Showing posts tagged as "israel"

Showing posts tagged israel

26 Mar
The Next Round in Gaza
Middle East Report N°149 | 25 Mar 2014
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The ceasefire between Israel and Gaza has eroded during the past several months and recently threatened to come to an abrupt end. The day after three members of Islamic Jihad were killed by Israel in a border clash on 11 March 2014, the group, apparently in coordination with Hamas, launched the largest salvo of rockets toward Israel since the last major escalation (known in Israel as Operation Pillar of Defence), in November 2012. In a little over a day’s mediation, Egypt restored quiet. But with Hamas’s fortunes declining and Gaza suffering its worst isolation and economic constriction in years, it is likely a matter of time until a flare-up escalates to major conflagration – unless the sides reach an understanding to extend a fragile quiet. Given Hamas’s isolation and worsening relations with Cairo, it is hard to imagine full implementation of the ceasefire Egypt brokered to end the 2012 fighting. But a rump deal, comprised of that ceasefire’s core elements, still could lessen the chance that Hamas and Israel will be dragged into a conflict neither currently desires, while helping both to secure advantages beyond the Gaza-Israel theatre.
Periodic escalations between Israel and Gaza militants are the rule, not the exception. Their shared border has witnessed regular, low-scale violence punctuated by short, intense escalations, typically when one or both sides feel the implicit rules of engagement have been undercut. Hamas and Israel have been headed toward such a clash since 3 July 2013, when Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi was deposed, and Cairo, as part of its campaign against the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi-jihadis in Sinai, initiated a push to further isolate Gaza by closing the tunnels under its border with Egypt. Among Hamas’s limited tools for dealing with its downward spiral is directly participating in a military escalation in the hope that a new crisis would bring about at least temporary alleviation of the closure; call the world’s attention to the resultant economic distress; increase sympathy for the territory in Egypt and elsewhere; and embarrass Egypt’s leaders about their role in immiserating Gaza.
For the time being, Hamas has rejected this option, as it cannot afford a new round of hostilities. It is politically isolated and in severe economic distress. It can neither count on Egypt’s sympathies nor easily rearm during or after a future crisis. Hamas is hamstrung by the burdens of governance and by the fact that it would bear the brunt of any Israeli offensive. As a result, it chose a softer and less risky alternative this month: giving greater leeway to other factions that wish to attack Israel.
Islamic Jihad, with its massive retaliation for the killing of its militants, saw an opportunity to push to the forefront of the national struggle. In contrast with Hamas, it demonstrated continuing fidelity to the principle of resistance, and, by negotiating a ceasefire directly with Egypt, emerged from Hamas’s shadow, positioning itself as a regional player. Hamas too saw an advantage in the escalation: sending a message that Gaza would not remain passive in the face of isolation and misery.
Hamas leaders reasoned, accurately, that so long as they stayed out of the conflagration and the rocket fire was limited in distance and duration, a major operation would be avoided. Israel also calculated correctly, calibrating its pressure on Gaza so as to signal its seriousness to Hamas, but not strike it so hard as to provoke a much larger confrontation or threaten its control, to which Israel sees no desirable and realistic alternative. Such assessments are fraught with risk. Neither side currently wants a large-scale confrontation, and both hope to maintain or at least extend a fragile equilibrium, but the two major Israeli operations in the past six years, and numerous mini-escalations in between, demonstrate the likelihood of an eventual miscalculation.
If neither side wants to fight, neither do they intend to press for peace. Both are convinced the next round is coming, so will not take militarily disadvantageous steps. But while far from a robust ceasefire, they could unilaterally implement a more limited arrangement that satisfies core, short-terms needs. Gaza has three. What passes for normal life requires sufficient fuel, particularly diesel for electricity; building materials that enable economic activity and maintain basic infrastructure; and a reliably open Gaza-Egypt crossing at Rafah, for entry and egress of persons (goods are provided by Israel). For Israel, the key is stopping rockets. Neither side can get all it wants: Gazans likely will continue to find the border area off limits, fishing zones constricted and, most important, imports restricted and exports blocked – as they have been, increasingly, since the second intifada. Israel, under any scenario except an unlikely Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, cannot completely stop rockets that have been falling on its territory for nearly as long. However, both sides can regain what they in the past have demonstrated a willingness to live with.
A realistic assessment requires acknowledging that military operations will continue on both sides. The question, for now, is how to keep these within relatively narrow bounds, thus saving lives and creating space for dealing with broader political issues. The more Hamas can provide a semblance of Gaza’s basic needs, the better it will be able to enforce a political consensus among the factions to stop the vast majority of rockets and halt entirely the firing of those with the longest ranges and heaviest payloads. Its police can handle much of the rest, though they cannot prevent every freelancer attempting an attack without factional approval.
Meanwhile, Palestinians, Israelis and the international community can lay the groundwork for Palestinian reconciliation and rebuild the fundamentals of a peace process in which both sides have long since lost hope. More broadly, what is good for Gaza, and even Hamas, could turn out to be good as well for Israel and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. With the U.S. looking to extend Israeli-Palestinian negotiations past April, Abbas could demand steps to ease Gaza’s closure and improve its economy as a condition. That would improve his standing in Gaza, especially important now that his detractors within Fatah, particularly those from Gaza, are openly campaigning against him. Israel, should it accept Abbas’s demands, could earn credit for taking action that reduces the risk of a new escalation, while lowering the other costs it might have to pay to extend talks.
In all things Israeli-Palestinian, even modest goals are highly ambitious, and in Gaza, doubly so. Within a fluid and evolving region, Gaza is a venue where various states and actors play out their allegiances and rivalries, including Salafis of several stripes; Egypt; the Muslim Brotherhood in the form of its local affiliate, Hamas; Iran; Hizbollah; the Gulf states; and claimants to power within Fatah. It is a central impediment to a more durable ceasefire agreement that while neither Israel nor Hamas now has what it wants, both have what matters most to them in the short term. Israel has a ceasefire, albeit imperfectly upheld; Hamas has control of Gaza, even if under difficult conditions. Neither wishes to give even a little more for what it already has. But if they do not, both could lose what they now possess.
Jerusalem/Gaza City/Brussels, 25 March 2014
FULL REPORT
Photo: amillionwaystob/flickr

