Israel and the Palestinian Territories

Following the war between Israel and Hamas in the summer of 2014, and the collapse of Israeli and Palestinian negotiations preceding the hostilities, tensions within and between Israeli and Palestinian societies are high, the prospect of a resumption of violent conflict looms, and new challenges exist to the prospects for a negotiated settlement.  Against this backdrop, USIP works at both the policy and grassroots levels to prepare the ground for peace.  We develop and support programs and initiatives that work to prevent a deterioration of conditions on the ground, and that can serve to reinvigorate public support for diplomatic and other non-violent initiatives.

Learn more about Israel, The Palestinian Territories, and the Arab-Israeli Conflict and USIP's work

Israeli-Palestinian Diplomacy: Learning from 2013-2014 & Looking Ahead Post-Israeli Elections

Mon, 03/23/2015 - 15:30
Mon, 03/23/2015 - 17:00

President Obama has raised the possibility of another push for an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement before he leaves office.  With stability on the ground already severely at stake, it is imperative that any renewed attempt take account of lessons learned from last year's round of failed talks.  Join the U.S. Institute of Peace and the Center for a New American Security on March 23, for a discussion with Ilan Goldenberg, the chief of staff to the U.S. special envoy during those talks and author of the new report Lessons from the 2013-2014 Israeli-Palestinian Final Status Negotiations.

What suggestions and recommendations can we draw from a process that built upon and at times diverged from the path of previous diplomatic efforts? How can they be leveraged by the U.S., the international community and the parties themselves to move forward constructively toward a peace agreement? 

Goldenberg will be joined by a panel of experts who will offer an assessment of the report's findings and recommendations, particularly in light of lessons learned from earlier rounds of negotiations.

Featured Panelists:

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Advancing Women in MENA: Should We Keep Trying?

Wed, 05/04/2016 - 14:00
Wed, 05/04/2016 - 16:00
Subtitle: 
Does the Region’s Violent Conflict Preclude Progress?

The longstanding United Nations call for countries to adopt National Action Plans to involve women in issues of national security repeatedly stumbles in much of the Middle East and North Africa. The U.S. Institute of Peace had a discussion on May 4 on how these roadblocks can be overcome, especially amid the current upheaval.

Read the event coverage, Middle East Security Suffers for Absence of Women.

The longstanding United Nations call for countries to adopt National Action Plans to involve women in issues of national security repeatedly stumbles in much of the Middle East and North Africa. The U.S. Institute of Peace had a discussion on May 4 on how these roadblocks can be overcome, especially amid the current upheaval.

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Dialogue Leaders Push Past Traumas of War, Determined to Grasp for Peace, Part 3

(cont’d from Part 1 and Part 2)
At the center of some of the world’s most violent conflict zones, a cadre of civic leaders and scholars are defying cynicism and fatalism to achieve what few believe possible: facilitating sustainable negotiated agreements that forestall cycles of violence, allow people who’ve fled violence in their communities to return home, and establish new terms for peaceful cooperation.

Viola Gienger

Tue, 04/05/2016 - 09:49
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Dialogue Facilitators Reach for Tradition to Heal Modern Rifts, Part 2

(cont’d from Part 1)
Zoughbi Zoughbi, an expert in mediation from the West Bank city of Bethlehem, likes to tell a story that reflects traditions in the region. It’s about a local man who gets angry because someone has taken his watch. An offer of compensation, even twice the value of the timepiece, won’t suffice, writes Zoughbi, a member of a U.S. Institute of Peace conflict resolution program in the Middle East and North Africa, in a handbook published by his non-profit organization. The victim, Zoughbi explains, “wants to know why you took his watch and did not respect his property.” If the victim finds out, for example, that the thief took the watch to feed 10 starving children at home, “he will give you his second watch.”

Viola Gienger

logo​The anecdote illustrates the the value of reaching back into Arab tradition for insight and approaches that could fortify efforts at non-violent conflict resolution today. In the turmoil that has engulfed the once-peaceful revolutions of 2011’s Arab Spring, Zoughbi is among some 60 civil society leaders across the region connected in USIP networks to search for and apply innovative methods of dialogue for defusing violent conflict.

Tue, 03/22/2016 - 16:31
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U.S. Engagement On the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process: Dead End or New Beginning?

Beyond personalities is the issue of process. The U.S.-mediated bilateral negotiation approach is a well-worn path, yet amid the simmering violence, Israelis and Palestinians are further from peace today than they were when the Oslo process began. Israeli and Palestinian societies alike are internally and bitterly divided. While the conventional wisdom long held that a two-state solution was supported by a majority of the Israeli and Palestinian publics, the margin of that majority has steadily shrunk. The publics are moving on— whether through affirmative ideology or passive resignation.

Can Anything Save the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process?

As the decades-long struggle threatens to boil over, there are four concrete steps the international community can take to help the peace along.

