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Supporting Peace in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory

The Carter Center has been engaged in efforts to promote comprehensive peace in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory for decades. Since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in the early 1990s, President Carter and The Carter Center have supported the Palestinians’ aspirations for self-determination and human rights.

Through election observation, conflict resolution, and human rights work in the occupied Palestinian territory, The Carter Center has developed strong relations among key Israeli and Palestinian political leaders, electoral officials, civil society leaders, and human rights practitioners.

The Carter Center works not only with high-level decision-makers but also grassroots activists in its efforts to further conflict resolution, human rights, and democratic practice in the occupied Palestinian territory and for all Palestinians and Israelis. As a neutral, non-biased actor, The Carter Center is able to bring together a diverse spectrum of political actors to debate current and potential reforms as well as to encourage consensus-building efforts for peace and human rights.

Carter Center Activities

In 2005, The Carter Center opened a field office in Ramallah, expanding in 2008 to Jerusalem and Gaza. Building on this field presence and on continuous conflict monitoring, Carter Center staff regularly meet with government officials, members of key political parties, diplomats, civil society representatives, political analysts, and youth organizations across the occupied Palestinian territory and within Israel. Staff also maintain regular contact with leaders of the two largest Palestinian political parties, Fatah and Hamas.

Through its field presence and close engagement with Palestinians and Israelis, The Carter Center stays informed of human rights violations and conflict resolution needs and is able to assess various possible avenues of intervention where it can have added value. That has included involvement in the 2008 Israel–Hamas ceasefire and helping to secure the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in October 2011. The Carter Center's work on Palestinian reconciliation also contributed to the May 2011 Fatah-Hamas agreement, which resulted in a joint caretaker government.

In addition to high-level interventions, The Carter Center regularly participates in international conferences and workshops to promote better understanding of the human rights situation of Palestinians. The Carter Center’s Conflict Resolution and Democracy programs implemented a joint initiative on dialogue, consensus-building, and civic awareness in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme and Palestinian civil society. The project focused on issues of electoral reform and consensus-building across the internal Palestinian divide. The Carter Center continues to partner closely with The Elders to support civil society thought leaders and activists working for peace and human rights and accountability under international law.

The Center is working hard to deepen its engagement with Israeli and Palestinian civil society to address current challenges to Palestinian self-determination and human rights and the shrinking space for civil society in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory. It convened a series of focus-group discussions around the West Bank and on youth and women’s rights issues. The discussions were designed to support emerging leadership and identify avenues for promoting human rights and safeguarding civil society organizing. The findings from the convenings were shared with civil society leaders as well as with Palestinian and international decision-makers.

The Carter Center issues periodic press releases to draw international attention to critical issues in the region, including threats to Palestinian human rights and the need for an inclusive approach to the peace process. In addition, the Center communicates with leading human rights organizations to reinforce their efforts in the Middle East and around the world.

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