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  • Author: Adel Abdel Ghafar
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The role played by countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in the Eastern Mediterranean is becoming increasingly important. This calls for an assessment of their evolving relationship with countries in the region, as well as their involvement in the Libyan conflict. Increased involvement by Gulf actors may inflame existing regional rivalries and geopolitical tensions. The interests of GCC countries in the Eastern Mediterranean are first analysed in the broader context of regional rivalries. Special attention is then devoted to Egypt, Libya, Lebanon, Greece and Cyprus, while considering the role of other key regional actors such as Turkey and Israel. Recommendations on why and how the new US administration should intervene to decrease regional tensions are provided.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Gulf Nations, Geopolitics, Economy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Israel, Greece, Libya, Lebanon, Egypt, Cyprus, Mediterranean
  • Author: Michal Yaari
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: This article focuses on relations between Israel and Qatar, analyzing them in historical context, in the context of Qatari foreign policy and in terms of their potential and the limitations imposed by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The article describes the shift from a mutual conception of hostility to unusual cooperation over the Gaza crisis. While Israel aspires to avoid additional rounds of violence with Gaza, Qatar seeks to strengthen its regional role as a mediator, and mutual interests converge into joint activity to avert an additional military clash between Hamas and Israel. The cooperation between the states illustrates how the Palestinian issue can leverage regional cooperation. At the same time, the untapped diplomatic, economic and civilian potential of Israel-Qatar relations points to the limitations imposed by the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Economy, Conflict, Hamas
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza, Qatar
  • Author: Or Yissachar
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: FLight number LY971 on Monday 31 August 2020, was in many respects anything but a mundane commercial flight traveling to another Middle East destination. Traditionally, the Arab world’s maximum pressure campaign against Israel was designed not only to call into question its existence militarily, but crumble its legitimacy diplomatically – prohibiting Israeli citizens from entering their territories, banning Israeli and other airlines traveling to and from Tel Aviv from using their airspace, much less land in their airports, even referring to it merely as “the Zionist entity”. Much more fundamentally than technical disagreement over policy items or territorial arrangements, the Arab world has made clear what was best enunciated in the infamous 1967 Khartoum “Three No’s”: “No peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with Israel.” Despite episodic under-the-radar contacts, the Arab world had operated under the assumption that any cracks in this well-fortified wall could have been constructed as de facto recognition of a country considered a red flag.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Territorial Disputes, Zionism, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Moran Zaga
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: The relations between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel are primarily characterized by mutual interest and cautious rapprochement steps. The rapprochement can be attributed to the pragmatic character of the two states and their shared interests, including, inter alia, opposition to the Iranian nuclear program, opposing religious extremism, regional trade, modernization processes, handling similar environmental issues, and participation in global events and projects. The cautious approach and the limitations in these relations derive mainly from the UAE’s avoidance of official normalization with Israel due to the latter’s conduct regarding the Palestinian issue.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Conflict, Rapprochement
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel, Yemen, Palestine, United Arab Emirates
  • Author: Lior Lehrs
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: On Janury 28, 2019, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced he was terminating the mandate of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH), an observer force established in 1994 after the massacre of Muslim worshipers in Hebron by the Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein. In January 1997, an agreement was signed between the Government of Israel, headed by Netanyahu, and the PLO setting out terms of the TIPH mandate. The sides repeatedly extended the agreement for over 20 years. The observers do not have military or policing functions, and they do not bear arms. Their task is to monitor and report on events and convey classified reports to each side, and to the TIPH contributing states. Netanyahu’s decision, to a large extent influenced by domestic pressure in the runup to the April 9 elections, generated expressions of concern and condemnation by the international community, both by the force’s contributing states such as Norway and Italy, and by Germany, the EU and the UN Secretary General. The reactions noted that the observer force had been an element of the Oslo process and played an important role in the volatile and sensitive city of Hebron, warning against the repercussions of its removal. Changing and adapting the mandate of the observer force should be conducted in a dialogue with the Palestinian Authority and TIPH states, and not dictated as a unilateral Israeli political decision.
  • Topic: Treaties and Agreements, United Nations, Territorial Disputes, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Hebron
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: In recent years, the Eastern Mediterranean has become a central focus of world powers, of states in the Middle East, Europe, and beyond, and of international corporations. Regional geopolitical developments, as well as economic opportunities generated by natural gas discoveries in the Mediterranean, have contributed to this trend and turned the Eastern Mediterranean into a distinct sub-region perceived as having unique features. Israel plays a central role in this development. Israeli diplomacy identified these trends correctly, successfully becoming an active and dominant player in the region. The natural gas findings in Israel’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) provide it with a wider range of diplomatic options, helping it promote relationships with various states in the region; including some engaged in conflict with each other. Israelis regard the Mediterranean as an important component of their identity, as reflected in the 2018 Israeli Foreign Policy Index of the Mitvim Institute, in which 22 percent of those surveyed claimed Israel belongs predominantly to this region (compared with 28 percent who said it belongs to the Middle East and 23 percent to Europe).
