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  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On Friday, August 20, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the resumption of direct peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians, to be launched in Washington next week. On September 1, President Obama will welcome Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas, as well as Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and Jordan's King Abdullah. Direct talks between Netanyahu and Abbas are scheduled to begin the next day, with the objective of reaching agreement on the permanent-status issues of borders, security, Jerusalem, and refugees within a year. The meeting will mark the first time that Israeli and Palestinian leaders have discussed these issues directly during the Obama administration.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, Egypt
  • Author: Stephen Hadley, Michael Herzog
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The two-state solution is widely accepted as the ultimate outcome of any Middle East peace process. Despite this consensus, progress toward a solution has slowed to a near halt. The difficulty Israel's right wing coalition faces in making concessions on key issues has proven a major obstacle to negotiations, while the split between a Palestinian Authority-controlled West Bank and Hamas in Gaza further diminishes the probability of reaching a solution in the foreseeable future.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Politics, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: With smiles, compliments, and a strong dose of hospitality, President Obama did his best to provide a dramatically improved backdrop for U.S.-Israeli relations during Binyamin Netanyahu's July 6 visit to the White House, compared to the climate that greeted the Israeli prime minister upon his strained April visit. This included strikingly specific commitments on key issues important to Israeli security. Netanyahu, in turn, responded with generous and deferential praise for U.S. leadership on the broad array of Middle East policy issues. Given the near-term political and policy imperatives of both leaders, the result was a meeting doomed to succeed. Lurking behind the warmth and banter, however, remain tactical obstacles on how to proceed in Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations as well as strategic uncertainty about how each side views the other's regional priorities.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Ash Jain
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Four years ago this week, Israel launched a military campaign in Lebanon in retaliation for a brazen Hizballah attack on its soldiers. The goal, according to an Israeli official, was "to put Hizballah out of business." But neither war nor subsequent U.S. diplomatic efforts aimed at weakening the group have succeeded, and some in the Obama administration now appear to view direct engagement as an option worth exploring. Reaching out to Hizballah, however, at a time when it is politically and military emboldened, would be an exercise in futility that could prove counterproductive.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, Lebanon
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Having raised Arab expectations months ago with the idea of a settlement freeze, the Obama administration now has the unpleasant task of coaxing Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas to tacitly accept an agreement on settlements that offers less than expected -- if more than was offered in the past. Therefore, it is uncertain whether the United States will succeed at arranging a trilateral summit involving President Barack Obama, President Abbas, and Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the UN next week that would culminate in the announcement of a formal relaunching of peace negotiations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Pollock
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: With rumors in the air of a U.S.-brokered, mid-September meeting between Israeli and Palestinian leaders, various regional actors are busy positioning themselves for the coming round of diplomacy. Analysis of these dynamics provides some useful perspective on the road ahead, beyond the usual focus on the minutiae of settlement construction, prisoner exchanges, or other immediate concerns.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Author: Simon Henderson, David Pollock
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: President Bush returns to the Middle East this week for the second time in 2008. Initially planned to mark Israel's sixtieth anniversary, his itinerary has expanded to include meetings with top officials from Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories, and Saudi Arabia. Except for a trip to Riyadh, these meetings will be held at a World Economic Forum conference in Sharm al-Sheikh, Egypt. This lineup prompted National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley to say the trip has "both symbolism and substance" and, considering the urgency of the issues, something of substance may actually emerge.
  • Topic: Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Middle East, Israel, Asia, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan
  • Author: Zalman Shoval, Aaron David Miller
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Despite having been practically stillborn, the Annapolis peace process is not dead and has recently shown artificially induced signs of life. It has been continually retooled in order to maintain a chance of producing something by the end of President Bush's term.
  • Topic: Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 12-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Annapolis summit featured an impressive display of international support for renewed Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Beyond the headlines and photo-ops, the most significant aspect of the event was that President Bush offered little sign he plans to devote the final months of his administration to a high-stakes personal quest for a permanent peace treaty between the two parties.
  • Topic: Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 11-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In recent weeks, the United States has reduced expectations that the upcoming Annapolis peace conference will culminate in a diplomatic breakthrough for all parties after almost seven years of terror, violence, and non-engagement. Instead, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice seeks to revive the moribund 2003 Roadmap, and introduce a new dual-track approach. She wants the parties to implement the first phase of the Roadmap, which deals with modifying the behavior of both sides, while simultaneously -- rather than sequentially according to the 2003 plan -- negotiate the third phase, which deals with the final status issues such as Jerusalem, refugees, borders, and security.
  • Topic: Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 11-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The purpose of the Annapolis summit now is to launch negotiations within the framework of the Roadmap to Middle East peace, the dormant and often maligned plan that provides neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians a setting to establish a "political horizon" for a future Palestinian state. With lowering expectations over the past few weeks, the event itself is -- almost by definition -- doomed to succeed. Only a few days remain before the conference begins, but the following critical questions remain unanswered.
  • Topic: Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: James Lindsay
  • Publication Date: 11-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Former British prime minister Tony Blair, now the Quartet's special Middle East envoy, has announced that he will soon determine the first set of projects meant to improve economic conditions in the West Bank, specifically mentioning projects around the town of Jericho. Although Blair will no doubt ignore calls from Hamas supporters to bolster their Gaza regime, it remains to be seen which projects in the West Bank he believes are worthy of funding. Regardless of what he decides, there are a few considerations he should take into account in trying to ensure West Bank stability at a time when new peace initiatives are unfolding.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Humanitarian Aid, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 11-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Public remarks by top U.S., Israeli, and Palestinian officials this week indicate that the character of the upcoming Middle East peace conference in Annapolis has changed. First, instead of the expected pre-conference declaration of final status -- principles and conceptual tradeoffs on core issues such as Jerusalem, borders, security, and refugees -- Annapolis will only mark the beginning of negotiations on these issues. Second, the November conference will attempt to revive the moribund Quartet Roadmap laid out by the United States, UN, European Union, and Russia in 2003, with particular focus on the plan's first phase: cooperative on-the-ground action by both sides to improve Palestinian security performance and curb Israeli settlement activity, among other issues. Finally, the United States will seek to use Annapolis as a means of galvanizing international support for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and President Mahmoud Abbas.
  • Topic: Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 09-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The September 6 Israeli bombing of a presumed North Korean-supplied nuclear weapons facility in Syria highlights the ongoing policy challenge posed by Damascus. More than three years after President Bush signed the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act (SAA), Syria continues to support terrorism, destabilize Iraq, meddle in Lebanon, and develop weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile systems. This week's headlines tell the story: on September 19, yet another anti-Syrian parliamentarian was assassinated in Lebanon; the same day, Jane's Defence Weekly reported that a July 2007 chemical weapons accident in Syria -- involving mustard gas and VX and sarin nerve agents -- killed fifteen Syrian officers and dozens of Iranian engineers.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Israel, North Korea, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 09-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently visited Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to get personal briefings from each leader regarding their sensitive discussions on peace. Such briefings are designed so that Rice can identify the existing gaps between the parties and fashion U.S. strategy in advance of a planned November meeting in Washington. These gaps will likely determine the scope of her potential shuttle diplomacy during her next visit to the region in the coming weeks. They will also become increasingly clear as Israeli and Palestinian delegations meet and begin drafting a potential declaration of principles (DOP) within ten days time, as a senior Israeli official has reported.
  • Topic: Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: President Bush's July 16 address on the Middle East peace process was a mix of the old and the new, offering neither an unequivocal reaffirmation of past approaches nor a thoroughly novel direction for Arab-Israeli diplomacy in the wake of Hamas's coup in Gaza.
  • Topic: Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Gaza
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As diplomacy to end hostilities between Israel and Lebanon intensifies at the United Nations, with a first resolution passed perhaps on Monday, conceptual gaps between the parties remain. The differences range from substantive to procedural. France has been at the center of diplomacy surrounding the passage of a UN Security Council resolution, since it is expected to lead the multinational force to southern Lebanon. From the outset of its consultations with the United States, which are at the center of UN diplomacy, France has sought two Security Council resolutions; this plan has won the backing of U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice. The first resolution would declare an immediate ceasefire and establish general principles to guide the period after the ceasefire. The second resolution would, among other things, define the scope and mission of the multinational force.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, France, Lebanon
  • Author: Shimon Peres
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On August 1, 2006, the Honorable Shimon Peres addressed the Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum to discuss Israel's political and military strategy in its war against Hizballah. Shimon Peres is the deputy prime minister of Israel and a member of Knesset from the Kadima Party. A former prime minister, defense minister, and foreign minister, he has played a central role in the political life of Israel for more than half a century and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994. The following is a rapporteur's summary of Mr. Peres's remarks.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Politics
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Simon Henderson, Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The September 1 meeting in the Turkish city of Istanbul between Israeli foreign minister Silvan Shalom and his Pakistani counterpart, Khurshid Kasuri, was historic. There have been no public official contacts between the two nations since Pakistan was founded in 1947 as a home for Muslims in the Indian subcontinent just a few months before Israel, the Jewish national home, achieved statehood in 1948. The meeting represents a major breakthrough in Jerusalem's efforts to overcome diplomatic isolation and also indicates that Turkey is determined to play a more active role than previously thought.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Turkey, Middle East, Israel
  • 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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
  • Author: Ze'ev Schiff
  • Publication Date: 02-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In the negotiations between Israel and both Syria and the Palestinians, each side has red lines—points on which it cannot concede. No agreement will be possible that crosses the red line of either side. Not all red lines are the same. In particular, Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have to draw red lines based on how much either can concede and still obtain the support of the public for the agreement, whereas in Syria, President Hafiz al-Asad is the sole decision maker.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Author: David Schenker, Khalil Shikaki