In Jerusalem, the view of the golden glow of Old City walls from Mount Zion at sunset presents a deceptive calm. All around, rising tensions are threatening to turn the frozen political struggle between Israelis and Palestinians into a far more intractable religious conflict. Spurred on by clashes at the Temple Mount, increasing violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank and heightened security measures, the long-running conflict has reached a new, dangerous moment.

Nancy Lindborg
Fri, 11/13/2015 - 16:39
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Israeli, Palestinian Kids4Peace: ‘Stubborn Optimism’ in Violent Days

To hear voices of peace challenged by a surge of violence, simply listen to a conference call held by Arab and Jewish parents in Jerusalem who are involved in the program Kids4Peace. The bonds formed over the years their children attended the group’s dialogues and camps are at once strained and sturdy, resolute and despairing and frayed by fear. For the program’s staff, one posted message reflects their defiance at this moment in the Arab-Israeli conflict: “We will not be defeated. Nothing is cancelled.”

Over 12 years, Kids4Peace, a U.S.-based nonprofit, has brought together more than 1,100 school-age youths—Jews, along with Muslim and Christian Arabs—in Jerusalem and at international summer camps to support them in “embodying a culture of peace and empowering a movement for change.”

Fred Strasser
Wed, 10/28/2015 - 16:51
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Women, Religion and Peacebuilding

Women, Religion, and Peacebuilding: Illuminating the Unseen examines the obstacles and opportunities that women religious peacebuilders face as they navigate both the complex conflicts they are seeking to resolve and the power dynamics in the insti­tutions they must deal with in order to accomplish their goals.

Susan Hayward and Katherine Marshall, editors

Many women working for peace around the world are motivated by their religious beliefs, whether they work within secular or religious organizations. These women often find themselves sidelined or excluded from mainstream peacebuilding efforts. Secular organizations can be uncomfortable working with religious groups. Meanwhile, religious institutions often dissuade or even disallow women from leadership positions.

Tue, 09/15/2015 - 01:00
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Managing Conflict in a World Adrift

In the midst of a political shift where power is moving from central institutions to smaller, more distributed units in the international system, the approaches to and methodologies for peacemaking are changing. "Managing Conflict in a World Adrift" provides a sobering panorama of contemporary conflict, along with innovative thinking about how to respond now that new forces and dynamics are at play.

"Managing Conflict in a World Adrift," the fourth volume in the landmark series edited by Chester A. Crocker, Fen Osler Hampson, and Pamela Aall, is the follow-on to "Leashing the Dogs of War," the definitive text on the sources of conflict and solutions for preventing and managing conflict. Forty of the most influential analysts of international affairs present varied perspectives and insightful thinking to inform a new framework for understanding current demands of conflict management.

Chester A. Crocker, Fen Osler Hampson, and Pamela Aall editors
Wed, 02/04/2015 - 12:40

Amid Tension in Israel, USIP Grantee Helps Improve Policing in a Divided Society

On the heels of last summer’s Israel-Gaza war, tensions between Jewish and Arab citizens within Israel have escalated significantly. In such a context of deep divisions, the extent to which police internalize fair and effective policing—and that citizens see that as a reality—are crucial factors in preventing a downward spiral of violence. Supported by a USIP grant, The Abraham Fund Initiatives (TAFI) has been tackling this issue through its Arab Society-Police Relations Initiative

Fatima Fettar

Intercommunal violence has spiked since last summer, in Jerusalem in particular, and deeply strained relations are evident throughout the country. Despite the heightened tension, TAFI has continued to pursue an intervention strategy it developed more than 10 years ago to build sustainable relationships based on mutual trust and respect between the predominantly Jewish police force and Arab citizens of the country.

Tue, 01/20/2015 - 13:17
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Articles & Analysis

(cont’d from Part 1)
Zoughbi Zoughbi, an expert in mediation from...

By:
Viola Gienger

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict arena is once more beset with violence. The parties have retrenched to recriminations and hardline positions, and once again the...

By:
Lucy Kurtzer-Ellenbogen

Videos & Webcasts

The longstanding United Nations call for countries to adopt National Action Plans to involve women in issues of national security repeatedly stumbles in much of the Middle East and North Africa....

President Obama has raised the possibility of another push for an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement before he leaves office.  With stability on the ground already severely at stake, it is...

On December 18, USIP hosted members of the Hand in Hand school community to discuss their experiences in the wake of the recent attack on their school in Jerusalem. Panelists discussed the Hand in...

Learn More

Online Courses

Pamela Aall

Designed for practitioners working in or on conflict zones, this course will improve participants’ ability to understand the motivations and objectives of the various parties, promote ripeness, develop effective relationships, increase leverage and strengthen mediation capacity.

Working in a conflict situation often demands mediation skills, whether you are working at a grassroots level or in state capitals.

Publications

By:
USIP Staff
Tension and hostilities have increased markedly between Israeli and Palestinian societies since the collapse of another round of peace negotiations in the spring of 2014. Violent incidents have...
Women, Religion, and Peacebuilding: Illuminating the Unseen examines the obstacles and opportunities that women religious peacebuilders face as they navigate both the complex conflicts they are...