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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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Analysis on U.S. Middle East Policy

    • Progress, of Sorts
    • Analysis | Apr 27, 2010
    • Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has made abundantly clear in the last few days that he has “red lines” where building in Jerusalem is concerned, and he’s not going to cross them. … At the same time, the Palestinian Authority has repeatedly insisted that it won’t resume what Mahmoud Abbas at the weekend called “real negotiations” with Israel on final-status issues unless or until there is a halt to building beyond the green line, emphatically including Jerusalem. So how is it

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    • When Your Best Friend Gets Angry
    • Analysis | Apr 27, 2010
    • The president views curbing Iran’s nuclear program and resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as two sides of the same coin. In order to isolate and pressure Iran, he believes he needs to unite Israelis and Arabs with the rest of the world in a grand international anti-Iranian coalition. … Netanyahu rejects these linkages. …

      Given Israel’s dependence on the United States to counter the threat from Iran and to prevent its own international isolation, an Israeli prime minister would surely want to

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    • Netanyahu, U.S. Gave You a Second Chance. Use It
    • Analysis | Mar 23, 2010
    • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu [left Sunday] for a visit of considerable importance to Washington. The American government has decided to give him a second chance, following the Ramat Shlomo crisis that erupted during Vice President Joseph Biden’s visit to Israel. …

      Netanyahu must make use of this second chance to create a new relationship with President Barack Obama and senior members of the U.S. government. Obama’s support is vital to achieving Netanyahu’s stated goals: preventing Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons and

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    • Washington is the Indispensable Partner for a Settlement
    • Analysis | Mar 23, 2010
    • The situation facing Israel, the Palestinians and all other interested parties, especially the United States, is difficult, but it also presents important new opportunities. Negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians may resume soon. … If talks do resume, hopefully they will do so with measures in place to maximize the possibility of success. The recent Arab League decision supporting proximity talks facilitates the efforts of the U.S. special envoy, George Mitchell, to bring the parties together. Regional cooperation and more

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    • The American Vision
    • Analysis | Mar 23, 2010
    • America’s top diplomat entered the lion’s den, the stronghold of Israel support in Washington, at a time of tension between the Obama Administration and Netanyahu government. She touched and softened up the 7,000 members of the audience and drew loud applause, a moment before she told Israel’s staunchest supporters what no American leader had ever said in this forum: A peace treaty premised on a return to the 1967 borders, hints of international administration of the holy sites, and demands

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    • U.S. Urges Restraint from Israel, PA
    • Analysis | Mar 23, 2010
    • The Obama administration is seeking to establish conditions for the stalled Israel-Palestinian talks to resume, U.S. Mideast envoy George Mitchell said Monday, urging the two sides to exercise restraint.

      Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat, meanwhile, said the Palestinians wanted to give “a chance” to indirect talks with Israel mediated by the United States. Mitchell and Erekat spoke in Amman, the Jordanian capital, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu headed to Washington. His trip there comes as U.S. and Israeli officials try

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    • Unfriendly Fire
    • Analysis | Mar 16, 2010
    • Hours after Vice President Joe Biden declared that there is “no space” between Israel and the U.S., the Israeli government announces the approval of 1,600 new housing units in contested East Jerusalem. …

      As Americans, we feel insulted. Contrary to the spin generated in some quarters, the Obama administration has gone out of its way to support Israel and the Netanyahu government. As the Forward has reported, cooperation between the two nations is flourishing—the Obama administration has worked hard to bolster

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    • Dysfunctional Government
    • Analysis | Mar 16, 2010
    • Israel could not have asked for a more positive beginning to U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s visit [last] week. … As Israeli Apartheid Week [drew] to a close, it seem[ed] that the only real friend Israel has in the entire world is the good old U.S. of A, and the Biden visit was confirmation of that partnership. … But then it happened. A three-year chain of bureaucratic events climaxed to spectacularly damaging effect. …

      Such right-hand-not-knowing-what-the-left-hand-is-doing blunders strike a blow to

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    • Netanyahu is Trading Israeli Security for Right-Wing Ideology
    • Analysis | Mar 16, 2010
    • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has led Israel into a serious crisis in relations with the United States and to a collapse in peace talks with the Palestinians just when they were to be resumed. … Netanyahu hoped the crisis had passed, but his assessment was divorced from reality, as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made clear to him Friday in a long telephone conversation. … She demanded that he take steps to show his commitment to bilateral relations between

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    • Palestinians Looking to U.S.-Style Suburban Housing, Financing
    • Analysis | Nov 24, 2009
    • The hills around this city have seen plenty of construction, often the distinctive red-roofed homes favored by Israeli settlers. But the bulldozers and laborers active here recently are laying foundations and building roads for a different type of development—planned communities targeted to middle-income Palestinians, including one billed as the first “new city” for Palestinians in modern memory. These communities are patterned after American suburban development—the new city, Rawabi, is specifically designed for upwardly mobile families of a sort that in

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