Negotiating Arab-Israeli Peace

American Leadership in the Middle East
April 2008
210 Pages
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210 Pages
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Negotiating Arab-Israeli Peace sets forth a compelling, interests-based framework for American engagement in the peace process; provides a critical assessment of U.S. diplomacy since the end of the Cold War; and offers a set of ten core “lessons” to guide the efforts of future American negotiators.

"Negotiating Arab-Israeli Peace focuses on the Clinton and the two Bush presidencies, presenting a manual on what future officeholders should and should not impressive and refreshingly concise book."

- New York Review of Books

"...a trenchant guidebook"

- Newsweek

"Negotiating Arab-Israeli Peace is a tour de force that deserves wide readership not only in the official, journalistic, and think tank worlds but also in academia. This book should be widely utilized as a teaching tool by professors who want to add real life practices to the plethora of academic theory about conflict resolution and peacemaking."

The Honorable Samuel W. Lewis, former United States ambassador to Israel and former director of the Policy Planning Staff, U.S. Department of State

“In a direct and diplomatic analysis, this book dissects the past decades of U.S. inadequacies and outlines the requirements for an effective U.S. policy in the Middle East. It is the ‘1975 Brookings Report’ of the next election, and it points sternly and creatively to the lessons and opportunities that we will be criminal to ignore. The United States Institute of Peace has done the nation a service in sponsoring the project, and the authors and their team have done the world a favor in looking so clearly into the past and the future.”

I. William Zartman, Jacob Blauestein Professor of International Organization and Conflict Resolution, Johns Hopkins University—SAIS

“This rigorous, non-partisan, no-holds-barred analysis of the most recent twenty years of U.S. effort in Middle East peacemaking is essential reading for practitioners and scholars. The operational implications have powerful potential in the hands of leaders who care about the results as well as the politics of American statecraft in the region.”

Chester A. Crocker, James R. Schlesinger Professor, Georgetown University

“I commend the authors of this book for their balanced and critical analysis of the U.S. role in one of the most pernicious conflicts of our time. The book publishes at a critical juncture for U.S. leadership in the Middle East. Its insights will be invaluable for many years to come.”

Joschka Fischer, former foreign minister and vice chancellor of Germany

Negotiating Arab-Israeli Peace comes at a pivotal moment for U.S. foreign policy. While delivering a critical assessment of the United States’ mixed record in mitigating the conflict, this study reasserts America’s crucial role in the Middle East peace process and provides a solid framework from which American policymakers and mediators can work to facilitate a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace settlement.”

George J. Mitchell

“This volume is the most forceful, thorough, concrete, and concise analysis of the U.S. performance in the Arab-Israeli peace process since it was born as a political process in 1974. The sharp call for energetic, determined, and disciplined perseverance in pursuit of the clear-cut U.S. interest in an Arab-Israeli-Palestinian peace sets the bar for our next president. It's a superb statement.”

Harold Saunders, former assistant secretary, U.S. Department of State

". . . a well-reasoned, realistic study setting out what works and what does not in this distinctive diplomatic arena. Today's leadership (and tomorrow's) could usefully build on the lessons presented here."

- Foreign Affairs

"A 'tour de force'. . .[Kurtzer and Lasensky] dissect with a surgeon's scalpel the moves made by past and present U.S. administrations in their efforts to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict. . .The only way that the next U.S. administration can succeed whether its predecessors have failed is if it takes to heart the ten lessons of Kurtzer and Lasensky and their recommendations."

Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs

". . .A fine evaluation of U.S. diplomacy. . ."

New York Times

Daniel C. Kurtzer

Ambassador Kurtzer is currently a Lecturer in Public and International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School, S. Daniel Abraham Visiting Professor in Middle East Policy Studies, Princeton University.

Daniel C. Kurtzer, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, served as the U.S. Ambassador to Israel from 2001 to 2005. Immediately prior to that, he served as U.S. Ambassador to Egypt.

Ambassador Kurtzer previously served as political officer at the American Embassy in Cairo; as political officer at the American Embassy in Tel Aviv; as Deputy Director of the Office of Egyptian Affairs; as a speechwriter on the Policy Planning Staff; as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs; and as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research.

Ambassador Kurtzer received a B.A. from Yeshiva University in New York and his Ph.D. from Columbia University.

Scott B. Lasensky

Scott B. Lasensky served as the Senior Advisor to the United States Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro (2014-2017). While serving in Israel in this White House appointed position, he was deeply involved in every aspect of the bilateral relationship, with an emphasis on policy advising and public engagement. Dr. Lasensky also played a leadership role in deepening and expanding ties with American Jewry. From 2011-2014, he was a Senior Policy Advisor to U.S. Ambassadors to the United Nations Susan E. Rice and Samantha J. Power, focusing on Israel, the Palestinians, Syria, and Jewish affairs. In that position, he was deeply involved in the inter-agency policy process, including regular participation in Deputies Committee meetings. For both Rice and Power, he was the principal liaison to the Jewish community. As part of USUN’s Washington-based Cabinet office, he also advised on a wide range of issues related to the principal bodies of the United Nations system, including the Office of the Secretary General, the Security Council and the General Assembly. Dr. Lasensky’s most recent book is The Peace Puzzle: America’s Quest for Arab Israeli Peace (Cornell University Press, 2013). His 2008 book, Negotiating Arab-Israeli Peace: American Leadership in the Middle East (co-authored with Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer), was widely reviewed and cited, and was also a USIP Press bestseller. Dr. Lasensky has lectured and written extensively on Israel, the Arab-Israeli conflict and America’s role in the Middle East, and has held a variety of positions at leading American think tanks, including the U.S. Institute of Peace (2004-2011), the Council on Foreign Relations (2000-2003), and the Brookings Institution (1999-2000). At USIP, he co-directed the Study Group on Arab-Israeli Peacemaking with Ambassador Kurtzer; initiated and directed “Madrid 20,” a major 2011 conference marking 20 years of US-led peacemaking efforts; designed and led a number of Track II dialogue programs involving Iraqis, Syrians, Turks and Israelis; and served as Senior Advisor to a blue-ribbon panel on Arab-Israeli peacemaking co-chaired by former National Security Advisors Sandy Berger and Stephen Hadley (2009-2011). Lasensky was part of the U.S. delegation to the UN-sponsored Syria peace talks in Geneva in 2014. He served as an International Election Monitor with the National Democratic Institute and the Carter Center for Palestinian elections in 2005 and 2006. At the CFR, Lasensky served as assistant director of the U.S./Middle East Project and its Independent Task Force on Strengthening Palestinian Public Institutions. Lasensky has been a visiting and adjunct professor at Georgetown University, the University of Maryland, and Mount Holyoke College. He has been a frequent commentator on NPR, CNN, Fox News, and other major media outlets. He received a special mention in Foreign Policy magazine’s list of top American think tanks. From 1997-2004, he worked part-time as a writer for the World Economic Forum. A recipient of the Yitzhak Rabin-Shimon Peres Peace Award from Tel Aviv University (1999, Ph.D. category), Lasensky is a graduate of UCLA and earned his Ph.D. in international relations from Brandeis University. He speaks Hebrew.

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