Washington, D.C. — The recent reopening of peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians has reenergized efforts to bring sustained peace to the region, presenting a rare opportunity to bring the two sides together to develop a mutually agreed-upon two-state solution. This small but important step follows months of strategic involvement from Secretary of State John Kerry, who has moved on a range of fronts to create an environment conducive to advancing negotiations. Today, the Center for American Progress released an issue brief that examines Secretary Kerry’s efforts and sets forth recommendations for the Obama administration as the peace process continues to move forward.
Central to Secretary Kerry’s efforts is getting both sides to the table to talk. However, as outlined in the issue brief, Secretary Kerry has also focused his attention on several key areas—including cultivating regional support, providing economic-development assistance for the Palestinian Authority, and coordinating Israeli security efforts—to capitalize on any progress made during talks.
“Secretary Kerry’s multifaceted approach to Israeli-Palestinian negotiations marks a critical shift in strategy for the United States’s long-held policy goal of a two-state solution,” said Matthew Duss, a Policy Analyst and Director of Middle East Progress at the Center for American Progress and the author of the issue brief. “Long-term peace cannot be achieved through talks alone. In order to ensure lasting success, the United States must utilize an array of avenues to build an environment that promotes fair negotiations and legitimate solutions.”
As the Obama administration continues to navigate peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians, the Center for American Progress has released the following recommendations:
- Continue to voice support for an agreed-upon frame of reference based upon President Barack Obama’s May 2011 speech calling for a secure, viable peace agreement.
- Increase engagement with all sectors of American, Palestinian, and Israeli society to reiterate the United States’ commitment to achieving sustained peace in the Middle East.
- Keep a record of private commitments by parties and hold them to those commitments in order to continue to push talks forward.
- Work to end the separation of the West Bank and Gaza to unify Palestinians and ensure genuine, lasting peace.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict—which has been a source of frustration for previous administrations—has reached a critical point in which many leaders feel that this may be the last chance to achieve peace, marking an urgent need to act now. While the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one in a number of regional challenges for U.S. policymakers, its influence among Middle East populations cannot be ignored. By successfully facilitating the peace-talk process, the United States is in a unique position to remove a core of instability in the Middle East and to demonstrate American leadership in a region where many are questioning its value.
For more information or to speak to an expert on this topic, contact Chelsea Kiene at [email protected] or 202.478.5328.