Gaza Approaching a Boiling Point?

Aug 3 2017


Washington, District of Columbia 20036


Political and humanitarian conditions in Gaza are in a critical state. The Fatah-Hamas rivalry and the Gulf countries’ rift with Qatar have stymied funding to the territory and exacerbated an already desperate energy crisis. The issuance of exit permits to Palestinians in Gaza is at its lowest rate since 2014.

In the midst of pressing humanitarian concerns, what options do Palestinians and Israelis have to help prevent renewed violence? How can the United States and the international community bring the question of Gaza back into regional deliberations and the peace process?

The Middle East Institute (MEI) is pleased to host a discussion with Tareq Baconi (al Shabaka), Lara Friedman (FMEP), Christopher McGrath (UNRWA) and Natan Sachs (Brookings) on the ways in which to mitigate political and humanitarian problems in Gaza.

An event in the George and Rhonda Salem Family Foundation Lecture Series.


Tareq Baconi
Policy Fellow, Al-Shabaka
Tareq G. Baconi is Al-Shabaka’s U.S.-based policy fellow. His forthcoming book Hamas: The Politics of Resistance, Entrenchment in Gaza is being published by Stanford University Press. Baconi holds a Ph.D. in international relations from Kings College London, which he completed alongside a career as an energy consultant. He also holds degrees from the University of Cambridge (International Relations) and Imperial College London (Chemical Engineering). Baconi is an adjunct visiting fellow at the U.S./Middle East Project. His writings have appeared in Foreign Affairs, Sada: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, The Daily Star, Al Ghad and openDemocracy.
Lara Friedman

President, Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP)

Lara Friedman is the president of the FMEP. Prior to coming to FMEP early in 2017, Friedman was the director of policy and government relations at Americans for Peace Now. She was previouly a U.S. Foreign Service Officer, serving in Jerusalem, Washington, Tunis, and Beirut. Friedman is a leading authority on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, with particular focus on the Israeli-Arab conflict, settlements and Jerusalem, and the role of the U.S. Congress. She frequently briefs Members of Congress, administration officials, and others in the foreign policy/national security community, and is regularly published in the U.S. and Israeli press. Friedman works closely with Jerusalem expert Danny Seidemann and his NGO Terrestrial Jerusalem. She also participates in various Track II Israeli-Palestinian efforts and is a non-resident fellow at the U.S./Middle East Project.

Christopher McGrath

Acting Director, UNRWA Washington Office

Christopher McGrath is acting director of the Washington Representative Office for the UN Relief and Works Agency, where he represents the interests of the agency within the United States. Prior to joining UNRWA, McGrath was a communications strategist for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, responsible for providing messaging to and directing the media event function of the Senate Democratic Caucus. McGrath has worked on several political campaigns, including John Kerry for President, John Edwards for President, Jon Corzine for Governor, and Bob Menendez for Senate, and several Congressional campaigns. He has also worked as for USAID in the West Bank and Gaza and on the Iraqi parliamentary elections. McGrath holds an M.A. from GWU and a B.A. from Skidmore College.

Natan Sachs
Director and Fellow, The Brookings Institution Center for Middle East Policy
Natan Sachs is a fellow in and director of the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings. His work focuses on Israeli foreign policy, domestic politics, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and U.S.-Israeli relations. He is currently writing a book on Israeli grand strategy and its domestic origins. Sachs has taught on the Arab-Israeli conflict at Georgetown University’s department of government and instructed on research design for the Security Studies Program at Georgetown. Previously, he was a Fulbright fellow in Indonesia, where his research included an empirical study of the behavioral effects of Islamic and national identities. He was subsequently a Hewlett fellow at Stanford’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law.