“I will not waste a minute in brokering Middle East peace.”
President Barack Obama
The Washington Institute unveiled its Project on Arab-Israel Relations on the eve of the 2000 Camp David summit between Israelis and Palestinians. Since that significant historic marker in U.S.-led peace efforts between Israelis and Palestinians, America's Middle East diplomacy has been further tested by the second Palestinian intifada, the building of the Israeli security fence, Hamas's electoral triumph in Palestinian elections, Israel's ultimate withdrawal from Gaza, the 2006 Hizballah war, and the Gaza crisis of 2008-2009. Through moments of hope and challenge in the Middle East diplomacy, Project director David Makovsky oversees a program committed to providing America's policymakers with timely analysis on issues of critical concern to Israel and its Arab neighbors. To this end, Project participants are fully engaged in the nexus of policy, politics, and people that impact the Middle East peace process.
The project organizes a range of Policy Forums and off-the-record roundtable discussions designed to encourage discussion and open exchange between Washington policymakers and their Middle Eastern counterparts. Appearing frequently on television and radio, Project participants also regularly publish analysis in scholarly journals, on the op-ed pages of the nation's elite newspapers, and in the form of The Washington Institute's flagship PolicyWatch series. Some of the Project's more notable contributions include works critiquing UNRWA, analyzing the route of Israel's West Bank security fence, diagnosing obstacles to a healthy Palestinian Authority, and critically examining Hamas's 2006 electoral triumph.
The important work of the Project on Arab-Israel Relations could not be carried out absent the help of its talented visiting fellows, speakers, and associates. Among those who have contributed their time and energy are leading Palestinian officials Riad Malki, Nabil Amr, Ziad Abu Amr, Hassan Abu Libdeh; Arab analysts Marwan Muasher (Jordan), Hala Mustafa (Egypt), Sari Nusseibeh (West Bank), and Khalil Shikaki (West Bank); Israeli leaders Natan Sharansky, Itamar Rabinovich, Sallai Meridor, Giora Eiland, Michael Herzog, Ami Ayalon, Uzi Dayan, Tzipi Livni, and Ehud Olmert; and leading analysts Rob Malley, Ehud Yaari, Ghaith al-Omari, and Khaled Abu Toameh.