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Greece, Palestine, Lebanon, Cyprus, Mediterranean
  • Author: Dahlia Scheindlin
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: Over the last decade, Israel has accelerated a long-term process of annexation in the West Bank through legal, political, physical and rhetorical steps that are both explicit, and increasingly irreversible. What kind of reaction can Israel expect from the international community if these policies continue? This paper summarizes the annexationist trends in Israel, then examines cases of post-World War II annexation, to map the range of international reactions. The analysis shows that the international community (states and meta-state bodies) has responded with diverse tools, all designed to oppose and deter annexation. Yet such measures have only rarely stopped or reversed annexation. When annexation was stopped or reversed, the international pressure focused on violations of other major international norms or reflected state interests. Israeli annexation outright, but the international community can be expected to step up concrete policies of opposition. Not only would such responses not be unique to Israel – it would be an anomaly if the international community did not undertake opposition measures. The paper concludes by proposing that the international community develop a more expansive understanding of the concept of annexation to improve deterrence, and re-commit itself to the fundamental proscription against conquering territory by force.
  • Topic: International Relations, Conflict, Annexation
  • Political Geography: Israel, Palestine, West Bank
  • Author: Roee Kibrik, Colette Avital, Paul Pasch, Ksenia Svetlova, Michael Harari, Dan Catarivas, Ido Zelkovitz, Max Stern Yezreel, Lior Lehrs, Dahlia Scheindlin, Kamal Ali-Hassan, Nadav Tamir, Yair Lapid, Susanna Terstal
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: The Mitvim Institute 3rd annual conference provided an annual assessment of Israel's regional foreign policies. It was held in Tel Aviv on 14 November 2019, in cooperation with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung. The conference included sessions on Israel's ties with its adjacent regions – moderated by Dr. Nimrod Goren, and participated by Amb. (ret.) Michael Harari, former Member of Knesset (MK) Ksenia Svetlova, Dr. Ido Zelkovitz and Dan Catarivas – and on the quest for IsraeliPalestinian peace in Israeli statesmanship – moderated by Yael Patir and participated by Dr. Lior Lehrs, Dr. Dahlia Scheindlin, Kamal Ali-Hassan and Nadav Tamir. MK Yair Lapid (Blue and White party) and EU Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Process Susanna Terstal delivered the keynote speeches. This document summarizes the main points covered by the speakers.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Public Opinion, Conflict, Hamas
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: Micky Aharonson
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: Russia seeks to be more involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by presenting it as critical to the stability of the whole Middle East. But the legitimacy that it accords to Hamas rules out deeper Russian involvement from Israel’s point of view.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, Military Strategy, Hegemony, Conflict, Foreign Interference
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: David M. Weinberg
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: Israel must administer Area C effectively and with much more authority, whether it wishes to either hold the territory as an effective card for future bargaining or it intends to annex the lands to Israel.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Military Strategy, Territorial Disputes, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: David M. Weinberg
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: Trump’s landmark Golan decision asserts the law of diminishing returns: Arabs who refuse to make peace with Israel lose rights and assets as time goes forward. Mahmoud Abbas: Take notice.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Territorial Disputes, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Jonathan Spyer
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: The notion that Hamas could be incentivised by the injection of funds from Qatar has proven erroneous or deeply problematic.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Conflict, Hamas, State Sponsored Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Qatar
  • Author: Jonathan Spyer
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: In the remote deserts of western Iraq, Iran’s servants are busily at work preparing a new front against Israel.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Military Strategy, Conflict, Missile Defense
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: David M. Weinberg
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: The new JISS national security plan says avoid risky diplomatic escapades and prepare for war.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, National Security, Military Strategy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Yossi Mansharof
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: Israel, Russia and to some extent the US stand in the way of Iran’s permanent entrenchment in Syria. Israel needs to continue its strikes against Iranian and Hezbollah infrastructures across Syria.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Military Strategy, Counter-terrorism, Conflict, Hezbollah
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Syria
  • Author: Eran Lerman, Yossi Mansharof
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: Israel needs to be prepared for potentially dramatic consequences, including rapid deterioration towards confrontation on all Israel’s borders. Resilience and readiness to act can serve to deter provocations by Iran’s proxies. Ultimately, only a credible military threat from Israel will indicate to friend and foe alike that in a showdown, Iran will be forced to back down.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Military Strategy, Conflict, Regional Power
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Efraim Inbar
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: Israel’s government must nurture a spirit of unity and national purpose by building a policy consensus as broad as possible. This is necessary both in preparation for likely combat operations against Iran and its proxies, and in order to respond wisely to the American peace plan and to intelligently manage conflict with the Palestinians.
  • Topic: Nationalism, Military Strategy, Governance, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Micky Aharonson
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: Outwardly, Russia is loyal to the idea that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the reason for Middle East unrest. This approach raises the bar on Palestinian demands and makes normal life in the region less likely.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Military Strategy, Hegemony, Conflict, Foreign Interference
  • Political Geography: Russia, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Yossi Mansharof
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: It is complicit in Hizballah’s terrorism and subversion, in Europe and the US.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Military Strategy, Conflict, Hezbollah, State Sponsored Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Europe, Iran, Middle East, Israel, North America, United States of America
  • Author: David M. Weinberg
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign must not be curtailed before Iran’s leaders truly have no choice but to capitulate to Western demands.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, Military Strategy, Hegemony, Conflict, Regional Power
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel, North America, United States of America