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  • Author: Gal Luft
  • Publication Date: 12-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Israeli cabinet's December 4 decision to treat the Palestinian Authority (PA) as a "terror-supporting entity," and the Tanzim militia and PA chairman Yasir Arafat's elite unit Force 17 as terrorist organizations, has seemingly expanded the range of military options for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in its war against terrorism. Unlike the first fourteen months of the current intifada, the IDF has now received a green light from its government to destroy two of the PA's most important military branches, as well as the Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements which have already been singled out as enemies. However, this change in the government's policy does not necessarily ease the life of Israel's military brass. On the contrary, the current strategy continues to impose on the IDF limitations in the use of force and requires the highest degree of dexterity from the IDF's planners and fighters.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: David Ivry
  • Publication Date: 12-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On December 4, 2001, David Ivry, Israeli ambassador to the United States, addressed the Washington Institute's Policy Forum. Ambassador Ivry has been Israel's national security advisor, head of the National Security Council, principal assistant minister of defense for strategic affairs, director-general of the Ministry of Defense, and deputy chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 12-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In the wake of this weekend's heinous Hamas suicide attacks in Israel, President Bush demanded, "Now more than ever, Chairman Arafat and the Palestinian Authority must demonstrate through their actions and not merely their words their commitment to fight terror." Last month the administration designated Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs). Today, the administration led by example, following up on its strong words to Arafat with action of its own. The president characterized Hamas as a group of "global reach" and announced the freezing of financial assets associated with three organizations linked to Hamas as part of the administration's effort targeting terrorist fundraising. With today's order, the president expanded the active war on terrorism beyond Al Qaeda and the Taliban to include groups who target the Middle East peace process.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: David Makovsky, Dennis Ross
  • Publication Date: 11-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Secretary Powell's speech did not introduce any new substantive points into the debate. However, it outlined for the first time the Bush administration's view regarding the situation in the Middle East. It also offered some important symbolic points that could provide Yasir Arafat a means of ending the current impasse. He may indeed consider doing so. The points in the speech that will probably be well received by the Palestinians include the use of the term "occupation." Many Palestinians see occupation as the very essence of the conflict. Combining Powell's mention of occupation with his references to Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, Palestinians may infer that he is calling for a return to the June 1967 borders.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 11-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On Tuesday, November 20, Dr. Robert Satloff, The Washington Institute's executive director, participated in a Policy Forum panel discussion assessing Secretary of State Colin Powell's November 19 address on the Middle East peace process. Following is an edited version of his comments.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Ephraim Sneh
  • Publication Date: 11-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On November 8, 2001, Ephraim Sneh addressed The Washington Institute's Policy Forum. Mr. Sneh is minister of transportation in Israel's national unity government and a member of the Knesset from the Labor party. He has served previously as minister of health under Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and as deputy minister of defense under Prime Minister Ehud Barak. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Dan Meridor
  • Publication Date: 11-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Despite the current tense situation, there has been no change in the fundamentals of the Israel-U.S. relationship. Israel understands the unique character of the relationship and will do what it can to accommodate vital U.S. needs. If post-September 11, the United States needs Israel to maintain a lower profile, so be it. Since that date, the United States has been very helpful in pressing Arafat to desist from terrorist attacks, and Israel appreciates that effort.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Adam Garfinkle, Ehud Yaari, Khaled Abu Toameh
  • Publication Date: 10-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On October 23, 2001, Ehud Ya'ari, Khaled Abu Toameh, and Adam Garfinkle addressed the Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum about their new study, After Arafat? The Future of Palestinian Politics. Ya'ari is the chief Middle East commentator for Israel's Channel 2, associate editor of the Jerusalem Report, and an associate of The Washington Institute. Abu Toameh is a senior writer for the Jerusalem Report and special correspondent for U.S. News and World Report. Garfinkle is editor of the National Interest and rapporteur of the Washington Institute's multi-year Project on Managing Leadership Change in the Middle East. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 10-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The assassination of Israeli cabinet minister Rehavam Ze'evi today outside his hotel room in Jerusalem is unprecedented. With the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) taking responsibility, it marks the first time that an Israeli cabinet minister has been assassinated by a Palestinian since Israel was established. According to Israeli security officials, the assailants fled in the direction of Palestinian Authority (PA)controlled territory, that is, Ramallah. In front of the cameras, PFLP in Gaza immediately took responsibility, declaring that the assassination was in retaliation for Israel's killing on August 27 of PFLP leader Abu Ali Mustafa.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia, Gaza
  • Author: Martin Indyk
  • Publication Date: 10-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On October 1, 2001, Ambassador Martin Indyk, former U.S. ambassador to Israel and assistant secretary of state for Near East Affairs, addressed The Washington Institute's Policy Forum to discuss the impact of the September 11 attacks on ending the year-long Palestinian intifada. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Ehud Yaari
  • Publication Date: 09-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The current Palestinian-Israeli truce — certified by the meeting between Israeli foreign minister Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Yasir Arafat at Rafah Airport, Wednesday — has a greater chance of taking hold than any of the five previous ceasefire agreements announced since the outbreak of the intifada exactly one year ago. The potential of this effort to achieve a relative calm stems not only from the changed international circumstances following the terrorist attacks on America on September 11, but also from a growing sense among Palestinians that the intifada has lost its way and is failing to produce any tangible gains.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 09-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: At the direct and repeated behest of the Bush administration, Israeli foreign minister Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority chairman Yasir Arafat met yesterday at the Gaza Airport — their first meeting since June. Given the extraordinary circumstances of the September 11 attacks and the U.S. desire to fashion an international coalition against terrorism, the meeting is bound to raise hopes that the latest ceasefire will take hold. As previous Israeli-Palestinian ceasefires have collapsed, however, the implications of this meeting cannot be predicted with any certainty. This Friday, September 28, marks the first anniversary of the violence that has engulfed Israelis and Palestinians and scuttled the peace process. Such an occasion presents an opportunity to assess the impact of this violence and to consider the future in light of the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, New York, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 08-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Yesterday's killing of Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) chief Abu 'Ali Mustafa by Israel, and the State Department's condemnation of this act, have refocused attention on Israel's use of "targeted killings" as part of its counter-terror policy. Since the start of the "al-Aqsa intifada," Israeli forces have killed more than three dozen Palestinians allegedly involved in planning or carrying out attacks on Israeli civilians. Nearly all have been from Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and Palestinian Authority (PA)-affiliated groups such as the Fatah Tanzim. Critics of these actions claim they are ineffective, if not counterproductive. What does the record show?
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 08-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In the aftermath of the horrific Hamas suicide bombing of a Jerusalem pizzeria on August 9, President Bush once again called on Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Yasir Arafat to take the necessary steps to end the violence. Inside the PA, however, there is little discussion about a cessation of violence. Instead, the principal topic of discussion in the PA today concerns the prospect that Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and the leading nationalist opposition groups may join a Palestinian "government of national unity," formalizing the already close cooperation between these groups.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Palestine
  • Author: Dennis Ross, Margaret Warner, Jim Hoagland
  • Publication Date: 08-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On August 8, Dennis Ross, Counselor and Distinguished Fellow at The Washington Institute and former Special Middle East Coordinator, answered questions posed by Margaret Warner and Jim Hoagland at a special question and answer session. The following are excerpts from the discussion. The full text is posted on the Institute's homepage.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 08-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The horrific suicide terror bombing today, during lunchtime in the heart of downtown Jerusalem, cannot merely be dismissed as an attack by a deranged fanatic. In the immediate aftermath of the suicide bombing, Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Abdullah Shalah immediately went on the popular Arab satellite television station Al-Jazeera defending the attack and calling for similar blasts to be launched against the United States. (Immediately after providing Shalah with twenty minutes to deliver a soliloquy, the Al-Jazeera anchor called the terrorist incident that killed at least fifteen civilians including six infants, a fedayeen or guerilla operation.)
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Ehud Barak
  • Publication Date: 07-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak addressed The Washington Institute's Policy Forum on July 19, 2001. The following are excerpts from his remarks. "I will . . . make some telegraphic remarks about why I believe we are facing now the kind of violence that we are facing, what could or should be done about it from my point of view, and what is the longer term prospect for what will happen in the Middle East. . . . "Why are we facing this violence? Since Chairman Arafat decided deliberately to turn to violence. . . . He decided [this] when he realized at Camp David exactly a year ago we had a moment of truth where real tough, painful decisions were needed on both sides, not just plain or smooth talk.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Reuven Paz
  • Publication Date: 07-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Reuven Paz, academic director of the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herziliya, Israel, visiting fellow at The Washington Institute in 2000-2001, and author of the forthcoming Institute policy focus, Tangled Web: International Networking of the Islamist Struggle, addressed The Washington Institute's Policy Forum on July 12, 2001. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Nabil Sha'ath
  • Publication Date: 07-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Nabil Sha'ath, the Palestinian Authority's Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, addressed The Washington Institute's Policy Forum on June 21, 2001. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks. The current Palestinian-Israeli tension is creating an explosive situation throughout the region — a situation that seriously threatens regional stability and affects the security, economic, and geopolitical interests of the United States as well as those of every Middle East country. The international community has a real interest in moving Israelis and Palestinians away from the brink and back to the negotiating table. This is where the support of the new U.S. administration is needed. In reaching their objectives of freedom and independence, the Palestinian Authority (PA), Yasser Arafat, and the Palestinian people still see no alternative to a peace process and a negotiated settlement leading to an outcome that is seen as fair, comprehensive, and just, with a viable Palestinian state as the ultimate goal.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Palestine
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 07-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As car bombs inside Israel and the Israeli targeting of Islamic Jihad operatives postpones for another day the start of the seven-day "no incident period" arranged by Secretary of State Colin Powell last week, yesterday's retaliatory attack by Israeli F-16 aircraft against a Syrian radar station in the Bekaa Valley highlights another theme of the Powell visit — the role of third-party monitors in the Arab-Israeli arena. Indeed, Israel's reprisal for Hizballah's missile attacks in the Shebaa Farms area across the international border provides a timely reminder about the limitations of monitoring conducted by peacekeeping forces such as the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon. Moreover, it underscores the key missing ingredients in virtually all Middle East monitoring arrangements: the willingness to engage in open, public, truthful, and non-politicized verification of compliance/non-compliance and the creation of effective enforcement mechanisms.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 06-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As Secretary of State Colin Powell arrives in Tel Aviv today to shore up the shaky Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire, across the river in Jordan, King Abdullah is quietly coping with his own separate but related crisis. On June 14, without any prior warning, Ibrahim Ghawsheh, the Hamas spokesman expelled from the kingdom in 1999 for his political activities, arrived at Queen Alia Airport on a Qatari Airways flight from Doha. Jordanian authorities refused him entry, and Ghawsheh, who is sixty-five-years-old, has since remained in custody at the airport. The Ghawsheh standoff-which comes as King Abdullah prepares to postpone impending elections and modify the electoral law-highlights the kingdom's ongoing difficulties with its Islamists.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 06-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: With Secretary of State Colin Powell's trip to the Middle East this week, following on Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon's visit to Washington, U.S. diplomacy in the Arab-Israeli arena will reach its most intensive level since the advent of the Bush administration. The rationale for this heightened diplomacy is, in the words of President Bush's spokesman, "to help secure efforts to preserve the ceasefire and to build upon it, to build to a greater peace in the Middle East, and try to get all the parties to continue to do their part to secure the Mitchell committee recommendations." Given that there is little ceasefire to "preserve," it is unclear whether — on a larger scale — the Bush administration has fully internalized the profound impact that the post-Camp David intifada has had on the prospects for "building a greater peace."
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East
  • Author: Avraham Burg
  • Publication Date: 06-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Avraham Burg, Speaker of the Israeli Knesset and a leading candidate in the upcoming September 4 primary for Labor Party chairman, addressed The Washington Institute's Policy Forum on June 19, 2001. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks. Despite the violence and terror of the past months, 60 percent of Israelis are still ready to make painful compromises in order to achieve peace-if they see that they have a viable partner. The Israelis have already decided that in order to live in peace they will need to make a compromise with their history. The kind of restrained leadership Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has shown since the formation of this government indicates that the message of painful compromises for real peace is the policy of the State of Israel. Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Yasir Arafat has not yet come to the same point. He is not yet ready to make a compromise with his own Palestinian or Islamic history in order to live respectfully in peace alongside Israel. It will be virtually impossible to restart negotiations without understanding what happened in the negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians. Only knowing what occurred will allow the parties to avoid the mistakes of the past — and there were real mistakes on both sides. Abba Eban once said that the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity, and the Palestinians have lived up to this expectation. They did not understand the greatness of the moment that Camp David presented and therefore approached the talks with a negative, aggressive, and violent energy-which quickly replaced the dynamic of the past six to eight years. To understand what this means, consider how Arafat reacted to Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount last September. Arafat had two options: he could have greeted Sharon, showing his people and the world that the PA would guarantee freedom of access and of worship, and therefore could be counted on to provide all the benefits of peace; or he could exploit the visit in order to ignite the region. Arafat chose the second option.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Robert Satloff, David Brooks
  • Publication Date: 06-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: At Camp David/Taba, the Palestinians left the Israeli bride at the altar, so to speak, by turning down the agreement. Regional actors have responded differently. Some Arab leaders, especially Egyptians, are in denial, arguing that former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak's proposals are still valid and that the peace process is still salvageable. Many Arabs blame the failure of Camp David/Taba on the "arrangements" — technical problems, miscommunication, or poor timing of proposals that caused the talks to fizzle. If only these problems were fixed, they argue, an agreement could be worked out.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Jordan
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 05-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: This morning, the text of the long-awaited Mitchell Commission Report, an account of the past seven months of Israeli-Palestinian violence written by a five-member committee headed by former Senate majority leader George Mitchell, was made publicly available. Conceived as a "committee of fact finding" at the October 17, 2000 Sharm al Shaykh conference, its stated goal was to answer "What happened," "why it happened," and how the "recurrence of violence [could] be prevented."
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Reuven Paz
  • Publication Date: 05-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 21, the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, Shaykh Abd al-Aziz bin Abdallah Aal al-Shaykh, said that Islam forbids suicide terrorist attacks. This has raised a storm of criticism from supporters of the Palestinian intifada against Israel. However, the mufti may have been thinking more about Osama bin Ladin than recent Palestinian actions.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 05-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 30, the Department of State issued its comprehensive annual report Patterns of Global Terrorism, describing incidents and trends in international terrorism in the year 2000. This year's report covers the first three months of accelerated Palestinian-Israeli violence. It is also marks the first time the Bush administration State Department has been compelled to publicly comment on the nature of Lebanese Hizballah attacks against Israel in the post-withdrawal era.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Politics, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Limor Livnat
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: " . . . The political road that brought us to the crossroads we are now at was one replete with navigational errors, steering miscalculations, and poor vision, traveled by fatigue-driven guides driving under the influence of reckless idealism and senseless naïveté . . . On February 6 of this year, the people of Israel made it eminently clear that they know it, and have left the road that led from Oslo to chaos and bloodshed in their homes and on their streets. The best of Israel's political pundits could not have imagined that Ariel Sharon would ever be elected prime minister of Israel, let alone with a plurality unprecedented in democratic nations. But they did not understand the people of Israel, and probably still don't. It was the most potent statement imaginable in favor of a new road and a more promising future."
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries
  • Author: Reuven Paz
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The last two days have witnessed "The International Conference on the Palestinian Intifada" in Tehran. The conference was a major step in Iran's drive to accelerate terrorist attacks on Israel. Delegates to the conference came from thirty-four countries, including Syrian vice president Muhammad Zahir Mosahareqa, Lebanese National Assembly Speaker Nabih Berri, and representatives from many parliaments (e.g., Irish Senator Mick Lanigan). Palestinian participants included Palestinian Authority (PA) minister in charge of Jerusalem affairs Faisal Husseini and Palestinian National Council head Salim Za'noun (Abu Adib), one of the founding generation of Fatah and for many years the main link between Yasir Arafat and Islamic fundamentalist circles.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Tehran, Palestine, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Author: Khalil Shikaki
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Among the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, there are three perspectives as to why violent confrontations began in September: The Camp David II negotiations uncovered underlying differences in Israeli and Palestinian interests that are simply unbridgeable. Recent confrontations are basically the product of these differences. In this scenario, no return to negotiations is going to improve the situation. The current situation reflects domestic political constraints in both societies. Weak leaders, populations that are not prepared for the compromises needed for a final settlement, coalition politics, and questions of legitimacy are working against a solution. In this scenario, a permanent settlement is possible but certainly not easy. The two negotiating teams could have wrapped up the talks if they had had more time; indeed, they came very close to a compromise at Taba in January. According to this scenario, a matter of procedural difficulty — a miscalculation, misperception, or simply a lack of time — probably impeded the finalization of an agreement at Taba, while violence was still flaring in the territories. Most Palestinians are of the second school of thought. They did not believe that a deal was imminent at Camp David II or at Taba. Indeed, the belief that a comprehensive deal is imminent has eroded over time. Yet most Palestinians continue to hope that strong leaders in Israel and among the Palestinians can make essential compromises. Recently, a prominent perception among the Palestinian public was that Israel's weak government initiated the violence after Camp David II because Israel wanted the Palestinians to accept something that they had rejected. This perception, plus the heavy causalities and the collective punishment sustained over the past few months, has helped to radicalize Palestinian society.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza, Arab Countries
  • Author: Gilead Sher
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Yasir Arafat is responsible for the collapse of the peace process and for the extreme violence of the last seven months. In the year and a half of negotiations with the Palestinians under the leadership of former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak, the objective was a permanent peace settlement: Israel would withdraw from a large part of the occupied territories, and, in return, there would be an official end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The intention was to fashion an alternative to occupation, since this situation was not only untenable, but was also a strategic burden to Israel. Arafat, however, would only accept an agreement in which all of his demands were met; failing this, he would and did resort to imposing an arrangement through violent confrontation. Consequently, the peace process collapsed. Arafat was never ready — mentally, personally, or historically, at Camp David or afterwards — to conclude a deal; he is a leader of a national movement and not a statesman.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Liat Radcliffe
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The following report analyzes political fatalities in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that occurred during the government of Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak (July 7, 1999-March 7, 2001). This report is an update to The Washington Institute's Research Note #8: Trends in Israeli-Palestinian Political Fatalities, 1987-1999. Like the research note, its primary source for data is the Israeli human rights group Btselem, although other sources (including various media sources) were also used. Consistent with the previous study, no deaths that resulted from inter-Israeli or inter-Palestinian violence are included in this report; for example, the deaths of Israeli Arabs, Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, and accused Palestinian collaborators with Israel are excluded. A main conclusion from the data is that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict increasingly involves official security services, as distinct from civilians.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Government
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Reuven Paz
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: During the recent intifada, certain Palestinian security forces have been intensively involved in violent attacks on Israeli military and civilian targets. Most prominently involved have been the personal security guards of Yasir Arafat, popularly known as Force-17 and officially called Amn al-Ri'asah(Presidential Security). On March 30, Israeli forces bombarded from the air two of the headquarters of this force in Ramallah and Gaza, in the first serious Israeli retaliation under the new Sharon government. Then in early April, Israeli forces arrested several members of this force inside Area A, the area that is under full control of the Palestinian Authority (PA).
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: David Schenker, Robert Satloff, Rachel Stroumsa
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Last week, President George W. Bush pointedly called upon Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat to "stop the violence" and Assistant Secretary of State Edward Walker testified that Arafat has "made no statements that would indicate that he is opposed to violence or that he even wants to see it stop." Yesterday, however, the State Department issued its semi-annual PLOCCA (PLO Commitments Compliance Act) report that appears to contradict these sentiments by specifically refraining from assigning the PLO, the Palestinian Authority (PA), or any senior Palestinian officials any responsibility for any violence or terrorism that occurred during the first seventy-five days of the al-Aqsa Intifada.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Palestine
  • Author: Rovert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In the Middle East, this week witnessed a series of events occurring at such breakneck speed that it is important not to lose the significance of each: On Thursday, President Bush issued an unprecedented statement calling on Chairman Yasir Arafat to "stop the violence," a statement that could lay down a marker by which the administration judges the efforts of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and which could determine the direction of the U.S.–Palestinian relationship under the new administration. On Wednesday, Israel's national unity government launched retaliatory attacks against Arafat's personal guard, Force 17, underscoring Israel's intent to hold the chairman personally responsible for the terrorism emanating from within his close circle. On Monday and Tuesday, bombs went off inside the heart of Israel — responsibility for which was claimed by the Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad, suggesting that Tehran is eager to tap pro-Hizballah sympathy and compete with the Tanzim and other Fatah elements for the pacesetter's role in the Palestinian uprising. Also on Tuesday, the PA chose an all-or-nothing option at the United Nations, demanding a Security Council vote on a resolution that the United States had no trouble vetoing — one calling for an international protection force for Palestinians — rather than pursuing diplomacy to bring to a vote a watered-down, but still problematic, resolution on which Washington was prepared to compromise. And on Sunday, Israel's Likud-led government issued a communique affirming its intent to seek the full implementation of signed agreements with the Palestinians, specifically citing its willingness to fulfill the requirement for a third "further redeployment" — territorial withdrawal in the West Bank — in the context of full compliance with the Wye River Memorandum. Each of these items alone has significant ramifications for the direction of Arab–Israeli relations, the Palestinian uprising, and U.S. policy toward the peace process. Taken together, they suggest a situation in great flux with emerging trends that are both ominous (e.g., Iran's deepening role) and positive (e.g., Bush's forthrightness on violence, Israel's balance of diplomacy and force).
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, International Organization
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Tehran, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Reuven Paz
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As Arab leaders gather in Amman for the first regular Arab summit in a decade, non-Arab Iran is keenly watching to see whether Arab heads-of-state once again make grandiose promises to support the Palestinians. If Arab leaders fail to deliver on these promises, as has been the case with Arab financial commitments to the Palestinians, it would open the door for Tehran to build on Hizballah's success in Lebanon and to deepen its already worrisome role in the Israeli–Palestinian arena.
  • Topic: International Relations, Ethnic Conflict, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel, Tehran, Palestine, Arabia, Jerusalem, Lebanon, Beirut
  • Author: Dennis Ross, Jacqueline Kaufman
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Over the past twelve years a revolution has taken place in the landscape of peacemaking in the Middle East. Twelve years ago, direct negotiations were non-existent and there was no peace process. While negotiations themselves do not ensure an agreement, their total absence ensures that there can be no resolution. The United States has borne the burden of trying to create dialogue.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The U.S. Department of State will shortly issue its semi-annual Palestine Liberation Organization Commitments Compliance Act (PLOCCA) report. This report, now several weeks overdue, details PLO and Palestinian Authority (PA) compliance with their "peace process" commitments. And in April, the State Department will release its annual report about global terrorism. The release of these reports comes just weeks after Israeli chief of staff Shaul Mofaz described the PA as a "terrorist entity." The content of these reports will be the subject of close scrutiny. How the United States characterizes the PA with regard to terrorist activities is an important signal — both of how the Bush administration will contribute to the lowering of violence as the first step to the resumption of Israeli–Palestinian negotiations, and of what the direction of U.S.–Palestinian relations will be during the George W. Bush/Ariel Sharon era.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The formation of a national unity government in Israel today, by a vote 72 to 21, is a triumph for Ariel Sharon. First, he seized the initiative. After his landslide victory a few weeks ago, Sharon did not engage in classic Israeli bargaining tactics in dealing with his Labor Party rivals, but rather caught the defeated and divided party off balance by immediately offering them top cabinet positions in the desire to cement a unity government. Sharon was not intoxicated by the breadth of his victory, but rather followed through on his campaign commitment. Sharon realizes that it is also good politics. According to Gallup's poll taken last week, the Israeli public favors the establishment of such a government by an overwhelming 79 to 14 margin.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: While the main purpose of Secretary of State Colin Powell's first foray into the Middle East was to discuss Iraq, he also visited Israel and the Palestinian Authority and injected a dose of what some would call "evenhandedness" — giving each both something to be pleased about and something to be unnerved about.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Five months after the outbreak of the Palestinian uprising, the U.S. government yesterday issued its first systematic assessment of the intifada-related actions of Israelis and Palestinians in the form of the State Department's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for the year 2000. A close reading of the twenty-four page chapter on "the Occupied Territories (including areas subject to the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority)" reveals numerous condemnations of the actions of Israeli and Palestinian security forces, in almost identical language, with the latter also criticized for its abuses against fellow Palestinians. However, the report also displays a disturbing trend toward selective and distorted reporting on key issues, with the effect of minimizing egregious Palestinian behavior and enhancing the image of Israeli culpability.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Ethnic Conflict, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As Ariel Sharon prepares to take power following his landslide victory, significant changes are also underway in the Palestinian Authority (PA). In anticipation of Sharon's victory, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and leading PA personalities have been preparing a new political agenda to deal with the apparent end of "final status" negotiations and the new Israeli leadership. The most provocative event in recent days has been the issuance of a document — penned by a senior PLO official and longtime associate of PA Ra'is (Chairman) Yasir Arafat — which raises the specter that mainstream Palestinian politics are publicly reverting to the radicalism of pre-Oslo days.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Israeli people spoke in the most dramatic and convincing fashion. Viewed in the U.S. context, Ariel Sharon won a larger share of the vote — 62.5 percent — than any presidential candidate in history. Essentially, Israel voted to express one word: "enough!" — enough violence, enough concessions, enough perception of weakness. They were particularly voting against Barak, both personally and against the policies that characterized his government (dating not only to Camp David but as far back as the earliest days of his cabinet). Certainly, much of yesterday's vote was against Barak more than it was a vote for Sharon; just as Barak's 1999 landslide was less a vote for him than it was a vote against Bibi Netanyahu; just as Netanyahu's 1996 squeaker was less a vote for him than it was a vote against Shimon Peres. Now it's Sharon's turn.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Foreign Policy, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The deadline has now passed for Ehud Barak to step aside in favor of rival Shimon Peres in Israel's prime ministerial face-off next Tuesday, February 6, against Likud leader MK Ariel Sharon. Analysts have already written off this election for Barak, as Sharon's lead in the polls has barely budged from a 16 to 20 point margin over the last two months. Given that Barak won a landslide victory by a 12.1 percent margin less than two years ago, the scope of his probable defeat is striking — perhaps the most lopsided electoral debacle since Menachem Begin's Herut lost to the Labor forerunner Mapai in 1959 by a margin of 24.7 percent. Barak's electoral free-fall is especially remarkable given that his opponent is someone long regarded as unelectable, due to his advanced age, right-wing political views, checkered past, and evident discomfort with the new media age. Nevertheless, Barak has pressed on, insisting that the real campaign has only just begun. His decision to stay in the race has heightened speculation that he may plan on joining a Sharon-led "national unity government," despite carefully worded protestations to the contrary.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Dore Gold
