The Obama administration is hosting direct peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians this week after a 20-month hiatus.
U.S. President Barack Obama
Mr. Obama, 49, is promoting an agenda that includes the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. He says he wants the direct talks to produce an agreement in a year, and he is pushing for concessions from both Israelis and Palestinians on land and border issues.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Clinton, 62, says the United States believes Israelis and Palestinians can resolve the issues that have stood in the way of peace within one year. She favored the Israeli settlement freeze as a way to unblock stalled peace talks.
U.S. Middle East Envoy George Mitchell
Mitchell, 77, shuttles between Mr. Abbas and Mr. Netanyahu in an attempt to overcome barriers between the two sides. In 1998, he helped broker a deal that ended years of conflict between Roman Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Mr. Netanyahu, 60, is balancing internal demands from his hardline political backers with international calls for a Mideast peace agreeement. He favors talks with the Palestinians under no set preconditions. He was involved in the peace process as Israel's prime minister from 1996-1999 and Israel's foreign minister from 2002-2003.
Quartet Peacemaking Group Representative Tony Blair
Blair, 57, and the former prime minister of Great Britain, serves as the Middle East envoy representing Russia, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations. He sees a two-state agreement as the key to bringing stability to the region.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
Mr. Abbas, 75, has been a key player since the 1990s in developing Palestinian negotiating strategies with Israel. He had a major role in the 1993 Oslo Accords, where Israel and the Palestine territories agreed to mutual recognition. Abbas has warned that direct talks will cease if Israel does not continue its slowdown on settlement construction.
Jordanian King Abdullah II
King Abdullah II, 48, has followed in his late father's footsteps as a mediator between Israel and the Arab world. He is a strong supporter of moving forward with direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. He advocates the right of the Palestinian people to establish an independent state on what they see as their national soil. More than half of Jordan's six million people are of Palestinian descent.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak
Mr. Mubarak, 82, has maintained ties with Israel carrying on his predecessor's (Anwar Sadat) ground breaking relations with the Jewish nation. As Egypt's longest ruling president, he has been a recognizable leader in the fragile Middle East and has met often with Israeli leaders.