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  • 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: 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: 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: Michael Phillips Moskowitz
  • Publication Date: 06-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Friday, June 15 marks day one hundred for the Sharon administration and Israel's sixth national unity government. The occasion warrants a look back at the five previous Israeli unity governments.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Government
  • Political Geography: Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Liat Radcliffe
  • Publication Date: 06-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The following report evaluates trends in Israeli-Palestinian violence during the past seven months using fatality statistics. This analysis covers the period from the outbreak of the "Al Aqsa Intifada" on September 28, 2000 through to April 30, 2001. The following statistics are based primarily on information provided by the Israeli human rights group B'tselem. This data has been cross-checked for accuracy with the Israeli government and U.S. and other Western media sources. For information about fatalities in earlier periods and about methodology, see Peacewatch #317: "Israeli-Palestinian Political Fatalities During The Barak Government: A Statistical Overvie" and Research Note #8: "Trends in Israeli-Palestinian Political Fatalities, 1987-1999."
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Robert Satloff, Dennis Ross
  • Publication Date: 05-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Bush administration confronts a certain context on the ground in Israel and the Palestinian territories: Increasing violence. The violence gets worse and worse, and seems to have a logic and momentum of its own. There has been a descent into what may only be described as "communal violence."
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Eyal Zisser
  • Publication Date: 05-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: While the violence in the West Bank and Gaza captures most of the attention, arguably more important developments in the last year have occurred in the Syria-Lebanon-Israel triangle.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, Arabia, Gaza, North Africa, Lebanon, Syria
  • 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: Shimon Perez
  • Publication Date: 05-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: "We are passing through a very demanding corridor of politics and exchanges, of an emotional crisis of blame and accusations where the voice of peace is minor and occasionally words may be as dangerous as bullets. We have to stop both the incitement and the fire. My real optimism is that I am convinced that sooner or later — and better sooner — all of us will recognize there is no alternative but to return to the table of negotiation, and part from the bloody battlefields that do not produce solutions."
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Politics
  • Political Geography: Israel, 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: 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: 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