Former U.S. ambassador talks Israel-Hamas war

During a long career at the State Department, Jake Walles was involved in Middle East peace negotiations.
Logo for the Midcoast Forum on Foreign Relations.
The Maine Monitor periodically publishes recordings of talks hosted by the Midcoast Forum on Foreign Relations.

The Midcoast Forum on Foreign Relations recently hosted Jake Walles, who was a foreign service officer with the U.S. Department of State for more than 35 years, for a discussion on the war in Gaza and its implications.

“The human toll in Gaza has been staggering,” he said. “More than 30,000 Palestinians — I think the number now is up to 31,000 Palestinians — have been killed. The majority of them, over 70 percent, women and children.”

Nearly all of Gaza’s 2.2 million inhabitants have been displaced, he said, and most of Gaza’s economy and infrastructure has been destroyed.

“And on the Israeli side, roughly 1,200 people were killed by Hamas on October 7, the deadliest day in the history of the state of Israel,” he said. “Hamas fighters deliberately attacked civilian targets, and captured hundreds of civilian hostages, many of whom are still held in difficult conditions in Gaza.”

The Midcoast Forum on Foreign Relations, founded in 1983, seeks to promote the study of U.S. foreign policy through speakers, discussion groups and the production of relevant materials.

headshot of Jake Walles
Jake Walles

Walles is a nonresident senior fellow in the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he focuses on Israeli-Palestinian issues, Tunisia and counterterrorism.

Walles served as the U.S. ambassador to Tunisia from 2012 to 2015 and as consul general and chief of mission in Jerusalem from 2005 to 2009. During his long career with the State Department, he was actively involved in Middle East peace negotiations — beginning with the Madrid Conference of 1991 and continuing through the Obama administration.

He was the recipient of the State Department’s Distinguished Honor Award in 2016 for his contributions to U.S. national security policy. He also received Presidential Meritorious Rank Awards in 2007 and 2012, and the department’s Superior Honor Award in 2001 and 1994 for his work promoting peace in the Middle East.

Listen to the talk at: Midcoast Forum, Jake Walles.

Those interested in learning more about the forum can visit The Maine Monitor periodically shares recordings of talks hosted by the forum.


Midcoast Forum on Foreign Relations

The Mid-Coast Forum on Foreign Relations seeks to promote study and discussion of the development, formulation, and implementation of United States foreign policies by means of a program of speakers, the organization of discussion and study groups, and the production and distribution of relevant materials.
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