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Setting the Record Straight

Determined to Reach a Common Objective

“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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The U.S. Agency for International Development and Conflict: Hard Lessons from the Field

May 17, 2011, 12:00pm – 1:15pm

From Afghanistan and Iraq to Pakistan, Somalia, and South Sudan, the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, is engaged daily in trying to help some of the most troubled nations on the planet make a lasting transition to stability, open markets, and democracy. Few areas of the agency’s work are more challenging or more controversial.

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Background Basics on Middle East Peace Process

    • Understanding the Arab League Follow-Up Committee
    • Background Basics | Oct 13, 2010
    • Official Name: League of Arab States’ Follow-Up Committee on the Arab Peace Initiative

      Members: Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestinian Authority, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria and the Secretary General of the Arab League

      Origins and Mandate: Members of the Arab League adopted the Arab Peace Initiative at the 2002 Beirut Summit. The document mentioned the need to form a separate, smaller committee to gather support for the plan. Later, two groups were formed to that end: the follow-up


    • Efforts Toward Middle East Peace Post-1991 Madrid Conference
    • Background Basics | Sep 28, 2010
    • In October 1991, the United States and Soviet Union co-sponsored a peace summit in Madrid that included representatives from the European Community, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Syria and a joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation. The Arab Maghreb Union, Gulf Cooperation Council and UN were observers to the talks. The conference served as the starting point for a series of negotiating tracks between Israel and the surrounding Arab countries.

      Israeli-Palestinian Track
      Concurrent to the official bilateral talks, Israelis and Palestinians began unofficial


    • Examining Jerusalem’s Complexity
    • Background Basics | May 11, 2010
    • Jerusalem poses unique challenges to reaching a sustainable and secure peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians. Below are relevant background basics that discuss issues that are critical to discussions about the city.

      Review of Where Negotiations Last Ended
      An outline of where Ehud Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas left off in their discussions on the core issues during the Annapolis process.

      Old City Sketchbook

      An overview of demographics, governance, infrastructure and services, and religious holy sites in the Old


    • Review of Where Negotiations Last Ended
    • Background Basics | Apr 27, 2010
    • When Israelis and Palestinians renew negotiations, one of the main questions will be where negotiations on the core issues should begin. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas wants negotiations to start from the point where they ended in his discussions with former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as part of the Annapolis process, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not want to, as these were offers and no agreement was made.

      Below is an overview of where negotiations left


    • Administration Efforts Toward Middle East Peace Since September
    • Background Basics | Mar 23, 2010
    • The administration has been combining “top-down,” “bottom-up” and regional efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In November, this led to Israel’s announcement of a 10-month moratorium on settlement construction in the West Bank. On March 8, Senator George Mitchell announced the advent of proximity talks between Israelis and Palestinians that have since been thrown into question. While much activity has occurred out of the public eye, the following is a snapshot of the administration’s public efforts since President


    • Understanding the Settlement Moratorium
    • Background Basics | Dec 1, 2009
    • On November 25, the Israeli cabinet approved a plan to halt settlement construction in the West Bank for ten months. The freeze applies to new home construction, but not building currently in progress or building in East Jerusalem. The moratorium allows for construction of a finite number of public buildings, such as synagogues and schools; only 28 such public building projects will be allowed by Israel during the moratorium.

      Following Netanyahu’s announcement, U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace


    • A Short Biography of Rabin
    • Background Basics | Nov 3, 2009
    • Yitzhak Rabin was born in Jerusalem in 1922. At the age of 18 he joined the Palmach, the strike force of the Haganah, the pre-1948 defense organization of the Jewish community. He became the chief operating officer of the Palmach in October 1947 and a brigade commander during the 1948 war. Following the war, he served as a member of the Israeli delegation to the armistice talks with Egypt in Rhodes, Greece. Rabin joined the