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  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 04-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The withdrawal of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) from southern Lebanon announced by Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak looms large. Set for July 7, this withdrawal is closely linked to the Syrian track of negotiations. It will end the fifteen-year status quo of the security zone, with Israel planning to defend itself from the international border with Lebanon. The target date is also a deadline for the negotiations with the Syrians, as nine years after the peace conference in Madrid we are likely to witness either a breakthrough or a breakdown.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Arab Countries, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 03-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: President Clinton's trip to Geneva on Sunday to meet Syrian leader Hafiz al-Asad begins the last leg of the administration's eight-year marathon effort to broker an elusive Syrian-Israeli peace agreement. The stakes, however, are higher than just Clinton's peacemaking legacy. While most observers believe that Syria and Israel are just a whisker away from peace, the two countries are also not much further away from conflict and perhaps war. Within days, the countdown to one of those outcomes will be clear.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Geneva, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Author: Marshall Breger, George Weigel
  • Publication Date: 03-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Historically the Vatican's view of Israel and Zionism was negative. The Vatican explicitly told Herzl that that the Jews were meant to wander, and if they set foot on Palestinian soil the Christians would be there to convert them. The main concern of the Catholic Church regarding the Holy Land has long been to maintain the status quo of the Catholic holy places. For many years, the Church supported the creation of Jerusalem as an entity independent from the surrounding states—a corpus separatum. But in the 1970s, the Vatican spoke instead of international guarantees for the holy places, an idea that remains Vatican policy today.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Jerusalem, Arab Countries, Vatican city
  • Author: Alan Makovsky, Cengiz Candar, Efraim Inbar
  • Publication Date: 03-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The emergence of close Israeli-Turkish relations is one of the significant strategic developments in the post-Cold War Middle East. These ties are likely to flourish as long as Israel and Turkey remain pro-Western, anti-Islamic fundamentalist, and compatible in military inventory. Turkish-Israeli ties should be described as a "strategic relationship," not as an alliance. Turkey and Israel are not obligated or likely to go to war if the other is attacked. They also have somewhat differing threat perceptions regarding Syria, Iraq, and Iran.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Author: Ephraim Sneh
  • Publication Date: 03-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The recent delay in talks between the Israelis and Palestinians is the result of an unnecessary crisis initiated by Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Yasir Arafat. The motivation behind this tactic is the idea that you can squeeze more out of the Israelis through crisis than you can at the negotiating table. This artificial stalemate is designed to achieve more for the Palestinians, but ultimately it will not. Such political maneuvering is a mistake. The current dispute regarding the transfer of 6 percent of West Bank territory concerns implementation of one aspect of last year's Sharm al-Sheikh agreement, and this technicality has no real meaning with regard to final status. The Israelis are willing to discuss such issues, but Palestinian eagerness to stonewall the talks pertaining to them draws both parties away from the most important concerns.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Arab Countries
  • Author: Ze'ev Schiff
  • Publication Date: 02-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In the negotiations between Israel and both Syria and the Palestinians, each side has red lines—points on which it cannot concede. No agreement will be possible that crosses the red line of either side. Not all red lines are the same. In particular, Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have to draw red lines based on how much either can concede and still obtain the support of the public for the agreement, whereas in Syria, President Hafiz al-Asad is the sole decision maker.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Author: David Schenker, Khalil Shikaki
  • Publication Date: 02-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In 1996, Assistant Secretary of State for Near East and South Asian Affairs Robert Pelletreau described democracies as "the best partners for making peace and building prosperity." Nevertheless, democracy is a term seldom mentioned with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. U.S. policy toward the Palestinians and the peace process has been focused on security, but that does not necessarily have to come at the expense of democracy. In fact, a more democratic Palestinian Authority (PA) would enhance security. En route to a peace agreement with Israel, Palestinians will be required to make concessions that will be easier to achieve if a popular consensus for those concessions is built through a democratic process. Democracy will promote better governance, resulting in an improved economy and therefore a better Palestinian neighbor for Israel. Furthermore, Palestinians will be discontented without democracy, for they have a long history of democratic civil institutions, including student councils and municipal elections, as well as an extensive knowledge of and appreciation for Israeli democracy.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Nicole Brackman
  • Publication Date: 01-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On February 1, the multilateral track of the Middle East peace process is scheduled to resume in Moscow with the first meeting of the Steering Committee since May 1995. In the wake of Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak's election last summer, there was widespread expectation that the multilateral talks would restart, but Egypt insisted no meeting be held until negotiations reopened between Damascus and Jerusalem. The restart of those talks last month paved the way for a revival of the multilateral talks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Jerusalem, Moscow, Arab Countries, Egypt, Damascus
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 01-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Syria-Israel negotiations are on hold, but Israelis and Syrians have found a way to negotiate through third parties—the media. Two weeks ago, Israel leaked the U.S. draft text of a proposed peace treaty, complete with a timeline for implementation, in the Israeli daily Ha'aretz. Over the last ten days, a surprised and embarrassed Syria has responded with its own leaks through the Lebanese media. Beirut's al-Safir newspaper is the favored recipient of these leaks, the most authoritative of which were a set of interviews by Syrian foreign minister Faruq al-Shara and a document detailing article-by-article amendments to the proposed U.S. text. The Shara interviews highlight Syria's (professed) obsession with dignity as an essential ingredient in negotiations as well as Damascus's demand that the United States procure a clear Israeli commitment to withdraw to the June 4, 1967 borders prior to the renewal of talks. More important, though, is the al-Safir critique of the original U.S. draft treaty. A close reading of that chilly document suggests that Syria is keen to project the image of offering Israel only an arctic-cold peace, correcting the impression advanced by some press reports that al-Shara had offered numerous concessions to Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak during the Shepherdstown talks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Author: Patrick Clawson, Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 01-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: After more than a week of negotiations in Shepherdstown, W.Va., the "working draft" of the Syria-Israel peace treaty reported in yesterday's Ha'aretz notes only one area of seemingly irreconcilable difference between the two parties—over the scope of the demilitarized zone separating the two sides. As currently worded, the text neither rules in nor rules out an Israeli withdrawal to the "June 4, 1967, lines." The draft reflects a document much more detailed than a Camp David-style framework accord or an Oslo-type Declaration of Principles but still far short of a full-blown peace treaty. In tone and wording, it is a throwback to the Egypt-Israel peace treaty, with few improvements and even several drawbacks from that two-decade-old document.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries, Syria, Egypt
  • Author: Raghida Dergham, Joel Singer
  • Publication Date: 01-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On January 4, 2000, Raghida Dergham, the senior diplomatic correspondent for Al-Hayat newspaper, and Joel Singer, a principal architect of the Oslo Accords and an Israeli participant in the 1996 Wye Plantation negotiations with Syria, addressed the Washington Institute's Policy Forum to discuss the prospects of Syrian-Israeli peace talks in Shepherdstown. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Author: Gal Luft
  • Publication Date: 01-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: While Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Syrian Foreign Minister Faruq al-Shara are talking peace at Shepherdstown, the fighting in south Lebanon still goes on. Last time the two leaders met in Washington in December, the party was almost spoiled after a stray shell fired by South Lebanese Army (SLA) gunners hit an elementary school in the Lebanese village of Arab Salim, wounding twenty-four children. Residents of Israel's northern settlements anticipating Hizballah's wrath had to spend the night in their bomb shelters. Only after Israel's prompt apology, describing the incident as "an unfortunate mistake," did Hizballah, breaking with its usual pattern, agree not to retaliate by firing katyusha rockets at Israel's north.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 01-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: With Syrian-Israeli peace talks underway in Shepherdstown, W.Va., media attention has focused on the shape of a possible peace agreement and the potential for U.S. financial assistance to the parties. Virtually no attention, however, has been paid to the principal legal obstacle in the way of U.S. aid to one of the two putative peacemakers: Syria's place on the State Department's list of countries recognized as "state sponsors of terrorism." It is generally assumed that Syria will "do what it takes" within the context of making peace with Israel to earn its removal from the State Department's list, or that Washington will, in the framework of peace, find enough in Syrian efforts to merit Damascus's decertification as a terrorist-supporting state. In this environment, the potential rises that U.S. antiterrorism efforts will be blurred to fit an emerging Syria-Israel political reality.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Author: Frank Ching, Ron Arculli, Steve Tsang, Sunny Kai-sun Kwong
  • Publication Date: 09-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Since the Hong Kong Update's first issue was published in September 1997, the purpose of the bulletin has been to gauge accurately the continuing evolution of Hong Kong by presenting a broad spectrum of views on developments in the new Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). The Update has presented views from Washington, Hong Kong, and other areas of the world by inviting authors from both the U.S. Congress and Hong Kong SAR government; Washington and Hong Kong policy community; and U.S., Hong Kong, and international academics.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Economics, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, Hong Kong
  • Author: Frank Ching, Sunny Kai-sun Kwong, Michael M.Y. Suen, Eric Bjornlund
  • Publication Date: 03-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Sir Winston Churchill once said, “At the bottom of all the tributes paid to democracy is the little man, walking into the little booth, with a little pencil, making a little cross on a little bit of paper—no amount of rhetoric or voluminous discussion can possibly diminish the overwhelming importance of the point.” Churchill's statement in 1944 underlines the determination of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government to encourage voters to turn out in record numbers for this September's Legislative Council ( LegCo) elections.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Israel, Hong Kong
  • Author: Frank Ching, Sunny Kai-sun Kwong, Barry Mortimer, Byron Weng, James C. Hsiung
  • Publication Date: 03-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Last year was a momentous time for Hong Kong's new mini- constitution, the Basic Law. The history is too well known to detail here. In brief, the Court of Final Appeal (CFA) decided the right of abode cases (Ng Ka Ling and Chan Kam Nga). Later, the Hong Kong government sought and obtained a “clarification” of the judgment and the chief executive applied to the Standing Committee of the National Peoples Congress (NPC) for a further interpretation of the sections interpreted by the CFA (particularly Article 24(2)(3) of the Basic Law). The decision of the CFA stood, but for the future the Standing Committee provided the interpretation contended for by the Hong Kong government. (Should it be thought that the new interpretation was entirely arbitrary it accorded with the one earlier found to be the true interpretation by the Court of Appeal.) Many lawyers, commentators, politicians, and academics alleged that, in consequence, rule of law had been damaged and even that the independence of the judiciary had been diminished. Now that the dust has settled, the time has come to assess calmly the main issues that caused the controversy and see where we now stand.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Economics, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Israel, Hong Kong
  • Author: John Feffer
  • Publication Date: 12-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: It was a striking juxtaposition, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il sitting side by side at a display of mass gymnastics in Pyongyang this last October. “Spectacular and amazing,” Albright called the coordinated movements of the 100,000 performers. When a picture of the August 1998 Taepodong rocket launch was displayed, Kim Jong Il confided that it would be his country's first and last such launch. The North Korean leader was a man with whom she could do business, Albright concluded at the end of her visit. The U.S. and North Korea, technically at war for over fifty years, had never before been on quite such cordial speaking terms.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, North Korea, Korean Peninsula, Pyongyang
  • Author: Saul Singer
  • Publication Date: 12-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: Ask Israelis or Arabs to characterize the U.S.-Israel relationship and most, particularly on the Arab side, will argue that the picture is one of unwavering support for the Jewish state. Indeed, the outgoing Clinton administration has been widely perceived and labeled as the closest to Israel in the history of the U.S.-Israel relationship. Though the ties between the U.S. and Israel are indeed close, deep, and institutionalized, a closer examination reveals a constant tension between support for Israel and "evenhandedness" between Israel and the Arab world.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Manfred Gerstenfeld
  • Publication Date: 12-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: Why is it that Israel's per capita GNP still lags substantially behind that of the leading countries of the world? Why is it likely to take decades for the Israeli economy to catch up? This is while the Israeli papers are full of news about very promising high-tech start-ups, and we even hear occasionally about payments of billions of dollars by major foreign firms to acquire Israeli businesses which were founded a few years ago and have at most several hundred employees.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Yaakov Ne'eman
  • Publication Date: 11-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: A number of factors are impeding the implementation of privatization in the Israeli economy. Here I will review those factors based on my own experience, both as someone who has represented investors who purchased government companies through privatization processes, and (from the other side of the fence) in my positions in the Ministry of Finance, when I had an opportunity to observe the governmental process from the inside.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Privatization, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel