Episode 4 - Regional and global interests and influences

This was recorded on May 16, 2024

How American and Middle East states’ interests and behaviour affect the Israeli-Palestinian conflict historically and today

Elham Fakhro, Research Associate, Chatham House Middle East & North Africa; Research Fellow, Exeter University Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies
Hussein Ibish, Senior Resident Scholar, Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington
Daniel Kurtzer, S. Daniel Abraham Professor of Middle East Policy Studies, Princeton School of Public and International Affairs; former United States Ambassador to Israel and Egypt
Nimrod Novik, Senior Policy Advisor to the late Prime Minister Shimon Peres; former Special Ambassador of the State of Israel and Advisor to Israeli National Security Council

Cristina Gallach, former UN Under-Secretary-General; former Spanish State-Secretary for Foreign Affairs

Episode 4 transcript

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Elham Fakhro is a Research Associate at the Chatham House MENA program, and a Research Fellow at Exeter University's Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies. She previously acted as Senior Gulf Analyst with the International Crisis Group and as a Lecturer at NYU Abu Dhabi. She holds a doctorate from St Antony's College, Oxford University and is the author of a forthcoming book on the Abraham Accords, and Arab normalisation with Israel (Columbia University Press, 2024).



Hussein Ibish is a senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. He is a weekly columnist for The National (UAE), former columnist for Bloomberg, regular contributor to The New York Times and The Daily Beast, and frequent contributor to many other U.S. and Middle Eastern publications. He has made thousands of radio and television appearances and was the Washington, DC correspondent for the Daily Star (Beirut).  

Ibish is the editor and principal author of three major studies of Hate Crimes and Discrimination against Arab Americans, and numerous chapters on Arab-American Race relations, civil liberties and media representation in the U.S.  He wrote, along with Ali Abunimah, “The Palestinian Right of Return” (ADC, 2001) and “The Media and the New Intifada” in The New Intifada (Verso, 2001). He is the editor, along with Saliba Sarsar, of Principles and Pragmatism (ATFP, 2006).

His most recent book is What’s Wrong with the One-State Agenda? Why Ending the Occupation and Peace with Israel is Still the Palestinian National Goal (ATFP, 2009).  

Ibish previously served as a senior fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine, and executive director of the Hala Salaam Maksoud Foundation for Arab-American Leadership from 2004-09. He has a PhD in comparative literature from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.


Daniel C. Kurtzer is the S. Daniel Abraham Professor of Middle East Policy Studies at Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs. During a 29-year career in the U.S. Foreign Service, Ambassador Kurtzer served as the United States Ambassador to Israel and as the United States Ambassador to Egypt. He was also a speechwriter and member of the Secretary of State George P. Shultz’s Policy Planning Staff; he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs and as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Research.

Kurtzer was a member of the Middle East peace team for Secretary of State James A. Baker III and Secretary of State Warren Christopher. He played an instrumental role in formulating and executing American policy, in particular helping to bring about the Madrid peace conference. Following that breakthrough, Kurtzer was named as the coordinator of the multilateral peace talks; served as the U.S. representative to the bilateral talks between Israel and the Palestinians and between Israel and Syria; and chaired the U.S. delegation to the multilateral refugee negotiations.

Kurtzer is the co-author of Negotiating Arab-Israeli Peace: American Leadership in the Middle East; co-author of The Peace Puzzle: America’s Quest for Arab-Israeli Peace, 1989-2011; and editor of Pathways to Peace: America and the Arab-Israeli Conflict. After retiring from the State Department, he served as a member of Secretary of State John Kerry’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board, and as an advisor to the bipartisan Iraq Study Group. In 2007, he was named the first Commissioner of the professional Israel Baseball League.   

Ambassador Kurtzer received his Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University.


Nimrod Novik was the Senior Policy Advisor to the late Prime Minister Shimon Peres, a Special Ambassador of the State of Israel and an Advisor to the Israeli National Security Council.  He is a member of three organizations dedicated to securing Israel’s future as a strong Jewish democracy, via separation from the Palestinians in an eventual two-state solution: Commanders for Israel's Security (CIS), an organization of over 550 former IDF generals, as well as Mossad, Shin Bet and Foreign Service equivalents; The Israel Policy Forum (IPF), an American Jewish organization that provides policymakers and community leaders with policy analysis and educational resources, and The Economic Cooperation Foundation (ECF), the NGO that launched the Oslo Process and has been involved in all phases of Israeli-Palestinian and regional negotiations since.

He has long been involved in back-channel diplomacy employing a network of security and diplomatic contacts in the region and beyond.


Cristina Gallach

Cristina Gallach, international official and journalist, served as United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information (2015-17), and as a member of the Spanish government for six years (2018-2024) in multiple roles, including State Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Iberoamérica and the Caribbean. As UN Under-Secretary-General, she was directed global, regional, and local communications of the UN system on major current affairs and strategic agendas, with special emphasis on the 2030 sustainable development agenda, climate action, and peace and security issues.  

As a senior EU Official and communication director for the EU High Representative for Foreign Policy (1999-2009), she participated in all EU plans, activities and joint international initiatives related to the Middle East, including the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Prior to that, she worked for NATO as communications advisor to the Secretary General.  Her long career in journalism includes international reporting in Central and Eastern Europe, Brussels, and as a correspondent in the former Soviet Union, based in Moscow. She graduated from the Journalism and Communications faculty in the Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona, holds an MIA from Columbia University (New York), and an Honorary Doctorate degree from Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona.