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.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) is not an actual government, nor is Palestine a universally recognized nation. Therefore, it makes little sense to speak of the PA's "foreign policy." However, when it comes to the PA's relations with its neighbors, the Arab Spring revolutions have been a mixed blessing.
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.
Reza Aslan, CFR's adjunct senior fellow, leads a conversation on Iran and its role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
CFR's Robert Danin examines the fragile relationship between Israel and Palestine in light of the ongoing discussions taking place at the United Nations General Assembly meetings.
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.
Listen to CFR expert Robert Danin discuss the resumption of direct talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders, the agenda for their September 2 meeting in Washington, and the likely implications of these talks in a media conference call.
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu discusses U.S.-Israel relations, the threat of a nuclear Iran, the peace process, and the possibility of extending a temporary settlement freeze in the West Bank.
Listen to CFR's Steven A. Cook discuss the Israel-Palestinian conflict in light of the release of the Goldstone Report, which was recently completed by the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, as part of CFR's Religion and Foreign Policy Conference Call series.
Listen to Steven A. Cook, CFR's Douglas Dillon Fellow, discuss the status of the Israel/Palestine peace process sixty years after the creation of the state of Israel as part of CFR's Religion and Foreign Policy Conference Call Series.
Listen to experts discuss the state of Arab-Israeli peace efforts since the Annapolis conference.
Listen to Sallai Moshe Meridor, Israeli ambassador to the United States, discuss what Israel sees as obstacles to achieving peace, particularly Iran, as well as the similarity of interests between Israel and much of the Arab world.
Listen to Sari Nusseibeh, president of Al-Quds University, discuss his recent memoir, Once Upon a Country: A Palestinian Life.
Listen to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter discuss the prospects for the Middle East peace process.
The quest by Palestinian officials for statehood recognition could have major repercussions for the Mideast peace process. This Backgrounder outlines the potential impact of the UN vote.
A profile of Hamas, the Sunni Muslim Palestinian extremist group based in the Gaza Strip.
Special operations play a critical role in how the United States confronts irregular threats, but to have long-term strategic impact, the author argues, numerous shortfalls must be addressed.
The author analyzes the potentially serious consequences, both at home and abroad, of a lightly overseen drone program and makes recommendations for improving its governance.
A groundbreaking analysis of what the changes in American energy mean for the economy, national security, and the environment. More
A roadmap for the United States' greatest overlooked foreign policy challenge of our time--relations with its southern neighbor. More
Two experts argue that despite myriad development strategies, only one can succeed in alleviating poverty in India: the overall growth of the country's economy. More