Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s announcement of the resumption of direct talks between Israelis and Palestinians is the beginning of an important new chapter in the administration’s efforts to bring about comprehensive Middle East peace and a sustainable two-state solution.
The resolution of the conflict is a U.S. national interest and we applaud the Obama administration’s ambitious vision of achieving an agreement within a year, as well as its continued emphasis on the importance of such an agreement, as Special Envoy for Middle East Peace George Mitchell said, “in terms of dealing with other conflicts in the region.”
As all the parties move into this critical next stage, it is necessary to keep an eye on a few key factors: the parameters of the negotiations, the role of the United States and regional parties, the accountability mechanisms put in place to ensure that all sides are living up to their commitments, and continued progress on efforts to improve security and the economy as well as building Palestinian institutions.
We should also expect that with renewed negotiations, there will be efforts to run the process off the rails by those who do not want to see a viable, agreed-upon solution. We encourage all parties to show the flexibility, courage, and persistence to come to an agreement and, with the support of the United States, work together to ensure that rejectionists on either side do not exercise a veto over the aspirations of both peoples to live in peace and security.
For more information about where the Israelis and Palestinians left off in the Annapolis process negotiations, see this Review of Where Negotiations Last Ended.
The following experts are available for comment. To speak with them please contact Laura Pereyra at 202.203.8689 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Moran Banai, Policy Director, Middle East Progress
Matthew Duss, National Security Editor, Center for American Progress
David Halperin, Assistant Director of Israel Policy Forum