For 70 years, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has affected the Middle East landscape. A comprehensive diplomatic solution has defied international efforts, leaving publics disillusioned about the prospect of peace. Through analysis, dialogue and joint action at the policy, institutional and grassroots levels, the United States Institute of Peace works to strengthen diplomatic peacemaking efforts; enhance community security for Israelis and Palestinians; empower Palestinian and Israeli civil society actors to build trust within and between their societies and build institutional capabilities that prepare the ground for a just, peaceful and sustainable solution to the conflict.
Learn more in USIP’s fact sheet on The Current Situation: Israel, the Palestinian Territories, and the Arab-Israeli Conflict.
Lucy Kurtzer-Ellenbogen, director of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict program, testified on July 21, 2021 at the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa, and Global Counterterrorism's hearing on "People to People: Examining Grassroots Peacebuilding Efforts Between Israelis and Palestinians." Her expert testimony as prepared is presented below.
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.
As a new government takes power in Israel, questions emerge about its collective ability and will to move the needle in a constructive direction on the ongoing occupation and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The narrow coalition, spanning a broad political and ideological spectrum, consists of avowed opponents of a Palestinian state — Prime Minister Naftali Bennett among them — alongside staunch advocates for the two-state solution. The governing coalition also assumes its role in a divided society on several fronts following 12 consecutive years with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the helm.