Israel

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What is the U.S. position regarding the legality of Israeli settlements?

Asked by James Hurt

The U.S. position has fluctuated over time. In the Reagan years, the United States said the settlements were "not illegal." The Clinton and George H.W. Bush administrations avoided the legal arguments but criticized the settlements frequently. President George W. Bush called the larger settlement blocs "new realities on the ground" that would have to be reflected in peace negotiations.

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What do Israelís Mediterranean natural gas resources mean for the regionís economy and security?

Asked by Larry Davenport, from Virginia Beach, Virginia

Israel has discovered substantial natural gas deposits off its shores in the last four years. While these gas finds are not significant in terms of global gas supply (they constitute less than two percent of the world's proven gas reserves), they do appear large enough not only to meet Israel's needs, but to enable Israel to export significant quantities.

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After President Obamaís trip to the Middle East, can he be more assertive in solving Israeli-Palestinian issues?

Asked by Mirvet S Muca, Ph.D, from Naugatuck Valley Comm. College

The conventional wisdom has it that second-term presidents, freed from the need to win another election, tend to be bolder in their initiatives. While that logic may apply to President Obama's domestic policy, it is unlikely to extend abroad.

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Should the United States push Israel to join the Non Proliferation Treaty?

Asked by Gaurav Moghe, from India

The United States tried to convince Israel to join the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) when the treaty was first introduced and before it was widely believed that Israel had nuclear weapons. The NPT's objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology and further the goal of universal disarmament.

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What could be done to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

Asked by Michael Varacalli, from New York University

Conflict between Israelis and Palestinians began even before the State of Israel was established in 1948, and the two populations have opposing claims to the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea that have defeated numerous U.S. efforts to broker peace. Right now there is little hope of a comprehensive solution—one that resolves all the issues and involves not only Israel and the PLO but the Arab states as well. Today, the most that Israel can realistically offer is less than the least the Palestinians can realistically accept. For now, the best way forward is to continue talks, but to emphasize practical steps forward on the ground that move Palestinians toward construction of a state.

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Audio

Academic Conference Call: How to Handle Hamas (Audio)

Speaker: Daniel L. Byman
Presider: Irina A. Faskianos

Daniel L. Byman, senior fellow for foreign policy at the Brookings Institution's Saban Center for Middle East Policy, discusses his Foreign Affairs article, "How to Handle Hamas: The Perils of Ignoring Gaza's Leadership" with students, as part of CFR's Academic Conference Call series.

Learn more about CFR's Academic Initiative.

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