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Original Commentaries

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.

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


Original Commentary on West Bank/Gaza

    • Krauthammer’s Complaint
    • Original Commentary | May 27, 2011
    • By Matt Duss

      In a remarkable shift, neoconservative columnist Charles Krauthammer has recognized that the Palestinians are willing to accept a Palestinian state consisting solely of lands occupied by Israel during the Six Day War in 1967 — the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. The Palestinians’ position today, writes Krauthammer, is this: “The 1967 lines. Period. Indeed, in September the Palestinians are going to the United Nations to get the world


    • The Critical Role of Palestinian State-Building
    • Original Commentary | Dec 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


    • Working Towards Progress
    • Original Commentary | Nov 17, 2010
    • Secretary of State Clinton and Prime Minister Netanyahu at their recent meeting in New York (AP)

      On November 11, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York. Reports suggest that the meeting helped pave the way for a U.S.-Israel agreement whereby the United States would provide Israel with incentives to extend a one-off settlement moratorium for 90 days. Construction in East Jerusalem would reportedly not be included in the extension. Reported incentives include the United States giving Israel 20 additional F-35 fighter jets worth about


    • Courage and Leadership Needed
    • Original Commentary | Oct 13, 2010
    • President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu (AP)

      What is the current status of Israeli-Palestinian talks?

      They are very much in flux. The question of the moment is whether the settlement moratorium will be extended for a shorter period of time–perhaps sixty days. But now the Palestinians seem to be moving the goal posts somewhat in saying it’s not just an extension of the moratorium, there has to be a total freeze. I don’t know what exactly that means but we may find ourselves in a situation in which


    • The Regional Component to Moving Forward
    • Original Commentary | Sep 28, 2010
    • Mubarak, Netanyahu, Obama, Abbas and Abdullah at White House (AP)

      From your experience what role do you think Arab leaders should be playing in resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict?

      There needs to be an Arab safety net, through the Arab Peace Initiative, that would, on one hand, assure the Palestinians that in their negotiations with Israel they will get support from the whole Arab world. Arab leaders should also be able to offer security guarantees, which would lead to the inclusion of Hamas and Hezbollah in any eventual settlement. Because, this is


    • An Assessment of State-Building Efforts
    • Original Commentary | Sep 14, 2010
    • Prime Minister Fayyad inaugurates street near Nablus (AP)

      Last time we spoke, you were head of the Office of the Quartet Representative, and you just recently returned from that posting. What are the main things that you learned from that experience?

      I’ve developed a greater appreciation for a number of things. One, I developed a very clear sense that the majority of both Israelis and Palestinians generally want peace and coexistence. Yet at the same time, there is a very deep mutual sense of distrust generated and greatly exacerbated


    • Center for American Progress Welcomes Resumption of Direct Talks
    • Original Commentary | Aug 20, 2010
    • Special Envoy Mitchell discusses resumption of talks (AP)

      Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s announcement of the resumption of direct talks between Israelis and Palestinians is the beginning of an important new chapter in the administration’s efforts to bring about comprehensive Middle East peace and a sustainable two-state solution.

      The resolution of the conflict is a U.S. national interest and we applaud the Obama administration’s ambitious vision of achieving an agreement within a year, as well as its continued emphasis on the importance of such an agreement, as Special Envoy


    • Working on a Shared Goal
    • Original Commentary | Jul 20, 2010
    • Netanyahu and Obama, Mitchell and Abbas (AP)

      How do you assess the meeting between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu last week? Were there any tangible results?

      The meeting between the president and the prime minister was successful both in a substantive way and a political way. Clearly, the two men had a remarkably positive exchange in private for roughly an hour and a half. I take great confidence from the fact that the president left that meeting with a degree of confidence that Prime Minister Netanyahu was