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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

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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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News on Middle East Peace Process

    • Egypt Seeks Direct Mideast Talks by September After Meetings
    • News | Jul 20, 2010
    • Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said he hoped Israel and the Palestinian Authority would move to direct peace talks by September.

      “We must create the circumstances that give both sides the confidence to start direct talks,” he told a news conference yesterday in Cairo, after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak held separate meetings with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell.

    • State Eyes ‘Legal’ Takeover of Abandoned East Jerusalem Properties
    • News | Jul 20, 2010
    • Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein recently informed the Supreme Court that the state plans to apply the law on abandoned properties to properties in East Jerusalem. This in effect will mean that Israel can “legally” take over thousands of acres and buildings worth hundreds of millions of shekels.

      The state intends to assume control over properties of people who moved to enemy states during the War of Independence, as well as structures in East Jerusalem that belong to people now residing in


    • Gaza’s First Development Project in Years
    • News | Jul 20, 2010
    • A group of Palestinian IT entrepreneurs have launched the first internationally funded economic development project in the Gaza Strip since Hamas took over the coastal strip. …

      The French Development Agency will grant 500,000 euros to the Palestinian Information Technology Association of Companies (PITA) to create the Gaza Strip’s first private sector development project in years. PITA announced receipt of the grant on Monday.

    • U.S.: Israel Capable of Conducting Impartial Gaza Flotilla Probe
    • News | Jun 15, 2010
    • The United States declared Monday that it stood by Israel’s decision to conduct an internal probe moderated by international observers of its deadly raid on a Gaza-bound humanitarian aid flotilla. …

      The United Nations responded cautiously to Israel’s approval of an internal probe, saying the investigation “could fit” with internation calls for a credible investigation. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon “took note”of Israel’s announcement, said UN spokesman Farhan Haq, but continued to push for a full international investigation.

    • Palestinian Development Investment Forum Yields $655 Million
    • News | Jun 8, 2010
    • A U.S.-backed investment conference intended to strengthen the Palestinian economy and support institution building generated $655 million in international pledges for the Palestinians in the West Bank, the State Department said in a statement [Sunday].

      The U.S., France, Italy and Arab business leaders were among the participants in the June 2-3 Palestine Investment Conference in Bethlehem, the second of its kind. The U.S., France and Italy together pledged $655 million to develop the private sector in the West Bank. The funds


    • $500M Mortgage Finance Facility Launched in Palestine
    • News | Jun 8, 2010
    • Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas launched on Wednesday a landmark $500 million mortgage finance program that will double the number of Palestinian families who are able to purchase homes by offering long-term mortgages that will enable them to enjoy the benefits of home ownership without excessively burdening their monthly incomes. …

      As part of the program, a new company, the Affordable Mortgage and Loan Corporation (AMAL), was established to oversee and administer the provision of mortgage financing. AMAL was formed in partnership


    • Israel Awaiting U.S. Green Light for Internal Gaza Flotilla Probe
    • News | Jun 8, 2010
    • The Israel Defense Forces announced Monday that it will conduct its own internal investigation into last week’s botched raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla. IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi has appointed Maj. Gen. (Res.) Giora Eiland to head the probe. The panel is charged with analyzing the failures of, and learning lessons from, the commando raid on a Turkish-flagged ship, which left nine Turkish passengers dead and several dozen people wounded.

      Meanwhile, the government is awaiting a


    • Israeli Plan for East Jerusalem Clouds Peace Talks
    • News | May 11, 2010
    • Israel said Monday it will press forward with construction of new housing for Jews in east Jerusalem, drawing Palestinian accusations that the plans could undermine newly relaunched peace talks. …

      U.S. Mideast envoy George Mitchell left the region Sunday after completing the first round of indirect peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians—who resumed negotiations last week after at 17-month hiatus. The U.S. praised both sides on Sunday for taking small steps to create a positive atmosphere, including an Israeli pledge not


    • Ahead of Jerusalem Day, Reports Highlight Extent of City’s Poverty
    • News | May 11, 2010
    • Almost three in four Palestinian children living in East Jerusalem are classified as poor and the city is still the poorest in Israel, figures released by a human rights group and the Central Bureau of Statistics show.

      The figures were compiled, separately, ahead of Jerusalem Day—which begins tonight and marks 43 years since the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967.

    • ‘Special Regime for Sharing Jerusalem’
    • News | May 11, 2010
    • A group of Israelis, Palestinians and North Americans have formulated a proposal for sharing Jerusalem to help the sides resolve one of the thorniest challenges in Middle East peace-making.

      The Jerusalem Old City Initiative, started by former Canadian diplomats who recruited erstwhile Palestinian and Israeli negotiators as well as American Middle East hands for the undertaking, suggests the creation of a “special regime” for the Old City.