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Are Sec. Kerry’s Mid-East Trips a Harbinger of Hope?

WHO:  American University Middle East Experts

WHAT: Significance of Sec. Kerry’s Sixth Trip to Middle East

WHEN: July 16 - ongoing

WHERE: American University, in-studio, via telephone

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 16, 2013) — Secretary Kerry’s sixth trip to the Middle East is believed to carry significance after completing a round of shuttle diplomacy last month and pushing Israel about as far as it will go without some diplomatic signal to yield on some issues from the Palestinian Authority leadership before restarting formal peace process negotiations. Secretary Kerry is scheduled to have a private dinner with Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday night. What happens after that is anyone’s guess, but with the UN General Assembly less than two months away, the Obama administration would not like any surprises on the Palestinian issue.

American University experts are available to discuss and analyze Sec. Kerry’s efforts in the Middle East and why the Obama administration is focusing its diplomatic agenda on the peace process.

U.S. Foreign Policy/U.S.-Israeli Relations/Attitudes Toward Peace Process

Guy Ziv, assistant professor in American University’s School of International Service’s U.S. foreign policy program, is an expert on the Middle East, and U.S.-Israel relations. Ziv’s current research focuses on the role of political elites in the Arab-Israeli conflict, the role of leaders’ personalities in foreign policy change, and the impact of Israel’s nuclear policy on U.S.-Israel relations. Ziv can speak about Kerry's challenges in trying to revive the peace process, the Netanyahu government's commitment to the peace process, the Obama administration's commitment to the peace process, the Knesset's and the Israeli public's attitudes towards the peace process, and the Palestinian attitudes toward the peace process.

Middle East Peace Process Negotiations

Anthony Wanis-St. John, assistant professor in American University’s School of International Service’s International Peace and Conflict Resolution program, is an expert on international negotiation, military negotiations, ceasefires, humanitarian negotiations and peace processes. Specifically, Wanis-St. John’s research focuses on back channel negotiations, and his book, Back Channel Negotiation: Secrecy in the Middle East Peace Process (Syracuse 2011) explains Back Channel Negotiations (BCNs) from the standpoint of the Israel-Palestinian decades’ long conflict which has employed secret BCNs consistently. He is an advisor at the U.S. Institute of Peace, the Foreign Service Institute, U.S. Department of State, and U.S. Marine Corp. Command and Staff College at Quantico.

Israeli Expectations

Saul Newman, associate professor in the Department of Government in the School of Public Affairs, is an expert on the decline of settler nationalism in Israel and its impact on resolving disputes between settler and native nationalist movements. Specifically, Newman can analyze and discuss Israel public's attitudes toward the peace process and their expectations. (Note: Newman is only available for print interviews)

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