Robert Barron is a program officer with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict program at the U.S. Institute of Peace, where he manages a portfolio of policy research, conflict analysis, and peacebuilding projects.

Prior to joining USIP in 2018, Barron served as policy assistant to the director of Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, where he managed and contributed to the institute’s research on the Middle East and served on the institute’s executive leadership team. In 2015-16, he worked as a journalist and editor in Cairo, Egypt, and in 2014 worked in economic development in Cairo.

Barron holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas A&M University.

Publications By Robert

Palestinians’ Divided House Hampers Peace

Palestinians’ Divided House Hampers Peace

Thursday, July 1, 2021

By: Robert Barron; Adam Gallagher

In a scene reminiscent of the uprisings that swept the Middle East 10 years ago, Palestinian protesters took to the streets over the weekend, chanting, “The people want to bring down the regime.” The recent death of activist and Palestinian Authority critic Nizar Banat while in the custody of Palestinian security forces was the proximate cause for the unrest. But Palestinians’ disenchantment with their leadership has much deeper roots. Fifteen years after the last national elections, the Palestinian polity is as fractured as ever, adding but another obstacle to resolving the seemingly intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance; Peace Processes

What Sparked the Latest Israeli-Palestinian Confrontations?

What Sparked the Latest Israeli-Palestinian Confrontations?

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

By: Robert Barron

For weeks, tensions have been building between Israelis and Palestinians in Jerusalem, with a confluence of recent events and longer-term trends leading to the latest violence. Israeli restrictions around holy sites during Ramadan; increasingly intense protests and violence on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides, with each side blaming the other for initiating; and a court decision, now under higher court review, to remove Palestinian families from an East Jerusalem neighborhood preceded this latest round of conflict — the most violent since the 2014 Gaza war. More broadly though, sclerotic Israeli and Palestinian internal politics not only made this conflagration more likely, but also mean that finding a path to de-escalation will be more difficult.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Peace Processes

After UAE Deal, How Can Arab States Impact Israeli-Palestinian Peace?

After UAE Deal, How Can Arab States Impact Israeli-Palestinian Peace?

Thursday, September 3, 2020

By: Claire Harrison; Robert Barron

For decades, many Arab states were united in their hostility toward Israel and support for the Palestinian cause, even though in some cases that backing was simply rhetorical. In recent years, however, Israel and some Arab countries have engaged in a quiet rapprochement, spurred by common concerns over Iran’s influence in the region, among other things. The August 13 announcement of the “Abraham Accord” between Israel and the UAE was the most public and dramatic demonstration of these shifting regional dynamics. But what does this mean for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the role of the region in finding a resolution?

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Peace Processes

Robert Barron on the Abraham Accord

Robert Barron on the Abraham Accord

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

By: Robert Barron

While a break from longstanding precedent, USIP’s Robert Barron says that normalization between Israel and the UAE was “perhaps a long time coming … [and] it definitely represents an upcoming generation of leadership in the Gulf.” Meanwhile, questions over Israel’s annexation plans continue to linger.

Type: Podcast

Peace Processes

What Do Normalized Israel-UAE Relations Mean for the Region?

What Do Normalized Israel-UAE Relations Mean for the Region?

Friday, August 14, 2020

By: Robert Barron

On August 13, the governments of Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced that they had agreed to the full normalization of relations, in exchange for Israel suspending announced plans to annex large areas of the Palestinian territories. Dubbed the “Abraham Accords,” this agreement between Israel and the UAE—if fully implemented—would be the first Arab-Israeli reconciliation of its kind since the 1994 Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty, and stands to prevent, at least temporarily, Israeli-Palestinian and even broader regional deterioration that could have ensued in the wake of Israeli unilateral annexation. USIP’s Robert Barron looks at how the agreement came to fruition, what the United States’ role was, and what this means for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and Israel’s relations with the Arab world at large.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Peace Processes

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