In his work both for Democratic and Republican Administrations Ross was a key policy figure in elaborating American Middle East policy throughout the 1990s.
Prior to his government work in the 1990s, after a time working for the Regan Administration, according to Clayton Swisher's "The Truth About Camp David, Ross co-founded the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)-sponsored Washington Institute for Near East Policy with Martyn Indyk. Currently Ross' affiliation with the Center involves roles as counselor and Ziegler distinguished fellow.
In his work under George H.W. Bush, Ross was actively involve din U.S. policy towards the Soviet Union and German integration into NATO. Thought criticized by partisans of both Israel and the Palestinians in his work under the Clinton administration, especially as American Envoy for the July 2000 Camp David Summit on final status agreement for the Oslo Peace Process, Ross has often been portrayed as a pragmatic but staunch policy intellectual favoring the general American policy consensus in favor of financial and diplomatic support for Israel. According to Aaron David Miller, one of the members of Ross' American led negotiating team in 1999-2000, the Ross led approach to reaching a final status arrangement was that “[w]ith the best of motives and intentions, we listened to and followed Israel's lead without critically examining what that would mean for our own interests, for those on the Arab side and for the overall success of the negotiations. The 'no surprises' policy, under which we had to run everything by Israel first, stripped our policy of the independence and flexibility required for serious peacemaking. If we couldn't put proposals on the table without checking with the Israelis first, and refused to push back when they said no, how effective could our mediation be? Far too often, particularly when it came to Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy, our departure point was not what was needed to reach an agreement acceptable to both sides but what would pass with only one -- Israel." ("Israel’s Lawyer", _The Washington Post_, 23 May 2005).more » « less