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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

Middle East Analysis

Upcoming Events

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.

Join us for remarks by, and a roundtable with, the deputy administrator of USAID, Ambassador

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Background Basics on West Bank/Gaza

    • 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

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    • Palestinian Authority State-Building Efforts
    • Background Basics | Sep 14, 2010
    • Since 2009, the Palestinian Authority (PA) government has put out a series of reports that detail its plans to implement the reforms necessary to build the institutions of a stable and secure future Palestinian state. The PA and its partners are pursuing these efforts concurrently with the recently launched direct negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis, which are aimed at reaching a political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

      Palestine: Ending the Occupation, Establishing the State
      Published: August 2009

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    • Israeli Policy Toward Gaza Since 2005
    • Background Basics | Jun 15, 2010
    • The Palestinian Authority (PA) received control of specific parts of the Gaza Strip in 1993 as part of the Oslo accords. In August 2005, Israel unilaterally withdrew its military and civilian presence from Gaza, while maintaining control over crossings and access into Gaza by land, sea and air. Below is a timeline of the major events and corresponding policy shifts in Gaza since that withdrawal.

      January 2006: Hamas wins a majority of seats in Palestinian

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    • West Bank and Gaza By Numbers
    • Background Basics | Jun 8, 2010
    • Demographic Information (West Bank and Gaza)
      Population (2010 est.)
      - West Bank: 2,514,845
      - Gaza: 1,604,238
      Age Structure (2010 est.)
      - 0-14 years: West Bank (36.5%), Gaza (44.1%)
      - 15-64 years: West Bank (59.8%), Gaza (53.3%)
      - 65+ years: West Bank (3.7%), Gaza (2.6%)
      Median Age (2010 est.)
      - West Bank: 20.9 years
      - Gaza: 17.5 years
      Population Growth Rate (2010 est.)
      - West Bank: 2.13%, 44th highest in world
      - Gaza: 3.29%, 6th highest in world

      Employment Information

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    • 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

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    • Overview of Recent World Bank Report on Palestinian Economy and State
    • Background Basics | May 4, 2010
    • On April 13, the World Bank presented a report, “Towards a Palestinian State: Reforms for Fiscal Strengthening” to the Ad-Hoc Liaison Committee in Madrid, Spain.

      The World Bank identifies fiscal strengthening as a critical area for PA reform to ensure the sustainability of a future Palestinian state. The Palestinian Authority (PA) has been working toward this goal with the Palestinian Reform and Development Plan (PRDP), which was presented in August 2009.

      Current Situation: The report discusses the economic state of the

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    • 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

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    • 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

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    • 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

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