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  • Author: Manfred Gerstenfeld
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: After seven years of the peace process, catastrophic remarks about the end of the State of Israel are much more frequent than they were before the Oslo agreements. Judaism has a long tradition of religious apocalyptic thought; in the secular end-of-days fantasies of the last few months, however, no salvation is offered the community.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Yakir Plessner
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: Recently, Israel Television asked Shimon Peres, the architect of the Oslo process, whether he still believed in the efficacy of that process, to which he replied that the question should be put to Yasser Arafat. This answer appears to be symptomatic of a widespread refusal by Israel's political leadership to think about the current situation in a systematic, analytical fashion, giving rise to a suspicion that Israeli society, as a collective, has a basic difficulty with thinking about our relationship with the Palestinian Authority, in general, and about the recent violent confrontations with it, in particular. We appear to be bewildered by it all. The director general of the Foreign Ministry, Alon Liel, stated more than once in a recent television interview that he was baffled by Arafat's behavior, saying that Arafat appeared to have made an inexplicable U-turn. He had assumed that Arafat had resolved to make peace, and he could make no sense of Arafat's recent behavior. In addition, Shimon Peres has stated several times in recent weeks that we must make Arafat understand that his policy is detrimental to the true interests of his own people. This notion was echoed by Ha'aretz columnist Joel Marcus, quoting former Foreign Minister Abba Eban who said years ago that Arafat never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity. Knesset Speaker Avraham Burg also stated that he found it impossible to decipher Arafat's conduct.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Dore Gold
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: Since its independence in 1948, and indeed even in prior times, Israel's rights to sovereignty in Jerusalem have been firmly grounded in history and international law. The aftermath of the 1967 Six-Day War only reinforced the strength of Israel's claims. Seven years after the implementation of the 1993 Oslo Agreements, Prime Minister Ehud Barak became the first Israeli prime minister to consider re-dividing Jerusalem in response to an American proposal at the July 2000 Camp David Summit. The December 2000 Clinton Plan attempted to codify Barak's possible concessions on Jerusalem. Yet they proved to be insufficient for PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, leading to a breakdown in the peace process and an outburst of Palestinian violence with regional implications. At least the failed Clinton Plan did not bind future Israeli governments or U.S. administrations, leaving open the possibility of new diplomatic alternatives. Only by avoiding premature negotiation over an unbridgeable issue such as Jerusalem can the U.S., Israel, and the Palestinians stabilize the volatile situation that has emerged and restore hope that a political process can be resumed in the future.
  • Topic: Security, Government, International Law, Religion, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Gerald M. Steinberg
  • Publication Date: 01-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: As events that accompanied the establishment of the State of Israel receded into the history books, the extraordinary accomplishments of the Zionist movement also began to fade. For many Israelis growing up after 1948, Zionism became a negative term, satirized and trivialized, and the details of its achievements were rarely taught in the Israeli schools.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • 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
  • Author: Gerald M. Steinberg
  • Publication Date: 10-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: During the past twenty years, beginning with the Israeli-Egyptian disengagement talks following the 1973 war, the tension between secular and religious perspectives on the Middle East peace process and the "land for peace" formula has grown steadily.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Abraham Tamir
  • Publication Date: 09-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: Over the last two decades, the reliance on separate negotiating tracks in the Arab-Israeli peace process has resulted in a cumulative loss of territories vital for the defense of Israel's very existence, without any corresponding buildup of peace and security for Israel that could last for generations. The military capabilities of Israel's potential adversaries have not diminished, but, in fact, have expanded considerably. The normalization of relations between Israel and the Arab world, as stipulated in the peace treaties between Israel, Jordan and Egypt, has not advanced, but, rather, has been held hostage to further Israeli concessions in each of the separate negotiating tracks. Finally, the employment of terrorism and violence by Israel's neighbors became part of the negotiating process with Syria and the PLO.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Syria, Egypt
  • Author: Zalman Shoval
  • Publication Date: 07-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: Prime Minister Ehud Barak's tenure started out with almost everything going his way. He had what was often, though misleadingly, described as a "landslide victory" in the 1999 elections (though, in truth, Jewish voters gave him only a slim 3.2 percent majority over Netanyahu - compared to the almost 12 percent margin by which Netanyahu had defeated Peres in the previous elections). Nonetheless, it is true that Barak achieved better electoral results than most other prime ministers in Israeli history. As a result, no Israeli prime minister in recent memory had begun his term with a greater degree of goodwill from different segments of the population - including many who had voted for the other candidate.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Diplomacy, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel