We discuss Israelis' and Palestinians' views on their conflict; how sexual assault and sexual harassment affect separation from the U.S. military; what new COVID-19 variants mean for the vaccination effort; America's response to the coup in Myanmar; giving peace a chance in Afghanistan; and tips for improving your sleep (and your relationship) during the pandemic.
For decades, the two-state solution has dominated efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Are there any alternative solutions that average Israelis and Palestinians would support? To find out, RAND researchers conducted focus groups with more than 270 West Bank Palestinians, Gazan Palestinians, Israeli Jews, and Israeli Arabs.
Our researchers asked participants about five options, including a two-state solution. None of the alternatives were acceptable to a majority of both Israelis and Palestinians. And while the two-state solution was the most viable alternative, all four groups voiced skepticism toward it.
These findings highlight the deep distrust and profound animosity on both sides of the conflict. It also suggests that a resolution will likely require more holistic “peace deals” than have been previously suggested.
New and more-transmissible COVID-19 variants are emerging around the world. If some countries don't receive timely access to vaccines, then the virus will continue to spread in some populations, mutate further, and potentially render existing vaccines less effective. Even worse, vaccines could become ineffective against some mutations. This is why international collaboration on vaccine distribution is more important than ever, say RAND experts. It will save lives and help save the global economy.
On Wednesday, President Biden announced U.S. sanctions against the generals who directed the coup in Myanmar. He also urged the military to relinquish power and respect the results of Myanmar's recent election. According to RAND's Jonah Blank, a “tough-minded approach” from the Biden administration could lead to progress in Myanmar. And although sanctions are unlikely to reverse the coup, they do send a message to the rest of the world: Violations of global norms will have consequences.
U.S. service members who experience sexual assault or sexual harassment face a wide range of mental and physical harms. A new RAND report—the latest in our series on this topic—highlights yet another negative effect of these crimes. Sexual assaults double the odds of service members separating from the military within a 28-month period. Additionally, sexual harassment was associated with roughly eight percent of all military separations during the same time period.
As peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government continue with little progress, the United States faces a May deadline to withdraw all of its troops. According to RAND's James Dobbins, delaying the withdrawal could give Kabul and the Taliban more time to address core issues that must be resolved if any settlement is to stick. This might be the Afghan people's only hope of preserving the economic, social, and political gains of the last 20 years.
With the first Valentine's Day of the COVID-19 era just a few days away, it's a good time to talk about couples' sleep strategies. Pandemic-related stress can intensify sleep problems, says RAND's Wendy Troxel. Poor sleep can negatively affect your relationship, which in turn can lead to even more sleep issues. Troxel has some tips for how to avoid this vicious cycle. For example, instead of scrolling through social media or watching TV before going to bed, use this time to connect with your partner.
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