The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Internal Challenges on the Road to Peace

Certain domestic Israeli and Palestinian concerns—from state institution-building and secular-religious divides, to coalition politics and educational reform—have strong implications for the broader conflict, and for international efforts towards a peaceful resolution. Through a range of programing launched in 2010, USIP has explored such critical yet oft-neglected internal dynamics, and continues to prioritize this issue through convening, grants, and programing in the field.


  • Analyze issues of internal significance to Israelis and Palestinians and their implications for achieving a peaceful resolution to the conflict;
  • Promote debate and discussion around the impact of these issues on the ability to build consensus toward a negotiated solution among the Israeli and Palestinian publics;
  • Contribute to the field of analysis and awareness surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by emphasizing the interplay between top-down and bottom-up processes


With the resumption of direct talks between Israelis and Palestinians in September of 2010, focus on the conflict became centered once again on government-to-government peace process efforts and the paradigm of bilateral – and in some cases multilateral – relations and negotiations.  Such an emphasis, while key to efforts to resolve the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian and Arab conflict, can obscure the multitude of challenges that the individual parties face internally and the socio-political dynamics that contribute to the life of the conflict yet potentially offer opportunities for resolving it. 
Whether relations in Israel between Jewish and Arab citizens of the state; deepening political and ideological divides between secular and religious segments of society; the split in Palestinian leadership between Hamas and Fatah,  factious politics within the ruling parties, or the challenges of building a state, or pursuing a peace agenda within such a fractured and fraught context, such issues, call for serious consideration.