermath of the First World War. Listen to the discussion here.
On UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura
Al Jazeera English
IPS Senior Fellow Mouin Rabbani on his resignation as advisor to UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura.
On Developments in Yarmouk
France 24
Institute for Palestine Studies Senor Fellow Mouin Rabbani speaks to France 24 about developments in Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus.
Israel's Assault on Gaza
Al Jazeera English
Institute for Palestine Studies Senior Fellow Mouin Rabbani spoke with al Jazeera English on Israel's assualt on Gaza during "Operation Protective Edge."
After Palestinian Unity Deal, Did Israel Spark Violence to Prevent a New "Peace Offensive"?
Democracy Now
Institute for Palestine Studies Senior Fellow Mouin Rabbani spoke on Democracy Now about Israeli opposition to the Fatah-Hamas unity deal and the summer war. Transcript below. AMY GOODMAN : Israeli musician and peace activist David Broza...
The Killing Fields of Gaza
Institute for Palestine Studies Senior Fellow Mouin Rabbani spoke with Vomena.
On the Palestinian United Nations Initiative
Palestine Studies TV
Institute for Palestine Studies Senior Fellow Mouin Rabbani discusses the Palestinians' UN membership bid. Palestine Studies TV is a project of the Institute for Palestine Studies.
On the Egyptian Revolution and the Arab-Israeli Conflict
Palestine Studies TV
Institute for Palestine Studies Senior Fellow Mouin Rabbani spoke about the Egyptian uprising's impact on the Arab-Israeli conflict. Palestine Studies TV is a project of the Institute for Palestine Studies.
What's Next for the Palestinian United Nations Strategy?
Palestine Studies TV
Institute for Palestine Studies Senior Fellow Mouin Rabbani discusses the Palestinian Authority's strategy at the United Nations. Palestine Studies TV is a project of the Institute for Palestine Studies.
Palestinian Statehood at the UN
Russia Today
Institute for Palestine Studies Senior Fellow Mouin Rabbani discusses the Palestinian statehood bid at the United Nation.


Team Trump’s Magical Thinking on Palestine

The administration has a predilection for disruptive gestures, but it’s not such a radical departure from decades of US policy.

Corpus Separatum? Trump and Jerusalem

Late yesterday evening, ‘a senior administration official’ confirmed that the United States will today recognise Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem. Given that the policy is to be announced by Donald Trump, a volatile airhead presiding over a highly fractious government, it’s still far from clear how – or even whether – Washington will put forward a new position. But if, as...

Hamas goes to Cairo

A Hamas delegation recently paid an official visit to Egypt, which these days is news in and of itself. While in Cairo, the delegation also met with the former Fatah warlord Muhammad Dahlan, which is even bigger news. The Hamas delegation was led by Yahya Sinwar. A leader of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, who served more than twenty years in Israeli jails until released in...

Paris peace conference: A damp squib

A half-century of Israeli occupation is not going to be meaningfully addressed by international meetings.

John Kerry’s Eureka Moment

Following developments at the United Nations Security Council, IPS Senior Fellow Mouin Rabbani posits that If Kerry’s eureka moment arrived only this Christmas, then why refrain from the obvious step of recognising Palestinian statehood?

The Significance of UNSC 2334

IPS Senior Fellow and Jadaliyya Co-Editor Mouin Rabbani examines various aspects of the UNSC Resolution 2334.

Expert Q&A: Palestine — The Year in Review & A Look Ahead to 2016

IPS Senior Fellow Mouin Rabbani took part in a Q&A alongside Diana Buttu, Ramallah-based political analyst and former advisor to Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian negotiators, hosted by the Institute for Middle East Understanding.

Is This the 3rd Palestinian Intifada?

The current uprising could advance the cause of liberation—but only if it’s transformed into a nonviolent mass movement, coordinated closely with international solidarity activists.

Palestinians ‘more isolated than at any point since 1948’

The current decade has been particularly calamitous for Palestinians.

