After decades of failed negotiations, many argue that little that can be achieved in pursuing Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking right now. Yet parking the conflict or returning to the pre-Trump status quo ante could have serious implications not only for Israelis and Palestinians but also for the region and the United States. How can the U.S. administration do more by doing less and help reverse negative trends that are cementing occupation and inequality, while avoiding previous failed policies that have empowered anti-democratic forces in both Israel and Palestine?

Authors Zaha Hassan, Daniel Levy, Hallaamal Keir, and Marwan Muasher argue that instead of working to sustain a moribund peace process, it’s time for a new approach—one that supports a rules-based international order, centers rights, and reimagines available policy tools to advance a durable solution that enhances peace and human security.


Zaha Hassan

Visiting Fellow
Middle East Program

Daniel Levy

President of the
U.S./Middle East Project

Hallaamal Keir

Research Analyst
Middle East Program

Marwan Muasher

Vice President for Studies

A Timeline of U.S. Policy Toward Palestine

Starting with secret talks in the 1980s, this timeline provides a snapshot of major events, milestones, and legislation that have influenced relations between the United States and the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Advancing the Debate: Additional Perspectives

In separate commentaries, scholars Jake Walles, Aaron David Miller, and Scott Lasensky offer additional perspectives on these issues.

The Inescapable Two-State Imperative

  • Jakes Walles
  • April 19, 2021

External pressure has never been effective in forcing the parties to abandon their core principles. Only a negotiated two-state solution has the potential to satisfy both sides.

Why a Rights-Based Approach Won’t Work

  • Aaron David Miller
  • April 19, 2021

The United States can play an important mediating role in conflicts, but it's only truly effective when the parties own their negotiations and engage with one another based on their own interests and motives.

Back to Peacemaking: Lessons for the United States

  • Scott Lasensky
  • April 19, 2021

A rights-based approach to Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking must be balanced with the national interests of the United States, as well as those of the parties themselves.

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