The Peace Process on Life Support

Posted on December 03, 2007 in Washington Watch

The Annapolis Conference turned out to be much less than the “historic breakthrough” hyped by official briefers and dutifully (or naively) echoed in mainstream media.

In fact, Annapolis was only historic if one ignores the Madrid Conference of 1992. Or if one discounts the significance of the Israeli-Palestinian Accords signed in Oslo, Cairo, Paris, Washington, and Wye. Or the major post-Oslo economic summits in Casablanca and Amman. Or even George Bush’s own multi-nation gathering at Sharm el-Sheikh. In other words, Annapolis was only historic if one either disregards history or discounts its importance.

Seen in this larger...

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AAI to Co-Sponsor Capitol Hill Briefing on Annapolis Conference

Posted on November 28, 2007 in Press Releases

WASHINGTON – November 28, 2007 – The Arab American Institute (AAI) is co-sponsoring a Capitol Hill briefing, entitled “Digesting Annapolis: What Happened, What It Means, What Happens Next?”, on Thursday, November 29 from 12 to 2 p.m. The briefing will be a roundtable discussion featuring leading American, Israeli, and Palestinian former negotiators, experts, and opinion shapers.

AAI is co-sponsoring the event with the American Task Force on Palestine, Americans for Peace Now, Brit Tzedek v’Shalom, Israel Policy Forum, Churches for Middle East Peace, and the Foundation for Middle East Peace.

WHAT: Roundtable discussion entitled “Digesting Annapolis: What...

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Former Israeli and Palestinian Negotiators Discuss Prospects for Middle East Peace with Likely Iowa

Posted on November 20, 2007 in Press Releases

WASHINGTON – Nov. 20, 2007 – Former Israeli and Palestinian negotiators Daniel Levy and Ghaith al-Omari spoke with likely Iowa caucus-goers on November 16 and 17 in a speaking tour organized by the Arab American Institute, Concerned Iowans for Middle East Peace, and Churches for Middle East Peace. Speaking in advance of next week’s Middle East peace conference in Annapolis, MD, Levy and al-Omari discussed current prospects for peace between Israel and Palestine before audiences in Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, and at Drake University in Des Moines.

The discussion series was part of an ongoing effort by the...

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AAI Commends Constructive Congressional Efforts Towards Palestinian-Israeli Peace

Posted on November 20, 2007 in Press Releases

WASHINGTON – November 20, 2007 – With the Annapolis conference less than one week away, the Arab American Institute commends the bipartisan efforts of Congressmen Gary Ackerman (D-NY) and Charles Boustany (R-LA) (pictured left) to support U.S. engagement on Palestinian-Israeli peace. Yesterday, Ackerman and Boustany sent a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urging sustained U.S. diplomacy, including a substantial increase in Palestinian aid. The letter was signed by 135 Members of Congress.

The letter advocates a reorientation of U.S. aid programs to the Palestinians, encouraging a focus on economic development and job creation. It also outlines...

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Democratic Candidates Discuss Israel-Palestine

Posted on November 06, 2007 in Washington Watch

Last weekend, most of the Democratic presidential candidates addressed remarks to a gathering of Arab American leaders assembled at their Quadrennial National Leadership Conference (NLC) in Michigan. An examination of how each of them dealt with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict proved quite revealing.

But first, to set the context. Over 600 Arab Americans gathered for this year’s NLC, sponsored by the Arab American Institute. Among the bi-partisan group were Arab American elected officials and party leaders, and representatives of forty-one organization from twenty states. During the three day meeting, they discussed key domestic and foreign policy issues, and took...

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An Arab Initiative to Avoid a Failed Conference

Posted on October 22, 2007 in Washington Watch

In the aftermath of Secretary of State Rice’s fourth recent visit to the region to prepare for a Middle East peace conference, only the meeting’s proposed location has been decided. The situation looks quite bleak, with little to show for the efforts made to date.

Early in her visit, Rice made an effort to tamp down expectations about the conference – not a good sign – sending mixed and confusing signals. Despite, yet again, reiterating the Bush Administration’s commitment to a Palestinian state, after meeting with a number of Israeli officials, the U.S. Secretary made it clear that...

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Bush Policy: Neglect and Fantasy

Posted on July 23, 2007 in Washington Watch

On the heels of his upbeat mid-summer progress report on Iraq, President Bush delivered an equally fanciful account of his Administration’s efforts to achieve a “two-state” solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This was the speech the President had been expected to give a few weeks ago on the fifth anniversary of his “two-state vision” speech. And because it bore no relation to reality, it was the speech I feared he would give.

In his selective recounting of the events that have transpired since 2002, Bush ignored the damage done by his Administration’s neglect; and described the current situation...

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Aid is Step Forward, but Bolder Leadership Still Needed

Posted on July 16, 2007 in Press Releases

A Statement by AAI President James Zogby on President Bush’s Commitment to Palestinian Aid:

President George W. Bush’s generous offer of assistance to the Palestinian Authority and his intention of convening a regional peace conference are welcome. Unfortunately they bear the trademarks of this administration’s policies: failing to act when the U.S. could have done some good, and ignoring reality when finally engaging.

The time to have acted would have been when Abu Mazen was first elected and had the support of the majority of Palestinians; or when an Israeli Prime Minister was strong and popular. At...

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Seeing Eye to Eye: A Survey of Jewish American and Arab American Public Opinion (2007)

Posted on July 09, 2007 in Reports

In 2002, Americans for Peace Now (APN) and the Arab American Institute (AAI) commissioned Zogby International (ZI) to conduct the first ever side-by-side poll of Jewish and Arab American public opinion to gauge support within both communities for Arab-Israeli peace. With the region's political landscape significantly altered since the first poll was conducted—including the US war in Iraq, Israel's disengagement fromGaza, Hamas' victory in Palestinian legislative elections, and the 2006 Israel-Lebanon war—APN and AAI commissioned ZI in May 2007 to reexamine Jewish and ArabAmerican public opinion.

Download the Poll

Related...

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Bush’s Two-State Vision Speech: Five Years Later

Posted on July 02, 2007 in Washington Watch

It was five years ago that President George W. Bush delivered the speech that outlined his “vision” for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There had been some speculation that the President would mark the occasion by reprising his “vision” speech. I, for one, am glad that he did not. It was a disastrous speech that marked a radical change in U.S. policy toward the Middle East peace process – the consequences of which are still with us.

Hype having overtaken history, the actual speech delivered on June 24, 2002 has been forgotten. What is remembered is...

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