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HomeGeopolitical CompassThe LevantCongratulations on the Ceasefire. Now the hard work begins.

Congratulations on the Ceasefire. Now the hard work begins.

Author:  Tamara Cofman Wittes

Affiliation:  Brookings

Organization/Publisher: Brookings

Date/Place: May 21, 2021/Washington, DC, USA

Type of Literature: Article

Word Count: 1465


Keywords: Palestine, Gaza, Israel, USA, Diplomacy 


Commenting on the ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, senior fellow Tamara Cofman Wittes proposes that despite the ceasefire, it is critical to promote a diplomatic pathway between Palestinians and Israeli fronts. Wittes argues that the root of the crisis comes from the ‘diplomatic vacuum’ that resulted from the death of the Oslo peace framework. Accordingly, the US administration should exert efforts to pave the way for a diplomatic path that prevents further violence and facilitates negotiations and dialogue. Wittes recommends three initial steps that the US could follow to promote negotiations and dialogue. First, she underlines the importance of rebuilding effective diplomatic channels. This could be achieved by reestablishing a standing diplomatic channel with the Palestinians that is away from the US embassy in Israel, reopening the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s office in Washington, allocating time and attention to the issue to avoid further crises that would hinder progress on other critical regional goals, and sending a Senate-confirmed ambassador to Israel to engage with the Israeli society and political spectrum while asserting the American commitment to democracy and civil society diversity. Second, Wittes suggests Washington to put pressure on both fronts to approach their political challenges and renew their political leadership. Third, she highlights the significance of involving the region in the issue to help. Although the Abraham Accords maintained the pro-American coalition in the region to pursue mutual economic and security interests, the recent Israeli actions in Jerusalem and the war in Gaza put those Arab partners in a difficult situation. However, the US should continue to pursue these accords by supporting constructive engagement between Israel and Palestinians by focusing on practical projects that promote mutual benefits to all partners. In conclusion, it is difficult for the US to compensate for the lack of leadership and political will for negotiated compromise in Israel and Palestine, yet it could involve both sides and other regional neighbors to fill the gap and facilitate dialogue, negotiation, and prevent further violence.

By: Yomna Süleyman, CIGA Research Associate



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