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Israeli-Palestinian Impasse

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President Barack Obama  with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

Case Overview

A new president has taken office and called for a review of existing U.S. policy toward the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Note: This case is only available as an advanced case. 

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The Situation

A new U.S. president has taken office and directed that a review be undertaken to determine policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The United States has long promoted a two-state solution to the conflict, but the prospect of a final settlement of the conflict has become increasingly remote after years of fitful and inconclusive negotiations. The stakes are highest for Israelis and Palestinians, but also significant for the United States. For decades, the Israeli-Palestinian issue has been a source of tension and conflict in the region. The United States has a robust alliance with Israel and long-standing relationships with many of the region’s Arab states. Three main policy options are available for consideration:

  1. An ambitious U.S. initiative, in which the U.S. government advances its own plan for peace in the hope of launching immediate and comprehensive new talks.
  2. A more modest U.S. initiative, in which the U.S. government encourages the parties to take specific steps to build confidence and improve the conditions for a resumption of talks.
  3. No new U.S. initiative, should policymakers conclude that neither of the other options best serves U.S. interests at this time.

Debating these options requires attention to both the complex history of the conflict and the specific dynamics of the situation today.





  • Current state of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process
  • Progress on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including the five final status issues
  • Land for peace in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict
  • American credibility as the primary negotiator between Israelis and Palestinians
  • Relationship between the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and peace and security in the Middle East

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