The Next Round in Gaza

Middle East Report N°149 | 25 Mar 2014

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The ceasefire between Israel and Gaza has eroded during the past several months and recently threatened to come to an abrupt end. The day after three members of Islamic Jihad were killed by Israel in a border clash on 11 March 2014, the group, apparently in coordination with Hamas, launched the largest salvo of rockets toward Israel since the last major escalation (known in Israel as Operation Pillar of Defence), in November 2012. In a little over a day’s mediation, Egypt restored quiet. But with Hamas’s fortunes declining and Gaza suffering its worst isolation and economic constriction in years, it is likely a matter of time until a flare-up escalates to major conflagration – unless the sides reach an understanding to extend a fragile quiet. Given Hamas’s isolation and worsening relations with Cairo, it is hard to imagine full implementation of the ceasefire Egypt brokered to end the 2012 fighting. But a rump deal, comprised of that ceasefire’s core elements, still could lessen the chance that Hamas and Israel will be dragged into a conflict neither currently desires, while helping both to secure advantages beyond the Gaza-Israel theatre.

Periodic escalations between Israel and Gaza militants are the rule, not the exception. Their shared border has witnessed regular, low-scale violence punctuated by short, intense escalations, typically when one or both sides feel the implicit rules of engagement have been undercut. Hamas and Israel have been headed toward such a clash since 3 July 2013, when Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi was deposed, and Cairo, as part of its campaign against the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi-jihadis in Sinai, initiated a push to further isolate Gaza by closing the tunnels under its border with Egypt. Among Hamas’s limited tools for dealing with its downward spiral is directly participating in a military escalation in the hope that a new crisis would bring about at least temporary alleviation of the closure; call the world’s attention to the resultant economic distress; increase sympathy for the territory in Egypt and elsewhere; and embarrass Egypt’s leaders about their role in immiserating Gaza.

For the time being, Hamas has rejected this option, as it cannot afford a new round of hostilities. It is politically isolated and in severe economic distress. It can neither count on Egypt’s sympathies nor easily rearm during or after a future crisis. Hamas is hamstrung by the burdens of governance and by the fact that it would bear the brunt of any Israeli offensive. As a result, it chose a softer and less risky alternative this month: giving greater leeway to other factions that wish to attack Israel.

Islamic Jihad, with its massive retaliation for the killing of its militants, saw an opportunity to push to the forefront of the national struggle. In contrast with Hamas, it demonstrated continuing fidelity to the principle of resistance, and, by negotiating a ceasefire directly with Egypt, emerged from Hamas’s shadow, positioning itself as a regional player. Hamas too saw an advantage in the escalation: sending a message that Gaza would not remain passive in the face of isolation and misery.

Hamas leaders reasoned, accurately, that so long as they stayed out of the conflagration and the rocket fire was limited in distance and duration, a major operation would be avoided. Israel also calculated correctly, calibrating its pressure on Gaza so as to signal its seriousness to Hamas, but not strike it so hard as to provoke a much larger confrontation or threaten its control, to which Israel sees no desirable and realistic alternative. Such assessments are fraught with risk. Neither side currently wants a large-scale confrontation, and both hope to maintain or at least extend a fragile equilibrium, but the two major Israeli operations in the past six years, and numerous mini-escalations in between, demonstrate the likelihood of an eventual miscalculation.

If neither side wants to fight, neither do they intend to press for peace. Both are convinced the next round is coming, so will not take militarily disadvantageous steps. But while far from a robust ceasefire, they could unilaterally implement a more limited arrangement that satisfies core, short-terms needs. Gaza has three. What passes for normal life requires sufficient fuel, particularly diesel for electricity; building materials that enable economic activity and maintain basic infrastructure; and a reliably open Gaza-Egypt crossing at Rafah, for entry and egress of persons (goods are provided by Israel). For Israel, the key is stopping rockets. Neither side can get all it wants: Gazans likely will continue to find the border area off limits, fishing zones constricted and, most important, imports restricted and exports blocked – as they have been, increasingly, since the second intifada. Israel, under any scenario except an unlikely Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, cannot completely stop rockets that have been falling on its territory for nearly as long. However, both sides can regain what they in the past have demonstrated a willingness to live with.

A realistic assessment requires acknowledging that military operations will continue on both sides. The question, for now, is how to keep these within relatively narrow bounds, thus saving lives and creating space for dealing with broader political issues. The more Hamas can provide a semblance of Gaza’s basic needs, the better it will be able to enforce a political consensus among the factions to stop the vast majority of rockets and halt entirely the firing of those with the longest ranges and heaviest payloads. Its police can handle much of the rest, though they cannot prevent every freelancer attempting an attack without factional approval.

Meanwhile, Palestinians, Israelis and the international community can lay the groundwork for Palestinian reconciliation and rebuild the fundamentals of a peace process in which both sides have long since lost hope. More broadly, what is good for Gaza, and even Hamas, could turn out to be good as well for Israel and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. With the U.S. looking to extend Israeli-Palestinian negotiations past April, Abbas could demand steps to ease Gaza’s closure and improve its economy as a condition. That would improve his standing in Gaza, especially important now that his detractors within Fatah, particularly those from Gaza, are openly campaigning against him. Israel, should it accept Abbas’s demands, could earn credit for taking action that reduces the risk of a new escalation, while lowering the other costs it might have to pay to extend talks.

In all things Israeli-Palestinian, even modest goals are highly ambitious, and in Gaza, doubly so. Within a fluid and evolving region, Gaza is a venue where various states and actors play out their allegiances and rivalries, including Salafis of several stripes; Egypt; the Muslim Brotherhood in the form of its local affiliate, Hamas; Iran; Hizbollah; the Gulf states; and claimants to power within Fatah. It is a central impediment to a more durable ceasefire agreement that while neither Israel nor Hamas now has what it wants, both have what matters most to them in the short term. Israel has a ceasefire, albeit imperfectly upheld; Hamas has control of Gaza, even if under difficult conditions. Neither wishes to give even a little more for what it already has. But if they do not, both could lose what they now possess.

Jerusalem/Gaza City/Brussels, 25 March 2014

FULL REPORT

Photo: amillionwaystob/flickr

18 Feb
Palestinians in Gaza Strip resent being left out of peace talks | Kate Linthicum
Like many Palestinians, Marwan Hissi has closely followed reports of peace negotiations between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
An unemployed father of five living in a refugee community in the Gaza Strip, Hissi says he has a question for American negotiators leading the talks: “Where’s Hamas?”
The Islamic militant movement, which seized control of Gaza in 2007, has been excluded from the process as U.S. officials work out a preliminary agreement on key issues in the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel, the United States and the European Union refuse to engage with Hamas, which does not recognize Israel’s right to exist and which they consider a terrorist group.
While all eyes are trained on Netanyahu and Abbas as U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry prepares to present a deal, the issue of Hamas, which could make or break the implementation of any agreement, looms uncomfortably in the background.
FULL ARTICLE (L.A. Times)
Photo: J McDowell/flickr

Palestinians in Gaza Strip resent being left out of peace talks | Kate Linthicum

Like many Palestinians, Marwan Hissi has closely followed reports of peace negotiations between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

An unemployed father of five living in a refugee community in the Gaza Strip, Hissi says he has a question for American negotiators leading the talks: “Where’s Hamas?”

The Islamic militant movement, which seized control of Gaza in 2007, has been excluded from the process as U.S. officials work out a preliminary agreement on key issues in the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel, the United States and the European Union refuse to engage with Hamas, which does not recognize Israel’s right to exist and which they consider a terrorist group.

While all eyes are trained on Netanyahu and Abbas as U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry prepares to present a deal, the issue of Hamas, which could make or break the implementation of any agreement, looms uncomfortably in the background.

FULL ARTICLE (L.A. Times)

Photo: J McDowell/flickr

22 Nov
To Save the Peace Process, Get Religion | Yair Rosenberg
A new International Crisis Group report released today argues that in order to forge Israeli-Palestinian peace, negotiators must take into account the concerns of the Jewish state’s religious right, rather than exclude them from the discussion as obstacles. Many are used to thinking of Israel’s religious community–particularly its settlers–as part of the problem. But the ICG says they can–and must–be part of the solution. “If the national religious often have played the spoiler, it is no small part because their concerns have been neglected,” the report observes. “But given that they largely shaped the conflict on the ground and now are in a position to shape its future, continuing this approach could be self-defeating.”
FULL ARTICLE (Tablet) 
Photo: Robert Croma/Flickr

To Save the Peace Process, Get Religion | Yair Rosenberg

A new International Crisis Group report released today argues that in order to forge Israeli-Palestinian peace, negotiators must take into account the concerns of the Jewish state’s religious right, rather than exclude them from the discussion as obstacles. Many are used to thinking of Israel’s religious community–particularly its settlers–as part of the problem. But the ICG says they can–and must–be part of the solution. “If the national religious often have played the spoiler, it is no small part because their concerns have been neglected,” the report observes. “But given that they largely shaped the conflict on the ground and now are in a position to shape its future, continuing this approach could be self-defeating.”

FULL ARTICLE (Tablet) 

Photo: Robert Croma/Flickr

21 Nov
Leap of Faith: Israel’s National Religious and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Jerusalem/Brussels | 21 Nov 2013
For peace talks to produce an agreement enjoying maximum legitimacy, Israel’s national-religious community should be engaged lest it obstruct the path to peace.
In its latest report, Leap of Faith: Israel’s National Religious and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, the International Crisis Group examines Israel’s national-religious community. Although a small minority, the national religious enjoy significant electoral strength and outsized influence in state institutions, including within the governing coalition. They have been seen as an obstacle to the peace process, and they and their concerns have been kept out of that process. But those striving to revive it should engage them in order to secure their support for – or at least acquiescence in – a two-state solution.
The report’s major findings and recommendations are:
Israel’s 2005 Gaza disengagement constituted a major blow to the national-religious community, prompting its leaders to shift focus from settlement construction to broadening support among Israeli Jews and heightening its presence in state institutions and political parties.
In general, the national religious show strong deference to decisions backed by a Jewish majority and equally strong hostility to violent resistance to the state. This should be of relevance in assessing reactions to a two-state solution and to future settlement evacuations.
The two-state agenda to date largely has been a project of the Israeli left, one that the national religious feel has both targeted them and neglected their concerns. In order to gain their support for – or at least acquiescence in – a two-state solution, careful attention must be paid to how their concerns might be addressed in an eventual deal, the method through which a deal is ratified and the manner in which it is implemented.
Although the national-religious community politically is stronger than ever, it has proved unable to definitively prevent partition of the land. It is both in full swing and in full crisis, with much of its present strength deriving from its integration in society at the expense of ideological purity.
Religiously motivated violence stems largely from small, theologically marginal groups. Despite more effective law enforcement and increased intervention by mainstream national-religious figures to condemn such acts, radical groups are gaining followers, especially among the young.
“Achieving national-religious support for a two-state solution will not be easy, nor – even with the best of efforts – can one expect such support to be either whole-hearted or comprehensive”, says Ofer Zalzberg, Middle East and North Africa Analyst. “Still, more can and should be tried to address national-religious concerns if a sustainable agreement is sought”.
“The peace process traditionally has done the least to attract those who – whether Israeli or Palestinian – have the most energy and the greatest incentive to undermine it”, says Robert Blecher, Middle East and North Africa Deputy Program Director. “That is hardly the way to secure a viable, lasting and solid agreement”.
Read the executive summary and the full report.
PHOTO: acroll/Flickr

Leap of Faith: Israel’s National Religious and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Jerusalem/Brussels | 21 Nov 2013

For peace talks to produce an agreement enjoying maximum legitimacy, Israel’s national-religious community should be engaged lest it obstruct the path to peace.

In its latest report, Leap of Faith: Israel’s National Religious and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, the International Crisis Group examines Israel’s national-religious community. Although a small minority, the national religious enjoy significant electoral strength and outsized influence in state institutions, including within the governing coalition. They have been seen as an obstacle to the peace process, and they and their concerns have been kept out of that process. But those striving to revive it should engage them in order to secure their support for – or at least acquiescence in – a two-state solution.

The report’s major findings and recommendations are:

  • Israel’s 2005 Gaza disengagement constituted a major blow to the national-religious community, prompting its leaders to shift focus from settlement construction to broadening support among Israeli Jews and heightening its presence in state institutions and political parties.
  • In general, the national religious show strong deference to decisions backed by a Jewish majority and equally strong hostility to violent resistance to the state. This should be of relevance in assessing reactions to a two-state solution and to future settlement evacuations.
  • The two-state agenda to date largely has been a project of the Israeli left, one that the national religious feel has both targeted them and neglected their concerns. In order to gain their support for – or at least acquiescence in – a two-state solution, careful attention must be paid to how their concerns might be addressed in an eventual deal, the method through which a deal is ratified and the manner in which it is implemented.
  • Although the national-religious community politically is stronger than ever, it has proved unable to definitively prevent partition of the land. It is both in full swing and in full crisis, with much of its present strength deriving from its integration in society at the expense of ideological purity.
  • Religiously motivated violence stems largely from small, theologically marginal groups. Despite more effective law enforcement and increased intervention by mainstream national-religious figures to condemn such acts, radical groups are gaining followers, especially among the young.

“Achieving national-religious support for a two-state solution will not be easy, nor – even with the best of efforts – can one expect such support to be either whole-hearted or comprehensive”, says Ofer Zalzberg, Middle East and North Africa Analyst. “Still, more can and should be tried to address national-religious concerns if a sustainable agreement is sought”.

“The peace process traditionally has done the least to attract those who – whether Israeli or Palestinian – have the most energy and the greatest incentive to undermine it”, says Robert Blecher, Middle East and North Africa Deputy Program Director. “That is hardly the way to secure a viable, lasting and solid agreement”.

Read the executive summary and the full report.

PHOTO: acroll/Flickr

10 Oct
Israël tente de rapprocher Chypre et la Turquie | Hugh Pope
Tout doucement, Israël pousse la Turquie et Chypre à faire un choix : coopérer pour participer au développement de la production israélienne du gaz naturel présent dans l’est de la Méditerranée, ou rester en recul et demeurer dans l’impasse dans laquelle ils se trouvent depuis des décennies.
Israël, qui privilégie l’idée d’exporter son gaz via des gazoducs vers la Turquie et Chypre, se trouve dans un rapport de force lui permettant d’obtenir la coopération de ces derniers : lui seul possède d’importantes réserves avérées, tandis que des forages tentent encore d’établir si les réserves de Chypre sont suffisamment importantes pour pouvoir être exportées.
Lire tout l’article (L’Orient Le Jour) 
Photo: Hibr/Flickr

Israël tente de rapprocher Chypre et la Turquie | Hugh Pope

Tout doucement, Israël pousse la Turquie et Chypre à faire un choix : coopérer pour participer au développement de la production israélienne du gaz naturel présent dans l’est de la Méditerranée, ou rester en recul et demeurer dans l’impasse dans laquelle ils se trouvent depuis des décennies.

Israël, qui privilégie l’idée d’exporter son gaz via des gazoducs vers la Turquie et Chypre, se trouve dans un rapport de force lui permettant d’obtenir la coopération de ces derniers : lui seul possède d’importantes réserves avérées, tandis que des forages tentent encore d’établir si les réserves de Chypre sont suffisamment importantes pour pouvoir être exportées.

Lire tout l’article (L’Orient Le Jour) 

Photo: Hibr/Flickr

2 Oct
Israel’s plan to bring Cyprus and Turkey together | Hugh Pope
Israel is quietly challenging Turkey and Cyprus to make a choice: move together to develop Israel’s share of the East Mediterranean’s natural gas riches, or stay on the sidelines and perpetuate their decades-old stalemate over Cyprus.
Israel has stated its preference for export pipelines to both Turkey and Cyprus, and is in a strong position to elicit both countries’ cooperation: only Israel has big proven reserves, while test drillings are still trying to establish whether Cyprus has major exportable quantities. Both fields are being developed by the same U.S. and Israeli operating companies, who will make the main export decisions – subject, in the case of Israeli gas, to Israeli government permission.
FULL ARTICLE (International Relations and Security Network) 
Photo: david_shankbone/Flickr

Israel’s plan to bring Cyprus and Turkey together | Hugh Pope

Israel is quietly challenging Turkey and Cyprus to make a choice: move together to develop Israel’s share of the East Mediterranean’s natural gas riches, or stay on the sidelines and perpetuate their decades-old stalemate over Cyprus.

Israel has stated its preference for export pipelines to both Turkey and Cyprus, and is in a strong position to elicit both countries’ cooperation: only Israel has big proven reserves, while test drillings are still trying to establish whether Cyprus has major exportable quantities. Both fields are being developed by the same U.S. and Israeli operating companies, who will make the main export decisions – subject, in the case of Israeli gas, to Israeli government permission.

FULL ARTICLE (International Relations and Security Network) 

Photo: david_shankbone/Flickr

27 Sep
International Crisis Group’s Robert Blecher speaks to MEMO on the Arab-Israel conflict | Amelia Smith
"I grew up in a house that was democratic with a big D" Robert Blecher tells me to explain how his interest in the Middle East started. He also had a number of friends at college who were socially active, he says, and got pulled into doing Israel Palestine work.
After graduating, Blecher went to Jerusalem to work for a human rights organisation, ‘the Hotline.’ The director position was split between two people, but as they only had one desk, only one of them could be there at a time. He was one of three people in the office - “there was a staff attorney, and there was me” - he explains.
FULL ARTICLE (Middle East Monitor) 
Photo: bulletsburning/Flickr

International Crisis Group’s Robert Blecher speaks to MEMO on the Arab-Israel conflict | Amelia Smith

"I grew up in a house that was democratic with a big D" Robert Blecher tells me to explain how his interest in the Middle East started. He also had a number of friends at college who were socially active, he says, and got pulled into doing Israel Palestine work.

After graduating, Blecher went to Jerusalem to work for a human rights organisation, ‘the Hotline.’ The director position was split between two people, but as they only had one desk, only one of them could be there at a time. He was one of three people in the office - “there was a staff attorney, and there was me” - he explains.

FULL ARTICLE (Middle East Monitor) 

Photo: bulletsburning/Flickr

19 Sep
Israel’s plan to bring Cyprus and Turkey together | Hugh Pope
Israel is quietly challenging Turkey and Cyprus to make a choice: move together to develop Israel’s share of the East Mediterranean’s natural gas riches, or stay on the sidelines and perpetuate their decades-old stalemate over Cyprus.
Israel has stated its preference for export pipelines to both Turkey and Cyprus, and is in a strong position to elicit both countries’ cooperation: Only Israel has big proven reserves, while test drillings are still trying to establish whether Cyprus has major exportable quantities. Both fields are being developed by the same US and Israeli operating companies, who will make the main export decisions – subject, in the case of Israeli gas, to Israeli government permission.
FULL ARTICLE (Ekathimerini)
Photo: Christine and David Schmitt/Flickr

Israel’s plan to bring Cyprus and Turkey together | Hugh Pope

Israel is quietly challenging Turkey and Cyprus to make a choice: move together to develop Israel’s share of the East Mediterranean’s natural gas riches, or stay on the sidelines and perpetuate their decades-old stalemate over Cyprus.

Israel has stated its preference for export pipelines to both Turkey and Cyprus, and is in a strong position to elicit both countries’ cooperation: Only Israel has big proven reserves, while test drillings are still trying to establish whether Cyprus has major exportable quantities. Both fields are being developed by the same US and Israeli operating companies, who will make the main export decisions – subject, in the case of Israeli gas, to Israeli government permission.

FULL ARTICLE (Ekathimerini)

Photo: Christine and David Schmitt/Flickr

26 Aug
"I think the view from Jerusalem is that the role of the Americans can be, and is often, greatly overstated. In the past in Arab-Israeli peacemaking, you know that parties have come together without the Americans. The Americans have come later and I think that it is a mistaken idea that the Americans are necessary to the process. They are necessary to get the two parties together today because the two parties aren’t interested in negotiating, and that makes the outcome of this round of talks all the more unlikely to succeed."

Nathan Thrall, senior analyst, International Crisis Group. Thrall will be appears on this month’s edition of the Al Jazeera program “Empire” to discuss the the history of the Israel-Palestine peace process, the relationship between Israel and the US, and to offer his analysis on the latest round of talks. 

1 Aug
Netanyahu, Then and Now | Nathan Thrall
As Israelis and Palestinians embark on a new round of peace talks, critics of Benjamin Netanyahu have expressed doubt that the Israeli prime minister, once a leading opponent of the Oslo Accords, can change his ways. On Monday, Israeli deputy transportation minister Tzipi Hotovely, a member of the prime minister’s Likud party, wrote that “Netanyahu will not offer the Palestinians more than his predecessors, Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak, so it is just a matter of time before these peace talks deadlock as well.”
FULL ARTICLE (New York Review of Books) 
Photo: World Economic Forum/Wikimedia Commons

Netanyahu, Then and Now | Nathan Thrall

As Israelis and Palestinians embark on a new round of peace talks, critics of Benjamin Netanyahu have expressed doubt that the Israeli prime minister, once a leading opponent of the Oslo Accords, can change his ways. On Monday, Israeli deputy transportation minister Tzipi Hotovely, a member of the prime minister’s Likud party, wrote that “Netanyahu will not offer the Palestinians more than his predecessors, Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak, so it is just a matter of time before these peace talks deadlock as well.”

FULL ARTICLE (New York Review of Books) 

Photo: World Economic Forum/Wikimedia Commons