US-Palestine Relations After the Iran Deal

Senior Fellow Mouin Rabbani appeared on a roundtable discussion of the Iran nuclear agreement's implications for U.S.-Palestinian relations hosted by Al Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network.

Senior Fellow Mouin Rabbani on Israel’s Defeat on Iran Deal

Once Israel’s defeat in Washington is formalized, the costs are going to be significant.

No Decisive Outcome on Syrian Horizon

The view that 2015 has not been a particularly good year for Syrian President Bashar Assad and may get considerably worse has much to recommend it.

Another Palestinian Uprising?

Rage and despair may be at an all-time high, but Palestinian political stalemate makes a new intifada unlikely.

The Iran Nuclear Agreement and the Question of Palestine

The Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU) hosted an interview on 'The Iran Nuclear Agreement and the Question of Palestine' with Palestine Studies Fellow Mouin Rabbani, Harvard Kennedy School of Government Fellow and former advisor to the PLO Diana Buttu, and Kennedy Fellow and Daily Star...

Panic in Damascus?

The panoply of rebel movements appears incapable of administering a decisive blow to Assad's regime.

The Arguments Against Palestine Giving Its Refugees Citizenship

Part of a roundtable response to a previous article by Fateh Azzam titled A Bold Proposal: Palestine Should Give Its Refugees Citizenship.

Not Much Special in UN Middle East Missions

Of the twenty-two members of the Arab League, no less than nine have been assigned a Special Advisor, Special Coordinator, Special Envoy, or Special Representative by the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Mr Freeze

Amid little anticipation and less expectation, the United Nations special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, on Tuesday, 17 February, briefed the Security Council on the progress of the initiative he unveiled last year to ‘freeze’ the conflict that has destroyed the country, extinguished perhaps...

Expert Q&A: Palestine Accedes to the ICC

Institute for Palestine Studies Senior Fellows Mouin Rabbani and George Bisharat discuss Palestine's membership in the International Criminal Court (ICC) alongside Diana Buttu, Ramallah-based analyst, former advisor to Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian negotiators, and Policy Advisor to Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network ; Ali...

The Un-Islamic State

The Islamic State (IS) movement needs to be understood as a political project whose primary objective is to establish a viable entity in areas it can control rather than engage in permanent insurgency against more powerful adversaries. The conditions for its emergence were created by the U.S...

Israel's "Operation Status Quo": A Preliminary Assessment

Israel’s massive onslaught on the Gaza Strip in July-August 2014 has been a military and political fiasco. A regional superpower, it failed to impose its will on an isolated enemy operating in a besieged territory without advanced weaponry. Its sub-standard military performance was matched by a...

Why the Gaza Truce Failed

Israel’s leader could not achieve at the negotiating table what he failed to win on the battlefield.

On the Gaza Crisis

This interview was published by the Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU) on 5 August 2014. FAQ Q — On Saturday, under intense international pressure to negotiate a ceasefire, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a press conference to say that the Israeli military would "regroup," while continuing its operations in Gaza. Following the announcement, Israel...

Israel Mows the Lawn

This article appeared on The London Review of Books on 18 July 2014 (print edition 31 July 2014) In 2004, a year before Israel’s unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip, Dov Weissglass, éminence grise to Ariel Sharon, explained the initiative’s purpose to an interviewer from Haaretz : The significance of the disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process … And...

FAQ on Failed Effort to Arrange Ceasefire Between Israel and Hamas

This interview with Journal for Palestine Studies editor Rashid Khalidi, Institute for Palestine Studies Senior Fellow Mouin Rabbani and Assistant Professor at George Mason University and human rights human rights attorney Noura Erakat originally appeared on the Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU) on 15 July 2014. PHOTO: Palestinian men inspect the site of an...

An Institutionalized Disregard for Palestinian Life

This column appeared on The London Review of Books' LRB blog on 9 July 2014. One either rejects the killing of non-combatants on principle or takes a more tribal approach to such matters. In the case of Israel and the Palestinians, the global outpouring of grief and condemnation over the killing of three Israeli youths in the occupied West Bank constitutes the moral equivalent...

The Israeli West Bank Operation: Causes and Consequences

This column was published by Al-Shabaka on 25 June 2014. The disappearance of three Israeli youths in mid-June 2014 while hitchhiking home from a Jewish settlement in the Israeli-occupied West Bank has brought an already volatile situation to the boiling point. At a time of growing Palestinian agitation on account of a mass hunger strike by prisoners and amidst Israeli...

Six Questions for Mouin Rabbani

This interview was published on the Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP) on 24 April 2014. Yesterday in Gaza representatives of Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Organization announced a blueprint for talks about forming a government of national consensus ( Arabic text here ). Hamas and the PLO’s dominant Fatah faction have been at loggerheads, and...

An Open Debate on Palestinian Representation

This article was published on Al-Shabaka on 1 May 2013. Overview Many Palestinians seek more effective and democratic representation, and to this end advocate reform of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). However, Osamah Khalil warned last month, in "Who are You?": The PLO and the Limits of Representation, that attempts at reform would end up saving a leadership that...

In Honor of Titans

This article was published on Jadaliyya on 10 December 2012. In hindsight, the popular uprising that erupted in the occupied Palestinian territories on 9 December 1987 and continued for six grueling yet heroic years makes perfect sense. Scholars, analysts, and activists have demonstrated how a variety of factors came together to ripen conditions for the eruption of mass...

Bibi’s First War

Despite his deserved reputation as an extremist and rejectionist of the first order, Binyamin Netanyahu, unlike most of his predecessors, had until this week never initiated a war. He appears not to have planned one this time either. Bibi’s template for the current assault on the Gaza Strip may well have been the events of September 1996, when 17 Israeli soldiers and 70...

U.S. Should Step Aside as Mideast Broker

This article appeared on on 23 October 2011. WHEN IT comes to Arab-Israeli diplomacy, the American monopoly on mediation needs to be terminated. The reason is simple: Washington's systematic failure over several decades has disqualified it from acting without adult supervision. The United States is the arbitrator who sleeps with and solicits bribes from the...

Prisoner Exchange Levels Hamas, Fatah Playing Field

This article originally appeared on al Shabaka on 20 October 2011. News that Israel and the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) had reached agreement on a prisoner exchange instantaneously displaced the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) bid for full United Nations membership from the headlines in mid-October. Arguably, Hamas and Israel had a common interest in this...

Hate Speech Finds a Mainstream Platform

This article originally appeared on Jadaliyya on 3 October 2011. It is not often that major international publications respond to crackpot opinion pieces in other newspapers. Yet Robert L. Bernstein’s latest tantrum against the Palestinians, which the W ashington Post published instead of steering the author to an extremist website, was so far beyond the pale that The...

Countdown to the Day After

This article appeared on The Laws of Rule blog on 28 September 2011. As the UN Security Council meets behind closed doors today to consider the Palestinian application for UN membership, Mouin Rabbani argues Palestinians should use the UN bid to internationalize attempts to resolve the conflict. On Israel-Palestine, President Obama’s address to the United Nations General...

Abbas’s Next Move

This column appeared on The London Review of Books' LRB blog on 27 September 27 2011. Mahmoud Abbas’s address to the United Nations General Assembly on 23 September fell considerably short of Yasir Arafat’s electrifying 1974 speech from the same podium. Nor did it compare with Haidar Abdul Shafi’s dignified – and unanswerable – call for justice at the 1991 Madrid Peace...

Dissecting the Palestinian and UN exchange

This article originally appeared on The Hill's Congress Blog on 23 September 2011. On the topic of Israel-Palestine, President Obama’s address to the United Nations General Assembly left room for neither doubt nor ambiguity. Simply stated, Washington will not countenance any Palestinian challenge to perpetual Israeli occupation, no matter how symbolic or trivial. So as far as...

Reaction to Netanyahu and Abbas at UN

Initial responses to speeches by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu at the United Nations, September 23, 2011. ABBAS SPEECH Abbas posed the perennial Palestinian question to the delegations assembled in New York: Is there one people too many or one state too few? Several days ago President Obama gave as clear a response...

Humpty Dumpty Was Pushed

This article appeared on Foreign Policy on 20 September 2011. In his commentary anticipating a Palestinian initiative to promote statehood at the United Nations, Aaron David Miller chooses to focus almost exclusively upon the realities of Palestinian political and demographic fragmentation. But rather than providing an explanation of how these divisions have come about, or...

The Fatah-Hamas Accord

This article appeared in the 30 May 2011 edition of The Nation. The agreement between Fatah and Hamas to end the schism that has plagued the Palestinian system since June 2007 surprised not only the world but also most Palestinians. More than anything, it reflects the profound changes the Middle East is experiencing and the new regional dynamics unleashed by the ouster of...

Libya's Significance

This article was published on Jadaliyya on 25 February 2011. With the 42-year reign of Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi coming to a seemingly inevitable end, it is worth reflecting on the significance and regional implications of his ouster. Perhaps most importantly, Qaddafi’s removal cannot but result in genuine regime change. Unlike Egypt or Tunisia, Libya does not possess autonomous...

The Arab Revolts: Ten Tentative Observations

This article was published on Jadaliyya on 21 February 21 2011. The extraordinary developments in Tunisia and Egypt during the first six weeks of this year, and more recently in Bahrain, Libya, Yemen and elsewhere, have inaugurated a revolutionary moment in the Arab world not experienced since 1958. If sustained uprisings continue and spread, it has the potential to develop...

Egypt, Tunisia and 'The Resumption of Arab History'

This article was published on Jadaliyya on 15 February 2011. The recent popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt attest above all to the indomitability of the human spirit, and the extraordinary capacity of collective action to bring out the very best in humanity. In these respects the daring, creativity, discipline, resolve, perseverance and euphoria of the people of Egypt and...

Palestine at the UN: An Alternative Strategy

This column appeared on The Hill's Congress Blog on 19 November 2010. As Israeli-Palestinian negotiations lurch from crisis to crisis, Palestinian Authority (PA) leaders have been suggesting they may go to the United Nations to seek resolutions confirming the illegality of Israel’s settlements in the occupied territories and recognizing a reality of Palestinian statehood. With...

Palestine 2010: Time for Plan B

This policy brief was published by al Shabaka on 7 June 2010. Overview The likelihood of current diplomatic initiatives resulting in a meaningful two-state settlement is for all intents and purposes non-existent, argues Al-Shabaka Policy Advisor Mouin Rabbani, due to Israel’s determination to permanently control East Jerusalem and large swaths of the West Bank, and the lack of...

We Need Policy, Not Respect

This column was published on The New York Times' Room for Debate on 4 June 2009. For many Arabs still prepared to sit through an address by an American leader, Barack Obama’s words are likely to have gone down well. Unlike his predecessor, this president speaks in coherent sentences, radiates intelligence and exudes empathy, and when not discussing Israel manages to avoid the...

Nothing to Be Done

This column was published by The National on 22 May 2009. The recent announcement that Barack Obama will deliver a major address to the Muslim world from Cairo in early June has further heightened expectations that the new American administration is determined to achieve a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As Obama met with Benjamin Netanyahu this week, the...

Paradigmatic Progress in Israel-Palestine?

This column was published by the International Relations and Security Network (ISN) in May 2009. A look back at the 20 turbulent years that have characterized the roadmap to peace – culminating in the recent Israeli assault on Gaza – helps illuminate some potential new paths to the occupation’s end. The Israeli-Palestinian peace process was inaugurated in the aftermath of the...

On Human Rights Watch and the Gaza Massacre

This article was published on on 3 February 2009. The Middle East has always been a difficult challenge for Western human rights organizations, particularly those seeking influence or funding in the United States. The pressure to go soft on US allies is in some respects reminiscent of Washington’s special pleading for Latin American terror regimes in the...

The Continuity of Obama's Change

This article was published by the Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP) on 27 January 2009. Co-authored by MERIP editor Chris Toensing. President Barack Obama’s campaign pledge that his administration would begin working for peace in the Middle East from its first day in office is one that he almost met. On January 21, a mere 24 hours after his inauguration,...


It's Not Over Until It's Over

Farsighted observers saw it coming. For them, the apparent breakdown in April 2014 of the initiative launched by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry amid much fanfare nine months earlier, in August 2013, came as no great surprise. (Click on "pop-out" on upper right-hand side to open and expand...

Between Hamas and the PA: An Interview with Islamic Jihad's Khalid al-Batsh

Khalid al-Batsh, a senior official of Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Gaza chair of the “Freedom Committee,” established under the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation agreement of May 2011, was interviewed in Cairo by Mouin Rabbani on 11 July 2012. The interview from which the following excerpts were...

Reflections on a Lifetime of Engagement with Zionism, the Palestine Question, and American Empire: An Interview with Noam Chomsky

What is perhaps most striking about Noam Chomsky is his consistency. Over the course of more than half a century of political activism, accompanied by a ceaseless output of books and articles as well as innumerable talks and interviews, he has—to the best of my knowledge—never changed his mind on a...

Israel's Assault on Gaza: A Transformational Moment? An Interview with Azmi Bishara

Azmi Bishara (b. 1956 in Nazareth), an Israeli Arab politician and academic, earned a doctorate in philosophy from Humboldt University in Berlin in 1986 and for the next ten years was professor of philosophy at Birzeit University; he was also associated with the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem as a...

A Hamas Perspective on the Movement's Evolving Role: An Interview with Khalid Mishal, Part II

In this second installment of his interview for JPS, Khalid Mishal, Hamas politburo chief since 1996 and head of the movement since the assassination of Shaykh Ahmad Yasin in 2004, continues his discussion of Hamas's evolution and strategy. Whereas the focus of part I was Mishal's personal...

Khalid Mishal: The Making of a Palestinian Islamic Leader Interviewed by Mouin Rabbani

Khalid Mishal (Abu Walid), a founder of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) and the head of its politbureau since 1996, has been the recognized head of the movement since the assassination of Shaykh Ahmad Yasin in spring 2004. (Click on "pop-out" on upper right-hand side to open and expand...

Rocks and Rockets: Oslo's Inevitable Conclusion

Though the al-Aqsa intifada took the world by surprise, Palestinians are now almost unanimous in attributing its scope to the failures of Oslo. The author analyzes these failures from two perspectives: those concerning implementation and structural flaws. In describing the unfolding of the intifada...

Symbols versus Substance: A Year after the Declaration of Principles

An interview with Edward Said. Purchase article or Journal subscription at University of California Press-Journal of Palestine Studies , or log-in and read article if you're a Journal subscriber.

Intifada Profiles: Narratives of a Small Proprietor and a Fugitive

"Jiryis," a twenty-three-year-old resident of Ramallah, earns his living from the restaurant business. Young, energetic, and without a family to provide for, he is in many ways atypical of the small proprietors who have played so important a role in the uprising. Business for him is more a...


Oxford University

Institute for Palestine Studies Senior Fellow Mouin Rabbani spoke at Oxford University on 29 May 2014.


Understanding the ISIS Phenomenon

This presentation examines the emergence and development of the Islamic State movement in the Middle East during the past fifteen years.

Israeli settlements as an obstacle to peace - possible ways forward"

Mouin Rabbani, Senior Fellow at the Institute for Palestine Studies, presented the following remarks at the International Meeting on the Question of Palestine, Brussels, 7-8 September 2015, hosted by the United Nations Division for Palestinian Rights.

The Kerry Plan: Deja Vu or Something New?

Seminar with Mouin Rabbani moderated by Sara Roy, Associate, Center for Middle Eastern Studies. Harvard University.