Narrowing the Conflict Requires a Foundation of Inclusiveness
Religious voices and illiberal worldviews are critical to creating the majorities needed to improve the lives of Israelis and Palestinians, narrow the conflict and build popular support for peacebuilding.
The governing logic of this new approach is to position the United States to lead a more inclusive peace process, retaining its traditional commitment to two nation states living side by side in peace and security, while also engaging across worldviews with those who do not presently share this objective.
Primarily focusing on shrinking secular, liberal minded constituencies and jumping too hastily to final status negotiations will undoubtedly lead to the same disappointing results of the past.
A New Strategy to Improve Lives, Advance Rights and Narrow the Conflict
This strategy includes four sequential tracks containing a series of ambitious steps to be taken by the United States, the Palestinian Authority, Israel, Hamas and the international community—all designed to generate momentum.
Improve Lives and Advance Rights
This track advances measures that directly improve Israeli and Palestinian lives and livelihoods, with a focus on sustainable Palestinian economic and civic development.
Study Group on Palestinian Economic Development & Renewed U.S. Economic Engagement
This report, co-sponsored by the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace and the Democracy Council, emerged from discussions among experts, businesspeople, and former American and Palestinian officials. President Biden’s renewal of U.S. bilateral relations with Palestinians, including the resumption of U.S. economic engagement, provides an opportunity to “build back better.” The timing offers a chance to take a fresh look at how bilateral assistance programs can alleviate stress on the local economy, provide a measure of relief from the COVID-19 pandemic, and strengthen prospects for peace.
Goals & Outcomes
Although a comprehensive Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement may not be within reach under present circumstances, there is much that can be done now to build popular support for peacebuilding. Taking concrete steps to narrow the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, advance rights and improve lives without compromising security can begin to restore a modicum of trust between Israelis and Palestinians and break the current political gridlock. This pragmatic and inclusive strategy can foster greater regional cooperation, advancing the progress already achieved under the Abraham Accords, and preserve the possibility of a negotiated, two-state agreement. Stepped up U.S. diplomacy seeking progress on multiple fronts- Israeli-Palestinian engagement, constraining Iran’s nuclear ambitions and regional aggression, and de-escalating rivalries between Egypt, Turkey and Gulf powers- can create a new pathway for transforming America’s relationship with the Middle East.