Continuity or Change? Deciphering Trump’s Policy on Israel and Middle East Peace


05th May, 2017

Steven N. Simon, Visiting Professor, Amherst College; former Senior Director, Middle East and North Africa, US National Security Council 

Dana H. Allin, Senior Fellow, US Foreign Policy and Transatlantic Affairs, International Institute for Strategic Studies

Chaired by:

Ruth Citrin, Director, Middle East and North Africa Programme, ECFR


Amid hints that President Donald Trump will visit Israel during his first overseas trip in late May, the administration’s approach to Middle East peace remains unclear. Early rhetoric indicating a sharp pro-Israel tilt was tempered by administration warnings on settlement construction, deferral of a US embassy move, and the President’s sudden expression of support for any solution - one state or two - that both parties can agree upon. Do these shifts reflect a new administration adjusting to the pull of competing interests, or a White House preserving negotiating room?  

Steven N. Simon and Dana H. Allin co-authored 'Our Separate Ways: The Struggle for the Future of the US-Israel Alliance' (2016), an examination of demographic, cultural, and strategic currents in Israel and the United States that are driving the two countries apart. They will discuss what to expect of the US-Israel relationship under President Trump, the forces that impact White House decision making on Israel and Palestinian issues, and the implications for Europe’s efforts to advance Middle East peace.

Steven N. Simon is a Visiting Professor of History at Amherst College and a former Senior Director for Middle East and North Africa with the White House National Security Council. He previously served as the Executive Director of IISS-US and Corresponding Director of IISS-Middle East, as Hasib J. Sabbagh Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, and as Senior Director for Combatting Terrorism with the White House National Security Council.

Dana H. Allin is IISS Senior Fellow for US Foreign Policy and Transatlantic Affairs, and has been Editor since 1998 of Survival: Global Politics and Strategy. Dr Allin was Professorial Lecturer at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), of the Johns Hopkins University in Washington D.C., and is currently Adjunct Professor of European Studies at the SAIS Bologna Center. 

Ruth Citrin is Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme. Ruth joins ECFR following a career with the U.S. Department of State.  She served as Director for Syria and Lebanon with the White House National Security Council and as an advisor on Syria policy with the Secretary of State's Policy Planning staff.

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