Even prior to President George W. Bush's June 24, 2002, speech on Palestinian reform, The Washington Institute had decided to host a full-day forum on the subject, in part because calls for reform have gradually intensified in many quarters of the international community. The fact that donor countries were pressing for reform came as no great surprise in Washington, particularly given the scope of Palestinian corruption. That Palestinians themselves were demanding reform -- even in the aftermath of Israel's Operation Defensive Shield, conducted in the spring of 2002 -- came as a revelation.
The Washington Institute invited three Palestinian reformers working in different sectors of Palestinian society to present their views on various aspects of reform: Khalil Shikaki, a professor and polling expert from Bir Zeit University; Ziad Abu Amr, chairman of the Political Committee of the Palestinian Legislative Council; and Hassan Abu Libdeh, director of the Central Bureau of Statistics for the Palestinian Authority (PA). The three essays in this Policy Focus are edited versions of the presentations given by each of these speakers.