By Nathaniel Sobel
In July, for the first time in three years, Israel and the Palestinians resumed direct negotiations to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas the decision to return to the negotiating table was difficult, and, in the words of Secretary of State John Kerry, “ demonstrated courageous leadership.”
Since then, the Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams have met nearly a dozen times – and a recent report indicated that Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas may meet in the coming weeks.
As mandated by Secretary Kerry, the substance of the negotiations has remained secret. Both sides have agreed that while negotiations are in progress, only Secretary Kerry holds the authority to comment on what has been discussed in the negotiating chambers. In the most recent update during the United Nations General Assembly, Secretary Kerry announced that both sides have “agreed that the American participation should be increased somewhat in order to try to help facilitate them.”
While Israelis and Palestinians are meeting in the region, the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace will lead an educational outreach effort in the United States and Europe to examine the opportunities and challenges facing both sides in the current negotiations. The Center’s programs will draw from IS PEACE POSSIBLE?, a web-based tool which examines the four core issues – Borders, Security, Refugees and Jerusalem – and presents potential solutions from past negotiations and Track II projects.
Next week, Congressman Robert Wexler, president of the Center, will speak at two public events in the Boston area. On Monday, October 21, he will deliver remarks at Temple Beth Elohim at 7:30 PM in Wellesley at an event hosted by J Street. On Tuesday, October 22, he will address students at Tufts University at 6:30 PM in Pearson 106.
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- Nathaniel Sobel is director of research at the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace