STUDY GROUP

President Donald Trump released his long-awaited Middle East peace plan on January 28, 2020 at the White House after three years of preparation and numerous postponements. The 151-page document was presented with great fanfare by the Administration. Like much of Trump’s approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since taking office in early 2017, the plan is bold and highly controversial. To most observers, it marks a radical departure from traditional American diplomacy and previous administrations’ peace efforts. To some analysts, however, it marks the logical culmination and outgrowth of decades of U.S. policy to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

  • Session 1 - Assessment: The Trump Administration's plan and policies towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

  • Session 2 - Impact: The Trump plan, its prospects for success, and the likely implications for future diplomacy and the situation on the ground in Israel and Palestine

Over the course of two sessions, this seminar will examine the Trump Administration’s Middle East peace plan and policies. It will consider the plan in historical context, looking at the evolution of US policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It will analyze the plan in depth in order to understand what it offers the parties, how it seeks to resolve the conflict, how it differs from previous peace-making efforts, and in what ways is it an outgrowth of earlier efforts. The seminar will also briefly examine the historical evolution of the conflict on the ground and the trajectory of the rival Israeli and Palestinian national movements, setting the context for today’s present political, economic, and social realities for both peoples.

The second seminar will assess the impact of the Trump peace plan. In doing so, we will attempt to determine likely trajectories for future diplomacy and prospects for success. We will look at the present diplomacy in historical context, to better understand how the two rival national movements have come to the positions they hold today. We will then consider the impact of the Trump Administration’s efforts on current Israeli and Palestinian diplomacy and politics, and assess future options and approaches open to the two parties as well as other Middle East states. We will also assess what the plan will mean for U.S. policy towards the conflict should President Trump be reelected in November. And finally, we will try to determine the enduring impact of the Trump Administration’s approach should the alternative outcome happen and a Democrat become president in January 2021.  

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Dr. Robert Danin

Robert M. Danin is a non-resident senior fellow with the Future of Diplomacy Project. Dr. Danin has worked on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from a number of different vantage points, including from the White House, the State Department, as an international diplomat and negotiator on the ground, and as a scholar and analyst. A former career State Department official with over twenty years of Middle East experience, he headed the Jerusalem mission of the Quartet representative, Tony Blair, from early 2008 through 2010, and continued to negotiate with Israeli and Palestinian leaders with the Quartet through 2012.

A former career State Department official with over twenty years of Middle East experience, Dr. Danin previously served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs responsible for Israeli-Palestinian issues. He also served at the National Security Council for over three years, as Director for Israeli-Palestinian affairs and the Levant and as acting Senior Director for Near East and North African affairs. Dr. Danin also served as the Middle East specialist on the Secretary of State's Policy Planning Staff, and as a State Department senior Middle East political and military analyst. Prior to joining the State Department, he worked as a Jerusalem-based journalist covering Israeli and Palestinian politics. Dr. Danin holds a BA in history from the University of California, Berkeley, an MSFS degree from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, and a doctorate in the international relations of the Middle East from St. Antony's College, Oxford University.