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  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 09-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Last Sunday, the world breathed a sigh of relief as the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Central Council voted to postpone a declaration of statehood until at least November 15, 2000. Less noticed, however, has been the internal battle over what is perhaps the second most important political issue on the Palestinian political agenda—the drafting of the Palestinian Constitution. Within the Palestinian Authority (PA) today, the constitution is the focus of an increasingly bitter debate pitting PLO "outsiders" against West Bank/Gaza "insiders." The outcome of this contest will determine not only the future of the PLO as a revolutionary movement and political institution but it may also have far-reaching implications for any future Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Kenneth W. Stein
  • Publication Date: 09-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: President Clinton will again meet his two Camp David partners—though not yet in scheduled three-way talks during this week's Millennium Summit, six weeks after the conclusion of their inconclusive Camp David negotiations. In the August interval, each side sent leaders and diplomats jetting about Europe, Asia, and the Middle East offering their spin on what was offered at the summit, what went wrong, and what needed to be done next. In stark contrast to the effective news black-out that governed Camp David, world leaders have, over the past month, been pitched one, two, or even three sets of briefings about each side's views and where the negotiations should go from here.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Asia, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 07-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Domestic political considerations will be an important factor in Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak's moves at Camp David. Although he would like to have one for a myriad of reasons, politically Barak does not need a deal. To the contrary, failure to reach an agreement could even bring his "big tent" coalition back from dead. Barak had hoped to have a broad government that included the religious parties behind him, having learned from the Yitzhak Rabin era that it was a mistake to have a narrow government relying on its Arab members to squeeze through Knesset confidence votes. But having lost the Jewish majority before his departure, the prime minister's critics will insist that the results of the Camp David summit are illegitimate. Undoubtedly, Barak will reject such assertions, pointing to his promise to hold a national referendum.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 09-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: A decision whether to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks at a reconvened Camp David Summit may be made next Wednesday, but as it stands now, the prospects seem very uncertain. President Bill Clinton is scheduled to hold separate meetings with Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority chairman Yasir Arafat during the United Nations special Millennium Summit. Mindful of an array of ticking clocks, Washington would like to reconvene Camp David for a short and final session sometime during the second half of September. Yet, given the failure of the last summit in July, a generally recognized precondition for a revival of summitry is the prior resolution of almost all outstanding issues between the parties, in order to virtually guarantee the success of renewed negotiations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 08-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In the aftermath of Camp David II and with the start of the Knesset summer recess yesterday, there appears to be a 40-90 day "window" for Israelis and the Palestinians to determine whether a diplomatic breakthrough is still possible or whether the parties will move in alternative directions.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Elyakim Rubinstein
  • Publication Date: 07-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Although the failure of the Camp David II summit to reach a final status agreement between Israel and the Palestinians is certainly sad, it is important to emphasize that this two-week meeting was not a waste of time. For the first time, Israelis and Palestinians sat together in an official setting and thoroughly discussed previously deferred matters like Jerusalem and the refugees. Although unsuccessful in reaching a full resolution, a "basic and very deep clarification of the positions" was achieved at Camp David. A partial agreement was not the preferred alternative of either the Israelis or the Palestinians.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Shlomo Slonim, Geoffrey Watson
  • Publication Date: 06-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Since 1967, U.S. administrations have varied their policy regarding the status of East Jerusalem. Under the Johnson and Reagan administrations, East Jerusalem was not considered occupied territory, and, consequently, Israeli control of the city in its entirety was implicitly accepted. Johnson emphasized that the international interest lay only with the holy sites of Jerusalem, and Reagan indicated that Jerusalem as a whole should remain under exclusive Israeli administration. In contrast, the Nixon and Bush administrations viewed East Jerusalem as occupied territory, therefore implicitly calling for a reorganization, if not redivision, of the city. The Nixon administration was the first to declare East Jerusalem "occupied" under the provisions of the 1949 Geneva Convention, and Bush went so far as to declare Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem as contrary to international law. The Carter and Clinton administrations were both ambiguous about the status of East Jerusalem.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Nicole Brackman
  • Publication Date: 07-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Among the issues being discussed at Camp David between Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak, Palestinian Authority chairman Yasir Arafat, and President Clinton is one matter that directly affects several other states in the region not represented at the talks, namely, the situation of the Palestinian refugees, especially those in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Syria, Jordan
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 07-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: There have been at least seven agreements between Israel and the Palestinians in the past seven years. Negotiations with intermittent spurts of violence have been a way of life. Any new agreement will not be about an end to the conflict: The original 1993 agreement specified such an end, with all further disputes to be settled by negotiations alone. What Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak is looking for is an agreement that will put an end to all further claims.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 06-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: U.S. secretary of state Madeleine Albright completed her round of talks with both Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) today, failing to announce the immediate convening of a U.S. summit. At the end of her discussions, she said she would report to U.S. president Bill Clinton on Thursday, and that he would only then determine whether and when such a summit will take place. But Palestinian officials say the likely format will be further Israeli-Palestinian talks with an aim toward convening a summit at a later date.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries