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A Fresh Approach to Peace in the Middle East

At the very end of 2020 Congress passed an Omnibus Appropriations bill to fund the US Federal Government for the next fiscal year. Tucked into this massive appropriations package is a novel approach to peace-building in Israel and Palestine.

The Nita M. Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Act provides $250 million over five years to grassroots efforts to support peace and reconciliation programs for Israelis and Palestinians, as well as support economic development for Palestine. This act is deliberately modeled on a piece of legislation from the 1980s which supported grassroots peace-building efforts between Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland. That effort is credited with laying the foundation for the Good Friday Agreement.

My guest today, Joel Brunold managing director of the S. Daniel Abrams Center for Middle East Peace and former executive director of the Alliance for Middle East Peace where he was the prime advocate for the piece the legislation we are discussing today.

We kick off discussing what the Middle East Partnership for Peace Act act entails and how it is intended to spur support for a multinational fund for grassroots  peace building efforts. With the official peace process between Israel and Palestine seemingly dead, we discuss what political impact this bottom up approach to peace may have on the situation on the ground in Israel and Palestine.

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