  • Publication Date: 01-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: February marks ten years since the end of the Gulf War. The situation in the Middle East today is vastly more dangerous than in 1991. The favorable regional conditions in 1991 that allowed the current peace process to begin have been reversed. Three key trends are the following: After Iraq's defeat in the Gulf War, it was placed under UN monitoring and extensive sanctions, thereby removing a major threat from Israel's calculus. Today, the situation is drastically different, with the absence of UN inspections for more than two years and the deterioration of sanctions against Iraq. In 1991, Iran was still recovering from its exhaustive war with Iraq and could not fully participate in regional, specifically Arab–Israeli, affairs. By contrast, Iran is currently testing intermediate-range missiles and is expressing its strategic weight in places like Lebanon, where it has increased its support to Hizballah. In 1991, the USSR was crumbling before its eventual collapse and was no longer in a position to offer strategic and military support to the enemies of Israel, while its successor — the Russian Federation — has more or less acquiesced to U.S. positions on the Middle East. Since 1996, however, Russia has taken a contrary approach to many U.S. policies and leadership in the region, in particular with regard to Iraqi sanctions and weapons inspections and the transfer of missile technology to Iran.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Foreign Policy, Peace Studies, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Iraq, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Lebanon
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 01-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Meetings this week between Israeli and Palestinian security and political personnel notwithstanding, time has virtually run out for any Israeli–Palestinian peace deal. It is important to note that the issue is not just one of time, even though President Clinton leaves office next Saturday. Top Clinton Administration officials have made clear that the Palestinians have engaged in "delays" since the December 23 ideas were tabled. Seeking to avoid the international disapproval that mushroomed in the wake of last summer's failed Camp David summit, Yasir Arafat came to Washington with an apparent "yes, but" view of the proposals. However, this approach seems clearly to be little more than a public-relations tactic.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Migration, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 01-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: While the White House has made no comment on the substance of President Bill Clinton's proposal for Israeli-Palestinian peace, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz and the Palestinian Jerusalem Media and Communication Center (JMCC) have published what they say are respectively the Israeli and Palestinian minutes of the president's December 23 oral presentation. What is striking is that the two accounts agree on every substantive point. These accounts provide a sound basis for knowing what in fact Clinton proposed.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Jerusalem
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 01-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: With President Clinton due to meet Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat today for a last-ditch diplomatic effort, attention is focused mainly on two aspects of the U.S. bridging proposals: the division of Jerusalem and the future status of Palestinian refugees. In contrast, little attention has so far been devoted to the security aspects of the U.S. proposals. While less emotive, security issues need to be central to U.S. concerns about the viability of any "final status" accord and its impact on U.S. interests and allies. It is difficult, however, to assess this aspect of the proposals because so many key security issues were evidently not raised by the President in his pre-Christmas oral presentation to the two sides. They may have been the subject of previous or subsequent discussions among the parties, but they were not on the President's core agenda.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Foreign Policy, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Palestine
  • Author: Yossi Baidatz, Rachel Stroumsa
  • Publication Date: 12-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: While international attention has been focused on the shift from diplomacy to violence in the Israeli–Palestinian arena, the "comeback" of Lebanon's Hizballah organization as an instigator of conflict has been, to some observers, a surprise. Following Israel's withdrawal from the "security zone" in May 2000, it was widely held that Hizballah would rest on its laurels and focus on its political/social agenda inside Lebanon. Instead, as recent events show, Hizballah has chosen to persist in its military strategy against Israel. Indeed, in contrast to the low-intensity conflict on the Palestinian front, Hizballah's actions have the potential to trigger a full-scale, inter-state war.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Lebanon
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 12-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak's surprise resignation Saturday night has plunged the country's already battered political system into further turmoil, and so far, his gambit seems to have failed. Barak's move was clearly designed, at least in part, to utilize a provision in Israeli law that would sideline his once and would-be opponent Benjamin Netanyahu from running in a special election for prime minister on February 6. Moreover, Barak hoped that by avoiding a general election, he could avert the reconfiguration of the Knesset since polls show that if elections were held today, it would become a more rightward-leaning body.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia