Prospects for peace between Israel and the Palestinians have deteriorated. Successive attempts to reach an agreement through bilateral negotiations have failed. The situation in the West Bank and, in particular, Gaza is worsening, jeopardising the relative calm with Israel, and further compromising Israel’s position in the region. Palestinian politics is fracturing; with the division between the West Bank and Gaza Strip growing, few have any confidence left that statehood is a viable reality.
There is, however, an unprecedented opportunity to change this reality. The changes in the region and the emergence of new leadership in key Arab states have helped create a vast space of common strategic interest between Arabs and Israelis and opportunities for new alliances. The Arab Peace Initiative, as amended, provides a strong framework within which to settle and agree the core differences.
Nonetheless, while there are common strategic interests today between Israel and Arab nations, they cannot be further advanced fully unless and until the Palestinian issue is on a clear path to resolution. Moreover, it is clear beyond any doubt that without resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the roots of extremism in the Middle East will not be uprooted and destroyed.
The Institute is working to harness these changing regional dynamics to advance the two-state solution, and create the circumstances where it is politically possible for the Israelis and Arabs to cooperate on a range of issues of mutual interest. We focus on advancing Arab-Israeli regional cooperation, improving Palestinian living conditions and the reconstruction and opening of Gaza.
Now as never before, Israel and the region have an opportunity to work together toward shared aims of increased security and cooperation. If we work quickly and seize this opportunity for change, we could ensure that we finally replace an out-dated enmity between the sides, which serves no one but the extremists.
This is an important part of the Institute's mission to ensure that globalisation can be a positive force for the many, rather than the few.