The Israeli-Palestinian peace process is moribund and a wave of violence that began in September 2015 continues to ebb and flow. USIP works at the policy and grassroots levels to bridge divides and prepare the ground for peace. The Institute supports dialogue and joint action across religious and ideological communities, trains Palestinian peacebuilders in conflict resolution skills, contributes policy analysis to diplomatic efforts, and works to build trust and cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian institutions to create an environment conducive to sustainable peace. Learn more in USIP’s fact sheet on The Current Situation: Israel, the Palestinian Territories, and the Arab-Israeli Conflict.
Over the past two weeks, the Syrian government has embarked on a military offensive across Syria’s southwest, focused on retaking the city of Dara’a. Russia has played a critical role, backing the operations with airstrikes. The United Nations estimates that at least 160,000 Syrian civilians have been displaced by the fighting, and the number could increase as the battle intensifies.
Ties between Tehran and Damascus have been close since the 1979 revolution, but the relationship deepened after Syria’s civil war erupted in 2011. With the Assad regime’s survival at stake, Tehran doubled down on its support, providing critical military assistance—fighters and strategists—and economic aid estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
A confluence of factors this week led to heightened tensions in Israel and the Palestinian territories. Israel celebrated its 70th anniversary, the United States officially moved its embassy to Jerusalem, and protests in Gaza led to levels of violence not seen in several years. Lucy Kurtzer-Ellenbogen shares her analysis and discusses the perfect storm of events leading to the tumult between Israelis and Palestinians and explains why Middle East peace remains a generational goal.