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Project Updates and Related News



Anne-Marie Slaughter calls the Arc "nothing short of breathtaking"

This week Anne-Marie Slaughter added her name to the growing list of thought leaders advocating for the Arc as a way to break the logjam in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. 

Slaughter, a former Dean of the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton and past Director of the State Department Policy Planning Staff writes in Project Syndicate

"Anyone who spends nine minutes watching the video presentation of the Arc will see that its potential is nothing short of breathtaking."

Her essay makes the case wonderfully that the Arc can be used as an inspiring tool to focus the parties on economic justice and opportunity, and build upon the spirit of entrepreneurship that is alive, particularly among young people, on both sides of the fence.

And she offers a stark challenge to us all that this time might truly be our last chance to get peace right. The "justification if not now, never", she writes, "is almost certainly true."

Read the full piece here.


Bernard Avishai calls the Arc 'electrifying', encourages Kerry to include it in talks

Yesterday Bernard Avishai, the widely respected scholar and author of The Hebrew Republic, called upon Secretary of State Kerry to get behind the Arc as a way to inject optimism into forthcoming peace negotiations.


Avishai writes, 

Support for entrepreneurship has to be matched by a large public construction project that would facilitate commerce in general. Now would be the ideal time for Kerry to get behind building Palestine's transportation corridor, along the lines of what Rand Corporation proposed with its ARC project. An announcement of this kind, which stitches Palestinian hubs together with trains and buses, would be electrifying. American diplomacy is promising two-states that are a prelude to justice and economic growth. Palestinian and Israeli centrists are both thinking, "Show me, don't tell me."


We couldn't agree with Avishai more. After rounds and rounds of negotiations that lead only to more frustration and hardened divides, its time to shake things up and "show" as well as "tell". Avashai's full essay, which provides a thorough analysis of the current context for talks, can be read here



Why Not The Arc?

The Palestinian delegation was at the U.N. General Assembly last week after a year which the Palestinian commissioner of international relations described as “a lost year.” No peace talks, no progress in other spheres. How long until things blow up again, and what might the global as well as regional consequences be this time if they do?

Since 2002 a multidisciplinary team of experts from the RAND Corporation has been working with Palestinians, Israelis and the international community to develop a Palestinian nation-building plan. The Palestine Arc is the stunning, inspiring infrastructure component of RAND’s work.

Watch the Arc videos here. We think you will agree that the Arc vision can put a wind at the back of Palestinians by giving the global community a tangible vision of a Palestinian nation living side by side with Israel in peace, security, and prosperity. If President Abbas had used his time at the U.N. last Thursday to show the thirty-five minute Arc video, wouldn’t it have generated more progress towards resolving the conflict than the thirty-two minute speech he gave?

In Joshua Cooper Ramo’s wonderful book, The Age of the Unthinkable, Ramo describes a principle of physics called the “sandpile effect.” Why does adding one grain to a sandpile generally have no discernible effect, but every once in a while causes an avalanche? Physicists describe the phenomenon as the tendency of large, complex systems to evolve into a poised “critical” state, way out of balance, where minor disturbances may lead to unpredictable avalanches. Ramo’s book thoughtfully applies this theory to numerous complex systems, including geopolitical events. Who would disagree that the current state of Israel-Palestine geopolitics is way out of balance? And who is to say which “grain of sand” will cause an avalanche? And whether the ramifications of such an avalanche will be local, regional or global?

We believe that government officials, thought leaders and others involved with the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict seriously underestimate the Arc's persuasive power: its ability to convince large numbers of otherwise uninvolved or skeptical people that a prosperous and successful Palestinian state ­‑ living in peace with a secure Israel ‑ can be a reality.  This is why we encourage Palestinians and others to recognize the Arc as more than just an infrastructure project.  The Arc is not only an infrastructure project for the day after peace, but a visionary concept for getting there in the first place.

It seems like such a waste not to harness the enthusiasm and hope the Arc generates to move forward towards a two-state solution, especially when other movement has been stymied.  The Arc’s potential creation of 160,000 productive jobs per year in the first five years adds an economic argument – imagine the positive political impact these days of creating that many new jobs anywhere.

Please watch the Arc videos on the RAND website here or at our website and please encourage your government to encourage the Palestinian leadership to embrace the Arc. Whether you are motivated by a passion for Israel or Palestine, or a fear that allowing this conflict to fester could spark serious global catastrophe, the risks of inaction are growing.

Given the continued lack of other progress, why not the Arc?


FOTA is not affiliated with the RAND Corporation, which produced the original Arc study.  FOTA does not seek to raise funds, nor does it have any financial interest in the adoption and implementation of the Arc project.


Queens College CUNY Showcases the Arc

The Queens College (CUNY) Center for Ethnic, Racial, & Religious Understanding recently held an event showcasing the Palestinian Arc, as envisioned by the RAND Corporation and Suisman Urban Design.  The panelists Dr. Christopher Tucker, President of Friends of the Arc, Executive Director of the American Task Force on Palestine Ghaith al-Olmari, and David Makovsky, the Ziegler distinguished fellow and director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy Project on the Middle East Peace Process - addressed a community audience on the value and importance of the Arc vision, and the practical steps that must be taken in order to bring the vision into reality.  Parts of the exchange are captured in the Queens Times Ledger.


As Professor of History and Director of the Center for Jewish Studies and Director of the Michael Harrington Center at Queens College, Professor Rosenblum had the panelists present the Arc to his students whose class will revolve around a semester long simulation where they role play in "secret negotiations" between the Israelis and Palestinians, using the Palestinian Arc as a vision around which agreement might be reached.  

This simulation was explained by its creator, Sophia McGee (below), to the community audience.  And, students from the class had the opportunity to raise questions to the panelists regarding the Arc and the Israeli-Palestinian standoff.


What's Next for the Arc?