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  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The deadline has now passed for Ehud Barak to step aside in favor of rival Shimon Peres in Israel's prime ministerial face-off next Tuesday, February 6, against Likud leader MK Ariel Sharon. Analysts have already written off this election for Barak, as Sharon's lead in the polls has barely budged from a 16 to 20 point margin over the last two months. Given that Barak won a landslide victory by a 12.1 percent margin less than two years ago, the scope of his probable defeat is striking — perhaps the most lopsided electoral debacle since Menachem Begin's Herut lost to the Labor forerunner Mapai in 1959 by a margin of 24.7 percent. Barak's electoral free-fall is especially remarkable given that his opponent is someone long regarded as unelectable, due to his advanced age, right-wing political views, checkered past, and evident discomfort with the new media age. Nevertheless, Barak has pressed on, insisting that the real campaign has only just begun. His decision to stay in the race has heightened speculation that he may plan on joining a Sharon-led "national unity government," despite carefully worded protestations to the contrary.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Dore Gold
  • Publication Date: 01-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: February marks ten years since the end of the Gulf War. The situation in the Middle East today is vastly more dangerous than in 1991. The favorable regional conditions in 1991 that allowed the current peace process to begin have been reversed. Three key trends are the following: After Iraq's defeat in the Gulf War, it was placed under UN monitoring and extensive sanctions, thereby removing a major threat from Israel's calculus. Today, the situation is drastically different, with the absence of UN inspections for more than two years and the deterioration of sanctions against Iraq. In 1991, Iran was still recovering from its exhaustive war with Iraq and could not fully participate in regional, specifically Arab–Israeli, affairs. By contrast, Iran is currently testing intermediate-range missiles and is expressing its strategic weight in places like Lebanon, where it has increased its support to Hizballah. In 1991, the USSR was crumbling before its eventual collapse and was no longer in a position to offer strategic and military support to the enemies of Israel, while its successor — the Russian Federation — has more or less acquiesced to U.S. positions on the Middle East. Since 1996, however, Russia has taken a contrary approach to many U.S. policies and leadership in the region, in particular with regard to Iraqi sanctions and weapons inspections and the transfer of missile technology to Iran.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Foreign Policy, Peace Studies, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Iraq, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Lebanon
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 01-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Meetings this week between Israeli and Palestinian security and political personnel notwithstanding, time has virtually run out for any Israeli–Palestinian peace deal. It is important to note that the issue is not just one of time, even though President Clinton leaves office next Saturday. Top Clinton Administration officials have made clear that the Palestinians have engaged in "delays" since the December 23 ideas were tabled. Seeking to avoid the international disapproval that mushroomed in the wake of last summer's failed Camp David summit, Yasir Arafat came to Washington with an apparent "yes, but" view of the proposals. However, this approach seems clearly to be little more than a public-relations tactic.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Migration, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 01-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: While the White House has made no comment on the substance of President Bill Clinton's proposal for Israeli-Palestinian peace, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz and the Palestinian Jerusalem Media and Communication Center (JMCC) have published what they say are respectively the Israeli and Palestinian minutes of the president's December 23 oral presentation. What is striking is that the two accounts agree on every substantive point. These accounts provide a sound basis for knowing what in fact Clinton proposed.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Jerusalem
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 01-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: With President Clinton due to meet Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat today for a last-ditch diplomatic effort, attention is focused mainly on two aspects of the U.S. bridging proposals: the division of Jerusalem and the future status of Palestinian refugees. In contrast, little attention has so far been devoted to the security aspects of the U.S. proposals. While less emotive, security issues need to be central to U.S. concerns about the viability of any "final status" accord and its impact on U.S. interests and allies. It is difficult, however, to assess this aspect of the proposals because so many key security issues were evidently not raised by the President in his pre-Christmas oral presentation to the two sides. They may have been the subject of previous or subsequent discussions among the parties, but they were not on the President's core agenda.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Foreign Policy, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Palestine
  • Author: Yossi Baidatz, Rachel Stroumsa
  • Publication Date: 12-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: While international attention has been focused on the shift from diplomacy to violence in the Israeli–Palestinian arena, the "comeback" of Lebanon's Hizballah organization as an instigator of conflict has been, to some observers, a surprise. Following Israel's withdrawal from the "security zone" in May 2000, it was widely held that Hizballah would rest on its laurels and focus on its political/social agenda inside Lebanon. Instead, as recent events show, Hizballah has chosen to persist in its military strategy against Israel. Indeed, in contrast to the low-intensity conflict on the Palestinian front, Hizballah's actions have the potential to trigger a full-scale, inter-state war.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Lebanon
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 12-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak's surprise resignation Saturday night has plunged the country's already battered political system into further turmoil, and so far, his gambit seems to have failed. Barak's move was clearly designed, at least in part, to utilize a provision in Israeli law that would sideline his once and would-be opponent Benjamin Netanyahu from running in a special election for prime minister on February 6. Moreover, Barak hoped that by avoiding a general election, he could avert the reconfiguration of the Knesset since polls show that if elections were held today, it would become a more rightward-leaning body.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Dan Schueftan
  • Publication Date: 12-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Recently, public opinion in both Israel and the Palestinian territories has shifted in ways that argue for separation or disengagement. Israelis no longer accept the notion that negotiations will eventually lead to peace, but they are far more willing to make concessions to the Palestinians. Palestinians no longer expect a final agreement with Israel, and have instead shifted toward the Lebanon model of using violence to force an Israeli retreat — a trend with tragic implications for the future of Palestinian society.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 11-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak's decision yesterday to preempt his opponents and announce his willingness to hold early elections must be seen in the context of his interest in reviving the peace process. The vote for early balloting was driven by both animus toward the failed Camp David summit and by the Barak government's handling of the subsequent Al-Aqsa Intifada.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Robert Satloff, Rachel Stroumsa
  • Publication Date: 11-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In recent weeks, Arab parties from the Palestinian Authority (PA) to the Arab League summit have called for the dispatch of a United Nations force to the West Bank and Gaza in order to protect Palestinian civilians from Israeli military force. Rather than reject this idea because of its contribution to the internationalization of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, the U.S. view has been to cite its impracticality, given Israeli opposition. Remarkably, the Israeli government itself seems to be hinting that it may be willing to consider the proposal, especially in the event of a reduction in violence. This is evidenced by recent talks between Israeli and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) representatives to the United Nations, reportedly hosted by their Egyptian colleague.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Gaza, Egypt
  • Author: Ephraim Sneh
  • Publication Date: 11-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Recently, four factors have combined to make the situation in the Middle East far more combustible than it is has been for a long time. These elements are: Iraq has managed to break out of the boundaries imposed by the UN sanctions regime and to evade weapons inspections. Saddam Husayn is now stronger than ever and ready to play a role in the region. He has signaled this intention by his deployment of troops on the western borders of Iraq just before the Arab summit in Egypt. Although he has since pulled them back, this maneuver was intended to send the message that Saddam Husayn is a force to be reckoned with from now on. Iran has enhanced its efforts to use a consortium of terrorist groups against the remnants of the peace process. Intelligence information shows that Iran has deployed long-range Katyusha missiles in Lebanon and that it is encouraging Hizballah activities against Israel. Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has disappointed most analysts, who hoped that he would focus on addressing Syria's economy and other domestic concerns. Instead, his speeches both at the Arab summit in Egypt and at the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Qatar have been extremely bellicose. In addition, it is clear that the recent kidnappings by Hizballah and a Palestinian group's attempt to infiltrate Israel through Lebanon could not have taken place without at the least a green light from Damascus, even if Bashar himself did not authorize them specifically. Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Yasir Arafat has evidently changed course from negotiation to confrontation. So far, the Palestinian cause has proven to be uniting force in the Arab world; under certain circumstances, it might also serve as a good pretext for resumption of full-scale hostilities.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Syria, Egypt
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 11-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Since the beginning of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, accusations that Israel has used "excessive force" in dealing with Palestinians have led to calls for Israel to employ "non-lethal" weapons as a way to reduce Palestinian casualties and stem the cycle of violence between the two sides. In fact, however, Israel is already using the rather limited range of traditional "less lethal" (LL) and "non-lethal" (NL) weapons that are used by most modern armies. More exotic, nontraditional concepts that have been under development in the past few years are either not yet ready for fielding (as in the case of so-called "acoustic weapons"), or have potential drawbacks which vitiate their potential operational utility (as with "sticky foam").
