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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

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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


Background Basics on West Bank/Gaza

    • A Guide to the Final Status Issues
    • Background Basics | Oct 20, 2009
    • Four core issues are central to an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement: borders, Jerusalem, refugees and security. Israelis and Palestinians started discussing these issues officially in late 1999 and throughout 2000, including at the Camp David summit in July 2000. Negotiations over these issues were renewed at the Annapolis summit in November 2007. Although progress was made at that time, and further progress has been made since, these questions remain at the heart of resolving the conflict.



    • Obama Administration Efforts Towards Arab-Israeli Peace
    • Background Basics | Sep 22, 2009
    • Initial Steps
      On his first day in office, January 21, President Obama spoke to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Jordanian King Abdullah II and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, promising them “active engagement” towards Arab-Israeli peace from the beginning of his presidency. He also pledged to help consolidate the Israel-Hamas ceasefire following the fighting in Gaza. The next day the Obama administration appointed former U.S. Senator George Mitchell as special envoy


    • Recent Russian Middle East Diplomacy
    • Background Basics | Aug 4, 2009
    • February 5, 2009: Russia’s state nuclear corporation announced that Russia would complete Iran’s first nuclear power plant in the city of Bushehr by the end of 2009. Russia launched the estimated $1 billion project in 1995 and began supplying the plant with enriched nuclear fuel in December 2007. The fuel deliveries were completed in January 2008.

      February 13, 2009: During a four-day visit to Russia, Turkish President Abdullah Gul signed a joint declaration with Russian President


    • Surveying Gaza’s Economy
    • Background Basics | Jul 28, 2009
    • Overall Economy*
      37%: Unemployment rate in the first quarter of 2009
      ~94%: Percentage of jobless workers who were formerly employed in the private sector (120,000 workers)

      Industrial capacity
      95%: Percentage of industrial establishments closed (3,750 companies) and/or destroyed (236 companies) since June 2007
      20-50%: Capacity utilization in the remaining establishments

      * Smuggling through tunnels between Egypt and Gaza forms part of an informal economy that is difficult to quantify



    • Obstacles to Movement and Access in the West Bank
    • Background Basics | Jul 14, 2009
    • History
      In response to the second intifada, Israel began constructing a system of internal checkpoints in the West Bank and Gaza; and in 2002, the country began construction of a separation barrier. The checkpoints and barrier, along with a system of roadblocks, were put in place to curb the number of attacks in Israel.

      Recent Events
      On June 24, the UN Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs (OCHA) placed the total number of these internal


    • Old City Sketchbook
    • Background Basics | Jun 23, 2009
    • The Old City, a historical area within the modern city of Jerusalem about one-fourth the size of New York’s Central Park, is divided into four quarters—Armenian, Christian, Jewish and Muslim. The city is home to some of the holiest sites in Christianity, Islam and Judaism.

      By Numbers*
      Area in dunams: (1 dunam = ~0.25 acres)
      Total Area - 900
      Muslim Quarter - 461
      Christian Quarter - 192
      Armenian Quarter - 126
      Jewish Quarter – 122



    • Palestinian Security Sector Development
    • Background Basics | Apr 7, 2009
    • At the end of 2005, Lieutenant General Keith W. Dayton was named United States Security Coordinator (USSC) for the Palestinian Authority and posted in Jerusalem. His mission is “the transformation and professionalization of the Palestinian security forces,” the enhancement of law and order and the improvement of security for Palestinians and Israelis. After Hamas took control of Gaza in June 2007, the focus of Dayton’s mission shifted to assisting the Palestinian Authority’s efforts to rebuild its forces in


    • The E1 Corridor
    • Background Basics | Mar 24, 2009
    • Photos of E1

      • East 1, or E1, is a 4.6 square mile area of land between Jerusalem and the built up areas of Maale Adumim, a settlement that is an eastern suburb of Jerusalem.
      • Israel considers E1 part of the official municipal boundaries of Maale Adumim. Maale Adumim’s boundaries are larger than Tel Aviv’s, despite the city having less than 10 percent of Tel Aviv’s population, and its built-up areas comprise around 15


    • Recent Gulf Engagement in the Arab-Israeli Conflict: Summits
    • Background Basics | Mar 19, 2009
    • Mecca Agreement
      In February 2007, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia hosted Fatah and Hamas leaders in an emergency two-day summit in Mecca focused on halting the violence between the groups and lifting the international embargo of the Palestinian Authority (PA). At the summit, PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshal signed an accord to form a national unity government, marking the first time the two parties agreed to share power. The new government did