  • Publication Date: 02-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In 1996, Assistant Secretary of State for Near East and South Asian Affairs Robert Pelletreau described democracies as "the best partners for making peace and building prosperity." Nevertheless, democracy is a term seldom mentioned with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. U.S. policy toward the Palestinians and the peace process has been focused on security, but that does not necessarily have to come at the expense of democracy. In fact, a more democratic Palestinian Authority (PA) would enhance security. En route to a peace agreement with Israel, Palestinians will be required to make concessions that will be easier to achieve if a popular consensus for those concessions is built through a democratic process. Democracy will promote better governance, resulting in an improved economy and therefore a better Palestinian neighbor for Israel. Furthermore, Palestinians will be discontented without democracy, for they have a long history of democratic civil institutions, including student councils and municipal elections, as well as an extensive knowledge of and appreciation for Israeli democracy.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Nicole Brackman
  • Publication Date: 01-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On February 1, the multilateral track of the Middle East peace process is scheduled to resume in Moscow with the first meeting of the Steering Committee since May 1995. In the wake of Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak's election last summer, there was widespread expectation that the multilateral talks would restart, but Egypt insisted no meeting be held until negotiations reopened between Damascus and Jerusalem. The restart of those talks last month paved the way for a revival of the multilateral talks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Jerusalem, Moscow, Arab Countries, Egypt, Damascus
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 01-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Syria-Israel negotiations are on hold, but Israelis and Syrians have found a way to negotiate through third parties—the media. Two weeks ago, Israel leaked the U.S. draft text of a proposed peace treaty, complete with a timeline for implementation, in the Israeli daily Ha'aretz. Over the last ten days, a surprised and embarrassed Syria has responded with its own leaks through the Lebanese media. Beirut's al-Safir newspaper is the favored recipient of these leaks, the most authoritative of which were a set of interviews by Syrian foreign minister Faruq al-Shara and a document detailing article-by-article amendments to the proposed U.S. text. The Shara interviews highlight Syria's (professed) obsession with dignity as an essential ingredient in negotiations as well as Damascus's demand that the United States procure a clear Israeli commitment to withdraw to the June 4, 1967 borders prior to the renewal of talks. More important, though, is the al-Safir critique of the original U.S. draft treaty. A close reading of that chilly document suggests that Syria is keen to project the image of offering Israel only an arctic-cold peace, correcting the impression advanced by some press reports that al-Shara had offered numerous concessions to Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak during the Shepherdstown talks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Author: Patrick Clawson, Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 01-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: After more than a week of negotiations in Shepherdstown, W.Va., the "working draft" of the Syria-Israel peace treaty reported in yesterday's Ha'aretz notes only one area of seemingly irreconcilable difference between the two parties—over the scope of the demilitarized zone separating the two sides. As currently worded, the text neither rules in nor rules out an Israeli withdrawal to the "June 4, 1967, lines." The draft reflects a document much more detailed than a Camp David-style framework accord or an Oslo-type Declaration of Principles but still far short of a full-blown peace treaty. In tone and wording, it is a throwback to the Egypt-Israel peace treaty, with few improvements and even several drawbacks from that two-decade-old document.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries, Syria, Egypt
  • Author: Raghida Dergham, Joel Singer
  • Publication Date: 01-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On January 4, 2000, Raghida Dergham, the senior diplomatic correspondent for Al-Hayat newspaper, and Joel Singer, a principal architect of the Oslo Accords and an Israeli participant in the 1996 Wye Plantation negotiations with Syria, addressed the Washington Institute's Policy Forum to discuss the prospects of Syrian-Israeli peace talks in Shepherdstown. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Author: Gal Luft
  • Publication Date: 01-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: While Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Syrian Foreign Minister Faruq al-Shara are talking peace at Shepherdstown, the fighting in south Lebanon still goes on. Last time the two leaders met in Washington in December, the party was almost spoiled after a stray shell fired by South Lebanese Army (SLA) gunners hit an elementary school in the Lebanese village of Arab Salim, wounding twenty-four children. Residents of Israel's northern settlements anticipating Hizballah's wrath had to spend the night in their bomb shelters. Only after Israel's prompt apology, describing the incident as "an unfortunate mistake," did Hizballah, breaking with its usual pattern, agree not to retaliate by firing katyusha rockets at Israel's north.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 01-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: With Syrian-Israeli peace talks underway in Shepherdstown, W.Va., media attention has focused on the shape of a possible peace agreement and the potential for U.S. financial assistance to the parties. Virtually no attention, however, has been paid to the principal legal obstacle in the way of U.S. aid to one of the two putative peacemakers: Syria's place on the State Department's list of countries recognized as "state sponsors of terrorism." It is generally assumed that Syria will "do what it takes" within the context of making peace with Israel to earn its removal from the State Department's list, or that Washington will, in the framework of peace, find enough in Syrian efforts to merit Damascus's decertification as a terrorist-supporting state. In this environment, the potential rises that U.S. antiterrorism efforts will be blurred to fit an emerging Syria-Israel political reality.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries, Syria