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Israel-Palestine Conflict Resolution

President and Mrs. Carter and The Carter Center have worked to support a viable two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to promote comprehensive peace in the region for decades. The conflict between the major Palestinian political parties Fatah and Hamas has been a particular focus. Palestinian national unity is critical to the success of a two-state solution and the conflict has fractured Palestinian democratic institutions and fed a spiral of intra-Palestinian human rights abuses in the Occupied Territory.

The Carter Center's Current Activities

The Carter Center works both with grassroots activists and with high-level decision makers in its efforts to further conflict resolution, human rights, and democratic development in Palestine. In 2005, The Carter Center opened a field office in Ramallah, expanding in 2008 to Jerusalem and Gaza. Building on this field presence and the continuous conflict monitoring conducted by Carter Center staff and interns in our Atlanta headquarters, senior Carter Center personnel travel regularly to the area to assess developments firsthand. These visits include meetings with government officials, members of key political parties, diplomats, civil society activists, and political analysts. In particular, Center staff maintains regular contact with leaders of the two largest Palestinian political parties, Fatah and Hamas.

This thorough monitoring allows The Carter Center to be alert to various possible avenues of intervention. In some cases, this can include President Carter's personal involvement to push the parties toward a resolution. For example, in April 2008, President Carter urged Hamas to drop its requirement that a truce in Gaza be tied to a truce in the West Bank. Also during this trip, The Carter Center and President Carter urged Hamas to resolve the matter of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier who was captured in June 2006 and eventually released in October 2011. As a result of President Carter's intervention with Hamas leaders, an exchange of letters was arranged between Shalit and his family. The Carter Center's work on Palestinian reconciliation also contributed indirectly to the Fatah-Hamas agreement reached in May 2011.

In addition to high-level interventions, The Carter Center works with local communities to prevent and mitigate conflict. The Carter Center's Conflict Resolution and Democracy programs, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme and a Palestinian NGO, implemented an Initiative on Dialogue, Consensus-Building, and Civic Awareness in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The project focused on issues of electoral reform and consensus-building across the internal Palestinian divide. The Carter Center convened a series of focus group discussions around the West Bank and Gaza designed to highlight the grassroots impacts of the Fatah-Hamas conflict and to elicit recommendations on a system for addressing these disputes. Participants included Muslim and Christian religious leaders, human rights activists, youth leaders, women's activists, and tribal leaders, with traditional responsibility for mediating community-level conflicts.  Recommendations from the discussions have been shared with relevant Palestinian decision-makers.

The Center also issues periodic press releases to draw international attention to critical issues in the region, including threats to a viable two-state solution and the need for an inclusive approach to the peace process. In addition, The Carter Center communicates with leading human rights organizations to reinforce their efforts through our own public reports and by publicizing the work of Human Rights Defenders in the Middle East and around the world.

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