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President Obama in the Middle East: A Washington Institute Guide


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In the first foreign trip of his second term, President Obama is visiting Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan. The Washington Institute has prepared a series of papers and hosted several forums to analyze current events in the region and to help the new administration tackle an unprecedented array of Middle East issues. This guide, which follows the president's agenda, provides background on the trip and offers recommendations for advancing U.S. objectives in the second term.

Wednesday, March 20 - Israel

Thursday, March 21 - Israel and Palestinian Authority

  • What Obama Should do in Israel by Ehud Yaari
    In Foreign Affairs, Arab affairs expert Yaari advises the president to take a risk and advocate interim steps for the peace process in order to major contribution toward sustaining a two-state vision that is slowly fading in the minds of Israelis and Palestinians.
  • To Achieve Mideast Peace, Suspend Disbelief by Dennis Ross
    Washington's former chief negotiator on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict proposes a fourteen-point agenda to ensure that any new talks have a chance to be productive.
  • Getting the Public on His Side by David Makovsky
    Persuading Israelis that he is committed to their security could help President Obama deal with Netanyahu on Iran and the peace track.
  • A Campaign to Talk Up a Two-State Solution by David Makovsky and Ghaith al-Omari
    The president should use his visit as an opportunity to demand that senior Israeli and Palestinian officials consistently reiterate fundamental principles that allay the basic fears of both publics.
  • Mideast Seeks a New Commitment from Obama by Michael Singh
    Managing director Michael Singh writes: "Our allies, to a one, want more American leadership in the region and greater clarity regarding U.S. policy on vital issues; in an increasingly fractious region, it is the one talking point they all share."

Friday, March 22, and Saturday, March 23 - Israel and Jordan

For Further Background