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  • Author: Gal Luft
  • Publication Date: 12-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Israeli cabinet's December 4 decision to treat the Palestinian Authority (PA) as a "terror-supporting entity," and the Tanzim militia and PA chairman Yasir Arafat's elite unit Force 17 as terrorist organizations, has seemingly expanded the range of military options for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in its war against terrorism. Unlike the first fourteen months of the current intifada, the IDF has now received a green light from its government to destroy two of the PA's most important military branches, as well as the Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements which have already been singled out as enemies. However, this change in the government's policy does not necessarily ease the life of Israel's military brass. On the contrary, the current strategy continues to impose on the IDF limitations in the use of force and requires the highest degree of dexterity from the IDF's planners and fighters.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: David Ivry
  • Publication Date: 12-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On December 4, 2001, David Ivry, Israeli ambassador to the United States, addressed the Washington Institute's Policy Forum. Ambassador Ivry has been Israel's national security advisor, head of the National Security Council, principal assistant minister of defense for strategic affairs, director-general of the Ministry of Defense, and deputy chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 12-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In the wake of this weekend's heinous Hamas suicide attacks in Israel, President Bush demanded, "Now more than ever, Chairman Arafat and the Palestinian Authority must demonstrate through their actions and not merely their words their commitment to fight terror." Last month the administration designated Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs). Today, the administration led by example, following up on its strong words to Arafat with action of its own. The president characterized Hamas as a group of "global reach" and announced the freezing of financial assets associated with three organizations linked to Hamas as part of the administration's effort targeting terrorist fundraising. With today's order, the president expanded the active war on terrorism beyond Al Qaeda and the Taliban to include groups who target the Middle East peace process.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: David Makovsky, Dennis Ross
  • Publication Date: 11-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Secretary Powell's speech did not introduce any new substantive points into the debate. However, it outlined for the first time the Bush administration's view regarding the situation in the Middle East. It also offered some important symbolic points that could provide Yasir Arafat a means of ending the current impasse. He may indeed consider doing so. The points in the speech that will probably be well received by the Palestinians include the use of the term "occupation." Many Palestinians see occupation as the very essence of the conflict. Combining Powell's mention of occupation with his references to Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, Palestinians may infer that he is calling for a return to the June 1967 borders.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 11-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On Tuesday, November 20, Dr. Robert Satloff, The Washington Institute's executive director, participated in a Policy Forum panel discussion assessing Secretary of State Colin Powell's November 19 address on the Middle East peace process. Following is an edited version of his comments.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Ephraim Sneh
  • Publication Date: 11-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On November 8, 2001, Ephraim Sneh addressed The Washington Institute's Policy Forum. Mr. Sneh is minister of transportation in Israel's national unity government and a member of the Knesset from the Labor party. He has served previously as minister of health under Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and as deputy minister of defense under Prime Minister Ehud Barak. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Dan Meridor
  • Publication Date: 11-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Despite the current tense situation, there has been no change in the fundamentals of the Israel-U.S. relationship. Israel understands the unique character of the relationship and will do what it can to accommodate vital U.S. needs. If post-September 11, the United States needs Israel to maintain a lower profile, so be it. Since that date, the United States has been very helpful in pressing Arafat to desist from terrorist attacks, and Israel appreciates that effort.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Adam Garfinkle, Ehud Yaari, Khaled Abu Toameh
  • Publication Date: 10-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On October 23, 2001, Ehud Ya'ari, Khaled Abu Toameh, and Adam Garfinkle addressed the Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum about their new study, After Arafat? The Future of Palestinian Politics. Ya'ari is the chief Middle East commentator for Israel's Channel 2, associate editor of the Jerusalem Report, and an associate of The Washington Institute. Abu Toameh is a senior writer for the Jerusalem Report and special correspondent for U.S. News and World Report. Garfinkle is editor of the National Interest and rapporteur of the Washington Institute's multi-year Project on Managing Leadership Change in the Middle East. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 10-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The assassination of Israeli cabinet minister Rehavam Ze'evi today outside his hotel room in Jerusalem is unprecedented. With the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) taking responsibility, it marks the first time that an Israeli cabinet minister has been assassinated by a Palestinian since Israel was established. According to Israeli security officials, the assailants fled in the direction of Palestinian Authority (PA)controlled territory, that is, Ramallah. In front of the cameras, PFLP in Gaza immediately took responsibility, declaring that the assassination was in retaliation for Israel's killing on August 27 of PFLP leader Abu Ali Mustafa.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia, Gaza
  • Author: Martin Indyk
  • Publication Date: 10-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On October 1, 2001, Ambassador Martin Indyk, former U.S. ambassador to Israel and assistant secretary of state for Near East Affairs, addressed The Washington Institute's Policy Forum to discuss the impact of the September 11 attacks on ending the year-long Palestinian intifada. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Ehud Yaari
  • Publication Date: 09-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The current Palestinian-Israeli truce — certified by the meeting between Israeli foreign minister Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Yasir Arafat at Rafah Airport, Wednesday — has a greater chance of taking hold than any of the five previous ceasefire agreements announced since the outbreak of the intifada exactly one year ago. The potential of this effort to achieve a relative calm stems not only from the changed international circumstances following the terrorist attacks on America on September 11, but also from a growing sense among Palestinians that the intifada has lost its way and is failing to produce any tangible gains.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 09-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: At the direct and repeated behest of the Bush administration, Israeli foreign minister Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority chairman Yasir Arafat met yesterday at the Gaza Airport — their first meeting since June. Given the extraordinary circumstances of the September 11 attacks and the U.S. desire to fashion an international coalition against terrorism, the meeting is bound to raise hopes that the latest ceasefire will take hold. As previous Israeli-Palestinian ceasefires have collapsed, however, the implications of this meeting cannot be predicted with any certainty. This Friday, September 28, marks the first anniversary of the violence that has engulfed Israelis and Palestinians and scuttled the peace process. Such an occasion presents an opportunity to assess the impact of this violence and to consider the future in light of the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, New York, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 08-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Yesterday's killing of Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) chief Abu 'Ali Mustafa by Israel, and the State Department's condemnation of this act, have refocused attention on Israel's use of "targeted killings" as part of its counter-terror policy. Since the start of the "al-Aqsa intifada," Israeli forces have killed more than three dozen Palestinians allegedly involved in planning or carrying out attacks on Israeli civilians. Nearly all have been from Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and Palestinian Authority (PA)-affiliated groups such as the Fatah Tanzim. Critics of these actions claim they are ineffective, if not counterproductive. What does the record show?
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 08-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In the aftermath of the horrific Hamas suicide bombing of a Jerusalem pizzeria on August 9, President Bush once again called on Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Yasir Arafat to take the necessary steps to end the violence. Inside the PA, however, there is little discussion about a cessation of violence. Instead, the principal topic of discussion in the PA today concerns the prospect that Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and the leading nationalist opposition groups may join a Palestinian "government of national unity," formalizing the already close cooperation between these groups.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Palestine
  • Author: Dennis Ross, Margaret Warner, Jim Hoagland
  • Publication Date: 08-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On August 8, Dennis Ross, Counselor and Distinguished Fellow at The Washington Institute and former Special Middle East Coordinator, answered questions posed by Margaret Warner and Jim Hoagland at a special question and answer session. The following are excerpts from the discussion. The full text is posted on the Institute's homepage.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 08-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The horrific suicide terror bombing today, during lunchtime in the heart of downtown Jerusalem, cannot merely be dismissed as an attack by a deranged fanatic. In the immediate aftermath of the suicide bombing, Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Abdullah Shalah immediately went on the popular Arab satellite television station Al-Jazeera defending the attack and calling for similar blasts to be launched against the United States. (Immediately after providing Shalah with twenty minutes to deliver a soliloquy, the Al-Jazeera anchor called the terrorist incident that killed at least fifteen civilians including six infants, a fedayeen or guerilla operation.)
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Ehud Barak
  • Publication Date: 07-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak addressed The Washington Institute's Policy Forum on July 19, 2001. The following are excerpts from his remarks. "I will . . . make some telegraphic remarks about why I believe we are facing now the kind of violence that we are facing, what could or should be done about it from my point of view, and what is the longer term prospect for what will happen in the Middle East. . . . "Why are we facing this violence? Since Chairman Arafat decided deliberately to turn to violence. . . . He decided [this] when he realized at Camp David exactly a year ago we had a moment of truth where real tough, painful decisions were needed on both sides, not just plain or smooth talk.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Reuven Paz
  • Publication Date: 07-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Reuven Paz, academic director of the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herziliya, Israel, visiting fellow at The Washington Institute in 2000-2001, and author of the forthcoming Institute policy focus, Tangled Web: International Networking of the Islamist Struggle, addressed The Washington Institute's Policy Forum on July 12, 2001. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Nabil Sha'ath
  • Publication Date: 07-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Nabil Sha'ath, the Palestinian Authority's Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, addressed The Washington Institute's Policy Forum on June 21, 2001. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks. The current Palestinian-Israeli tension is creating an explosive situation throughout the region — a situation that seriously threatens regional stability and affects the security, economic, and geopolitical interests of the United States as well as those of every Middle East country. The international community has a real interest in moving Israelis and Palestinians away from the brink and back to the negotiating table. This is where the support of the new U.S. administration is needed. In reaching their objectives of freedom and independence, the Palestinian Authority (PA), Yasser Arafat, and the Palestinian people still see no alternative to a peace process and a negotiated settlement leading to an outcome that is seen as fair, comprehensive, and just, with a viable Palestinian state as the ultimate goal.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Palestine
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 07-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As car bombs inside Israel and the Israeli targeting of Islamic Jihad operatives postpones for another day the start of the seven-day "no incident period" arranged by Secretary of State Colin Powell last week, yesterday's retaliatory attack by Israeli F-16 aircraft against a Syrian radar station in the Bekaa Valley highlights another theme of the Powell visit — the role of third-party monitors in the Arab-Israeli arena. Indeed, Israel's reprisal for Hizballah's missile attacks in the Shebaa Farms area across the international border provides a timely reminder about the limitations of monitoring conducted by peacekeeping forces such as the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon. Moreover, it underscores the key missing ingredients in virtually all Middle East monitoring arrangements: the willingness to engage in open, public, truthful, and non-politicized verification of compliance/non-compliance and the creation of effective enforcement mechanisms.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 06-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As Secretary of State Colin Powell arrives in Tel Aviv today to shore up the shaky Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire, across the river in Jordan, King Abdullah is quietly coping with his own separate but related crisis. On June 14, without any prior warning, Ibrahim Ghawsheh, the Hamas spokesman expelled from the kingdom in 1999 for his political activities, arrived at Queen Alia Airport on a Qatari Airways flight from Doha. Jordanian authorities refused him entry, and Ghawsheh, who is sixty-five-years-old, has since remained in custody at the airport. The Ghawsheh standoff-which comes as King Abdullah prepares to postpone impending elections and modify the electoral law-highlights the kingdom's ongoing difficulties with its Islamists.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 06-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: With Secretary of State Colin Powell's trip to the Middle East this week, following on Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon's visit to Washington, U.S. diplomacy in the Arab-Israeli arena will reach its most intensive level since the advent of the Bush administration. The rationale for this heightened diplomacy is, in the words of President Bush's spokesman, "to help secure efforts to preserve the ceasefire and to build upon it, to build to a greater peace in the Middle East, and try to get all the parties to continue to do their part to secure the Mitchell committee recommendations." Given that there is little ceasefire to "preserve," it is unclear whether — on a larger scale — the Bush administration has fully internalized the profound impact that the post-Camp David intifada has had on the prospects for "building a greater peace."
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East
  • Author: Avraham Burg
  • Publication Date: 06-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Avraham Burg, Speaker of the Israeli Knesset and a leading candidate in the upcoming September 4 primary for Labor Party chairman, addressed The Washington Institute's Policy Forum on June 19, 2001. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks. Despite the violence and terror of the past months, 60 percent of Israelis are still ready to make painful compromises in order to achieve peace-if they see that they have a viable partner. The Israelis have already decided that in order to live in peace they will need to make a compromise with their history. The kind of restrained leadership Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has shown since the formation of this government indicates that the message of painful compromises for real peace is the policy of the State of Israel. Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Yasir Arafat has not yet come to the same point. He is not yet ready to make a compromise with his own Palestinian or Islamic history in order to live respectfully in peace alongside Israel. It will be virtually impossible to restart negotiations without understanding what happened in the negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians. Only knowing what occurred will allow the parties to avoid the mistakes of the past — and there were real mistakes on both sides. Abba Eban once said that the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity, and the Palestinians have lived up to this expectation. They did not understand the greatness of the moment that Camp David presented and therefore approached the talks with a negative, aggressive, and violent energy-which quickly replaced the dynamic of the past six to eight years. To understand what this means, consider how Arafat reacted to Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount last September. Arafat had two options: he could have greeted Sharon, showing his people and the world that the PA would guarantee freedom of access and of worship, and therefore could be counted on to provide all the benefits of peace; or he could exploit the visit in order to ignite the region. Arafat chose the second option.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Robert Satloff, David Brooks
  • Publication Date: 06-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: At Camp David/Taba, the Palestinians left the Israeli bride at the altar, so to speak, by turning down the agreement. Regional actors have responded differently. Some Arab leaders, especially Egyptians, are in denial, arguing that former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak's proposals are still valid and that the peace process is still salvageable. Many Arabs blame the failure of Camp David/Taba on the "arrangements" — technical problems, miscommunication, or poor timing of proposals that caused the talks to fizzle. If only these problems were fixed, they argue, an agreement could be worked out.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Jordan
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 05-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: This morning, the text of the long-awaited Mitchell Commission Report, an account of the past seven months of Israeli-Palestinian violence written by a five-member committee headed by former Senate majority leader George Mitchell, was made publicly available. Conceived as a "committee of fact finding" at the October 17, 2000 Sharm al Shaykh conference, its stated goal was to answer "What happened," "why it happened," and how the "recurrence of violence [could] be prevented."
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Reuven Paz
  • Publication Date: 05-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 21, the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, Shaykh Abd al-Aziz bin Abdallah Aal al-Shaykh, said that Islam forbids suicide terrorist attacks. This has raised a storm of criticism from supporters of the Palestinian intifada against Israel. However, the mufti may have been thinking more about Osama bin Ladin than recent Palestinian actions.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 05-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 30, the Department of State issued its comprehensive annual report Patterns of Global Terrorism, describing incidents and trends in international terrorism in the year 2000. This year's report covers the first three months of accelerated Palestinian-Israeli violence. It is also marks the first time the Bush administration State Department has been compelled to publicly comment on the nature of Lebanese Hizballah attacks against Israel in the post-withdrawal era.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Politics, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Limor Livnat
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: " . . . The political road that brought us to the crossroads we are now at was one replete with navigational errors, steering miscalculations, and poor vision, traveled by fatigue-driven guides driving under the influence of reckless idealism and senseless naïveté . . . On February 6 of this year, the people of Israel made it eminently clear that they know it, and have left the road that led from Oslo to chaos and bloodshed in their homes and on their streets. The best of Israel's political pundits could not have imagined that Ariel Sharon would ever be elected prime minister of Israel, let alone with a plurality unprecedented in democratic nations. But they did not understand the people of Israel, and probably still don't. It was the most potent statement imaginable in favor of a new road and a more promising future."
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries
  • Author: Reuven Paz
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The last two days have witnessed "The International Conference on the Palestinian Intifada" in Tehran. The conference was a major step in Iran's drive to accelerate terrorist attacks on Israel. Delegates to the conference came from thirty-four countries, including Syrian vice president Muhammad Zahir Mosahareqa, Lebanese National Assembly Speaker Nabih Berri, and representatives from many parliaments (e.g., Irish Senator Mick Lanigan). Palestinian participants included Palestinian Authority (PA) minister in charge of Jerusalem affairs Faisal Husseini and Palestinian National Council head Salim Za'noun (Abu Adib), one of the founding generation of Fatah and for many years the main link between Yasir Arafat and Islamic fundamentalist circles.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Tehran, Palestine, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Author: Khalil Shikaki
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Among the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, there are three perspectives as to why violent confrontations began in September: The Camp David II negotiations uncovered underlying differences in Israeli and Palestinian interests that are simply unbridgeable. Recent confrontations are basically the product of these differences. In this scenario, no return to negotiations is going to improve the situation. The current situation reflects domestic political constraints in both societies. Weak leaders, populations that are not prepared for the compromises needed for a final settlement, coalition politics, and questions of legitimacy are working against a solution. In this scenario, a permanent settlement is possible but certainly not easy. The two negotiating teams could have wrapped up the talks if they had had more time; indeed, they came very close to a compromise at Taba in January. According to this scenario, a matter of procedural difficulty — a miscalculation, misperception, or simply a lack of time — probably impeded the finalization of an agreement at Taba, while violence was still flaring in the territories. Most Palestinians are of the second school of thought. They did not believe that a deal was imminent at Camp David II or at Taba. Indeed, the belief that a comprehensive deal is imminent has eroded over time. Yet most Palestinians continue to hope that strong leaders in Israel and among the Palestinians can make essential compromises. Recently, a prominent perception among the Palestinian public was that Israel's weak government initiated the violence after Camp David II because Israel wanted the Palestinians to accept something that they had rejected. This perception, plus the heavy causalities and the collective punishment sustained over the past few months, has helped to radicalize Palestinian society.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza, Arab Countries
  • Author: Gilead Sher
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Yasir Arafat is responsible for the collapse of the peace process and for the extreme violence of the last seven months. In the year and a half of negotiations with the Palestinians under the leadership of former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak, the objective was a permanent peace settlement: Israel would withdraw from a large part of the occupied territories, and, in return, there would be an official end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The intention was to fashion an alternative to occupation, since this situation was not only untenable, but was also a strategic burden to Israel. Arafat, however, would only accept an agreement in which all of his demands were met; failing this, he would and did resort to imposing an arrangement through violent confrontation. Consequently, the peace process collapsed. Arafat was never ready — mentally, personally, or historically, at Camp David or afterwards — to conclude a deal; he is a leader of a national movement and not a statesman.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Liat Radcliffe
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The following report analyzes political fatalities in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that occurred during the government of Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak (July 7, 1999-March 7, 2001). This report is an update to The Washington Institute's Research Note #8: Trends in Israeli-Palestinian Political Fatalities, 1987-1999. Like the research note, its primary source for data is the Israeli human rights group Btselem, although other sources (including various media sources) were also used. Consistent with the previous study, no deaths that resulted from inter-Israeli or inter-Palestinian violence are included in this report; for example, the deaths of Israeli Arabs, Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, and accused Palestinian collaborators with Israel are excluded. A main conclusion from the data is that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict increasingly involves official security services, as distinct from civilians.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Government
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Reuven Paz
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: During the recent intifada, certain Palestinian security forces have been intensively involved in violent attacks on Israeli military and civilian targets. Most prominently involved have been the personal security guards of Yasir Arafat, popularly known as Force-17 and officially called Amn al-Ri'asah(Presidential Security). On March 30, Israeli forces bombarded from the air two of the headquarters of this force in Ramallah and Gaza, in the first serious Israeli retaliation under the new Sharon government. Then in early April, Israeli forces arrested several members of this force inside Area A, the area that is under full control of the Palestinian Authority (PA).
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: David Schenker, Robert Satloff, Rachel Stroumsa
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Last week, President George W. Bush pointedly called upon Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat to "stop the violence" and Assistant Secretary of State Edward Walker testified that Arafat has "made no statements that would indicate that he is opposed to violence or that he even wants to see it stop." Yesterday, however, the State Department issued its semi-annual PLOCCA (PLO Commitments Compliance Act) report that appears to contradict these sentiments by specifically refraining from assigning the PLO, the Palestinian Authority (PA), or any senior Palestinian officials any responsibility for any violence or terrorism that occurred during the first seventy-five days of the al-Aqsa Intifada.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Palestine
  • Author: Rovert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In the Middle East, this week witnessed a series of events occurring at such breakneck speed that it is important not to lose the significance of each: On Thursday, President Bush issued an unprecedented statement calling on Chairman Yasir Arafat to "stop the violence," a statement that could lay down a marker by which the administration judges the efforts of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and which could determine the direction of the U.S.–Palestinian relationship under the new administration. On Wednesday, Israel's national unity government launched retaliatory attacks against Arafat's personal guard, Force 17, underscoring Israel's intent to hold the chairman personally responsible for the terrorism emanating from within his close circle. On Monday and Tuesday, bombs went off inside the heart of Israel — responsibility for which was claimed by the Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad, suggesting that Tehran is eager to tap pro-Hizballah sympathy and compete with the Tanzim and other Fatah elements for the pacesetter's role in the Palestinian uprising. Also on Tuesday, the PA chose an all-or-nothing option at the United Nations, demanding a Security Council vote on a resolution that the United States had no trouble vetoing — one calling for an international protection force for Palestinians — rather than pursuing diplomacy to bring to a vote a watered-down, but still problematic, resolution on which Washington was prepared to compromise. And on Sunday, Israel's Likud-led government issued a communique affirming its intent to seek the full implementation of signed agreements with the Palestinians, specifically citing its willingness to fulfill the requirement for a third "further redeployment" — territorial withdrawal in the West Bank — in the context of full compliance with the Wye River Memorandum. Each of these items alone has significant ramifications for the direction of Arab–Israeli relations, the Palestinian uprising, and U.S. policy toward the peace process. Taken together, they suggest a situation in great flux with emerging trends that are both ominous (e.g., Iran's deepening role) and positive (e.g., Bush's forthrightness on violence, Israel's balance of diplomacy and force).
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, International Organization
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Tehran, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Reuven Paz
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As Arab leaders gather in Amman for the first regular Arab summit in a decade, non-Arab Iran is keenly watching to see whether Arab heads-of-state once again make grandiose promises to support the Palestinians. If Arab leaders fail to deliver on these promises, as has been the case with Arab financial commitments to the Palestinians, it would open the door for Tehran to build on Hizballah's success in Lebanon and to deepen its already worrisome role in the Israeli–Palestinian arena.
  • Topic: International Relations, Ethnic Conflict, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel, Tehran, Palestine, Arabia, Jerusalem, Lebanon, Beirut
  • Author: Dennis Ross, Jacqueline Kaufman
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Over the past twelve years a revolution has taken place in the landscape of peacemaking in the Middle East. Twelve years ago, direct negotiations were non-existent and there was no peace process. While negotiations themselves do not ensure an agreement, their total absence ensures that there can be no resolution. The United States has borne the burden of trying to create dialogue.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The U.S. Department of State will shortly issue its semi-annual Palestine Liberation Organization Commitments Compliance Act (PLOCCA) report. This report, now several weeks overdue, details PLO and Palestinian Authority (PA) compliance with their "peace process" commitments. And in April, the State Department will release its annual report about global terrorism. The release of these reports comes just weeks after Israeli chief of staff Shaul Mofaz described the PA as a "terrorist entity." The content of these reports will be the subject of close scrutiny. How the United States characterizes the PA with regard to terrorist activities is an important signal — both of how the Bush administration will contribute to the lowering of violence as the first step to the resumption of Israeli–Palestinian negotiations, and of what the direction of U.S.–Palestinian relations will be during the George W. Bush/Ariel Sharon era.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The formation of a national unity government in Israel today, by a vote 72 to 21, is a triumph for Ariel Sharon. First, he seized the initiative. After his landslide victory a few weeks ago, Sharon did not engage in classic Israeli bargaining tactics in dealing with his Labor Party rivals, but rather caught the defeated and divided party off balance by immediately offering them top cabinet positions in the desire to cement a unity government. Sharon was not intoxicated by the breadth of his victory, but rather followed through on his campaign commitment. Sharon realizes that it is also good politics. According to Gallup's poll taken last week, the Israeli public favors the establishment of such a government by an overwhelming 79 to 14 margin.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: While the main purpose of Secretary of State Colin Powell's first foray into the Middle East was to discuss Iraq, he also visited Israel and the Palestinian Authority and injected a dose of what some would call "evenhandedness" — giving each both something to be pleased about and something to be unnerved about.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Five months after the outbreak of the Palestinian uprising, the U.S. government yesterday issued its first systematic assessment of the intifada-related actions of Israelis and Palestinians in the form of the State Department's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for the year 2000. A close reading of the twenty-four page chapter on "the Occupied Territories (including areas subject to the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority)" reveals numerous condemnations of the actions of Israeli and Palestinian security forces, in almost identical language, with the latter also criticized for its abuses against fellow Palestinians. However, the report also displays a disturbing trend toward selective and distorted reporting on key issues, with the effect of minimizing egregious Palestinian behavior and enhancing the image of Israeli culpability.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Ethnic Conflict, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As Ariel Sharon prepares to take power following his landslide victory, significant changes are also underway in the Palestinian Authority (PA). In anticipation of Sharon's victory, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and leading PA personalities have been preparing a new political agenda to deal with the apparent end of "final status" negotiations and the new Israeli leadership. The most provocative event in recent days has been the issuance of a document — penned by a senior PLO official and longtime associate of PA Ra'is (Chairman) Yasir Arafat — which raises the specter that mainstream Palestinian politics are publicly reverting to the radicalism of pre-Oslo days.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Israeli people spoke in the most dramatic and convincing fashion. Viewed in the U.S. context, Ariel Sharon won a larger share of the vote — 62.5 percent — than any presidential candidate in history. Essentially, Israel voted to express one word: "enough!" — enough violence, enough concessions, enough perception of weakness. They were particularly voting against Barak, both personally and against the policies that characterized his government (dating not only to Camp David but as far back as the earliest days of his cabinet). Certainly, much of yesterday's vote was against Barak more than it was a vote for Sharon; just as Barak's 1999 landslide was less a vote for him than it was a vote against Bibi Netanyahu; just as Netanyahu's 1996 squeaker was less a vote for him than it was a vote against Shimon Peres. Now it's Sharon's turn.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Foreign Policy, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The deadline has now passed for Ehud Barak to step aside in favor of rival Shimon Peres in Israel's prime ministerial face-off next Tuesday, February 6, against Likud leader MK Ariel Sharon. Analysts have already written off this election for Barak, as Sharon's lead in the polls has barely budged from a 16 to 20 point margin over the last two months. Given that Barak won a landslide victory by a 12.1 percent margin less than two years ago, the scope of his probable defeat is striking — perhaps the most lopsided electoral debacle since Menachem Begin's Herut lost to the Labor forerunner Mapai in 1959 by a margin of 24.7 percent. Barak's electoral free-fall is especially remarkable given that his opponent is someone long regarded as unelectable, due to his advanced age, right-wing political views, checkered past, and evident discomfort with the new media age. Nevertheless, Barak has pressed on, insisting that the real campaign has only just begun. His decision to stay in the race has heightened speculation that he may plan on joining a Sharon-led "national unity government," despite carefully worded protestations to the contrary.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Dore Gold
  • Publication Date: 01-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: February marks ten years since the end of the Gulf War. The situation in the Middle East today is vastly more dangerous than in 1991. The favorable regional conditions in 1991 that allowed the current peace process to begin have been reversed. Three key trends are the following: After Iraq's defeat in the Gulf War, it was placed under UN monitoring and extensive sanctions, thereby removing a major threat from Israel's calculus. Today, the situation is drastically different, with the absence of UN inspections for more than two years and the deterioration of sanctions against Iraq. In 1991, Iran was still recovering from its exhaustive war with Iraq and could not fully participate in regional, specifically Arab–Israeli, affairs. By contrast, Iran is currently testing intermediate-range missiles and is expressing its strategic weight in places like Lebanon, where it has increased its support to Hizballah. In 1991, the USSR was crumbling before its eventual collapse and was no longer in a position to offer strategic and military support to the enemies of Israel, while its successor — the Russian Federation — has more or less acquiesced to U.S. positions on the Middle East. Since 1996, however, Russia has taken a contrary approach to many U.S. policies and leadership in the region, in particular with regard to Iraqi sanctions and weapons inspections and the transfer of missile technology to Iran.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Foreign Policy, Peace Studies, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Iraq, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Lebanon
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 01-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Meetings this week between Israeli and Palestinian security and political personnel notwithstanding, time has virtually run out for any Israeli–Palestinian peace deal. It is important to note that the issue is not just one of time, even though President Clinton leaves office next Saturday. Top Clinton Administration officials have made clear that the Palestinians have engaged in "delays" since the December 23 ideas were tabled. Seeking to avoid the international disapproval that mushroomed in the wake of last summer's failed Camp David summit, Yasir Arafat came to Washington with an apparent "yes, but" view of the proposals. However, this approach seems clearly to be little more than a public-relations tactic.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Migration, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 01-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: While the White House has made no comment on the substance of President Bill Clinton's proposal for Israeli-Palestinian peace, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz and the Palestinian Jerusalem Media and Communication Center (JMCC) have published what they say are respectively the Israeli and Palestinian minutes of the president's December 23 oral presentation. What is striking is that the two accounts agree on every substantive point. These accounts provide a sound basis for knowing what in fact Clinton proposed.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Jerusalem
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 01-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: With President Clinton due to meet Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat today for a last-ditch diplomatic effort, attention is focused mainly on two aspects of the U.S. bridging proposals: the division of Jerusalem and the future status of Palestinian refugees. In contrast, little attention has so far been devoted to the security aspects of the U.S. proposals. While less emotive, security issues need to be central to U.S. concerns about the viability of any "final status" accord and its impact on U.S. interests and allies. It is difficult, however, to assess this aspect of the proposals because so many key security issues were evidently not raised by the President in his pre-Christmas oral presentation to the two sides. They may have been the subject of previous or subsequent discussions among the parties, but they were not on the President's core agenda.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Foreign Policy, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Palestine
  • Author: Yossi Baidatz, Rachel Stroumsa
  • Publication Date: 12-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: While international attention has been focused on the shift from diplomacy to violence in the Israeli–Palestinian arena, the "comeback" of Lebanon's Hizballah organization as an instigator of conflict has been, to some observers, a surprise. Following Israel's withdrawal from the "security zone" in May 2000, it was widely held that Hizballah would rest on its laurels and focus on its political/social agenda inside Lebanon. Instead, as recent events show, Hizballah has chosen to persist in its military strategy against Israel. Indeed, in contrast to the low-intensity conflict on the Palestinian front, Hizballah's actions have the potential to trigger a full-scale, inter-state war.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Lebanon
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 12-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak's surprise resignation Saturday night has plunged the country's already battered political system into further turmoil, and so far, his gambit seems to have failed. Barak's move was clearly designed, at least in part, to utilize a provision in Israeli law that would sideline his once and would-be opponent Benjamin Netanyahu from running in a special election for prime minister on February 6. Moreover, Barak hoped that by avoiding a general election, he could avert the reconfiguration of the Knesset since polls show that if elections were held today, it would become a more rightward-leaning body.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Dan Schueftan
  • Publication Date: 12-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Recently, public opinion in both Israel and the Palestinian territories has shifted in ways that argue for separation or disengagement. Israelis no longer accept the notion that negotiations will eventually lead to peace, but they are far more willing to make concessions to the Palestinians. Palestinians no longer expect a final agreement with Israel, and have instead shifted toward the Lebanon model of using violence to force an Israeli retreat — a trend with tragic implications for the future of Palestinian society.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 11-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak's decision yesterday to preempt his opponents and announce his willingness to hold early elections must be seen in the context of his interest in reviving the peace process. The vote for early balloting was driven by both animus toward the failed Camp David summit and by the Barak government's handling of the subsequent Al-Aqsa Intifada.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Robert Satloff, Rachel Stroumsa
  • Publication Date: 11-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In recent weeks, Arab parties from the Palestinian Authority (PA) to the Arab League summit have called for the dispatch of a United Nations force to the West Bank and Gaza in order to protect Palestinian civilians from Israeli military force. Rather than reject this idea because of its contribution to the internationalization of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, the U.S. view has been to cite its impracticality, given Israeli opposition. Remarkably, the Israeli government itself seems to be hinting that it may be willing to consider the proposal, especially in the event of a reduction in violence. This is evidenced by recent talks between Israeli and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) representatives to the United Nations, reportedly hosted by their Egyptian colleague.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Gaza, Egypt
  • Author: Ephraim Sneh
  • Publication Date: 11-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Recently, four factors have combined to make the situation in the Middle East far more combustible than it is has been for a long time. These elements are: Iraq has managed to break out of the boundaries imposed by the UN sanctions regime and to evade weapons inspections. Saddam Husayn is now stronger than ever and ready to play a role in the region. He has signaled this intention by his deployment of troops on the western borders of Iraq just before the Arab summit in Egypt. Although he has since pulled them back, this maneuver was intended to send the message that Saddam Husayn is a force to be reckoned with from now on. Iran has enhanced its efforts to use a consortium of terrorist groups against the remnants of the peace process. Intelligence information shows that Iran has deployed long-range Katyusha missiles in Lebanon and that it is encouraging Hizballah activities against Israel. Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has disappointed most analysts, who hoped that he would focus on addressing Syria's economy and other domestic concerns. Instead, his speeches both at the Arab summit in Egypt and at the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Qatar have been extremely bellicose. In addition, it is clear that the recent kidnappings by Hizballah and a Palestinian group's attempt to infiltrate Israel through Lebanon could not have taken place without at the least a green light from Damascus, even if Bashar himself did not authorize them specifically. Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Yasir Arafat has evidently changed course from negotiation to confrontation. So far, the Palestinian cause has proven to be uniting force in the Arab world; under certain circumstances, it might also serve as a good pretext for resumption of full-scale hostilities.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Syria, Egypt
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 11-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Since the beginning of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, accusations that Israel has used "excessive force" in dealing with Palestinians have led to calls for Israel to employ "non-lethal" weapons as a way to reduce Palestinian casualties and stem the cycle of violence between the two sides. In fact, however, Israel is already using the rather limited range of traditional "less lethal" (LL) and "non-lethal" (NL) weapons that are used by most modern armies. More exotic, nontraditional concepts that have been under development in the past few years are either not yet ready for fielding (as in the case of so-called "acoustic weapons"), or have potential drawbacks which vitiate their potential operational utility (as with "sticky foam").
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Ehud Yaari
  • Publication Date: 11-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The events of the past five weeks are not a repeat of the Palestinian Intifada of 1987-90, a spontaneous uprising that caught both Chairman Yasir Arafat and Israel equally by surprise. Rather, the current uprising is a confrontation imposed by Arafat on the Palestinian street. Three major elements of the original Intifada are missing in the current situation: 1) The countryside, a backbone of the original Intifada, has so far opted out of the current struggle; 2) the population of east Jerusalem has distanced itself, to the extent that the Tanzim has had to send people from Ramallah and the refugee camps into Jerusalem in order to engineer confrontations. Seen from this angle, the shooting of Israeli guards at the National Insurance Institute in east Jerusalem is a signal to Jerusalem Arabs that Arafat will not permit them to remain on the sidelines; 3) the lower middle classes, a prominent player during the original Intifada, are absent. While thousands may participate in funeral processions, very few (including very few students) join in confrontations with Israeli soldiers at the major flashpoints; the size of these confrontations rarely exceeds a few hundred.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Jerusalem
  • Author: Liat Radcliffe
  • Publication Date: 11-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: "The Arab leaders affirm that just, comprehensive peace will not be achieved except with . . . the restoration of all the occupied Arab territories, including full Israeli withdrawal from . . . southern Lebanon to the internationally recognized borders, including Shebaa farms, the release of Arab prisoners in Israeli prisons in implementation of the relevant UN resolutions. . . ."
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Lebanon
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 11-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The truce reached today should be interpreted very cautiously, given both today's terror bombing in Jerusalem, which killed two Israeli civilians, and the two previous failed ceasefires recently brokered by the United States in Paris and Sharm el-Sheikh, respectively. Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Yasir Arafat was due to announce the truce but instead opted to have other PA officials announce it on Palestinian television and radio. Moreover, Hamas quickly declared that it is not bound by the terms of the ceasefire. Prime Minister Ehud Barak's office nevertheless announced that the ceasefire is in effect.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Paris, Arabia, Jerusalem
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 10-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On Friday, October 27, 2000, Washington Institute Executive Director Dr. Robert Satloff delivered a presentation on the current Middle East situation to a Special Policy Forum luncheon briefing. Following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy, Politics
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 10-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Yesterday, the text of a draft communiqué for the impending Arab summit, principally drafted by host Egypt, was leaked to the Beirut press. In an interview about this document, Egyptian foreign minister Amre Moussa indicated that this draft was accurate but preliminary. If this version emerges from the summit relatively unchanged, it would represent a stunning regression in Arab-Israeli relations and a major setback for the prospects of Middle East diplomacy.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 10-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On October 13, 2000, David Makovsky, senior fellow at The Washington Institute and former editor of the Jerusalem Post, spoke at The Washington Institute's Policy Forum. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks. The Grand Deal on peace is buried for now. Too many factors have conspired against attaining a Grand Deal in the near future, foremost of which include lack of trust, parliamentary arithmetic, and the undermining of the premises of Camp David.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 10-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: President Clinton announced bare-bones understandings today on Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire-plus-disengagement. The test of success of this understanding will be in the swift and full implementation of its objectives on the ground, with today's shooting at a Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem boding ill for the success of this process. Even if fully implemented, however, this understanding is unlikely to lead to a renewal of "permanent status negotiations" where the parties left off their post-Camp David diplomacy three weeks ago.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Jerusalem, Arab Countries
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 10-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The last two weeks have been symptomatic of the different sort of Middle East the United States will be facing in the early years of the new decade. Whereas the dominant context of the 1990s was peacemaking punctuated by intermittent bouts of violence and conflict, the new decade will be marked by violence and conflict punctuated by intermittent bouts of diplomacy.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Yossi Baidatz
  • Publication Date: 10-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The capture of three IDF soldiers from the Israeli-Lebanese border last Saturday not only raises the danger of a third front for Israel—in addition to the upheaval in the Palestinian territories and the tensions with Israel Arabs inside sovereign Israel—but it offers the United States the first opportunity to test the intentions and capabilities of Syria's new yet inexperienced president, Bashar al-Asad.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 10-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As violence continues to flare in parts of Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, attention is increasingly focused on the Palestinian group responsible for much of the rioting and confrontation—the Fatah Tanzim. Just yesterday, the leader of the Tanzim, Marwan Barghouthi, ridiculed the ceasefire reached in Paris as useless. That the agreement was so short-lived highlights the growing importance of this quasi-civilian strike force.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Gaza, Arab Countries
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 10-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The fact that U.S. and Israeli officials—not Yasir Arafat—announced that the Palestinian leader had ordered a halt to violence in the West Bank and Gaza highlights the failure of the U.S.-led summit meeting in Paris. This underscores the prospect that the al-Aqsa Intifada—as Palestinians have termed the week-long spasm of violence and rioting—is a turning point, not a transitory blip, in the seven-year-old Oslo peace process. To the Clinton Administration, engrossed in the peace process since 1993, this came as a painful setback. Chances are high, however, that the President will wade into Arab-Israeli diplomacy at least once again before leaving office-either for one last push toward agreement or to ward off the accusation that he focused on peace when opportunity beckoned but left a mess to his successor. Much will depend on whether violence actually abates soon, as promised; on Arafat's success in internationalizing the conflict, as his current UN gambit for an international inquiry suggests; on the political fortunes of Israel's Ehud Barak and the potential for a national unity government; and on the outcome of the November election (i.e., will the passing of the baton next January be characterized, by and large, by continuity in policy and personnel [a Gore victory] or reassessments and staffing up lag-time [a Bush victory]?
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 10-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Uneven press coverage and shocking television footage have skewed analysis of the ongoing "Battle for Jerusalem"—the week-old explosion of violence that has swept from the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, to the West Bank, Gaza and Arab population centers in Israel. Seen in political and historical context, current events actually highlight a relatively low level of casualties, a general policy of restraint by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), and a confluence of interests among all elements of the Palestinian political spectrum—from the Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership to the street-level Fatah tanzim to the opposition Hamas—favoring violence against Israel.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Jerusalem, Gaza, Arab Countries
  • Author: Reuven Paz
  • Publication Date: 10-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The riots and violent demonstrations of Israeli Arab citizens in the last few days have been the most violent in 18 years and can be compared only to the violent protests that occurred in response to the massacres in the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatilah by Christian Phalanges in September 1982. Israeli Arabs did not give vent to such violence and rage even during the Palestinian Uprising (Intifadah) in the Territories. Although most of the Israeli Arab citizens have not taken part in the current violence, it seems from their reactions that most of them—especially the Muslim population—identify with the expressions of rage (Christian, Northern Bedouin, and Druze villages took no part in the latest incidents).
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 09-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: With talks completed between senior Israeli and Palestinian negotiators at a northern Virginia hotel, following Monday evening's tête-à-tête between Ehud Barak and Yasir Arafat, this week has marked the beginning of the Clinton administration's last big push to achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace. As the countdown to January 20, 2001 proceeds, the administration faces a difficult set of options to achieve its long-sought breakthrough on the peace process.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Shimon Peres
  • Publication Date: 09-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Jews are not only the Chosen People but also a people with a choice. The Israeli choices in this peace process have not always been pleasant, but the choice, particularly that to begin negotiating with the Palestinians, was basically a moral one. Israelis felt deep in their hearts that it was wrong for the Jewish people to remain dominators of another people. Although there are some advantages gained by holding the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Israel could not remain a Jewish state and be a dominating country at the same time.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Shimon Peres
  • Publication Date: 09-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The wishes of the Palestinian and Israeli peoples and the situation in which they find themselves mandate a resolution to the conflict. The fact that all three parties—Americans, Palestinians and Israelis—are motivated to reach a deal quickly makes this goal more readily attainable. However, in spite of the wish to reach an agreement before the American elections, this need is not absolute, for two reasons. Firstly, the peace process is not a partisan issue in the U.S. It is not a real catastrophe if an agreement doesn't take place in the next six weeks because negotiations are going to continue with whoever is elected, Gore or Bush. Secondly, "lame duck" presidents have managed in the past to accomplish great things in the Middle East.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Martin Kramer
  • Publication Date: 09-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The political status of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is the subject of final status negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. According to press reports, at one moment in the Camp David negotiations last July, senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat asked his Israeli counterpart: "How do you know that your Holy Temple was located there?" A Jerusalem Report cover story (September 11) placed this in the context of a growing Palestinian denial of the existence of the First and Second Temples. "It's self-evident that the First Temple is a fiction," one Palestinian archaeologist at Bir Zeit University is quoted as saying. "The Second also remains in the realm of fantasy."
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 09-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Last Sunday, the world breathed a sigh of relief as the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Central Council voted to postpone a declaration of statehood until at least November 15, 2000. Less noticed, however, has been the internal battle over what is perhaps the second most important political issue on the Palestinian political agenda—the drafting of the Palestinian Constitution. Within the Palestinian Authority (PA) today, the constitution is the focus of an increasingly bitter debate pitting PLO "outsiders" against West Bank/Gaza "insiders." The outcome of this contest will determine not only the future of the PLO as a revolutionary movement and political institution but it may also have far-reaching implications for any future Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Kenneth W. Stein
  • Publication Date: 09-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: President Clinton will again meet his two Camp David partners—though not yet in scheduled three-way talks during this week's Millennium Summit, six weeks after the conclusion of their inconclusive Camp David negotiations. In the August interval, each side sent leaders and diplomats jetting about Europe, Asia, and the Middle East offering their spin on what was offered at the summit, what went wrong, and what needed to be done next. In stark contrast to the effective news black-out that governed Camp David, world leaders have, over the past month, been pitched one, two, or even three sets of briefings about each side's views and where the negotiations should go from here.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Asia, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 07-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Domestic political considerations will be an important factor in Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak's moves at Camp David. Although he would like to have one for a myriad of reasons, politically Barak does not need a deal. To the contrary, failure to reach an agreement could even bring his "big tent" coalition back from dead. Barak had hoped to have a broad government that included the religious parties behind him, having learned from the Yitzhak Rabin era that it was a mistake to have a narrow government relying on its Arab members to squeeze through Knesset confidence votes. But having lost the Jewish majority before his departure, the prime minister's critics will insist that the results of the Camp David summit are illegitimate. Undoubtedly, Barak will reject such assertions, pointing to his promise to hold a national referendum.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 09-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: A decision whether to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks at a reconvened Camp David Summit may be made next Wednesday, but as it stands now, the prospects seem very uncertain. President Bill Clinton is scheduled to hold separate meetings with Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority chairman Yasir Arafat during the United Nations special Millennium Summit. Mindful of an array of ticking clocks, Washington would like to reconvene Camp David for a short and final session sometime during the second half of September. Yet, given the failure of the last summit in July, a generally recognized precondition for a revival of summitry is the prior resolution of almost all outstanding issues between the parties, in order to virtually guarantee the success of renewed negotiations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 08-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In the aftermath of Camp David II and with the start of the Knesset summer recess yesterday, there appears to be a 40-90 day "window" for Israelis and the Palestinians to determine whether a diplomatic breakthrough is still possible or whether the parties will move in alternative directions.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Elyakim Rubinstein
  • Publication Date: 07-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Although the failure of the Camp David II summit to reach a final status agreement between Israel and the Palestinians is certainly sad, it is important to emphasize that this two-week meeting was not a waste of time. For the first time, Israelis and Palestinians sat together in an official setting and thoroughly discussed previously deferred matters like Jerusalem and the refugees. Although unsuccessful in reaching a full resolution, a "basic and very deep clarification of the positions" was achieved at Camp David. A partial agreement was not the preferred alternative of either the Israelis or the Palestinians.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Shlomo Slonim, Geoffrey Watson
  • Publication Date: 06-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Since 1967, U.S. administrations have varied their policy regarding the status of East Jerusalem. Under the Johnson and Reagan administrations, East Jerusalem was not considered occupied territory, and, consequently, Israeli control of the city in its entirety was implicitly accepted. Johnson emphasized that the international interest lay only with the holy sites of Jerusalem, and Reagan indicated that Jerusalem as a whole should remain under exclusive Israeli administration. In contrast, the Nixon and Bush administrations viewed East Jerusalem as occupied territory, therefore implicitly calling for a reorganization, if not redivision, of the city. The Nixon administration was the first to declare East Jerusalem "occupied" under the provisions of the 1949 Geneva Convention, and Bush went so far as to declare Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem as contrary to international law. The Carter and Clinton administrations were both ambiguous about the status of East Jerusalem.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Nicole Brackman
  • Publication Date: 07-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Among the issues being discussed at Camp David between Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak, Palestinian Authority chairman Yasir Arafat, and President Clinton is one matter that directly affects several other states in the region not represented at the talks, namely, the situation of the Palestinian refugees, especially those in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Syria, Jordan
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 07-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: There have been at least seven agreements between Israel and the Palestinians in the past seven years. Negotiations with intermittent spurts of violence have been a way of life. Any new agreement will not be about an end to the conflict: The original 1993 agreement specified such an end, with all further disputes to be settled by negotiations alone. What Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak is looking for is an agreement that will put an end to all further claims.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 06-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: U.S. secretary of state Madeleine Albright completed her round of talks with both Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) today, failing to announce the immediate convening of a U.S. summit. At the end of her discussions, she said she would report to U.S. president Bill Clinton on Thursday, and that he would only then determine whether and when such a summit will take place. But Palestinian officials say the likely format will be further Israeli-Palestinian talks with an aim toward convening a summit at a later date.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Reuven Paz
  • Publication Date: 06-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Israeli-Palestinian dispute is no longer the main issue on the Islamist agenda. The fall of the Soviet Union in 1990 and the development of national and Muslim-Christian disputes in various parts of Europe and central Asia assisted in the globalization of the Islamist struggle. In addition to the continuing troubles in Afghanistan and Kashmir, the 1990s have seen warfare in Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya, and parts of Indonesia (most prominently East Timor). All this brought about a transfer of the main Islamist struggle from the Arab world to the margins of the Middle East. Afghanistan has become the meeting point between the Arab Islamists and their Asian colleagues in the developing globalization of the Islamic radical struggle.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Europe, Indonesia, Middle East, Arabia, Kosovo
  • Author: Reuven Paz
  • Publication Date: 06-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The sudden death of Syrian president Hafiz al-Asad on June 10 added confusion and uncertainty to the relations among Syria, Israel, and Lebanon—relations that were already in flux after Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon. One unexpected result may be increased politicization of the Israeli Arabs in northern Israel.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: David Schenker, Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 06-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Palestinian Authority (PA) president Yasir Arafat meets President Bill Clinton today strengthened by the death of Syria's Hafiz al-Asad, whose funeral Arafat attended Tuesday. An Arafat buoyed and more confident by the death of his longtime nemesis adds a new wrinkle to an already complex game of brinkmanship that constitutes the Israeli-Palestinian dual-track negotiations on interim issues and permanent status.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Author: Reuven Paz
  • Publication Date: 05-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Israel's quick withdrawal from Lebanon and the collapse of the South Lebanon Army (SLA) is certain to be studied by Hamas, the main Palestinian Islamist organization. To understand what lessons Hamas may draw, it is useful to look at two recent developments: discussion inside Hamas about "Lebanonizing" the Palestinian territories and the early May arrest of Hamas military commander Muhammad Deif by the Palestinian Authority (PA).
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Arab Countries
  • Author: Nicole Brackman
  • Publication Date: 03-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: While Hizballah still mulls over its options in the wake of Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon–terrorism, political activism, or both–there remains in Lebanon one other sizable community that could be the source of renewed tension and violence: the 350,000 Palestinian refugees. This group has a long and tortured history in Lebanon, but the development of the Oslo process (which most refugees in Lebanon perceive as an illegitimate betrayal of their cause), along with both the loss of Syrian-Lebanese leverage over Israel following unilateral withdrawal and the increasing desperation of the refugees, has fostered those ideological movements inside the refugee camps that may turn violent in order to bring attention to the refugees' humanitarian plight.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Arabia, Arab Countries, Lebanon
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 05-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As violence rocked the West Bank and Gaza, Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak was scoring a significant parliamentary victory Monday. By a 56-48 margin, the Knesset approved transfer of three Palestinian villages on the outskirts of Jerusalem, including Abu Dis, from partial to full control by the Palestinian Authority (PA). An endorsement of Barak's peace process approach, the vote also stemmed a growing perception that the prime minister is hopelessly captive to the escalating, conflicting demands of recalcitrant coalition partners.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Jerusalem, Gaza, Arab Countries
  • Author: Reuven Paz
  • Publication Date: 05-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The May 15 clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinian civilians and policemen on the occasion of the Nakbah ("catastrophe"), a Palestinian memorial day protesting the establishment of Israel, were the most violent since the September 1996 opening of the tunnel entrance in Jerusalem's Old City. Five Palestinians were killed and over 300 were wounded in. this week's clashes, along with over ten Israeli soldiers wounded in the fighting.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Yoram Hazony, Israel Bartal
  • Publication Date: 05-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Abandonment of the Zionism of Ben Gurion and Herzl by Mainstream Zionist Intellectuals. The movement away from the concept of Israel as a Jewish state is spreading across the ideological spectrum and at times has had an effect on Israeli policy. Examples include: In 1994 a new code of ethics was adopted for the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) which in its explanation of the purposes for which the IDF fights excluded all references to the Jewish state, the Jewish people, and the land of Israel. The Law of Return, the law that Ben Gurion said gives a "bill of rights" to all Jews in the world, has been recently under fire. It has been termed one of the main racialist aspects of the Jewish state that must be repealed if Israel is to ever have peace with its Arab citizens. Preeminent Zionist thinker and Hebrew University professor Eliezer Schweid is promoting the adoption of a universalistic Zionism applicable to Jews and non-Jews alike in Israel. He suggests adding a symbol to the Israeli flag that would represent the participation of the Arab minority (it is difficult to imagine a symbol other than the half-crescent moon that would serve this purpose) and changing the national anthem to reflect a more universalist interpretation of Zionism.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 03-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As Palestinian and Israeli negotiators settle into a negotiating routine in Eilat this week, the peace process quietly marks an anniversary of sorts—one year ago the Oslo-Wye diplomacy faced the threat of a unilateral Palestinian declaration of independence. That step was temporarily averted when Palestinian Authority (PA) ra'is Arafat postponed his May 4 declaration until after the Israeli election that month and then, following the signing of the Sharm el-Sheikh accord with the new government of Ehud Barak, until September 13, 2000. Today, May 4 is no longer a critical date on the calendar of Palestinian national aspirations. Yet, it does remain an important milestone for those committed to developing a more representative, democratic, and accountable PA. And more so than is commonly recognized, that process in turn is likely to have a significant impact on the prospects for an eventual Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 04-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: With Israeli-Palestinian peace talks getting underway in Eilat this weekend, the Middle East seems to be switching peace tracks yet again. After President Bill Clinton held separate White House meetings with Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Yasir Arafat earlier this month, State Department spokesman James Rubin said, "In our judgment, the next six to eight weeks could well be a decisive phase in the pursuit of peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis. . . . That phase obviously is now including a more intensive American involvement." This shift—after several months of focusing on Syria talks—does not necessarily mean that the Syrian track can be considered dead and buried (and indeed Arab leaders such as Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah are said to be quietly seeking to revive that track). Yet, operationally, it means that the United States and Israel will no longer wait for Syria as they revive the Palestinian track and plan for Israel's pullback from Lebanon in July.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Arab Countries, Saudi Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Frederic C. Hof
  • Publication Date: 04-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 16, Israel officially notified the United Nations (UN) that southern Lebanon would be evacuated in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 425, adding further weight to the March 5, 2000, announcement by the Israeli cabinet that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) would "redeploy on the border with Lebanon by July 2000." Twenty-two years after the passage of UNSCR 425, Israel has decided to leave Lebanon unconditionally.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Japan, Middle East, Arabia, Arab Countries, Lebanon
  • Author: Reuven Paz
  • Publication Date: 04-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Hamas (the Islamic Resistance Movement) has recently published a denial of the Jewish Holocaust on its official website. Although Hamas often uses anti-Jewish phrases, this was the first time the organization has officially denied the Holocaust.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Arabia, Arab Countries
  • Author: Patrick Clawson, Fredric Hof
  • Publication Date: 04-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Press reporting out of the Middle East in the wake of the failed Geneva summit between Presidents Bill Clinton and Hafiz al-Asad suggests that the territorial dispute between Damascus and Jerusalem has widened and that issues pertaining to the ownership of the Sea of Galilee (also known as the Kinneret and as Lake Tiberias) have come to the fore.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Geneva, Middle East, Arabia, Jerusalem, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 04-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The withdrawal of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) from southern Lebanon announced by Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak looms large. Set for July 7, this withdrawal is closely linked to the Syrian track of negotiations. It will end the fifteen-year status quo of the security zone, with Israel planning to defend itself from the international border with Lebanon. The target date is also a deadline for the negotiations with the Syrians, as nine years after the peace conference in Madrid we are likely to witness either a breakthrough or a breakdown.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Arab Countries, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 03-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: President Clinton's trip to Geneva on Sunday to meet Syrian leader Hafiz al-Asad begins the last leg of the administration's eight-year marathon effort to broker an elusive Syrian-Israeli peace agreement. The stakes, however, are higher than just Clinton's peacemaking legacy. While most observers believe that Syria and Israel are just a whisker away from peace, the two countries are also not much further away from conflict and perhaps war. Within days, the countdown to one of those outcomes will be clear.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Geneva, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Author: Marshall Breger, George Weigel
  • Publication Date: 03-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Historically the Vatican's view of Israel and Zionism was negative. The Vatican explicitly told Herzl that that the Jews were meant to wander, and if they set foot on Palestinian soil the Christians would be there to convert them. The main concern of the Catholic Church regarding the Holy Land has long been to maintain the status quo of the Catholic holy places. For many years, the Church supported the creation of Jerusalem as an entity independent from the surrounding states—a corpus separatum. But in the 1970s, the Vatican spoke instead of international guarantees for the holy places, an idea that remains Vatican policy today.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Jerusalem, Arab Countries, Vatican city
  • Author: Alan Makovsky, Cengiz Candar, Efraim Inbar
  • Publication Date: 03-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The emergence of close Israeli-Turkish relations is one of the significant strategic developments in the post-Cold War Middle East. These ties are likely to flourish as long as Israel and Turkey remain pro-Western, anti-Islamic fundamentalist, and compatible in military inventory. Turkish-Israeli ties should be described as a "strategic relationship," not as an alliance. Turkey and Israel are not obligated or likely to go to war if the other is attacked. They also have somewhat differing threat perceptions regarding Syria, Iraq, and Iran.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Author: Ephraim Sneh
  • Publication Date: 03-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The recent delay in talks between the Israelis and Palestinians is the result of an unnecessary crisis initiated by Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Yasir Arafat. The motivation behind this tactic is the idea that you can squeeze more out of the Israelis through crisis than you can at the negotiating table. This artificial stalemate is designed to achieve more for the Palestinians, but ultimately it will not. Such political maneuvering is a mistake. The current dispute regarding the transfer of 6 percent of West Bank territory concerns implementation of one aspect of last year's Sharm al-Sheikh agreement, and this technicality has no real meaning with regard to final status. The Israelis are willing to discuss such issues, but Palestinian eagerness to stonewall the talks pertaining to them draws both parties away from the most important concerns.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Arab Countries