U.S. Middle East Policy and the Peace Process

Task Force Report
Analysis and policy prescriptions of major foreign policy issues facing the United States, developed through private deliberations among a diverse and distinguished group of experts.

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The collapse of confidence between Israelis and Palestinians over the past year and the ability of opponents of peace on both sides to exploit incremental measures to their advantage have brought the Middle East peace process to a dangerous impasse. The chief principles of U.S. policy are no longer effective: Incrementalism, far from building confidence, threatens to undermine it further; and an American role limited to facilitation will not enable the parties to resume successful negotiations. Therefore, intensive diplomatic efforts by the United States are needed to join the parties in the hopes of establishing a new Declaration of Principles, which would set the framework for final-status negotiations.

This 1997 Independent Task Force, sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations, calls for a bold American initiative to help Israel and Palestine reach an agreement on the broad contours of a final settlement that can satisfy the minimal aspirations of both parties. Headed by Project Coordinator Henry Siegman, the report establishes the goals of the Declaration of Principles as framing the difficult issues of settlements, boundaries, and Jerusalem “in the context of agreed general goals.” Moreover, the report asserts that only the promise that these aspirations are achievable can revitalize the peace process and sustain it to a successful conclusion, reinforcing the utter importance of establishing a realistic Declaration.

More on:

Palestinian Territories


Sub-Saharan Africa

Human Rights

Task Force Members

Task Force Members:

SPENCER ABRAHAM is U.S. Senator from Michigan (R). He was Executive Director of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

STEPHEN P. COHEN is President of the Institute for Middle East Peace and Development.

LESTER CROWN is the Chairman of the Executive Committee of General Dynamics.

KENNETH DUBERSTEIN is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Duberstein Group, Inc. He is the former Chief of Staff to President Reagan.

RICHARD M. FAIRBANKS III is Managing Director for Domestic and International Issues at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He served as Special Negotiator for the Middle East Peace Process from 1982 to 1983 and Ambassador at Large from 1982 to 1985.

HENRY A. GRUNWALD* is the former Editor-in-Chief of Time Inc. He served as the U.S. Ambassador to Austria.

RITA E. HAUSER is President of the Hauser Foundation, Inc., and Chair, International Peace Academy.

ROBERT K. LIFTON is Chairman of the Board of Medis El, Ltd. He is a former President of the American Jewish Congress.

RICHARD W. MURPHY is a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He served as the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs from 1983 to 1989.

LOUIS PERLMUTTER* is Managing Director at Lazard Freres & Co. LLC. He is former Chairman of the Board of Brandeis University.

LESTER POLLACK is Managing Director at Lazard Freres & Co. LLC. He is former Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

ROBERT L. ROSEN is a General Partner at RLR Partners.

GEORGE SALEM is a Professional Corporation Partner at Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer and Feld, LLP. He served as Solicitor of Labor at the U.S. Department of Labor.

ROBERT SATLOFF is Executive Director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

BRENT SCOWCROFT* is President of the Forum for International Policy and President of the Scowcroft Group. He served as National Security Advisor to President Bush from 1988 to 1992.

HENRY SIEGMAN* is a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and Director of the U.S./Middle East Project. He served as National Executive Director of the American Jewish Congress from 1978 to 1993.

SHIBLEY TELHAMI* is Director of Near Eastern Studies at Cornell University and Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.

JOHN WATERBURY is Director of the Center of International Studies at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.

DOV ZAKHEIM* is Chief Executive Officer of SPC International. He was Deputy Under Secretary for Planning and Resources under President Reagan from 1981 to 1987.

MORTIMER B. ZUCKERMAN is Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of U.S. News and World Report and Chairman of Boston Properties Inc.

HERMANN EILTS is a former U.S. Ambassador to Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

RASHID KHALIDI* is the Director of the Center for International Studies at the University of Chicago.

PHEBE MARR is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University. Note: Institutional affiliations are for identification purposes only.

Experts who were invited to address the Task Force and who endorsed this Report.

*Concurs with the Report but submitted an Additional View.

Dissenting Views


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