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  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: If the latest U.S. effort winds up backing the Palestinians into a territorial corner from the outset, then Washington may not be able to move the process any closer to direct negotiations. The newly released U.S. peace plan marks a very significant shift in favor of the current Israeli government’s view, especially when compared to three past U.S. initiatives: (1) the Clinton Parameters of December 2000, (2) Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s “Annapolis Process” of 2007-2008, and (3) Secretary of State John Kerry’s 2013-2014 initiative. The message is clear: the Trump administration will no longer keep sweetening the deal with every Palestinian refusal, a criticism some have aimed at previous U.S. efforts. Yet the new plan raises worrisome questions of its own. Will its provisions prove so disadvantageous to the proposed Palestinian state that they cannot serve as the basis for further negotiations? And would such overreach enable Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas to sway Arab states who have signaled that they want to give the proposal a chance, convincing them to oppose it instead? If so, the plan may wind up perpetuating the current diplomatic impasse and setting the stage for a one-state reality that runs counter to Israel’s identity as a Jewish, democratic state. This two-part PolicyWatch will address these questions by examining how the Trump plan compares to past U.S. initiatives when it comes to the conflict’s five core final-status issues. Part 1 focuses on two of these issues: borders and Jerusalem. Part 2 examines security, refugees, and narrative issues.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Territorial Disputes, Borders, Negotiation
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, North America, United States of America
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Whether they reveal a detailed plan or merely preview an aspirational document, U.S. officials still need to clarify their goals at a time when elections are looming and Palestinian participation seems highly unlikely. In a dramatic move, President Trump has announced that Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his leading rival, Blue and White Party leader Benny Gantz, will visit the White House on January 28 to be briefed on the administration’s long-awaited Middle East peace plan. Trump told reporters that the plan would likely be released before the summit. Predictably, no invitation was extended to the Palestinian Authority, which severed relations with Washington after the U.S. embassy was moved to Jerusalem in 2017.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, Negotiation, Peace, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, United States of America
  • Author: Ilan Goldenberg, Michael Koplow, Tamara Coffman Wittes
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: Today’s realities demand that the United States change its approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Its current focus is on high-profile diplomatic initiatives that aim for a permanent agreement in which the United States is the central mediator. Instead, the United States must focus on taking tangible steps, both on the ground and diplomatically, that will improve the freedom, prosperity, and security of all people living between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, while also cultivating the conditions for a future two-state agreement negotiated between the parties.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Territorial Disputes, Conflict, Negotiation
  • Political Geography: Israel, Palestine, United States of America
  • 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: Haim Koren
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: Since President Abdel Fatah a-Sisi’s rise to power in 2014, Israeli-Egyptian ties have been marked by defense-strategic cooperation. This is based on the shared perception of Iran and radical Islamist terror organizations as a threat, and the common interest in managing the Palestinian issue, in general, and specifically the Gaza arena. In the inherent tension between ideology and national interests, Egypt continues to strive for an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians (Fatah, Hamas and the other Palestinian factions) and seeks to bring about internal Palestinian reconciliation beforehand (between the leaderships in Ramallah and Gaza). Its role as a key mediator between Hamas and Israel is crucial, and is in line with Egypt’s international standing as an important regional leader.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Bilateral Relations, Peace
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Gaza, Egypt
  • Author: Einat Levi
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: This article examines the current Israel-Morocco cooperation and its development through 2019. It briefly describes developments in diplomatic, security, economic and civilian arenas in order to find common ground and identify trends. Naturally, the paper will not elaborate much on the security-intelligence aspect of the cooperation, despite its centrality, due to its classified nature.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Bilateral Relations, Economy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, North Africa, Morocco
  • Author: Yitzhak Gal
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: The year 2019 saw additional deterioration in Israel-Jordan relations to the point where ties can be described as “toxic”. Israel’s continued callous disregard of Jordanian sensitivities and interests on policy issues (such as al-Haram a-Sharif/Temple Mount) and economic issues (such as water), was further exacerbated by the particularly volatile issue of the Jordan Valley annexation. Strong security ties continued to provide the basis of the relationship, although they are conducted largely behind the scenes. Economic and civilian cooperation declined, except for the Israeli gas exports to Jordan, which are of strategic importance. Nonetheless, and despite Jordan’s frustration, anger and disappointment with Israel, new content can be infused into the relationship in order to rehabilitate it. Both states have a clear interest in cooperation.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations, Peace, Trade
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Jordan
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: This paper focuses on the role of energy in shaping Israel’s policies towards the Mediterranean. It is based on the main points raised at the fourth meeting of the research and policy group on “Israel in the Mediterranean” held in December 2019 at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The meeting was held at the initiative of the Mitvim Institute, the Hebrew University’s Leonard Davis Institute for International Relations and Haifa University’s National Security Studies Center. This paper highlights the main repercussions of energy findings on regional cooperation and the opportunities it opens up for Israel. It presents the link between diplomatic and economic considerations, and the emerging energy alternatives that Israel is considering as it formulates and implements policies. The paper does not reflect agreement among all meeting participants.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Energy Policy, Natural Resources, Economy
  • Political Geography: Israel, Palestine, Gaza, Mediterranean
  • Author: James M Dorsey
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: Israel resides at the cusp of the widening US-Chinese divide, as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent visit to Israel attests. Pompeo’s visit was for the express purpose of reminding Jerusalem that its dealings with Beijing jeopardize its relationship with Washington.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations, Arms Trade, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Middle East, Israel, Asia, Palestine, North America, United States of America
  • Author: George N Tzogopoulos
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: Greece, Israel, and five other countries of the Eastern Mediterranean have established the East Med Gas Forum. Turkey is not a member and is employing its own muscular approach in the region. The US would like the Forum to be more inclusive, specifically toward Ankara. Athens and Jerusalem could launch a diplomatic initiative to explore Turkey’s participation, as they have nothing to lose and much to gain from such an initiative.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Gas, Trade
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Israel, Greece, Palestine, Mediterranean
  • Author: George Tzogopoulos
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP)
  • Abstract: This essay by Dr. George Tzogopoulos, focuses on the multidimensional nature of Greek-Israeli relations. The understanding of the depth of these relations can explain why the two countries – along with Cyprus – are interested in coming closer. On the other hand, the effort of Israel and Turkey to normalize bilateral ties – already under way since 2016 – is a logical development that deserves attention. However, it is not related to the future evolution of Greek-Israeli collaboration. The evolution of Greek-Israeli relations in the last decade and trilateral Greece-Israel-Cyprus summits outline the common interest of the three countries to enrich their cooperation. Israel and Turkey have started since 2016 to normalize their relations. This is an ongoing process that has evolved in a period during which Greece, Israel and Cyprus charted a joint course in the Eastern Mediterranean. Israel and Turkey are expected to find a modus vivendi by agreeing on some issues and disagreeing on others. A potential Turkish-Israeli collaboration against Iran in Syria might pave the way for new synergies between Israel and Turkey. This is a highly controversial and complicated matter that entails risks for Ankara.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Europe, Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Greece, Syria
  • Author: Zoltán Egeresi
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: In this issue of Turkeyscope, Zoltán Egeresi, research fellow at the Hungarian Institute for Strategic and Defence Studies, analyzes the negative Turkish reaction to the normalization deals made between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations, Abraham Accords
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Bahrain, United States of America, UAE
  • Author: Diana Buttu
