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  • Author: Gal Luft
  • Publication Date: 09-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: According to the September 17, 2002, issue of Ha'aretz, a delegation of American water experts toured the Wazzani River in southern Lebanon on September 16 to review Lebanese government projects aimed at directing water to nearby villages. Ever since the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) unilaterally withdrew from southern Lebanon in May 2000, relations between Israel and Lebanon have been tense, a result of the Lebanese government's tolerance of Hizballah attacks on Israeli targets along the border.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 09-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Prior to September 2000, the track record of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorist attacks featured more failed and small-scale operations than successful or substantial ones; at the time, Hamas overshadowed PIJ in terms of terrorist activity. Yet, PIJ's profile has changed since then. In August 2001, Israel listed three PIJ members among its seven most-wanted terrorists, compared to one member each from Hamas, Force 17, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). In October 2001, PIJ secretary general Ramadan Abdullah Shallah asserted, "With the grace of God and the blessing of the blood martyrs, the Islamic Jihad movement is in the best condition it has ever been in," highlighting "its jihadist effectiveness and qualitative operations." PIJ solidified its reputation in the annals of the current Palestinian intifada with the April 2002 standoff in Jenin. Thaabat Mardawi, a senior PIJ commander in Jenin arrested in the course of Israel's Operation Defensive Shield, proudly described the PIJ-led battle against the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to a CNN interviewer: "It was like hunting . . . like being given a prize. I couldn't believe it when I saw the soldiers. The Israelis knew that any soldier who went into the camp like that was going to get killed. I've been waiting for a moment like that for years." PIJ's moment has indeed come; by all accounts, the group will remain a dominant and destructive factor for the foreseeable future.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 08-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: This week, amid a deep economic recession, the national unity government of Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon narrowly adopted a 2003 austerity budget. Given the likelihood of new elections within a year, the time and attention of Israeli policymakers will likely be devoted to political maneuvering on serious domestic problems, in addition to the main issue: ongoing Palestinian-Israeli violence.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries
  • Author: Ziad Abu Amr
  • Publication Date: 07-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On June 27, 2002, Ziad Abu Amr addressed a special Washington Institute seminar on reforming the Palestinian Authority (PA). Mr. Abu Amr is chairman of the Political Committee of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). The following are excerpts from his presentation, as transcribed by the Institute. Citing a recent speech given by Yasir Arafat to the PLC on the importance of reform, Abu Amr said, "For the first time, he acknowledged that there were mistakes, but he takes responsibility, something I personally did not like because this meant from the very start, suppressing the process of accountability and actual reform. The idea of the president was, 'Okay, there were mistakes. We close the files. We start afresh.' That was not acceptable."
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Hassan Abu-Libdeh
  • Publication Date: 07-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On June 27, 2002, Hassan Abu Libdeh addressed a special Washington Institute seminar on reforming the Palestinian Authority (PA). Dr. Abu Libdeh is director of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics and a professor at Bir Zeit University. The following are excerpts from his presentation, as transcribed by the Institute. "The PA was born out of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which was known for a long time as an aging, ineffective, corrupt, and poorly managed institution . . ."
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Khalil Shikaki
  • Publication Date: 07-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On June 27, 2002, Khalil Shikaki addressed a special Washington Institute seminar on reforming the Palestinian Authority (PA). Dr. Shikaki is an associate professor of political science at Bir Zeit University and director of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah. The following are excerpts from his presentation, as transcribed by the Institute. "Initially, Palestinian interest [in reform] was basically an effort to address the issue of waste. . . . One year into the establishment of the Palestinian Authority [PA], the Palestinian comptroller issued a report which shocked everybody because the report basically said we have been wasting something like $250 million. . . . Waste, corruption, violation of human rights in Palestinian jails, security forces essentially ignoring any law and order, were all factors that became of serious interest in the early two or three years of the Palestinian Authority. . . . The reason for all of this is the fact that the Palestinians so far have failed to build strong institutions, structurally speaking. . . ."
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Matan Vilnai
  • Publication Date: 07-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On July 17, 2002, Minister Matan Vilnai addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Mr. Vilnai is Israel's minister of science, culture, and sport; a member of Israel's inner security cabinet; a Labor member of Knesset; chairman of the ministerial committee for Israeli Arab affairs; and a reserve major-general (he served as head of Israel's Southern Command from 1989 to 1994 when Israeli forces redeployed out of Gaza). The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks. A few weeks ago, the Israeli government decided to establish a security fence between Israel and the West Bank in order to stem the tide of Palestinian suicide attacks. This fence has the support of the majority of Israelis for whom daily life has become a harrowing experience and for whom a fence brings some hope of security. This fence should not be seen as a substitute for diplomacy, but rather as a temporary security measure. The fence will not become the permanent border between Israel and the Palestinians. A permanent border can only attain legitimacy if it receives the support of both parties through negotiations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 07-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As President George W. Bush was offering his vision for a post-Yasir Arafat Palestinian state two weeks ago, the Palestinian leader's cabinet was itself unveiling a "100-day plan" for reforming the Palestinian Authority (PA). This plan was clearly designed to both respond to popular demands to fix the PA's broken or stillborn institutions as well as steer the reform process down a nonthreatening, Arafat-controlled course. While it offers promising elements of change, the plan is only likely to strengthen the unacceptable status quo.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michael Oren
  • Publication Date: 07-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On May 29, 2002, Dr. Michael Oren, senior fellow at the Jerusalem-based Shalem Center and head of its Middle East history project, addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. He is the author of the new book, Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 06-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: President George W. Bush today tore up a generation of conventional wisdom by offering a bold, new approach that conditioned U.S. support for eventual Palestinian statehood on a new political leadership; a "working democracy"; and far-reaching security, judicial, constitutional, and economic reform. At the same time, he seemed to ask nothing of Israel to which even the current Israeli government has not, in theory at least, already agreed. Having articulated this strategy, the White House will now surely face sustained pressure from Arab and European partners — and perhaps even from some within the administration — to balance the equation by early certification of Palestinian reform and/or accelerated demands on Israel for a redeployment of troops and a freeze on settlements.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries