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  • Author: James Andrew Lewis
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Gulf has become a flashpoint for cyber conflict. Cyberspace has become an arena for covert struggle, with the United States, Israel and other nations on one side, and Iran and Russia on the other. Iran has far outpaced the GCC states in developing its cyber capabilities, both for monitoring internal dissent and deploying hackers to disrupt or attack foreign targets. Several such attacks over the past two years were likely either directed or permitted by Iranian state authorities. Even if Iran holds back from offensive actions as nuclear talks progress, the growth in Iranian capabilities remains a potential security threat for other Gulf states. The GCC countries have begun to develop their defensive capabilities, but they will need to expand their defenses and collaborate more effectively to deter future threats.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Defense Policy, Development, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Lani Frerichs, David Andrés Viñas, Nicola Bay
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The most recent escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip and southern Israel has come at an unacceptable human cost. To date, it has resulted in the deaths of more than 2,100 Palestinians, with roughly 85 per cent of those identified thought to be civilians. Six civilians in Israel and 64 Israeli soldiers have been killed. More than 10,000 Palestinians, the vast majority civilians, and more than 500 Israelis have been injured. Vital infrastructure in Gaza has been extensively damaged, with initial estimates for reconstruction well into the billions of dollars and 100,000 Palestinians left without a home.
  • Topic: Security, War
  • Political Geography: Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Alexandre Catta, Aladdin Diakun, Clara Yoon
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Mainstream analysis on China tends to be overly optimistic, leaving a blind spot in strategic planning. While the country's socio-economic landscape has been transformed over several decades of uninterrupted growth, it faces significant domestic and international risks and constraints. Chief among these are labour insecurity and imbalances, environmental constraints and rising climatic risks, and food insecurity, all coupled with rising popular expectations for a higher overall standard of living. Major soy producers (Argentina, Brazil and the United States) should take steps to ensure the stability of China's supply. In particular, these countries should set aside reserves to help mitigate future supply shocks and price spikes resulting from climate change. Manufacturers operating in or with China should immediately begin mapping their supply chains to identify vulnerabilities associated with crisis scenarios in the country. Where specific risks are identified, they should explore supply-chain diversification to boost resilience among major trading partners. To deter China from externalizing internal stresses, international actors should raise the political costs of nationalistic unilateralism by opening more channels for dialogue, deepening institutional integration and buttressing cooperative security norms.
  • Topic: Security, Agriculture, Climate Change, Development, Economics, Environment, Food
  • Political Geography: China, Israel
  • Author: Takako Ueta
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Asia is a prominent export market for Europe while in the East and South China Seas, tensions continue. Europe has searched for its political role in Asia. This policy brief presents an analysis and argues the role of Europe in enhancing cooperative security in Asia and the Pacific, which would promote stability and peace there.
  • Topic: Security, Emerging Markets, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Japan, Europe, Israel, Asia
  • Author: Bonnie S. Glaser
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The risk of conflict in the South China Sea is significant. China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and the Philippines have competing territorial and jurisdictional claims, particularly over rights to exploit the region's possibly extensive reserves of oil and gas. Freedom of navigation in the region is also a contentious issue, especially between the United States and China over the right of U.S. military vessels to operate in China's two-hundred-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ). These tensions are shaping—and being shaped by—rising apprehensions about the growth of China's military power and its regional intentions. China has embarked on a substantial modernization of its maritime paramilitary forces as well as naval capabilities to enforce its sovereignty and jurisdiction claims by force if necessary. At the same time, it is developing capabilities that would put U.S. forces in the region at risk in a conflict, thus potentially denying access to the U.S. Navy in the western Pacific.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Oil, Natural Resources, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Malaysia, Israel, Taiwan, Vietnam, Southeast Asia, Brunei
  • Author: Daniel Seidemann
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: What are Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's real intentions vis-à-vis Israeli–Palestinian negotiations and the two-state solution? What does he really want? Speculation aside, a great deal can be gleaned about both Netanyahu's core beliefs and his intentions by examining his words and his actions with respect to Jerusalem. Jerusalem is universally recognised as a key permanent status issue, which, for any peace agreement, will require the reconciling of competing Israeli and Palestinian claims as well as recognition and protection of Jewish, Muslim and Christian equities. In the context of the current political stalemate, however, it has become much more than that. Today, Jerusalem is both the volcanic core of the conflict – the place where religion and nationalism meet and combine in a potentially volatile mix – and a microcosm of the conflict and the imbalance of power that characterises developments on the ground.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Treaties and Agreements, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Lara El-Jazairi, Fionna Smyth
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The Jordan Valley, located in the eastern part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), makes up 30 per cent of the West Bank (see Map 1 on page 7). Requisitions and expropriations of Palestinian land by the Israeli authorities continue to destroy the livelihoods of Palestinians living in the area and, unless action is taken, there are strong indications that the situation will only get worse. The Israeli government recently announced proposals and policies for the expansion of settlements, which, if implemented, will further threaten the living conditions and human rights of Palestinian communities in the Jordan Valley, undermining efforts to bring peace and prosperity to the OPT and Israel.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Agriculture, Development, Peace Studies, Treaties and Agreements, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Scott Thomas Bruce
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: With North Korea's tightly controlled and isolated population, the rise of information technology—specifically cell phones and an intranet—is an unprecedented development. In the last decade, a domestic intranet was launched and a cell phone network was created. Both of these form a closed, domestic system, which the regime hopes will allow for productivity gains from increased coordination and the sharing of state-approved information, while keeping out foreign influences. North Korea is now confronted with the challenge of how to reap the economic benefits of an IT system, while avoiding the social instability that may accompany it. The country has made a fundamental shift from a state that limits access to information technology to ensure the security of the regime, to one that is willing to use it as a tool, at least among a certain privileged class, to support the development of the nation. Although North Korea is stable for now, over the next decade, information technology has the potential to transform the state and it also creates a strong incentive to integrate North Korea into the dynamic economies of Northeast Asia.
  • Topic: Security, Human Rights, Communications, Governance
  • Political Geography: Israel, Asia, North Korea
  • Author: Martin Hartberg
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The ceasefire agreed between the Government of Israel and Hamas on 21 November 2012, following the recent military escalation in Gaza and southern Israel, provides an unprecedented opportunity to end the cycle of violence that has affected too many innocent Israeli and Palestinian civilians. In the ceasefire understanding, the parties agreed to negotiate 'opening the crossings' into the Gaza Strip and to put an end to 'restricting residents' free movement and targeting residents in border areas'. It is therefore also a unique chance to once and for all lift the Israeli blockade on Gaza, which has had a devastating impact on the lives and well-being of Gaza's civilian population and on Palestinian development.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Political Violence, Islam, War, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Gaza
  • Author: Michael Herzog
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt caught Israel by surprise. Awe-inspiring as they are to Israel's government and people, these revolutions and the ongoing troubles in Bahrain and Libya are also of immense concern to Israel because of their potential strategic ramifications. Going forward, developments in Egypt will be particularly important given Cairo's traditional role in the region and the special nature of its diplomatic, security, and economic relations with Israel.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Israel, Libya, Arabia, Arab Countries, Egypt, Tunisia
  • Author: Jochen Prantl
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies
  • Abstract: Existing work on energy security tends to over-emphasise the prospect of competition and conflict over resources while under-exploring the promise of cooperation. This policy brief provides a framework for understanding energy security cooperation and highlights some building blocks for crafting such cooperation in East Asia. At present, instead of an integrated regime, issues related to energy security are addressed through a patchwork of loosely coupled rules, regulations and institutions, overlapping and sometimes competing, which amount to a regime complex. This policy brief stipulates that an energy security regime complex may have advantages over an integrated regime, most notably in terms of adaptability, flexibility and voice, features which are particularly pertinent in an environment of high vulnerability and uncertainty.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Israel, East Asia
  • Author: Ehud Eiran
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Israel has been generally quiet regarding the recent turmoil in Syria, a reflection of the issue\'s relative low priority, as well as Israel\'s limited influence on internal Syrian matters. Israel\'s preferred outcome would be a stable Syrian regime that disassociates itself from the “axis of resistance,” poses no bilateral threats, and controls the border area—though Israel sees no clear path for achieving these aims. The view in Israel is that the basic structure of deterrence still holds vis-à-vis Syria and the regime—even in its desperate circumstances—is unlikely to provoke Israel in dramatic ways.
  • Topic: Security, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Author: Elizabeth Hervey Stephen
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The South Korean military currently is the sixth-largest in the world. But years of low birth rates have resulted in declining numbers of young men available for military service, and the country now faces the pressing question of how to ensure national security in the face of inevitable troop reductions. Some options for offsetting this shrinking recruit pool (such as increasing fertility, increasing immigration, and increasing the number of women in the military) might seem obvious, but the complex economic, social, and cultural reality of South Korea make them unlikely to be embraced. The best focus for immediate action is to stabilize or increase service terms and to encourage development and implementation of high-tech security systems. While the recruit pool appears nearly adequate at present, South Korea must act quickly to develop the leaner, more diverse, and more technologically based military necessary for the country to maintain a viable military force.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Israel, Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Jacques E.C. Hymans
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Prior to the Japanese earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster of March 11, 2011, international observers frequently posed the question of whether Japan might convert its large stockpile of plutonium into nuclear weapons. Since March 11, their main question has shifted to whether Japan will decide to exit from the nuclear energy field altogether.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, Natural Disasters, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Japan, Israel
  • Author: Kristian Kurki
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The ballistic missile defence (bmd) has been promoted as a means to counter the security concern posed by North Korea's missile and nuclear programmes. While these could threaten Japan in theory, the likelihood of an attack by North Korea is negligible as the consequences of such an action would compromise the survival of the North Korean regime. Conversely, an exaggerated response to North Korea's missile programme increases the risk of even further unpredictable provocations by North Korea. Other regional actors, especially China and even Russia, may counter Japan's increased defence readiness with even greater military presence in the region, leading to an exacerbation of regional tension. bmd, and intensified defence measures at large, will contribute to a perpetuation of rivalry between Japan and its East Asian neighbours, restricting Japan's diplomatic manoeuvrability and reducing its future policy options towards consolidating a regional security architecture. bmd should not be seen as a test case in the validity and future integrity of the us-Japanese defence alliance. Disparate political and cultural traditions aside, shared economic interests and values suffice to ensure the continuity of the alliance, which is not as fragile as recent media reports have suggested.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy
  • Political Geography: Japan, Israel, East Asia, North Korea
  • Author: John Feffer
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: North Korea and Israel have a lot in common. Neither is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and both employ their nuclear weapons in elaborate games of peek-a-boo with the international community. Israel and North Korea are equally paranoid about outsiders conspiring to destroy their states, and this paranoia isn't without some justification. Partly as a result of these suspicions, both countries engage in reckless and destabilizing foreign policies. In recent years, Israel has launched preemptive strikes and invaded other countries, while North Korea has abducted foreign citizens and blown up South Korean targets (including, possibly, a South Korean ship in late March in the Yellow Sea).
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Human Rights, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Abbas Shiblak
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The quest of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes is not only a legal and moral right but has become a major part of Palestinian identity and symbolizes Palestinian historical narratives. It has been an effective instrument of mobilization that became the political priority of various resistance groups which later formed the Palestine Liberation Organization. The PLO embarked on a line of negotiation which sought to reconcile rightist and realist approaches. They sought acknowledgment by Israel of its responsibility for the refugee issue and acceptance in principle of their right of return while showing flexibility and readiness to discuss various formulations of return. At the core of the inter-Palestinian debate is the dynamic between the two objectives of achieving statehood and the resolution of the refugee issue. State-building came to be seen not only as a means of reconstructing Palestinian identity but also as a catalyst to resolution of the refugee issue. A peace agreement should widen the options for the refugees and address all aspects of the refugee issue including the rights of repatriation to Israel, return to a Palestinian state, compensation, and equality and full citizenship rights in countries where refugees choose to remain. A comprehensive peace agreement must include the regional aspects of the refugee issue and all regional actors. There is an urgent need to review the current format of negotiations and bring about more balanced and effective international political engagement in the bilateral Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Political Violence, Political Economy, Post Colonialism, Poverty, Terrorism, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: North Korea says it is preparing to launch an experimental communications satellite using a rocket that is part of its ballistic missile program. This would be in the face of an international outcry, and of what is a strong though not definitive argument that it violates two UN Security Council resolutions. Japan has been most vocally opposed, saying it will shoot down the rocket if it threatens to fall on its territory. But even if the test is successful, it would only slightly increase security risks, while an overblown response would likely jeopardise the Six-Party Talks to end North Korea's nuclear program. What is needed is a calm, coordinated response from the key actors to raise pressure on Pyongyang to return to the talks rather than a divided reaction that only fulfils the North's desire to widen splits among its neighbours.
  • Topic: Security, Weapons of Mass Destruction, International Security
  • Political Geography: Israel, Asia, North Korea
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Defense Information
  • Abstract: For the second year in a row, an unexpected major "national security" crisis threatened to reignite - again - into the latest round of armed conflict since the two countries were created 61 years ago. Headlines throughout most of December speculated about the added damage war would bring to an already financially weakened international system. Then, on Dec. 26, 2008, Israeli warplanes struck the Hamas-run Gaza Strip in what Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak would label an attempt to destroy Hamas once and for all.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation
  • Political Geography: Israel
  • Author: Ehud Yaari
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Egypt has been scrambling to formulate a new policy toward the Gaza Strip this week after being challenged by Hamas, which opened more than eleven crossings along the Israeli-constructed wall that serves as the Egypt-Gaza border. Up to 750,000 Palestinians have flooded the northeastern corner of the Sinai Peninsula since January 23, spending approximately $130 million in local markets, while tens of thousands of Egyptians took advantage of the lack of immigration, customs, and security controls to cross into Gaza. This massive movement of people caught many by surprise and may have serious ramifications for Israel, Egypt, and the Palestinians.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza, Egypt
  • Author: David Schenker, Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 08-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Last week, Jordan's minister of information publicly confirmed that senior Jordanian officials have been meeting with Hamas in an effort to "solve pending security issues." These talks represent a significant shift for Amman, since relations between Jordan and the Palestinian group had been frozen for two years, following the arrest of three Hamas members in the kingdom on terrorism and weapons charges. Although the decision to renew contacts with Hamas suggests that Amman remains concerned with Hamas-related activities in the kingdom, the timing also highlights domestic and regional pressures on King Abdullah and the Jordanian government.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Arab Countries, Jordan
  • Author: Hassan Barari
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Almost a decade after expelling Hamas from its territory, Jordan is in the process of reassessing its ties with the militant Palestinian group, an organization dedicated to undermining the two-state solution. Although Jordanian officials repeatedly have stated their aversion to dealing with non-state actors, recent discussions with Hamas suggest that Jordanian policy is driven more by pragmatism than principle. Current realities, including the growing strength of Hamas and the waning prospects of peace between Israel and the Palestinians, are propelling Amman to engage in tactical shifts in its foreign policy to protect its national interests. How this will affect the peace process and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas remains to be seen.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Jordan
  • Author: Yoram Cohen
  • Publication Date: 11-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Last week, Israeli forces entered Gaza, destroyed an underground border tunnel, and battled Hamas fighters, leaving several militants dead. In response, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad fired around eighty rockets into southern Israel, including the Israeli city of Ashkelon. Despite this breach of the tahdiya, or ceasefire, both Hamas and Israeli leaders have stressed their desire to deescalate the situation. But considering Hamas's history of violence against Israel, the organization's commitment to the tahdiya is open to serious question.
  • Topic: Security, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Gaza
  • Author: David Schenker, Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 11-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: High on the agenda of the November 27-28 meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors (BOG) will be the November 19 report from Director General Mohammed ElBaradei about Syria. How the IAEA responds to the Syrian challenge may determine whether future urgent proliferation concerns are taken to the IAEA and UN Security Council or resolved through military force, such as Israel's airstrike last year on Syria's Dayr al-Zor site.
  • Topic: Security, International Organization, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Syria
  • Author: Karim Sadjadpour
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Although Tehran and Washington appear hopelessly divided, issues of broad mutual concern reveal important overlapping interests. The United States can more effectively support democracy and human rights in Iran with policies that facilitate, rather than impede, Iran's modernization and reintegration in the global economy. The next U.S. president should not immediately seek comprehensive engagement with Tehran, as this might enhance Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's chances of reelection in Iran's June 2009 presidential elections. The United States must deal with those who hold power in Tehran, namely Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Given the widespread mutual mistrust between Washington and Tehran, confidence should be built with negotiations on areas of common interest, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, rather than those of little or no common interest, such as the Palestinian–Israeli conflict or the nuclear issue. When it comes to U.S.–Iranian interaction, the record shows that “secret” or “private” discussions out of public earshot have a greater success rate. Building confidence in the public realm will be difficult, as politicians on both sides will likely feel the need to use harsh rhetoric to maintain appearances. It is imperative that Washington maintain a multilateral approach toward Iran, especially regarding the nuclear issue. Tehran is highly adept at exploiting rifts in the international community and diplomatic efforts to check Iran's nuclear ambitions will unravel if key countries approach Iran with divergent redlines. Powerful spoilers—both within Iran and among Iran's Arab allies—have entrenched economic and political interests in preventing U.S.–Iranian reconciliation.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iran, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Tehran, Palestine
  • Author: Nick Francona
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Hamas's June 2007 victory over Fatah was more than a political achievement -- it was a military bonanza. From its capture of Fatah's security headquarters, Hamas acquired stockpiles of American-made small arms and ammunition as well as a wide range of military equipment and vehicles originally transferred to bolster Fatah forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas. In addition, increased smuggling activity since June has reportedly provided Hamas with Russian-made weapons, including antitank and antiaircraft missiles. Israel's Shin Bet estimates that forty tons of explosives entered Gaza in the two months following Hamas's takeover, along with 150 rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) launchers in August alone. In all, according to Israeli public security minister Avi Dichter, it would have taken Hamas approximately one year to obtain the amount of weaponry seized during the Gaza takeover through smuggling or other means.
  • Topic: Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Fatah-Hamas unity agreement reached in Mecca last week has powerful implications for all regional players. The most serious challenge it poses is to U.S. diplomacy.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Mecca
  • Author: Seth Wikas
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The first annual International Media Forum on the Golan Heights, held November 5-7, 2006, in the city of Quneitra on the Syria-Israel border, highlighted Syria's stated desire for the return of the entire Golan. The forum's backdrop was a litany of controversial statements made by Syrian president Bashar al-Asad about his next moves in relation to Israel.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Syria
  • Author: Christopher Hamilton, Dvorah Chen
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Israel's summer war with Hizballah has again raised legal questions about the imprisonment of terrorists in Israel. From its founding, the state of Israel has been forced to confront belligerent activities by hostile states and organizations seeking to destroy it. The struggle against Palestinian terrorism has taken an enormous toll over the course of the second intifada, during which time more than one thousand Israelis have been killed and thousands more wounded. Enemy combatants are imprisoned in order to prevent them from causing further destruction. Therefore, terrorist detentions play a central role in the struggle to prevent terrorist activities, and the legal issues surrounding these detentions pose crucial concerns for the entire international community. There are two major processes for the prosecution of terrorist detainees in Israel: (1) through the normal civilian criminal track based on penal legislation, and (2) through special administrative measures under the minister of defense.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Christopher Hamilton, Barak Ben-Zur
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Earlier this week, Israel began its long-anticipated ground offensive in Lebanon intended to degrade Hizballahs military apparatus, pacify Israels northern border with Lebanon, and lay the foundation for what is now frequently referred to as a sustainable ceasefire. Reaching a consensus on the precise meaning of the term sustainable will be a difficult prerequisite. But however such a ceasefire is defined beyond the presence of a robust international force, there is widespread agreement that it must include the participation of Syriaparticularly a commitment by Damascus to adhere to UN Security Council Resolutions 1559 and 1680. So far, Syria has given no indication that it will agree to such a course, and, given the events of the past several weeks, it is difficult to imagine the circumstances under which Syrian president Bashar al-Asad might change his mind. That said, Israels new ground offensive in Lebanon represents a significant change in the status quo, one that may force Syria to reconsider.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Lebanon
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As diplomacy to end hostilities between Israel and Lebanon intensifies at the United Nations, with a first resolution passed perhaps on Monday, conceptual gaps between the parties remain. The differences range from substantive to procedural. France has been at the center of diplomacy surrounding the passage of a UN Security Council resolution, since it is expected to lead the multinational force to southern Lebanon. From the outset of its consultations with the United States, which are at the center of UN diplomacy, France has sought two Security Council resolutions; this plan has won the backing of U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice. The first resolution would declare an immediate ceasefire and establish general principles to guide the period after the ceasefire. The second resolution would, among other things, define the scope and mission of the multinational force.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, France, Lebanon
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On Wednesday, an international conference will open in Italy to discuss the state of Lebanon and explore potential formulas for an Israeli-Hizballah ceasefire. Current conditions make an immediate ceasefire unlikely, but should changing events make a ceasefire possible, one of the first priorities for the Bush administration and the international community will be to find a mechanism to reinvigorate and implement the remaining stipulations of UN Security Council Resolution 1559. In particular, that means disarming Hizballah. The group will no doubt oppose international and domestic efforts to disarm it, but the Lebanese government and the international community can take steps in the context of a ceasefire to consolidate Lebanese resentment toward Hizballah and press ahead with Resolution 1559.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Treaties and Agreements, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Israel, Lebanon
  • Author: David Schenker, Dennis Ross, Moshe Yaalon
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On July 19, 2006, Brig. Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon, David Schenker, and Dennis Ross addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. General Yaalon, a distinguished military fellow at the Institute, is the former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) chief of staff. Mr. Schenker, a senior fellow in Arab politics at the Institute, served until 2005 as Levant country director of the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Ambassador Ross, the Institute's counselor and Ziegler distinguished fellow, is a former U.S. Middle East peace envoy and author of The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: Security, United Nations, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Earlier today, Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashal held a press conference in Damascus broadcast live on al-Jazeera, al-Arabiya, and Syrian state television. During the broadcast, Mashal described kidnapped Israeli soldier Cpl. Gilad Shalit as a “prisoner of war,” said that prisoner exchange was the only solution to the crisis, and appeared to recommend direct negotiations between Israel and Hamas. The press conference was significant, not only for its content, but because it was held in a Damascus hotel: typically in the past, when Syria-based terrorist organizations took responsibility for operations, they did so from Beirut. The high profile Mashal statement from Damascus suggests that the Asad regime has changed its rules of engagement from tacit to explicit support for Hamas. The shift highlights Syria's emboldened foreign policy a year and a half after the assassination in Beirut of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Gaza, Syria
  • Author: Efraim Halevy
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In the current global circumstances, the role of intelligence gathering and analysis in policymaking has become increasingly important. As a result, intelligence leaders have ever more influence in the policymaking process. This is particularly the case in Israel, where some of the political leadership's most significant decisions came on the heels of Mossad and Military Intelligence initiatives and assessments.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Politics
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Israel, Jerusalem
  • Author: David Makovsky, Dennis Ross
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Ehud Olmert is proposing a plan to withdraw 60,000 settlers from the West Bank and consolidate Israel's borders. His reasoning is that these settlers have been in limbo for thirty-nine years. He does not want their presence in the West Bank to jeopardize Israel's democratic nature, nor to use them as human bargaining chips in negotiations. He is looking at the issue from the perspective of security instead of ideology.
  • Topic: Security, Migration, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs
  • Abstract: The first half of 2006 witnessed continuing sectarian violence and domestic insurgency in Iraq and the inability of Iran and the international community to find a politically acceptable means for ensuring adequate transparency and confidence that Iran's nuclear technology program would not be diverted to military purposes. To that end, the Pugwash Conferences and the Center for Strategic Research in Tehran co-sponsored an international conference in April 2006 covering both Iran's nuclear energy program and the equally important issue of Iraq and regional stability (see p. 35). Unfortunately, little progress was made on either issue, whether at the conference or by the international community. When added to the continuing stalemate in the Palestinian-Israeli peace process occasioned by the election of a Hamas government, the outlook for Middle East stability could not have been more bleak.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Dennis Ross, Moshe Yaalon, Avi Dichter
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On December 15, 2005, Lt. Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon, Avi Dichter, and Ambassador Dennis Ross addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. General Yaalon, a distinguished military fellow at the Institute, is the former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) chief of staff. Mr. Dichter, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution's Saban Center for Middle East Policy, is the former head of the Israeli Security Agency (Shin Bet). Ambassador Ross, the Institute's counselor and Ziegler distinguished fellow, is a former U.S. Middle East peace envoy and author of The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace (2004). The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Moshe Yaalon
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Ten years ago today, the Israeli prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, was assassinated. This was one of the darkest days in the history of the State of Israel, the Israeli democracy, and the Jewish people. Prime Minister Rabin, who had also previously served as the IDF's chief of the General Staff, was born in Jerusalem in1922—perhaps symbolically, during the days of the first significant Arab murderous attacks against there established Israeli settlements in the land of Israel. In January 1964, Yitzhak Rabin was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general, becoming the seventh IDF chief of the General Staff. After war broke out in 1967, General Rabin led the IDF to the decisive victory in the Six Day War and, on December 31, 1967, stepped down from his command with Israel enjoying, for the first time since its establishment, defensible borders.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Matthew Levitt, Jamie Chosak
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Now that Israel has disengaged from the Gaza Strip and four settlements from the northern West Bank, the international community has a clear interest in doing all it can to see that the post-withdrawal security situation remains stable so that the exit from Gaza leads to further steps along the path laid out in the Quartet's Roadmap to Middle East peace. As former World Bank leader James Wolfensohn, now Washington's special envoy for disengagement, lobbies world leaders to offer significant support for Palestinian development projects, a parallel effort is necessary to create new, transparent public and private social-service organizations unaffiliated with Hamas or other groups engaged in terrorism or political violence.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Humanitarian Aid, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: Michael Herzog
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The June 21 meeting between Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas highlighted the widening expectations gap between the two parties. Less than two months before Israel commences its pullout from the Gaza Strip and parts of the northern West Bank, the security situation is worsening, while the PA appears largely unprepared to assume effective security control over these areas. Without an urgent predisengagement "crash program" to improve security, the opportunity afforded by Yasser Arafat's departure from the scene and Israel's departure from Gaza will be lost.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: Minda Lee Arrow
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Among the challenges facing the Israeli government in the weeks before the Gaza disengagement commences are relocating evacuated settlers and determining the future of settlement assets. This Peace Watch will examine the former issue; a future Peace Watch will address the latter.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Gaza, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 05-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon's decision to disengage from Gaza and parts of the northern West Bank beginning this summer has earned him the ire of the 8,000 people living in the twenty-five settlements scheduled for evacuation. It has also generated opposition among the quarter-million settlers living in the remainder of the West Bank and their sympathizers within Israel proper. This PeaceWatch seeks to analyze the ideological and political challenges that disengagement poses to these settlers. Future PeaceWatches will examine other aspects of disengagement, including the challenge that settlers pose to disengagement.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Israel, Gaza, Czech Republic
  • Author: Isaac Herzog
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 4, 2005, Isaac Herzog addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Mr. Herzog was recently named Israel's minister of housing and construction when Prime Minister Ariel Sharon broadened his government to include the Labor Party. Heading a ministry that was key in backing past settlement activity, Mr. Herzog has called for a thorough ministerial review of Israel's settlement policy. A Labor member of the Knesset since 2001, Mr. Herzog previously served as cabinet secretary to Prime Minister Ehud Barak. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 11, 2005, President George W. Bush will host Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. The meeting comes at a key juncture, given Israel's planned disengagement from Gaza and the northern West Bank. Mr. Makovsky, who recently returned from a ten-day trip to Israel, the West Bank, Egypt, and Jordan, discussed the upcoming summit at The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum on April 7. This PeaceWatch is based on his remarks.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Gaza, Egypt, Czech Republic
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On February 24, 2005, the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) approved the new cabinet proposed by Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei. Often described as technocratic and progressive, the cabinet is widely seen as fitting the Bush administration's requirement of being "untainted by terror." Indeed, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice highlighted the new cabinet as one of the "important steps" the Palestinian Authority (PA) had taken toward reform and described this week's London conference, held in support of the PA, as an opportunity to express "international support for their extremely important reform movement." Yet, one cabinet appointment gives reason for concern: the new minister of economy, Mazen Sunuqrut, has close, longstanding ties to Hamas.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: David Makovsky, Anna Hartman
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Last week, the Israeli cabinet approved modified routing of the security fence, the first officially sanctioned changes since the cabinet approved construction in October 2003. The modifications, prompted by an Israeli supreme court decision last summer made to avert Palestinian hardship, are characterized by four major adjustments: (1) revised routing in several areas that will bring the fence closer to the Green Line (pre-1967 boundaries); (2) the elimination of all fence routes that create Palestinian enclaves or "double fences" (areas where Palestinians would have been completely encircled by the security fence); (3) the addition—for the first time on any official Israeli map—of fence around the Maale Adumim settlement bloc; and (4) final authorization of fence routing and construction near the Etzion bloc.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 1, British prime minister Tony Blair will host a conference in London dedicated to garnering support for the Palestinian Authority (PA). The summit is intended to help the new Palestinian leadership strengthen PA institutions, with a special focus on facilitating economic development, encouraging donor pledges, and identifying investment opportunities. Israel will not be participating, but Saudi Arabia and several other oil-rich Arab countries will attend. These countries reaped unexpectedly high government revenues in 2004 due to increased oil prices—excluding Iraq, the Arab members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) saw $45 billion in additional revenue compared to 2003. How much of this windfall is offered to bolster the Israeli-Palestinian peace process will be seen, at least in Washington, as a key indicator of the willingness of the Arab world to secure a settlement.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Michael Herzog
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The February 8 Sharm al-Shaykh summit may have marked the definitive end of the Arafat era. Both Israeli and Palestinian leaders issued orchestrated parallel statements declaring cessation of hostilities and highlighted the resumption of bilateral engagement after almost four and a half years of armed confrontation. Within hours, however, militant Palestinian groups challenged these commitments through attacks on Israeli targets. To take full advantage of the opportunities now available will require active effort to consolidate the fledgling ceasefire. This includes imposing the full force of the Palestinian central authority against rejectionists, clarifying the ambiguities in the parallel commitments, and enlisting key states and international actors in the campaign to combat Iranian and Hizballah designs to undermine this fragile process.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire announced on February 8 in Sharm al-Sheikh created a window of opportunity that will slam shut quickly if terrorists resume attacks against Israel. After four-and-half years of incessant terrorist activity, Israeli tolerance for negotiating peace in the face of ongoing attacks is nil. The entire project, therefore, is premised on the assumption that the ceasefire will hold. But will it? Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) have so far dismissed it, and previously negotiated ceasefires have all failed. Moreover, Iran and Hizballah are more proactively involved in recruiting, training, and financing Palestinian suicide bombers than ever before.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Michael Herzog
  • Publication Date: 01-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The newly announced ceasefire provides an opportunity for progress in Israeli-Palestinian relations, especially with the newly elected Palestinian leadership and the new Israeli coalition government. The time has come for both Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas (a.k.a. Abu Mazen) to roll up their sleeves and, with international support, get down to the formidable tasks facing them in the coming months: stabilization of the security situation, Palestinian institution-building, Israeli disengagement from Gaza and the northern West Bank, and Israeli-Palestinian reengagement.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Gaza
  • Author: Stephen W. Van Evera
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: MIT Center for International Studies
  • Abstract: Two myths have important, distorting effects on the Bush administration's policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. First is the optimistic belief that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is only a minor obstacle to American foreign policy—a modest hindrance that will not prevent the United States from achieving its main foreign policy goals. Second is the pessimistic belief that a final settlement between Israel and the Palestinians is infeasible, so a forceful U.S. push for peace will only waste effort on a fool's errand. These two assumptions have led the administration to adopt a passive policy toward the conflict, declining to offer firm U.S. leadership toward peace.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Ben Fishman
  • Publication Date: 12-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The announcement Sunday that Israel would release 170 Palestinian prisoners as a "gesture of goodwill, friendship, and gratitude" to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is the latest in a series of events, statements, and diplomatic activity over the past several weeks that has signaled a warming in Egyptian-Israeli relations. While it is too early to tell whether this thaw can be transformed into a fully constructive relationship, after the death of Yasser Arafat both sides are attempting to work together more closely, at least for now.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries, Egypt
  • Author: Avi Jorisch, Salamech Nematt
  • Publication Date: 11-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Al-Manar, the official television station of Hizballah, is cited in public opinion polling in some Arab countries as one of the most widely used sources of news on the Arab-Israeli conflict. With ground stations in Lebanon and programming broadcast on seven satellites worldwide, al-Manar is watched by fifteen million viewers daily and has the look of an advanced television network. The professional appearance, however, is not at all complemented by professional, fair, and balanced journalism.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries
  • Author: Martin Kramer, Gilles Kepel
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: During the Cold War, Washington reached out to some Islamists in order to counter the Soviet threat. Some claim that engaging so-called "moderate" Islamists would serve U.S. interests today. But in any U.S.-Islamist dialogue, the Islamists are certain to demand concessions from the United States, including visas, freedom to raise money for their organizations, U.S. support for their participation in the politics of their home countries, and a reassessment of U.S. policy in the Middle East, including support for Israel. In return, Islamists would propose to condemn terrorist attacks against the United States, and discourage new attacks on American soil.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Cold War, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Soviet Union, Arab Countries
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay, Nazli Gencsoy, Beril Unver
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On October 6, the European Union (EU) Commission, the executive arm of the EU, issued its report on Turkey's progress toward satisfying the Copenhagen Criteria, the union's membership rules that mandate "rule of law, institutions guaranteeing democracy, and respect for minorities." Although the commission praised Turkey's dramatic reform efforts since 1999, it stopped short of suggesting a date for accession negotiations with Ankara. This represents a departure from established traditions -- apparently only for Turkey, since the commission also reviewed Croatia's candidacy, suggesting a 2005 date for accession talks with that country. In another departure from tradition -- accession talks are normally only close-ended -- the report stated that any negotiations with Ankara "would be open-ended" and that their "outcome cannot be guaranteed." Finally, the report suggested that Turkey further improve its democracy, leaving the final decision on Ankara's membership to the December 17 meeting of the EU Council of Ministers, the union's highest decisionmaking body.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 08-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Morocco is a nation of nearly 30 million people, part Arab, part Berber, and overwhelmingly Muslim, yet distant enough from Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian arena so that those issues, while relevant, are not all-consuming. Hence, it provides an excellent vantage point from which to assess the ideological battle between radical Islamists, on the one hand, and non- and anti-Islamists on the other.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Morocco
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 12-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The first round of West Bank municipal balloting occurred on Thursday, December 23. Voting was held in twenty-six locations, ranging from Jericho to smaller towns and villages. This was the first round of local voting since 1976. The results—a Fatah victory but Hamas gains—have important implications for the next Palestinian elections.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt, Neri Zilber
  • Publication Date: 12-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The death of Yasser Arafat and the approach of Palestinian elections on January 9 have rekindled hopes for the peace process. However, if history is a guide, Hizballah and Iran—which worked tirelessly to undermine the Oslo Process—will try to sabotage such efforts. (Indeed, Israeli intelligence reports cited in the Israeli press indicate that they are preparing to do so.) Having emerged from the al-Aqsa Intifada as the principal outside actors in Palestinian politics and emboldened by what they see as recent successes, Hizballah and Iran could pose major obstacles to efforts to defuse the conflict and promote Israeli-Palestinian reengagement.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Czech Republic
  • Author: Ehud Ya'ari
  • Publication Date: 12-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On December 6, 2004, Ehud Ya'ari addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Mr. Ya'ari is chief Middle East commentator for Israel's Channel 2 Television News, Middle East editor of the Jerusalem Report, and an associate of the Institute. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Khaled Abu Toameh
  • Publication Date: 12-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On November 29, 2004, Khaled Abu Toameh addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Mr. Toameh, the West Bank correspondent for the Jerusalem Post and a special correspondent for U.S. News World Report, is the 2004 Ira and Betty Weiner visiting fellow at the Institute. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Makovsky, Michael Herzog
  • Publication Date: 11-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Common wisdom holds that Arafat's departure from the scene opens promising new horizons to the future of the Palestinian people as well as to Palestinian-Israeli relations. But horizons, by definition, have the tricky nature of distancing themselves from you as you approach them, leaving you with the gloom of day-to-day reality. How, then, should the parties involved go about the mission of making the promises inherent in the new situation a reality rather than a Fata Morgana? The two first steps are: empowering the emerging new-old moderate Palestinian leadership through free democratic elections and creating a significantly improved security environment, free of the devastating effects of terror. Indeed, the security and political challenges need to be addressed simultaneously since they are intertwined. This article will discuss in detail the latter challenge and will suggest a phased approach toward a stable calm. Securing a violence-free environment (in relative, Middle Eastern terms) is essential. We have witnessed time and again how violence cripples Palestinian politics and undermines the prospects of peace between Israelis and Palestinians. A violence-heavy environment puts tremendous pressure on both Palestinian and Israeli decisionmaking, narrowing the leeway for any compromise, and forcing short-term, emotionally-driven decisions over long-term, rationally-driven ones. Holding free, fair Palestinian elections, enabling smooth Israeli disengagement from Gaza and northern West Bank, and giving a chance to Israeli-Palestinian re-engagement and future relations all require a violence-free environment.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 11-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As the Palestinians seek to sort out the post-Arafat succession, ostensibly the first order of business is presidential elections. The Palestinian Authority (PA) has said it would hold presidential elections on January 9, 2005. However, making the election successful may require prior commitment to a cease fire, which in turn requires understandings among Palestinian factions accepted by Israel; this would be necessary to ensure peaceful conditions on the ground and the absence of Israeli military interruption during the election itself and the preceding campaign. According to the London-based Arab daily al-sharq al-Awsat, Mahmoud Abbas (a.k.a. Abu Mazen), former Palestinian premier and newly named chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization drove home this point in two rounds of talks with Palestinian rejectionist groups over the last week. Abu Mazen is quoted as saying, "We need a safe, secure and calm internal situation, so we can hold elections. There is no possibility of holding elections while we are in a state of war and violent struggle. Elections need a secure environment that will allow for it to be done in a free and fair manner. Elections require freedom of movement and transportation to reach the ballot boxes and ensuring the participation of citizens." Indeed, there have been a variety of quotes from rejectionist leaders saying they may be willing to adhere to a unilateral ceasefire, but so far, there has been no definitive word from the main rejectionist group, Hamas. There have been a variety of reports that Hamas would agree to a ceasefire, but it seems that it will only if Israel accepts it as well. Israel may respect a truce brokered by Egypt among the Palestinian factions just as it consented to one during the summer of 2003. At the same time, it will be concerned that its acceptance not be exploited by undisciplined radicals in a way that ties Israel's hands and makes it vulnerable to attack. The last ceasefire fell apart because of differing understandings of its terms among the key protagonists. Unless that lesson is learned another truce is likely to fall apart, too. Another prerequisite for elections is that Abu Mazen needs to receive the nomination of the dominant Fatah party. Abu Mazen's nomination could easily be a formality, since so far, there is no real opposition. Yet, Fatah elections, while recognized by many as necessary, might be resisted by an Old Guard seeking to preserve its power. The issue of Fatah elections has been a dominant motif of the Young Guard. They believe that a combination of elections on all levels will have the cleansing effect of ridding the PA of old cronies of Yasser Arafat, who were beneficiaries of corruption. Moreover, it will inject new blood into a calcified system.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, London, Palestine, Czech Republic
  • Author: David Makovsky, Aaron David Miller, Michael Herzog
  • Publication Date: 11-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: A transfer of power within the Palestinian Authority, coupled with the Israeli disengagement from Gaza, presents both challenges and opportunities for reviving Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. The preconditions of past peace treaties between Israel and its Arab neighbors have demonstrated the necessity for calm on the ground and strong leaders who can force their constituents to accept peace. Unfortunately, the past four years of fighting, the lack of strong leadership, and the asymmetry of power between the Israelis and Palestinians all act as bulwarks against necessary change. The situation is complicated by the need to prevent Hamas and local warlords from expanding their power. Nevertheless, from the Israeli perspective, there are some opportunities for change. The disengagement plan proves that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon understands that Israel cannot sustain the settlements, while the continued construction of the West Bank fence presents opportunities for new negotiations.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michael Herzog
  • Publication Date: 11-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The convergence of Yasser Arafat's departure from the scene after four decades of domination and the imminent Israeli disengagement from Gaza (which will include the removal of settlements for the first time since 1967) represents a unique opportunity for Israeli-Palestinian relations. Arafat leaves behind a huge leadership void. With such prolonged centralized control over Palestinian affairs, he was everything in one man. He was the glue holding together all strata of Palestinian society—those living inside and outside the territories, Gazans and West Bankers, older and younger generations of activists, Islamists and leftists. He was the head of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Palestinian Authority, and the Fatah movement, and he personally controlled political, security, and economic decisionmaking as well as enormous funds. Many forces are likely to attempt to fill the vacuum and share in the inheritance. There are already signs of the emergence of a collective leadership composed of the veteran Fatah leadership, headed by Mahmoud Abbas (a.k.a. Abu Mazen) and Ahmad Qurei (a.k.a. Abu Ala) and supported by Fatah activists of the intermediate generation. They will divide Arafat's powers and responsibilities among themselves and seek to stabilize their rule based on the collective desire to preserve national unity. Over time, however, the internal contest over spoils and policies is likely to surface and threaten the new leadership. The imminent Israeli disengagement from Gaza, which is deeply dividing Palestinian society, will only add to the challenge.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 11-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Two major developments have occurred within the past week in the Israeli-Palestinian arena. First, Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon achieved an initial victory on October 26, when the Knesset voted in favor of disengagement from GazaNa significant step that has already created both opportunities and challenges. The vote was the first of many to come on the subject of Gaza withdrawal; the next such item on the parliament's agenda will be addressed on November 3, with a preliminary reading of a bill regarding compensation for Gaza settlers. Second, Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat's sudden hospitalization in Paris has raised new questions about Palestinian succession.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michael Herzog
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Ten years on, the peace treaty between Israel and Jordan has weathered a number of storms, including the passing away of King Hussein, four years of Israeli-Palestinian armed struggle, and war in Iraq. Despite considerable domestic anti-peace pressure on the Jordanian regime (nurtured by Islamist elements) and strained Israeli-Jordanian political relations, the two countries have developed impressive security and economic relations. The economic field in particular offers a ray of hope for the future, exemplifying how things could and should be done to enhance peace.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Efraim Halevy, Fayiz Tarawneh
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Jordan's ultimate strategic objective is peace in the Middle East. While the Jordan-Israel treaty remains seminal in importance for the Middle East and beyond, the continued bloodshed in the region sobers the anniversary celebration. The Jordan-Israel treaty reflected the courage and vision of King Hussein and Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. Reaching agreement on this treaty was not always an easy process. The initial talks between the two countries in September 1993 resulted in a stalemate. The second round of talks in April 1994 was more successful, but when the United States was invited to serve as a guarantor, Washington balked at the idea of a Jordan-Israel treaty. Nevertheless, throughout the negotiations, Hussein and Rabin both demonstrated farsighted leadership and deep convictions about the absolute necessity of peace. They understood that they had to view each other as partners, not adversaries, and deal with each other directly. There is a place for third-party mediation and negotiation, but only when all other options have been exhausted and talks are at a standstill. The Jordan-Israel treaty and the Oslo negotiations are good examples of the efficacy of direct communication in peace talks.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michael Herzog
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In late October 2004, the Israeli parliament will debate Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan for "disengagement" from Gaza and the northern West Bank. This plan was born of Israel's experience over the course of the four-year-old Palestinian intifada. Understanding the rationale for disengagement requires a review of the lessons that Israel has learned from this conflict.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Gaza
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On October 4, 2004, Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Peter Hansen unapologetically admitted to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) that the UN employs members of Hamas. "Oh, I am sure that there are Hamas members on the UNRWA payroll," Hansen stated, "and I don't see that as a crime." The fact that Palestinian terrorist groups have increasingly used civilian cover to facilitate their activities remains undisputed (notwithstanding the recent spat between Israel and the UN over drone reconnaissance pictures depicting what Israeli officials claimed were Hamas operatives transporting Qassam missiles in a UN ambulance, but which now appear to have been merely stretchers). In several documented cases, Palestinian terrorists have exploited employment with UN and other agencies to support their groups' activities.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Michael Herzog
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Palestinian intifada against Israel, this week entering its fifth year, has wreaked havoc on both Israelis and Palestinians. In Palestinian quarters, it has provoked considerable soul-searching about the wisdom of resorting to terrorism as a tool in the confrontation with Israel. Yasser Arafat remains the Palestinians' paramount political leader, though his standing is diminished at home and abroad. Israel managed to considerably reduce the level and volume of terror against it, but also decided to disengage from Gaza.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Gaza
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Despite being rebuffed again by the Likud Party two weeks ago, Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon has been undeterred in pursuing disengagement. In publicly broadcast remarks, he informed his fractious parliamentary faction that he was planning to accelerate the timing of his plan for withdrawal from Gaza and four West Bank settlements by holding a cabinet vote not in March 2005, as had been expected, but on October 24 of this year. The actual removal of settlements would follow once the measure passed the Knesset. Having just returned from Israel and the West Bank, I came away with a distinct set of impressions regarding Sharon's motivations, the political levers he believes he has at his disposal in dealing with opponents inside and outside Likud, and the coalition configurations that he is weighing as he pursues his strategy to make disengagement a reality.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Gaza
  • Author: Matthew Levitt, Julie Sawyer
  • Publication Date: 08-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In 1995, Jewish extremist Yigal Amir caught Israeli society off guard when he assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in an effort to derail the Labor government's pursuit of a peace accord with the Palestinian Authority (PA). Today, Israeli society is coming to terms with a similarly acute Jewish extremist threat to the life of a prime minister; this time, however, the target is the Likud Party's hawkish Ariel Sharon. Although the prospect of right-wing Jewish elements targeting a right-wing politician may surprise some, Jewish extremist violence has actually been on the rise over the past several years.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Dennis Ross, Wendy Sherman
  • Publication Date: 07-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: There is no doubt that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is absolutely determined to carry out disengagement despite the political problems within his own party. The demographic issue of ensuring a long-term Jewish democratic majority in Israel and the associated political pressure has fueled his determination to proceed with disengagement.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Gaza, Egypt
  • Author: David Makovsky, Ben Thein
  • Publication Date: 07-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague is expected to issue an advisory opinion this Friday, July 9, on the international legality of Israel's security fence. Although advisory opinions are often sought from the ICJ before an international body has made up its mind on an issue, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly referred the matter to the ICJ after it had already condemned the Israeli move. Given the UN General Assembly vote on December 8, 2003, by a ninety-to-eight margin with seventy-four abstentions, a comparable number of states were expected to offer briefs to the ICJ. However, this was not the case.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries
  • Author: Zohar Palti
  • Publication Date: 07-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The International Court of Justice is expected to rule this Friday, July 9, on the legality of Israel's security fence. The Palestinians strongly oppose the security fence, claiming that the fence negatively affects them. Israel is now seeking to address their concerns through a variety of means relating to the route of the fence and to the creation of a humanitarian office to minimize the impact of the fence on the Palestinians. At the same time, it is indisputable that the fence is succeeding in its main objective of minimizing the risk of infiltration to Israel by suicide bombers in the northern West Bank. The entire fence is expected to be completed by the end of next year.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Matthew Levitt, Zohar Palti
  • Publication Date: 06-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: When the IDF withdrew from southern Lebanon in May 2000, Hizballah realized that it had to change direction somewhat, primarily because it had lost its avowed justification (and any hint of international legitimacy) for carrying out attacks from Lebanon. Accordingly, Shaykh Hassan Nasrallah, the group's secretary-general, instantly changed his rhetoric, focusing less on Lebanon and more on Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. In one speech, for example, he told Palestinians that it took Hizballah eighteen years to force Israel out of Lebanon, and that they could accomplish the same feat in even less time through armed struggle and suicide bombings.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Zalman Shoval
  • Publication Date: 06-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On June 6, the Israeli government approved a plan for unilateral separation by a 14 to 7 vote. The plan includes complete withdrawal from the Gaza Strip (with the exception of the so-called "Philadelphi Corridor" on the Egypt-Gaza border) and from certain West Bank settlements. It is scheduled to be implemented beginning in March 2005 and should be completed by the end of that year.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Yosef (Tommy) Lapid
  • Publication Date: 06-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On May 17, 2004, Israeli justice minister Yosef (Tommy) Lapid addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Mr. Lapid became head of the Shinui Party in 2000. Under his leadership, Shinui has rapidly grown in popularity and is now the third-largest faction in the 120-member Knesset and the second-largest in Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's coalition. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks. Recent polls show that 70 to 80 percent of Israelis support Sharon's Gaza withdrawal initiative. Therefore, they are unlikely to accept the Likud Party referendum of May 2, 2004, rejecting this initiative. At the same time, Israel cannot afford to allow a post-withdrawal vacuum to emerge in the territories, which the Iranians could potentially fill (Tehran supports Hizballah, which in turn supplies Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad [PIJ]). Therefore, the withdrawal initiative must be altered somewhat from its original concept. Such a change would allow Sharon to say that he is accepting the ruling of his party while nevertheless moving forward with disengagement. His Gaza plan may turn out to be a three-stage process that is acceptable to Shinui. In any case, if an alternative formula is not proposed soon, Shinui will be forced to reconsider its participation in the government. We cannot sit idly and hope that Washington holds out on Israel's behalf against the interventionist tendencies—or so-called "goodwill"—of the Quartet. Shinui's formula for conflict management differs from that of both Sharon and the Israeli left, coming as it does from the center of the Israeli political spectrum. Shinui is well aware of the Roadmap's stipulation that measures must be taken against terrorism. Although Israel should indeed resume the reciprocal processes outlined in the Roadmap, it must also recognize that Palestinian Authority (PA) prime minister Abu Ala cannot dismantle Hamas and PIJ under the current circumstances without causing a civil war. Yasir Arafat does not want to make peace. Hence, Abu Ala must unite the PA's sixteen security organizations under one entity, which he should then head rather than allowing these forces to remain under Arafat's leadership. In the past, Shinui opposed talking to Abu Ala until he put a stop to terrorism, but the party has changed its stance for the time being. When Likud rejected Sharon's initiative, Shinui realized that the right was attempting to create a stalemate. Shinui cannot subscribe to any such policy. If these delay tactics continue, international parties may attempt to enter the arena both politically and physically. Israelis must therefore take the initiative to speak with Abu Ala based on the acknowledgment that he is unable to wage a comprehensive fight against terrorist organizations. If Likud does manage to move forward with disengagement in the near term, however, Shinui will rethink its policy toward Abu Ala.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Gaza
  • Author: Pemra Hazbay
  • Publication Date: 05-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Following Israel's recent raid in Rafah, Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned Israel's actions as "state terrorism" while Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul hinted that strains had emerged in the Turkish-Israeli relationship. In general, Turkey's governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) has lately adopted an alarmingly critical attitude toward Israel. Will Turkey seek to alter its ties with Israel? From an economic point of view, such a development would seem highly unlikely; Turkey ranks thirteenth on Israel's list of trading partners, while Israel ranks ninth among Turkey's trading partners. Yet, the question remains: do the deep economic ties between Turkey and Israel (which also share close political and military relations) provide a reason for optimism that economic initiatives can help improve political relations elsewhere in the region?
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Ben Thein
  • Publication Date: 05-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Amid anticipation that Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon will soon get his Gaza withdrawal plan back on track, it is important to examine the only other instance of Israeli settlement evacuation—namely, Israel's withdrawal from Sinai in the wake of the 1979 peace treaty with Egypt. How was evacuation handled at that time? Where did the settlers go? What were their options? Moreover, in light of the Sinai withdrawal, what role, if any, might the international community play in a Gaza withdrawal? What legal factors will the Israeli government face in its efforts to move settlers from their homes?
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Gaza, Egypt
  • Author: Nabil Amr
  • Publication Date: 05-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On May 13, 2004, Nabil Amr addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Mr. Amr, an elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, served in previous Palestinian Authority cabinets as minister of information and minister for parliamentary affairs. A former member of the Palestinian delegation to peace talks with Israel, he is currently a visiting fellow at the Institute. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Norway, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Giora Eiland
  • Publication Date: 05-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On May 7, 2004, Maj. Gen. (ret.) Giora Eiland of the Israel Defense Forces addressed The Washington Institute's Nineteenth Annual Soref Symposium. General Eiland is Israel's national security advisor. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Marcus Noland
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Despite the passage of 50 years since an armistice ended military hostilities, the Korean peninsula remains divided, a Cold War vestige that seemingly has been unaffected by the evolution that has occurred elsewhere. If anything, US confrontation with North Korea—a charter member of its “axis of evil”—has intensified in recent years. Yet today, increasing numbers of South Koreans, accustomed to living for decades in the shadows of the North's forward-deployed artillery, do not regard the North as a serious threat. Growing prosperity and confidence in the South, in marked contrast to the North's isolation and penury, have transformed fear and loathing into pity and forbearance. Instead, it is the United States, an ocean away, that regards the North and its nuclear weapons program with alarm. As the United States has focused on the nuclear program, its ally, South Korea, has observed the North Koreans' nascent economic reforms and heard their talk of conventional forces reduction, and the gap in the two countries' respective assessments of the North Korean threat has widened dangerously, threatening to undermine their alliance.
  • Topic: Security, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, East Asia, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Korea
  • Author: Richard Speier
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: When Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon visits India on September 9-11, he is likely to explore the possible sale of Israeli Arrow antiballistic missiles to New Delhi. The United States, which has provided funds and technology for the Arrow since 1986, has a veto right over sales to third parties. U.S. approval of a sale to India would offer both advantages and disadvantages.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, India, Israel, New Delhi, Arabia
  • Author: Ayca Ariyoruk
  • Publication Date: 08-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: A Turkish delegation is expected to be in Israel within the next few weeks, perhaps as early as August 20, to sign an agreement committing Israel to buy 50 million cubic meters (mcm) of water annually from Turkey for the next twenty years. Once the operational details -- price, timeline, and transportation methods -- are worked out, Turkish water will flow to Israel via purpose-built supertankers.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: At yesterday's Sharm al-Shaykh summit, President George W. Bush persisted in his post-September 11 campaign to transform the Middle Eastern landscape, an effort that includes not only promoting Israeli-Palestinian peace but transforming intra-Arab politics as well. A close reading of the carefully crafted statements by Bush and his Egyptian host, President Hosni Mubarak, offers a revealing look into where U.S. and Arab leaders agree, disagree, and choose to remain ambiguous on critical issues facing the region.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Yoram Yoffe
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In almost all of his speeches, Hizballah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah has spoken about the pride that his organization brought to Arabs by forcing Israel to withdraw from Lebanon in May 2000. Now, however, the coalition forces have trampled on this pride: the Iraqi regime collapsed, and Baghdad fell without offering much resistance. Speaking on April 24, Nasrallah warned that "the most dangerous challenge now facing Arabs is the sense of hopelessness and stupor that has followed in the wake of Iraqi occupation." Indeed, on a variety of fronts, Hizballah is suddenly facing a new regional landscape that is inimical to its interests.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Baghdad, Arabia, Lebanon
  • Author: Yoram Yoffe
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Amidst the war in Iraq, the Lebanese group Hizballah has decided not to open up what could have been a "second front" by attacking Israel. This decision should not be mistaken for passivity, however. With the world paying scant attention, Hizballah is seeking to shape Arab public opinion against the United States. It is important to understand the underlying forces that drive Hizballah's campaign against the United States so as to better comprehend the organization's stakes in the Iraq war and its aftermath.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: This week, speaking at the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), U.S. secretary of state Colin Powell, after mentioning the war in Iraq, declared, "no challenge, no opportunity, is more important, more pressing, than the quest to put an end to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians." Such wording is similar to sentiments expressed in recent weeks by British prime minister Tony Blair. However, there are indications that Washington's view about Israeli-Palestinian issues sharply differs from that of London.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, America, Europe, Middle East, Israel, London, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Bassem Awadallah
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Jordan has always been regarded as a buffer state, wedged between turmoil to its east in Iraq and to its west in Israel and the West Bank. While those neighbors have faced turbulence in recent years, Jordan has enjoyed three years of substantial economic growth. Indeed, Jordan provides a positive example of what reform can accomplish in the Arab world.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Jordan
  • Author: Dore Gold
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: Saudi Arabia's past involvement in international terrorism is indisputable. While the Bush administration decided to redact 28 sensitive pages of the Joint Intelligence Report of the U.S. Congress, nonetheless, Saudi involvement in terrorist financing can be documented through materials captured by Israel in Palestinian headquarters in 2002-3. In light of this evidence, Saudi denials about terrorist funding don't hold water. Israel retrieved a document of the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO) which detailed the allocation of $280,000 to 14 Hamas charities. IIRO and other suspected global Saudi charities are not NGOs, since their boards of directors are headed by Saudi cabinet members. Prince Salman, a full brother of King Fahd, controls IIRO distributions "with an iron hand," according to former CIA operative Robert Baer. Mahmoud Abbas, in fact, complained, in a handwritten December 2000 letter to Salman, about Saudi funding of Hamas. Defense Minister Prince Sultan has been cited as a major IIRO contributor. It was hoped, after the May 12 triple bombing attack in Riyadh, that Saudi Arabia might halt its support for terrorism. Internally, the Saudi security forces moved against al-Qaeda cells all over the kingdom. But externally, the Saudis were still engaged in terrorist financing, underwriting 60-70 percent of the Hamas budget, in violation of their "roadmap" commitments to President Bush. Additionally, the Saudis back the civilian infrastructure of Hamas with extremist textbooks glorifying jihad and martyrdom that are used by schools and Islamic societies throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Ideological infiltration of Palestinian society by the Saudis in this way is reminiscent of their involvement in the madrassa system of Pakistan during the 1980s, that gave birth to the Taliban and other pro bin-Laden groups.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza, Arab Countries, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Joel S. Fishman
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: Israel and the PLO have been confronting each other according to completely different paradigms of conflict. Since the late 1960s, the PLO has adopted a "people's war" paradigm that continued to guide its policies even after the signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords. According to the "people's war" paradigm, borrowed from Marxist-Leninist traditions in China and Vietnam, conflict is waged on both the political and military levels, but for militarily weaker guerilla groups, political conflict is more important, especially the delegitimization of an adversary and the division of his society. Prior to 1993, Israel largely responded to the PLO militarily as a terrorist threat, but not politically. After 1993, with the PLO "renouncing" terrorism, Israel embraced the PLO leadership and ignored the signs that the PLO was still engaged in political warfare against it (incitement, reluctance to alter PLO Covenant, UN votes, textbooks). Israeli governments later complained about these symptoms of political warfare, without identifying the cause. Established Israeli traditions place undue emphasis on the narrowly-framed military approach to the detriment of the political, which leaves Israel particularly vulnerable to broad-based strategic deception. Israeli policy-makers must reexamine the assumptions upon which they have based political and military policy over the last decade.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, War
  • Political Geography: China, Middle East, Israel, Vietnam, Arab Countries, Oslo
  • Author: Gerald M. Steinberg
  • Publication Date: 08-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: The record of formal efforts to negotiate peace in protracted ethno-national conflicts (Balkans, N. Ireland, Sri Lanka, etc.) is not encouraging. Israel needs a serious insurance policy, in the form of unilateral separation, to minimize vulnerability to another and potentially more deadly terror campaign, should the "roadmap" fail. The construction of a separation barrier is supported by over 70 percent of the Israeli public, representing a broad consensus from across the political spectrum that favors a physical barrier blocking access to Israeli cities in order to prevent a resumption of the Palestinian terror campaign of the past three years. Political separation will also promote a two-state solution, allowing Israel to remain a culturally Jewish and democratic society while fostering Palestinian sovereignty. Key policy issues concern the pace of construction and the route to be taken for the remaining sections. While options range from a minimalist 300 km line to a 600 km alternative that would include most Israeli settlements, a pragmatic middle route including settlement blocs like Ariel and Gush Etzion may provide the optimum mix under present circumstances. If the Palestinian security framework proves its capabilities in preventing terror, and political negotiations on borders progress, the barrier can be relocated.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Sri Lanka, Palestine, Arabia, Balkans, Ireland
  • Author: Anne Bayefsky
  • Publication Date: 07-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: The roadmap has significant roots in the UN, an organization long understood as biased against Israeli interests and Jewish well-being in general. Examples include the work of the UN "Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories," established in 1968, and the UN "Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People," created in 1975. There is a pressing need to clarify with the American administration what attributes of sovereignty will not be accorded a Palestinian state with provisional borders prior to final status negotiations. Israel must reassert that its consent is necessary for any decision affecting its essential interests. An American commitment to object to any unilateral declaration of independence should be immediately forthcoming and clearly understood by the parties. The UN and the European Union must be kept out of any monitoring and assessment function. Recognition of a fundamental breach, and the ability to apply the necessary consequences, require that precise and public monitoring by Israel start now.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, United Nations
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Dore Gold
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: The quest for defensible borders has been an axiom of Israeli governments since 1967 on the basis of UN Security Council Resolution 242. Defensible borders for Israel has been explicitly backed by Washington since the Reagan administration. In Rabin's last Knesset address he made clear that Israel "will not return to the 4 June 1967 lines." He insisted on a map including a united Jerusalem, the settlement blocs, and the Jordan Valley. In 2003, Israeli planners will have to operate under the assumption that the dismantling of the Palestinian terrorist infrastructure will be incomplete, and should a Palestinian state nonetheless be established, its complete demilitarization will not be reliable. During the Oslo years, the Palestinian leadership was in material breach of the military clauses of the Interim Agreement, seeking to import illegal weaponry like SA-7 shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles and manufacturing Qassam rockets. Many of the same security figures who breached Oslo now serve the government of Mahmud Abbas. Moreover, fundamentalist groups like Hamas that mentioned the Islamic term hudna, for cease-fire, understood that it means a truce that is maintained until the balance of power changes. This means they will seek rearmament; Israeli military intelligence was, in fact, reporting that Hamas had accelerated production of Qassam rockets in early July. In their pronouncements, Hamas and Islamic Jihad have even used a weaker term: ta'liq - a temporary cessation of hostilities. In the wake of the decline of the threat from Iraq, Israel will require defensible borders to meet the growing lethality of the Palestinian threat, backed by the assistance of Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia. The Bush administration should provide Israel with assurances concerning defensible borders as it seeks Israel's acquiescence to the creation of a Palestinian state.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan
  • Author: Dan Diker
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: The impending renewal of Arab-Israeli contacts after the Aqaba summit is an appropriate occasion to reassess one of the weak points of Israel's information effort. At the 1991 Madrid Peace Conference, then Deputy Foreign Minister Binyamin Netanyahu "broke the ice" with scores of Arab reporters when he provided articulate explanations of Israel's positions. Eytan Bentsur, Director General of Israel's Foreign Ministry at the time of Madrid, saw Israel's "paternalistic" approach to the Palestinians at Oslo as contributing to the ultimate collapse of the peace process. The launch of Arab satellite television in 1994 provided Israel with direct access to millions of Arab and Muslim viewers throughout the Middle East. Prime Minister Sharon's foreign media advisor, Raanan Gissin, is regularly interviewed on the leading Arab channels. Despite the high standards of news programming on Israel's new Arabic-language Middle East Satellite Channel, it is not widely viewed in the Arab world because it is recognized as an Israeli government operation. ArabYnet, an Arabic translation of the popular Ynet news website of the Israeli Hebrew daily Yediot Ahronot, has become one of the most popular Arabic language websites on the Internet, with nearly a million unique monthly users. It is a commercial site that presents an Israeli point of view but with no particular political agenda.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Dan Diker
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: International news organizations covering the Arab-Israeli conflict frequently refer to international agreements and resolutions in ways that are prejudiced against Israel's legal rights and claims. Frequent references to Israel's legal obligation to withdraw to the pre-1967 borders are inconsistent with UN Security Council Resolution 242 and the Oslo Accords. Neither the Oslo Declaration of Principles of September 1993 nor the Oslo II Interim Agreement of 1995 require either Palestinians or Israelis to refrain from the construction of settlements, neighborhoods, houses, roads, or any other similar building projects. References in the news media to “occupied Arab East Jerusalem” reflect an underlying assumption that eastern Jerusalem has always been an Arab city like Damascus or Baghdad, ignoring the fact that Jerusalem has had an overwhelmingly Jewish majority as far back as the mid-nineteenth century. Despite UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's announcement on 25 July 2000 that Israel had fully implemented UN Resolution 425 when it unilaterally withdrew from southern Lebanon, news organizations have continued to refer to the Shaaba Farms, located on Israel's side of the border with Lebanon, as “disputed.”
  • Topic: Security, Religion, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Jerusalem, Lebanon, Oslo
  • Author: Steven Windmueller
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: Martin Buber wrote: "Each Jew represents the mirror image of the collective soul of the Jewish people." In recent times, we have described ourselves as a proud people, assured of our place in the modern world. But the events of September 11 left us numbed and confused as to its meaning and message. The tragic events of that day fused with the events that occurred a year earlier in Israel with the onset of the second intifada, and may have fundamentally transformed the Jewish experience in our times.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Scott B. Lasensky
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: The collapse of the Oslo process and ever worsening Israeli-Palestinian violence demonstrate that certain long-held "truths" about the conflict need to be turned on their heads - none more so than the accepted wisdom that the Palestinian refugee problem, long a source of regional instability and a breeding ground for suicide terrorists, can only be addressed as part of a final settlement. Rather than follow a comprehensive agreement, ameliorating the Palestinian refugee problem increasingly looks like a necessary precondition for a permanent Israeli-Palestinian settlement. It might even be required for a meaningful resumption of negotiations.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Czech Republic