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: Last month, a Palestinian think tank, the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research, revealed its survey results following the release of the Trump/Netanyahu plan. In announcing the results, Dr Khalil Shikaki, the head of the polling centre, noted that 94 percent of Palestinian respondents opposed the plan: “I don't think we've ever seen such a level of consensus among the Palestinian public,” he said. These results are unsurprising, of course, as the Trump/Netanyahu plan effectively seeks Palestinian approval for Israeli land theft, ethnic cleansing and continued subjugation. But alongside the results of the question pertaining to the Trump/Netanyahu plan was a more important question: “Do you support the two-state solution?” A mere 39 percent of surveyed respondents answered affirmatively, while 37 percent indicated that they support a one-state solution. These results should be placed in their proper light: for more than two decades, as the Palestinian leadership and the international community have repeatedly called for the implementation of the two-state solution, increasing numbers of Palestinians have moved away from this view and increasingly supported one state, even though there is not a single Palestinian party – whether inside ‘48 borders or in the occupied territories – advocating for it. In fact, Palestinian leaders and the international community both espouse the common view of decrying the concept of one state and adamantly holding that “There is no Plan B.” The reason for this steadily increasing Palestinian support for one state has both everything and nothing to do with the Trump/Netanyahu plan. This plan makes clear that it aims to ensure that Palestinians will never have a state and instead remain forever under Israel’s boot. But it isn’t just the Trump plan. Over time, Palestinians increasingly have seen that the version of “two states” that the international community will support – and indeed press for – is not the version of two states that Palestinians demand. To the contrary, while the world spoke of a two-state settlement, Palestinians witnessed a tripling of the number of Israeli settlers living on their land. The international community appears content with allowing Israel to build and expand settlements, while at the same time allowing it to demolish Palestinian homes and schools and imprison Palestinians into cantons. This approach condones Israel holding our economy hostage and mercilessly besieging the Gaza Strip, with only the mildest, mealy-mouthed international condemnations. The world community has blocked attempts to press for a condemnation of Israeli settlements in the International Criminal Court and has, in some cases, criminalized support for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS). Even the European Union has been loath to uphold its trade agreement with Israel, under which Israeli settlement products should be labelled separately and should not benefit from free trade status. It has become clear that while the international community speaks of wanting a two-state settlement, it has shown itself wholly unwilling to do anything to make that happen. As someone who participated in the peace negotiations, I observed that a state for Palestinians was the furthest thing from the Israeli public and political leadership’s thinking. Instead, they were concerned with how to forever contain and control Palestinians, and how to maintain longstanding international community support in this endeavour. In short, the concept of two states has become devoid of all meaning, with the focus instead on form – whether labelled as a “state” and however dysfunctional and lacking any of the powers that actually define a state. This increasing realization has led many Palestinians to abandon the statehood project. This may sound like a defeatist position or the expression of frustration. Indeed, over the years, we have heard PLO leaders threaten to abandon the two-state project and, separately, threaten to dissolve the Palestinian Authority. Some support for one state is undoubtedly borne of that feeling. But not all. To be clear, my support for one state grew not from the futility of negotiations – even though they were indeed futile – but from a sense that the approach was incorrect. The attempt to divide land simply modelled the power structures I was attempting to fight – economic and political structures that aim to maintain Israeli power and control over Palestinians lives. Therefore, rather than focus on land – where Israel always has an advantage –, the focus should be on people and how we, as people, should live. The time has come to look to a model that focuses on equal rights for all, irrespective of religion; a model which seeks reconciliation and not separation and where people are protected and not viewed as subjects of control or, in the case of refugees, of wholesale and heartless exclusion. Today Israel and the occupied territories function as one territory, with rights and privileges granted to some and not to others. There are no separate border crossings for “Palestine” and no separate Palestinian currency. Yet Palestinians, including Palestinian citizens of Israel, are denied the same rights and privileges as Israeli Jews. I am under no illusion that achieving this equality will be easy. Power is never voluntarily given up by those who wield it but taken through pressing for rights. Palestinians will be better able to break down the system of ethnic-religious privilege that plagues Palestinians (a similar system ruled apartheid South Africa) by getting to the root cause – that of Zionism, a nationalist project that favours one group over another –, by pushing for BDS and for accountability internationally and by challenging racist Israeli laws. In short, we can and must create a just system for all, irrespective of whether we demand one or two states. History demonstrates that ethnic privilege ultimately fails in a multi-ethnic world. And given that Palestinians and Israelis are fated to live together, the real question is whether we will continue to allow this system of ethno-religious privilege to prevail or whether we will press for equality, irrespective of religion. Borders, flags, and currencies can wait.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Territorial Disputes, Borders, Peace, Settlements
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Diana Buttu, Mouin Rabbani
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: The “Peace Plan” presented by Trump and his administration as the ultimate solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been overwhelmingly rejected by Palestinians and their leadership. But what comes next? What strategy should Palestinians adopt? These two papers, written by two leading Palestinian analysts, lay out two distinct approaches for attaining Palestinian rights and aspirations. Diana Buttu argues that it is time for Palestinians to push for a one-state solution focusing on equal rights for all, while Mouin Rabbani contends that a one-state approach will not succeed given the current power dynamics and, therefore, favours a renewed Palestinian strategy to preserve the pre-Trump international consensus focused on the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the territories occupied by Israel in 1967 and a just resolution of the refugee question.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Territorial Disputes, Borders, Peace, Settlements
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Mouin Rabbani
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: It is incontestable that a unitary state encompassing all of historic Palestine in which Palestinians and Israelis live in full equality represents the preferred resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Assuming this entity guarantees both individual and communal parity, and satisfactorily resolves the refugee question, it would achieve the fundamental Palestinian right to national self-determination and be consistent with the broader Palestinian aspiration of greater Arab integration. It is also irrefutable that a democratic one-state outcome in Palestine cannot be achieved without the disestablishment of Zionism, and specifically Israel’s renunciation of the core principles of Jewish political supremacy, demographic superiority, and territorial hegemony that have guided state policy since 1948. The cost-benefit calculation required for a one-state solution is thus one where Israel’s rulers determine that the price of maintaining a Zionist state has become unacceptably high and choose to relinquish it. In practice, there is no political pathway to such a resolution. Israel’s elites, and the overwhelming majority of its Jewish citizens from across the political spectrum, will contemplate a future without Zionism only as a consequence of decisive military defeat. Even then, the temptation of Israel’s leaders to rely on their nuclear arsenal to avert defeat – the so-called Samson option – cannot be dismissed. In view of the geopolitical realities which reinforce, rather than challenge, the prevailing balance of power between Israel and the Palestinians, the only one-state solutions currently on offer are those proposed by the United States in its January 2020 diplomatic initiative, and by the radical Israeli right whose agenda has been embraced by Washington. In other words, proponents of a unitary secular democratic state in Palestine who are unable to offer a credible military strategy for achieving it are dealing in unattainable illusions rather than feasible solutions. The dynamics that have produced these realities may well change, but the current state of the Palestinian national movement and the broader region suggests this will consume decades, not years. It should also be noted that economic pressure – far exceeding that exerted by the BDS movement – has had a particularly poor impact on regime change during the past century, and can play a secondary role at best. How, then, can and should the Palestinians respond to Washington’s latest proposal to formalize permanent Israeli control over the Palestinian people? Should they just abandon the two-state framework in hopes of an eventual democratic unified state? Widely condemned as the institutionalization of apartheid, the Trump-Netanyahu Plan, in fact, goes far beyond the model of structural racism devised by the white minority regime in South Africa. Israel seeks not to exploit a captive population, but rather to achieve its eventual permanent removal. Indeed, this Plan goes so far as to recommend changing the legal status of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel to residents of a Palestinian entity that will be occupied territory in all but name. The Trump-Netanyahu Plan offers nothing to the Palestinians, neither presently nor in the future, and does not even pretend to do so. It was transparently devised to accomplish each and every Israeli strategic objective at the expense of all Palestinian rights, rather than lay the basis for meaningful negotiations between the two parties in which the core interests of each are met within the framework of international legality. The measures Washington has already undertaken concerning Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees, the PLO, settlements, the legal status of the occupied territories and other issues reveal this agenda and require no further comment or analysis. It is thus imperative that the various Palestinian leaderships categorically refuse any interaction – whether direct or indirect – with this initiative, as such dealings will only serve to legitimize it and provide cover for regional and international parties to seriously engage with it. The strategic purpose and primary threat of the Trump-Netanyahu plan is to transform the international consensus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For better or worse, this consensus comprises the inadmissibility of territorial conquest, the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the territories occupied by Israel in 1967, living at peace with Israel within its 1949 boundaries, and a just resolution of the refugee question. Against this, Washington and Tel Aviv propose a resolution of the conflict on the basis that might makes right, that rights are irrelevant, and that international law is of no consequence. Rather than mobilize alongside the United States and Israel to denounce the international consensus of a two-state framework and demand its replacement, even if for radically different reasons and objectives, and to promote goals which - as noted above - are simply unattainable, Palestinians should do everything within their power to preserve, mobilize, and activate this consensus and present it as the litmus test for the preservation of the international order Washington is seeking to systematically dismantle. Indeed, under current circumstances, the only alternative is a one-state solution, which would permanently remove Palestinian national rights from the international agenda. One may not be enthusiastic about the two-state paradigm, but it would be dishonest to deny that the purpose of the Trump-Netanyahu plan is to replace it with something much worse. The above notwithstanding, to frame the Palestinian debate as a choice between a one-state solution and two-state settlement misses the point, and is today somewhat akin to a condemned prisoner spending the night before his execution agonizing over whether to spend next summer on the French or Italian Riviera. The core issue in 2020 is not about the form of eventual statehood, but rather about upholding the principle that Israel has no right to incorporate territories that international law and the international community consider to be occupied, and that its continued rule in these territories is both illegal and illegitimate. In contrast to a democratic one-state outcome, there are political avenues to ending the occupation that do not require the military resources that neither the Palestinians nor their regional allies currently possess. The cost-benefit calculation for ending the blockade of the Gaza Strip, reversing settlement expansion in the West Bank, and terminating the occupation does not require the wholesale transformation of the Israeli state. Yet, compelling Israel to dismantle the settlement enterprise and to withdraw from the occupied territories rather than annex them may – in the process – transform the state and establish pathways that in time would produce better outcomes It is commonplace to characterize the Trump administration approach to the Question of Palestine as a radical departure from traditional US policy. While this is true in certain respects, it is perhaps more useful to understand the Trump-Netanyahu Plan as the logical culmination of seven decades of US Middle East policy, and of the Oslo agreements, which never envisioned an end to occupation nor the realization of Palestinian self-determination, in particular. The prevalence of this reality and this debate attest above all to the extraordinarily weakened position in which the Palestinian people find themselves. Surpassing it will be particularly difficult, but is by no means impossible. First and foremost, Palestinians must resolve their internal differences and establish a unified national movement led by a credible leadership, with a clear strategy to disentangle from the matrix of control established by the Oslo agreements, as well as to mobilize Palestinians and their regional and international allies and supporters. Palestine needs to become a cause that stands above and beyond regional rivalries once again, rather than a political pawn used by petty autocrats for trivial advantage. It needs to once again become a primary issue on the international agenda, and a global litmus test for justice and decency, rather than a secondary dispute in a region roiled by conflict. In doing so it will also be able to rely on greater levels of popular support than perhaps ever before. A mobilized Palestinian national movement, capable of activating and – where necessary – coercing the support of regional governments, and deploying their collective wherewithal in the international arena, can successfully implement a combination of popular, political, economic, legal, and even military strategies to effectively challenge Israel’s occupation, and in critical instances compel foreign states to do the right thing out of self-interest. The Palestinians today are experiencing an existential moment. This is not a time to pursue the impossible at the expense of survival.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Territorial Disputes, Occupation, Peace, Settlements
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Fatiha Dazi-Heni
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: Following Israel’s signing of the Abraham Accords with the UAE and Bahrain, many questions arise as to the impact that the Accords will have on the different GCC countries. This paper seeks to outline the historical context surrounding the accords and provide an analysis of the way the different GCC countries have so far approached this new “normalization” of relations with Israel.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Regional Cooperation, Peace
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Renee M. Earle
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: This year marks the 70th anniversary of the first Nobel Peace Prize presented for efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East between Israel and Arab nations in Palestine. The recipient was Ralph Bunche, an American academic and diplomat with the U.N., who received the Peace Prize in 1950 for brokering the Israeli-Arab armistice agreements in 1949. The agreements ended the official hostilities of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War between Israel and Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon and established armistice lines between Israeli and Arab nation forces that held until the 1967 Six-Day War. (This same seemingly intractable confrontation yielded two later Peace Prizes: to Anwar al-Sadat and Menachem Begin in 1978 and to Yassar Arafat, Shimon Peres, and Yitzhak Rabin in 1994.)
  • Topic: Diplomacy, United Nations, Conflict, Negotiation
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Ophir Falk
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: Peace is a universal value, the highest virtue in Jewish tradition, and cherished by anyone longing for a brighter future for his children. Pragmatic Muslim leaders are no exception and with the recently reached “Abraham Accords’, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel have proven that Peace for Peace is possible.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, Peace
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, North America
  • Author: Imad K. Harb
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: The recent agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, and Sudan will not help the cause of regional peace.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, Peace
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries, United Arab Emirates
  • Author: Edward Marks
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: While the recent accords with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, and Sudan moves Israel further along the path of regional integration and diplomatic normalization, the deal does nothing for Israel’s other existential threat — the Palestinians living in Israel proper, the West Bank, and Gaza. Nevertheless, it is a big deal. It is all part of the evolving Middle East where Arab support for the Palestinians has been melting for years. For decades, many Arab states were united in their hostility toward Israel and support for the Palestinian cause, even though in some cases that backing was largely rhetorical. But change has been under way for decades, beginning with the Egyptian and Jordanian formal recognition of Israel and then in the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative (API). That Saudi Arabian initiative called for normalizing relations between the Arab world and Israel, in exchange for a full withdrawal by Israel from the occupied territories (including the West Bank, Gaza, the Golan Heights, and Lebanon), a “just settlement” of the Palestinian refugee problem based on UN Resolution 242, and the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Regional Integration, Peace, Normalization
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, United States of America
  • Author: Jeremy Pressman
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Political Violence @ A Glance
  • Abstract: How do the Bahrain-Israel-UAE agreements signed on September 15 demonstrate a shift in the Arab-Israeli peacemaking paradigm? While the basic differences from past agreements such as the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty (1979) are very significant, the new agreements also suggest a major shift for potential pathways to Israeli-Palestinian conflict resolution. Directly trading Arab normalization with Israel for Israeli concessions to the Palestinians is out; alternative pathways include everything from Palestinian surrender to Emirati persuasion to Israeli societal transformation.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, Peacekeeping, Trade
  • Political Geography: Israel, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates
  • Author: Dean Vuletic
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: After winning the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) with her song “Toy” (inspired by the #MeToo movement), Netta Barzilai issued the declaration, “Next year in Jerusalem!” By using the traditional Jewish phrase, she was suggesting that the 2019 ESC would be held in that city.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Culture, Music
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Alex Vatanka
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, a cleric who will turn 80 in July 2019 and has ruled over Iran since 1989, has made a political career out of demonizing the United States. And yet, he knows full well that at some point—whether in his lifetime or after—Tehran has to turn the page and look for ways to end the bad blood that started with the birth of the Islamic Republic in 1979. But Khamenei’s efforts to make the United States a strawman are not easily undone in present-day Tehran, where anti-Americanism is the top political football, as the two main factions inside the regime—the hardliners versus the so-called reformists—battle it out for the future of Iran. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” on Iran has made it all but impossible for Khamenei to meet Washington half-way. Accordingly, the best Khamenei can do for now is to wait out the Trump White House. There will be no Khamenei-Trump summits. That much is abundantly clear if one listens to the chatter from Tehran. But the issue of possible relations with post-Trump America is still hotly contested in the Islamic Republic. In the meantime, with Trump’s re-imposition of sanctions from November 2018, Tehran’s hope in the short term is that Europe, together with Iran’s more traditional supporters in Moscow and Beijing, can give Iran enough incentive so that it can ride out the next few years as its economy comes under unprecedented pressure.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Sanctions, Domestic politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: B. Dolgov
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs: A Russian Journal of World Politics, Diplomacy and International Relations
  • Institution: East View Information Services
  • Abstract: The Palestinian Problem is one of the worst headaches of the middle east and one of the greatest geopolitical challenges. The Soviet Union/Russia, which was present when it originated, was one of the countries that tried to resolve problems related, among other things, to Israeli and Palestinian statehood and the fact that Palestine is the cradle of three world religions – Christianity, Islam and Judaism.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Religion, Territorial Disputes, Statehood
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, 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
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: In October 2018, the Mitvim Institute held its annual Israel-Turkey policy dialogue, for the seventh consecutive year. The dialogue took place in Istanbul, in cooperation with FriedrichEbert-Stiftung, and was participated by Dr. Nimrod Goren, Dr. Roee Kibrik and Arik Segal of the Mitvim Institute. The policy dialogue included a series of meetings and discussions, with Turkish scholars, journalists, former diplomats, and civil society activists. It focused on Israel-Turkey relations, in light of the current crisis in ties, and on Turkey’s foreign policy in the Middle East. The policy dialogue aimed at helping improve Israel-Turkey relations, by enabling experts from both countries to exchange views on regional developments, to identify opportunities for better bilateral relations, and to increase cooperation between researchers and policy analysts from both countries. Throughout the dialogue, there was a sense that Turkey and Israel can find a way to overcome their current crisis and to reinstate ambassadors. Nevertheless, such progress is not expected to lead to a significant breakthrough in the relations. The Turkish counterparts expressed hope that Israel and Turkey will resume talks on natural gas export from Israel; shared their concern over what they perceive as Israel's support of the Kurds in northern Syria; and pointed out that Turkey and Iran should not be considered by Israel as allies, but rather as countries that cooperate at times regarding shared interest but are also competing with each other and adhering to different ideologies and beliefs. The dialogue also emphasized the importance attributed in Turkey to Jewish community in the US, and to the impact it has on the American discourse towards Turkey as well as on US policy towards the Middle East. This paper highlights key insights from the meetings and discussions that took place throughout the policy dialogue. It does not reflect consensus among all participants.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Nimrod Goren, Nitzan Horowitz, Ronen Hoffman, Yohanan Plesner, Zehava Galon, Nadav Tamir, Ofer Shelah, Maya Sion-Tzidkiyahu, Zouheir Bahloul, Elie Podeh, Einat Levi, Merav Michaeli
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: The Mitvim Institute’s second annual conference took place in Tel Aviv on December 30, 2018. The conference explored alternative directions for Israeli foreign policy towards the April 2019 general elections. In recent years, Mitvim has formulated a series of guiding principles for a new Israeli foreign policy paradigm – a pro-peace, multi-regional, internationalist, modern and inclusive foreign policy. The conference sought to translate these principles into concrete policy directions, which will enable Israel to improve its foreign policy, increase its regional belonging in the Middle East and Europe, and make progress towards peace with the Palestinians. The conference featured Members of Knesset (MKs) Ofer Shelah and Merav Michaeli, Dr. Nimrod Goren, Dr. Ronen Hoffman, Zehava Galon, Nadav Tamir, Yohanan Plesner, Dr. Maya Sion-Tzidkiyahu, Zouheir Bahloul, Prof. Elie Podeh, and Einat Levi. It was moderated by Nitzan Horowitz and Merav Kahana-Dagan of Mitvim. The conference was held in cooperation with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, and can be watched (in Hebrew) on Mitvim’s YouTube channel.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Government, National Security, Diaspora, Democracy, Resilience
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, European Union
  • Author: Haim Koren
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: This article describes the relationship and cooperation between Israel and Egypt, and discusses the impact of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on them. It focuses on the current political and security cooperation between the two countries regarding the Gaza Strip, the fight against terror, the Palestinian issue, the relations with the US administration, and the regional rivalry between Arab Sunni states and Iran. The article emphasizes that when it comes to civil and economic ties between Israel and Egypt, the potential for cooperation has yet to be fulfilled. Nevertheless, there are a few signs for economic cooperation in the areas of natural gas and industry (with the enlargement of the QIZ system), and to some positive change in the public attitude of the Egyptian government towards relations with Israel. The challenges to bolstering Israel-Egypt relations include bureaucratic, economic and politicalsecurity (e.g. the nuclear issue) components. Above all, however, stands the Israeli- Palestinian conflict and the perception of the Egyptian public that normalization with Israel cannot be reached prior to a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Politics, Regional Cooperation, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Egypt
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: In Israel, former diplomats do not tend to play a significant public role. However, they have the potential to make a real contribution to improving the public and political Israeli discourse on foreign policy. Israel’s former diplomats have dozens of years of experience, diplomatic skills, knowledge of various countries and organizations, intricate networks of social ties around the world, analytic capacity and deep understanding of the international arena and of Israel’s place among nations. This valuable experience often goes down the drain. A Mitvim Institute task-team recommended to increase their role in Israel’s public sphere, in order to empower Israel’s diplomacy and Foreign Service. On February 3, 2019, the Mitvim Institute hosted a policy workshop to discuss how this can be done. It was carried out in cooperation with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and with participation of senior former diplomats (including Foreign Ministry directors-general and deputy directors-general). Discussants presented examples from other countries, outlined the situation in Israel, described the challenges to optimizing the potential impact of Foreign Ministry retirees, and identified recommendations to promote change.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Nimrod Goren, Merav Kahana-Dagan
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: Benjamin Netanyahu won Israel’s election and declared he would form a new rightwing government. This will affect diverse aspects of Israel’s foreign policy. This document includes commentaries by Mitvim Institute experts regarding the election results and their possible foreign policy implications: Dr. Ehud Eiran argues that while Netanyahu presented himself ahead of the election as a super-diplomat, he also proved he is part of the global populist wave; Dr. Nimrod Goren claims that Israel’s right-wing government will have more leeway to implement its policies given weak domestic and foreign opposition; Dr. Roee Kibrik foresees increased tensions between Israel and leading global democratic forces; Dr. Lior Lehrs explains why the new government will face the threat of flare-ups at several Israeli-Palestinian flashpoints; Dr. Moran Zaga points out why Netanyahu constitutes an obstacle to promoting ties with Gulf States, as does the lack of a broad Israel strategy on relations with the Arab world; Former Ambassador Michael Harari claims that renewed peace process with the Palestinians is needed to take advantage of global and regional opportunities; Kamal Ali-Hassan assesses that Israel’s Arab population is losing trust in the state establishment and will seek to promote regional ties on its own; Dr. Eyal Ronen urges the new government to deepen its partnership with the EU rather than to continue its efforts to weaken and divide it; Yael Patir argues that Israel’s crisis with the US Democratic Party could deepen, especially as the 2020 presidential election draws near.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Politics, Elections
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • 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
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: For the past two years, Mitvim Institute experts have been studying the changing relations between Israel and key Arab states – Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq. They examined the history of Israel’s ties with each of these states; the current level of Israel’s diplomatic, security, economic and civilian cooperation with them; the potential for future cooperation and the impact of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Israel’s ties in the Middle East. Based on their research and on task-team deliberations, the experts put together a snapshot of the scope of existing and potential cooperation between Israel and key Arab states, as of mid-2019.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, United Arab Emirates
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: For the past two years, Mitvim Institute experts have been studying the changing relations between Israel and key Arab states – Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq. They examined the history of Israel’s ties with each of these states; the current level of Israel’s diplomatic, security, economic and civilian cooperation with them; the potential for future cooperation and the impact of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Israel’s ties in the Middle East. Based on their research and on task-team deliberations, the experts put together a snapshot of the scope of existing and potential cooperation between Israel and key Arab states, as of mid-2019.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Economy, Peace
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, United Arab Emirates
  • Author: Yuval Steinitz, Ofer Shelah, Merav Michaeli, Yisrael Beiteinu, Nitzan Horowitz, Ofer Cassif
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: On 9 September 2019, the Mitvim Institute convened a pre-elections event on Israel’s foreign policy. The event focused on paths to advance peace with the Palestinians; to deepen Israel’s regional belonging in the Middle East, Europe and the Mediterranean; and to empower Israel’s diplomacy Foreign Service. Senior politicians from six political parties spoke at the event: Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud), Member of Knesset (MK) Ofer Shelah (Blue and White), MK Merav Michaeli (Labor-Gesher), MK Eli Avidar (Yisrael Beiteinu), Nitzan Horowitz (Chair of the Democratic Union) and MK Ofer Cassif (Joint List). Each of them was interviewed by Arad Nir, foreign news editor of Channel 12 News. Dr. Nimrod Goren and Merav Kahana-Dagan of Mitvim delivered opening remarks in which they presented recent trends in Israel’s foreign policy and findings of a special pre-elections Mitvim poll. This document sums up the key points made at the event.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Government, Politics, Elections
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: The seventh annual public opinion poll of the Mitvim Institute on Israel’s foreign policy was conducted in September 2019. It was carried out by the Rafi Smith Institute and in cooperation with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, among a representative sample of Israel’s adult population (700 men and women, Jews and Arabs) and with a margin of error of 3.5%. This report presents the poll’s key findings, grouped under four categories: Israel’s foreign relations, Israel’s Foreign Service, Israel and its surrounding regions, and Israel and the Palestinians.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Lior Lehrs
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: The question of the affinity between the Israeli-Palestinian track and the Israeli-Arab track is a contentious issue in Israeli public discourse. Prime Minister Netanyahu repeatedly claims that the Palestinian issue can be bypassed on the road to normalization with the Arab world, even without progress on that front. However, the history of Israeli-Jordanian relations attests to the strong and intrinsic link between these two arenas. The breakthrough that led to the 1994 peace treaty with Jordan was enabled by progress in negotiations with the Palestinians, and every crisis since in the Palestinian arena is reflected in relations with Jordan. All attempts to warm relations with Jordan and increase cooperation on civil issues (beyond the intelligence and military cooperation) require a parallel move vis-à-vis the Palestinians.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Affairs, Bilateral Relations, Peace
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Jordan
  • Author: Yitzhak Gal, Ksenia Svetlova
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: Towards the 25th anniversary of the peace treaty with Jordan, Mitvim experts visited Amman for a series of meetings with political, security, media and civil society figures in Jordan. The purpose of the visit was to assess the current status and challenges of Israeli-Jordanian relations, better understand how these challenges are impacted by the situation in Jordan and developments in the region, and identify opportunities for improving relations between the two countries.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations, Peace
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Jordan
  • Author: Luiza Khlebnikova
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: The world has been focusing almost exclusively on the events in Syria and Russia’s role in them, ignoring a perennial core regional issue – the unresolved Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In 2019, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip kept protesting and calling upon Israel to end the blockade of their territory and to lift restrictions on the movement of people and goods. The current US policy under the Donald Trump administration, as many prominent American and Russian experts - including Daniel Kurtzer and Vitaly Naumkin - point out, undermines the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians. The hopes of the Palestinian people for their own state keep waning. Mostly, it is a result of the White House’s unilateral moves: the cut of US bilateral assistance programs to Palestinians, as well as contributions to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and the overturn of the US position on Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which are no longer considered illegal. “The deal of the century” promised by Donald Trump since 2016, has not been revealed in its entirety yet, however, its chances of success are extremely low.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Territorial Disputes, Conflict, Negotiation, Mediation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, United States of America
  • Author: Dan Tschirgi
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Revista UNISCI/UNISCI Journal
  • Institution: Unidad de investigación sobre seguridad y cooperación (UNISCI)
  • Abstract: The American approach to the problem of Palestine long rested on several recognizable pillars: a basic sympathy with the Zionist program, a sincerely felt belief that Palestinian Arabs had largely been victimized by historical forces that the United States itself had found it necessary to serve, and an unstated—but real—feeling of guilt over the key role Washington played in the 1948 birth of the Jewish state. Donald Trump’s presidency upended the long-held US posture on the Palestine issue, making Washington far more amenable to Israel’s growing appetite for Arab Lands taken in 1967. In his first two years in office Trump instituted a series of administrative and economic measures apparently designed to force the PLO’s acceptance of a still-unannounced peace plan. This article suggests that Trump’s strategy will fail.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Geopolitics, Peace, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Jerusalem, United States of America
  • Author: Alon Ben-Meir
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: The EU is in a unique position to prevent the outbreak of a war between Israel and Iran that could engulf the Middle East in a war that no one can win.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Civil War, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel, United States of America
  • Author: Edward Marks
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: The Trump Administration Middle East Plan appears to call for a Palestinian “Bantustan” (maybe two with Gaza) and legally enforced separation of communities based on ethnic grounds. It is difficult to believe that this resurrection from the discredited past could be acceptable to anyone but its authors, who appear to be completely oblivious to the history of South Africa. That includes Netanyahu, who has obviously been fully engaged in the plan’s development. However the plan will be unacceptable to everyone else, including Saudi Arabia and other Arab governments who have been flirting with Israel and the US in an informal anti-Iranian alliance. The plan would certainly exacerbate – if that is possible – the relationship between Israel and the Palestinians. The Kushner Plan would be like throwing oil on a fire; it will end badly for everyone concerned.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Apartheid, Development, Diplomacy, Economic growth
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, North America, United States of America, West Bank, Golan Heights
  • Author: Edward P. Djerejian, Marwan Muasher, Nathan Brown, Samih Al-Abid, Tariq Dana, Dahlia Scheindlin, Gilead Sher, Khalil Shikaki
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The Israeli and Palestinian communities are growing ever closer physically while remaining separated politically. Any solution must adequately address the needs of both sides. This report attempts to look at actualities and trends with a fresh and analytical eye. At first glance, the two halves of this report contain two very different views of a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: one presents the case for a two-state solution, the other suggests that it is time to look at the idea of a single state with all its variations. But the two halves do not differ on the facts of the current situation. Nor do they differ much on the trajectory. The same facts can be used to support two different conclusions: Do we need new ideas or new determination and political will behind previous ones? The two chapters also highlight an important political reality: any solution must adequately address the needs of both sides. Imposed solutions will not work. The section authored by the Baker Institute does not deny that a one-state reality is emerging and the two-state solution is in trouble, but it argues that the two-state solution should not be abandoned as it provides the most coherent framework for a democratic Israeli state living in peace and security next to an independent and sovereign Palestinian state. Carnegie’s section recognizes that a one-state reality is emerging, whether desirable or not, and calls for scrutinizing solutions that take this reality into account instead of wishing it away. At a time when ideas to solve the conflict are being speculated about without much context, this report attempts to objectively analyze and present the two major options for a negotiated peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians and to explain the consequences of both for the parties involved and the international community. It is our hope that it will serve as not only a reminder of past efforts but also an incubator for future ones.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, Territorial Disputes, Conflict, Negotiation, Peace
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Few recent American foreign policy decisions have been as divisive as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear arms control agreement with Iran. Advocates of the agreement have focused far too exclusively on its potential benefits. Opponents equally exclusively on its potential faults. Both sides tend to forget that any feasible arms control agreement between what are hostile sides tends to be a set of compromises that are an extension of arms races and potential conflicts by other means. As a result, imperfect agreements with uncertain results are the rule, not the exception. President Trump has made it clear that he opposes the agreement and would like to terminate it. His dismissal of Rex Tillerson as Security of State, and his replacement by Mike Pompeo – along with his dismissal of General H.R. McMaster and replacement with John Bolton – indicate that President Trump may well seek to terminate the agreement in the near future – action which might or might not have significant bipartisan support. He faces a May 5th to decide whether to again waive economic sanction against Iran, a decision which comes up for renewal every 120 days.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Deterrence, JCPOA
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Iran, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Sarah Ladislaw, Frank A. Verrastro
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: On May 8, President Trump announced the U.S. withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the nuclear agreement endorsed by Iran, the United States, France, Germany, China, Russia, and the United Kingdom. Concurrent with that action, Section 1245 of the National Defense Authorization Act of FY 2012 (NDAA) was reactivated, along with other U.S. sanctions under the Iran Freedom and Counter-proliferation Act (IFCA), the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA), and the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 (ITRSHRA). Departments and agencies are implementing these sanctions with 90-day and 180-day wind down periods, after which time the applicable sanctions come back into full effect.1 Since May, administration officials from several agencies have been travelling around the world to explain the rationale for the decision to pull out of the JCPOA and persuade countries to comply with the sanctions program. Earlier this week (following the end of the first 90-day wind down period), the administration announced that on August 7 sanctions would be reimposed on: Iran’s automotive sector; Activities related to the issuance of sovereign debt; Transactions related to the Iranian rial; Iran’s trade in gold and other precious metals; Graphite, aluminum, steel, coal, and software used in industrial processes; The acquisition of U.S. bank notes by the government of Iran.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Sanctions, JCPOA
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Arthur Herman
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: There is certainly no denying that, in terms of trade and investment alone, the burgeoning economic partnership between Israel and China has at least the potential of transforming not only Israel itself but also Israel’s position vis-à-vis the rest of the Middle East—and most notably vis-à-vis Iran, which happens to be Beijing’s other key partner in the region. Inevitably, it could also have an impact on Israel’s relations with the United States. But is this a marriage made in heaven? Or is it something else? Weighing the answer to that question involves probing beneath the two countries’ currently successful dynamic of trade and commercial transactions to their respective geopolitical agendas. When it comes to Israel, the acknowledged junior partner, it also requires examining whether and how the relationship with China could become a dependency. Such a change might please Beijing, but it would impose on Israeli national security a new kind of vulnerability, one very different from the challenges it has faced successfully in the past.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, National Security, Bilateral Relations, Partnerships, Geopolitics, Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Middle East, Israel, Asia
  • Author: Roee Kibrik, Nimrod Goren
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: This document briefly outlines major trends in Israel’s regional foreign policies over the past six months. It is based on the Mitvim Institute’s monthly reports that cover ongoing developments in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process/conflict, Israel’s relations with the Middle East, Europe and the Mediterranean, and the conduct of Israel’s Foreign Service.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, International Affairs, Peace
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Greece, Jerusalem, Gaza, Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Cyprus, European Union
  • Author: Yossi Peled
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: The relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem draw once again the attention of international community to Israel. The event of relocation is in line with the decision of the Trump administration reached in December last year, a move that has its legal foundation in the Jerusalem Embassy Act that was passed by the US Congress as far as 1995. For more than twenty years, the American administrations have been delaying the decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, and the Jerusalem Act was void of presidential signature until Donald Trump became president. In the same year when he took of�ice president Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital city of the State of Israel and ordered the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv. Ever since the time of David, the king of Israel who conquered Jerusalem more than three thousand years ago, and his son king Solomon who built the First Temple, Jerusalem was the Holy City for Jews around the world and the center point for Israel and Judaism. At the same time Jerusalem is a holy site for the Palestinians and the Muslim world, hence a source of confrontation for the two sides. Notwithstanding, people of Israel believe that Jerusalem cannot be divided and that only Jerusalem due to its cultural, historical and religious importance for the Jews, is and can be the only capital city of the State of Israel. However, this status of Jerusalem is still not fully internationally recognized, with a number of United Nations states who do not acknowledge the right of Israel to sovereignly rule in Eastern Jerusalem, including the Old City where most sacred sites of Judaism are located – the Western Wall and the Temple Mount.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Imperialism, International Cooperation, Religion, Anti-Semitism
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, Palestine, Jerusalem
  • Author: Assaf Orion, Amos Yadlin
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: At the strategic level, the convergence in time and space of the events following the chemical weapons attack in Duma by the Syrian regime portend a dramatic development with substantial potential impact for Israel’s security environment. The attack on the T4 airbase, attributed to Israel, falls within the context of the last red line that Israel drew, whereby it cannot accept Iran’s military entrenchment in Syria. The attack in Duma reflects the Syrian regime’s considerable self-confidence at this time. As for Trump, the attack provides him with another opportunity to demonstrate his insistence on the red lines that he drew and take a determined stance opposite Putin. Thus, Israel’s enforcement of its red line and the United States’ enforcement of its red line have met, while Russia finds itself exerting efforts to deter both countries from taking further action that could undermine its achievements in Syria and its positioning as the dominant world power in the theater. However, the strategic convergence does not stop at Syria’s borders, and is unfolding against the backdrop of the crisis emerging around the Trump administration’s demands to improve the JCPOA, or run the risk of the re-imposition of sanctions and the US exiting the agreement. Indeed, the context is even wider, with preparations for Trump’s meeting with North Korean President Kim on the nuclear issue in the far background. Therefore, the clash between Israel and Iran in Syria on the eve of deliberations on the nuclear deal could potentially lead to a change from separate approaches to distinct issues to a broader and more comprehensive framework with interfaces and linkages between the issues.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, Hezbollah
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Asia, North Korea, Syria, North America
  • Author: Ephraim Asculai, Emily Landau, Daniel Shapiro, Moshe Ya'alon
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: Against the backdrop of the visit to Washington by President Macron and the scheduled visit by Chancellor Merkel in an effort to persuade US President Trump not to leave the JCPOA, this article zeros in on the key issues that need to be addressed by the allies. Guided by what is not only necessary but feasible at this late stage, the topics addressed include missiles, inspections, lack of transparency, sanctions, and the sunset provisions. Everything turns on political will – if it exists, agreeing to the proposed steps should not entail a lengthy process, and implementation can realistically begin in relatively short order. Significant results will mean the international community emerges with reinforced solidarity and a strengthened JCPOA. If negotiations progress seriously on this basis, it would make sense for the Trump administration to allow additional time beyond May 12 to complete them.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Israel, North America
  • Author: Shimon Arad
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: In January 2018, the United States and Egypt signed a bilateral communications security agreement known as the Communications Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA), which protects and regulates the use of sensitive American avionics and communications systems. This development now allows, for the first time, the acquisition by Egypt of US-made high precision GPS-based air-to-ground weapon systems and components, as well as advanced air-to-air missiles. Over the years, Israel’s concerns over the sale of large quantities of US weapon systems to Egypt were moderated by the quality cap dictated by the absence of a CISMOA agreement. Israel thus needs to raise this issue with Washington, within the context of the Qualitative Military Edge (QME) discussions. Given the unreliability of enduring stability in the Middle East, as exemplified by the events in Egypt since 2011, Israel should not disregard possible future scenarios in which its QME versus Egypt may matter. Based on the current convergence of security interests between Israel and Egypt, raising this issue with the US, though likely to upset Cairo, is not expected to undermine the practical manifestations of this relationship.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Military Strategy, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, North America, Egypt
  • Author: Eldad Shavit
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: In the May 6, 2018 elections in Lebanon, the Shia bloc led by Hezbollah succeeded in increasing its power in the parliament at the expense of Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri’s party. Nevertheless, due to the country’s electoral system, the political status quo achieved in December 2016 will likely be maintained. The process of forming the government will once again reignite the power battle between Hezbollah and Iran on the one hand and al-Hariri and his supporters in Saudi Arabia and in the international community, mainly France and the United States, on the other hand. The election results will encourage Hezbollah to continue to consolidate its power and its ability to wield influence in the Lebanese political arena. The drive to promote this objective may also act as a restraining factor in the organization’s conduct vis-à-vis Israel. Therefore, at the present time, Hezbollah will presumably opt to continue to use Syria as its preferred theater for action against Israel.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Elections, Hezbollah
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon
  • Author: Jitka Panek Jurkova
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Polish Political Science Yearbook
  • Institution: Polish Political Science Association (PPSA)
  • Abstract: The paper adds to the body of recent scholarly literature that emphasizes the role of domestic publics in public diplomacy – a field until recently examined with only minor attention to the domestic realm. It suggests conducting analysis of the domestic dimension of public diplomacy on three levels: individual, organizational, and national. By doing so, we are able to understand in a complex manner the environment from which public diplomacy practice grows, and thus also its specific dynamics. Applying this model of analysis to the case of Israel, the paper describes major domestic factors shaping Israeli public diplomacy: the culture of individual engagement (individual level), the clash of organizational ethea of institutions responsible for public diplomacy (organizational level), and the intertwining of public diplomacy and nation building (national level). The analysis also allows us to bet- ter grasp the dilemma faced by Israeli public diplomacy between efficiency and democratic character.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Nationalism, Culture, Public Policy, State Building, Participation
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Aydan Er
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Warsaw East European Review (WEER)
  • Institution: Centre for East European Studies, University of Warsaw
  • Abstract: his paper examines the evolution of Iran’s foreign policy towards the three South Caucasian republics since the agreement of the Iran Nuclear Deal on 14 July 2015 be- tween Iran, P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and the European Union (EU) until today. This paper presents a number of key issues – energy, transportation and trade – related to Iran’s policy towards Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. Furthermore, it provides consideration of the effects of other international actors such as Rus- sia, Turkey and Israel. The aim of this study is to show the complexity of bilateral relations be- tween the states surrounding the South Caucasus and the impact of their multiple overlapping interests on the whole area.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Denuclearization, JCPOA
  • Political Geography: Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, South Caucasus
  • Author: Michael Elleman, Mark T. Fitzpatrick
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Iran has the largest and most diverse ballistic-missile arsenal in the Middle East – could these systems one day be used to launch nuclear weapons? In a new report, IISS analysts Michael Elleman and Mark Fitzpatrick offer a detailed assessment of the design intentions behind each missile within Iran’s inventory. The result is a clear picture as to which platforms the United States and its allies should seek to remove, and which ones can be discounted. The common claim that Iran’s missile development must be stopped altogether because these systems could deliver nuclear weapons in the future rests on broad generalisations. While there is reason for concern, priority attention should be given to those missiles that might realistically be used for such a purpose, if Iran were to go down a perilous nuclear path. The international standard – but not treaty – for determining the inherent nuclear capability of missiles is the threshold developed in 1987 by the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), which seeks to forestall exports of missile systems able to deliver a 500kg payload a distance of 300km or more. Eight of Iran’s 13 current ballistic missile systems – the largest and most diverse arsenal in the Middle East – exceed this threshold and are thus deemed to be nuclear capable. The other five, all within the Fateh-110 family of missiles, are certainly lethal, especially when shipped to Hizbullah for use against Israel, but they are clearly not intended for nuclear use. Because capability does not equal intent, the MTCR guidelines should be just the first step in an assessment of Iran’s intentions for its missiles. When the United Nations Security Council drafted a new resolution in July 2015 to accompany the Iran nuclear agreement finalised that month, an element of intent was added to previous sanctions resolution language that prohibited launches of Iranian missiles that were ‘capable of delivering nuclear weapons’. The 2015 resolution calls upon Iran not to engage in activity concerning missiles ‘designed to be’ capable of delivering nuclear weapons. What it means ‘to be designed’ is undefined. Judging intent is partly subjective, but technical clues and intelligence information can guide analysis. The soundest approach is to disaggregate Iran’s various missile systems, and to assess design intentions on the basis of the technical capabilities and lineage of the different missiles.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Iran, Middle East, Israel, North America
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs
  • Abstract: There was general agreement that the JCPOA was a very positive solution to a complex issue, providing a constructive and peaceful way forward for the Middle East in particular, and the non-proliferation regime in general. The deal contained in the JCPOA is working as intended. Iran has been determined by the IAEA on multiple [6] occasions to be in full compliance with its obligations, and now has the most comprehensive safeguards and verification regime in history. World powers have followed through with some sanctions relief thereby aiding the Iranian economy. Furthermore, there have been other positive dimensions, including an effective joint commission process, greater transparency among parties, as well as communications and interactions taking place in a more positive atmosphere. At the same time, it was recognized that the deal is unstable: although the terms of the JCPOA were ring-fenced from the wider geopolitical environment of the Middle East, political manoeuvring can threaten its continued implementation. The spill-over of non-nuclear issues, often labelled under “Iranian behaviour”, should not be allowed to derail the process. It was noted in a positive sense that all the main candidates in the Iranian Presidential campaign have signalled their desire to continue with the JCPOA. However, several participants felt that some of Iran’s regional policies could undermine this, risking a negative reaction from the US and other states. Some argued that given Iran’s disputed compliance history with IAEA safeguards agreements (which even two years later remains heated) and, in general, the uneasy relations in the past between Iran and IAEA, it is important that Iran continue to strictly comply to the letter of the JCPOA. The US domestic context provides perhaps the greatest potential risk to the sustainability of the JCPOA. It was noted that President Trump may not, after all, ‘tear up’ the deal. The possibility was raised that, because many in his national security team were seen as hostile to Iran, any minor safeguards violation may be seized upon to terminate the deal. Such a hard-line approach could isolate the US from a global consensus and weaken its hand in other relevant matters. There is further danger that Congress could act alone in enacting a bill (of which many are on the table) that would be in contravention of the JCPOA. This possibility was considered unrealistic by some participants. Some details of Security Council resolution 2231 were seen as problematic in a number of ways: the explicit provisions on ballistic missiles were viewed as an unnecessarily punitive measure unrelated to the main goals of the JCPOA; equally, some of the inquiry and resolution mechanisms were seen by some as unbalanced. The JCPOA should in any case be understood as a temporary solution. Even though continuing to implement it effectively would build more confidence, ultimately trust between Iran and some Western states will likely never be high. However, the deal does hold the potential for transformative progress in Iran-US relations, pending further steps to de-escalate and normalize relations. Many of Iran’s neighbours worry that the remaining latent nuclear capacity has only delayed the possibility of a nuclear-armed Iran down the road; at the same time, many regional states are also pursuing nuclear fuel cycle programs. The JCPOA should also offer the international community an opportunity to consider how to extend some measures indefinitely and extend them to other countries. Regional stability and non-proliferation could be enhanced by extending some of the JPCOA provisions to the Middle East and beyond it. As such, Pugwash should make efforts to convene and organize meetings to explore far-reaching initiatives that are in the spirit of the agreement; for example: initiatives to discuss ‘internationalizing’ the nuclear fuel cycle; forward-looking regional agreements, such as a threshold of uranium enrichment, a ban on plutonium reprocessing, or limits on stockpiles of LEU; innovative safeguards measures, such as advanced monitoring technology, enhanced access to centrifuge production facilities, or explicitly set times for snap inspections; further multilateral scientific and technical cooperation, such as the SESAME project.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Nuclear Power, Nonproliferation
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Nikolay Kozhanov
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Transatlantic Relations
  • Abstract: This paper is part of CTR's Working Paper Series: "Russia and the West: Reality Check." The current level of Russian presence in the Middle East is unprecedented for the region since the fall of the Soviet Union. Records of diplomatic and political contacts show increased exchange of multilevel delegations between Russia and the main regional countries. After 2012, Moscow has attempted to cultivate deeper involvement in regional issues and to establish contacts with forces in the Middle East which it considers as legitimate. Moreover, on September 30, 2015, Russia launched air strikes against Syrian groupings fighting against the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Before that time, Russia had tried to avoid any fully-fledged involvement in the military conflicts in the region. It was also the first time when it adopted an American military strategy by putting the main accent on the use of air power instead of ground forces. Under these circumstances, the turmoil in the Middle East, which poses a political and security challenge to the EU and United States, makes it crucial to know whether Russia could be a reliable partner in helping the West to stabilize the region or whether, on the contrary, Moscow will play the role of a troublemaker.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Military Intervention, Syrian War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Libya, Palestine, Syria, Egypt, United States of America, European Union, Gulf Cooperation Council
  • Author: Marek Čejka, Jan Daniel, Michaela Lubin
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: In 2017 the Czech foreign policy toward the Middle East and the Maghreb did not witness significant shifts and followed the wider goals established in the previous years. It continued to be oriented on the stabilisation of the states affected by the wars in Syria, Iraq and Libya, limiting the number of refugee arrivals to Europe, strengthening the business co-operations with promising regional partners and enhancing the co-operation and strategic partnership with Israel. Accordingly, economic diplomacy, security assistance and humanitarian relief remained the dominant modes of engagement with most of the countries in the region. Similarly to the previous years, the Czech policy mostly reactively followed the common EU positions, while being proactive regarding the issues concerning Israel and, to a lesser extent, also Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Libya. The Czech policy for the Middle East did not strongly enter the domestic public debate. The only exceptions were the conflicting positions on the issue of the Czech embassy’s relocation to Jerusalem and the role of the ambassador in Syria.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, Migration, Refugees
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Israel, Libya, Syria, Jordan, Czech Republic, Maghreb
  • Author: A. Yakovna
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Success multiplied by intuition is behind many discoveries. This fully applies to British historian Prof. Gabriel Gorodetsky* who has written numerous scholarly works including The Precarious Truce: Anglo-Soviet Relations, 1924-1927, Stafford Cripps’ Mission to Moscow, 1940-1942, etc. Prof. Gorodetsky came across the diaries of Ivan Maisky,** Soviet Ambassador to London while preparing official Soviet-Israeli documents for publication and was immediately interested. Before him few historians had paid attention to this unique historical document. in fact, Stalin never encouraged officials to keep diaries; this explains why they are few and far between in soviet archives.
  • Topic: Communism, Diplomacy, History
  • Political Geography: Israel, Soviet Union
  • Author: Oğuz Çelikkol
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: Several factors have always played an important role in Turkish-Israeli relaons since the two countries established diplomac relaons in 1949. First of all, both countries have been in the Western camp and have a special relaonship with the United States. Turkey's recognion of the importance of the Jewish lobby in US polics and Turkey's contacts with this powerful lobby predated its diplomac contacts with the State of Israel. When Turkey faced the expansionist threat of the Soviet Union just aer the Second World War and wished to establish close military es with the United States, it also iniated contacts with the American Jewish lobby, and recognized the newly established State of Israel. Although Turkey voted against the Palesne paron plan of the United Naons and the division of Palesnian territories into Arab and Jewish states in 1947, it became the first regional power to recognize the Israeli State, just a few weeks before the Turkish foreign minister's first official visit to Washington in 1949. Turkey joined the US-led North Atlanc Treaty Organizaon (NATO) in 1952 and formed special diplomac and military es with the US during the 1950s.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Bilateral Relations, History , Crisis Management
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Mensur Akgün, Muhammed Ammash, Nimrod Goren, Gabriel Mitchell, Sylvia Tiryaki
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: Turkey and Israel face a unique opportunity: to reconcile after five years of stagnant bilateral relations. We, leaders of Israeli and Turkish think tanks that have been working together since 2012 to support the mending of Israel-Turkey relations, welcome this development and call on the leaders of both countries to seize this opportunity. In mid-December, officials from both countries met in Switzerland in order to finalize principles for an eventual agreement to normalize ties. Reports confirm that an outline and framework for the reconciliation agreement has indeed been reached, although some important issues – such as the blockade on the Gaza Strip – are still unresolved. Israel and Turkey came close to sealing a reconciliation deal on several occasions since the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident, most recently in the spring of 2014. However, while diplomats managed to find formulas that would overcome the differences between the countries, political leadership in Ankara and Jerusalem was hesitant to put the agreement into practice. This time around, there seems to be a convergence of economic and geostrategic interests, as well as political will on both sides.
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Hardin Lang, Rudy deLeon
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for American Progress - CAP
  • Abstract: It has been more than two decades since the signing of the first Oslo Accord, which set into motion a process that was designed to achieve a lasting peace based on a two-state solution. Subsequent rounds of diplomacy have failed to realize that vision. Growing numbers of Israelis and Palestinians have begun to question the “land for peace” bargain. Yet the strategic logic of a two-state solution, with an independent state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel, remains strong. Without two states—both viable, thriving, secure, and free—Israel faces a difficult dilemma in reconciling its identity as a Jewish state with its tradition of democracy. The stalled peace negotiations have left Palestinians looking for other options to achieve greater control over their own affairs. Former Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has called for a long-term nation-building project independent of negotiations with Israel to set the foundations for an eventual Palestinian state. But various crises continue to chip away at the legitimacy of the Palestinian Authority, or PA. Plans for a Palestinian political transition also remain opaque. As one observer in the West Bank town of Ramallah put it, “There is no longer a story that Palestinians can tell themselves about how our lives get better.” In recent years, some Palestinians have shifted their rhetoric toward the pursuit of full economic and political rights as part of a so-called one-state solution. For his part, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has sought to increase international pressure on Israel to force recognition of Palestinian statehood. This strategy hinges on a campaign to leverage international boycotts, divestment, and sanctions—or BDS—against Israel. But some BDS leaders have conflated opposition to Israeli policy in the West Bank with a challenge to the “legitimacy of the concept of Israel as a democratic and Jewish State”—a stance at direct odds with the objective of a two-state solution. The next U.S. president will enter office facing an unresolved Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The new administration will need to take steps to sustain a two-state solution until a resumption of talks becomes politically feasible. As the Center for American Progress has previously argued, the window on a two-state solution is rapidly closing. Key security, institutional, and economic challenges must be addressed to keep that window open. This report looks at the set of economic challenges that must be tackled in order to maintain a viable Palestinian polity capable of anchoring a future Palestinian state.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, State Building
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Jerusalem