December 22, 2010

Palestinian worker in stone and marble factory outside Bethlehem

On December 10, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton outlined efforts necessary to achieving Middle East peace. She called on the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships to address the core issues of the conflict, and said that the United States would work with both parties towards this end. In addition, Clinton mentioned the need for regional states to continue to develop the Arab Peace Initiative, and stressed the importance of the Palestinian Authority (PA) state-building program while underscoring the U.S. continued commitment to this effort. PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad explained the reasoning behind the state-building program in a recent article in Foreign Policy.

Following Clinton’s speech, Robert Danin, former head of the office of the Quartet Representative, wrote an article that examined the state-building effort in the context of previous Palestinian movements and in the current environment. The article also offered recommendations for how to expand the state-building program in order to further improve conditions on the ground and to create the conditions necessary for a secure and sustainable peace.

Middle East Bulletin (MEB) interviewed Danin in September during which he provided an assessment of the progress of the state-building program and responded to criticism of the efforts, among other topics. MEB has provided basic overviews of the PA state-building efforts in its backgrounders, as well as updates on Palestinian security sector development and highlights of leading Palestinian businessmen’s recommendations to jump-start their economy.

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“We knew at the outset that the task would be difficult. We acknowledged that publicly and privately. We knew this would be a road with many bumps— and there have been many bumps—and that continues to this day. But we are not deterred. We are, to the contrary, determined more than ever to proceed to realize the common objective, which we all share, of a Middle East that is at peace with security and prosperity for the people of Israel, for Palestinians, and for all the people in the region. We will continue our efforts in that regard, undeterred and undaunted by the difficulties, the complexities or the bumps in the road.”—George Mitchell, special envoy for Middle East peace, remarks with Prime Minister Netanyahu, September 29, 2010

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