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Ehud Yaari
  • Publication Date: 11-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The events of the past five weeks are not a repeat of the Palestinian Intifada of 1987-90, a spontaneous uprising that caught both Chairman Yasir Arafat and Israel equally by surprise. Rather, the current uprising is a confrontation imposed by Arafat on the Palestinian street. Three major elements of the original Intifada are missing in the current situation: 1) The countryside, a backbone of the original Intifada, has so far opted out of the current struggle; 2) the population of east Jerusalem has distanced itself, to the extent that the Tanzim has had to send people from Ramallah and the refugee camps into Jerusalem in order to engineer confrontations. Seen from this angle, the shooting of Israeli guards at the National Insurance Institute in east Jerusalem is a signal to Jerusalem Arabs that Arafat will not permit them to remain on the sidelines; 3) the lower middle classes, a prominent player during the original Intifada, are absent. While thousands may participate in funeral processions, very few (including very few students) join in confrontations with Israeli soldiers at the major flashpoints; the size of these confrontations rarely exceeds a few hundred.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Jerusalem
  • Author: Liat Radcliffe
  • Publication Date: 11-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: "The Arab leaders affirm that just, comprehensive peace will not be achieved except with . . . the restoration of all the occupied Arab territories, including full Israeli withdrawal from . . . southern Lebanon to the internationally recognized borders, including Shebaa farms, the release of Arab prisoners in Israeli prisons in implementation of the relevant UN resolutions. . . ."
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Lebanon
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 11-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The truce reached today should be interpreted very cautiously, given both today's terror bombing in Jerusalem, which killed two Israeli civilians, and the two previous failed ceasefires recently brokered by the United States in Paris and Sharm el-Sheikh, respectively. Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Yasir Arafat was due to announce the truce but instead opted to have other PA officials announce it on Palestinian television and radio. Moreover, Hamas quickly declared that it is not bound by the terms of the ceasefire. Prime Minister Ehud Barak's office nevertheless announced that the ceasefire is in effect.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Paris, Arabia, Jerusalem
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 10-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On Friday, October 27, 2000, Washington Institute Executive Director Dr. Robert Satloff delivered a presentation on the current Middle East situation to a Special Policy Forum luncheon briefing. Following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy, Politics
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 10-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Yesterday, the text of a draft communiqué for the impending Arab summit, principally drafted by host Egypt, was leaked to the Beirut press. In an interview about this document, Egyptian foreign minister Amre Moussa indicated that this draft was accurate but preliminary. If this version emerges from the summit relatively unchanged, it would represent a stunning regression in Arab-Israeli relations and a major setback for the prospects of Middle East diplomacy.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 10-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On October 13, 2000, David Makovsky, senior fellow at The Washington Institute and former editor of the Jerusalem Post, spoke at The Washington Institute's Policy Forum. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks. The Grand Deal on peace is buried for now. Too many factors have conspired against attaining a Grand Deal in the near future, foremost of which include lack of trust, parliamentary arithmetic, and the undermining of the premises of Camp David.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 10-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: President Clinton announced bare-bones understandings today on Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire-plus-disengagement. The test of success of this understanding will be in the swift and full implementation of its objectives on the ground, with today's shooting at a Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem boding ill for the success of this process. Even if fully implemented, however, this understanding is unlikely to lead to a renewal of "permanent status negotiations" where the parties left off their post-Camp David diplomacy three weeks ago.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Jerusalem, Arab Countries
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 10-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The last two weeks have been symptomatic of the different sort of Middle East the United States will be facing in the early years of the new decade. Whereas the dominant context of the 1990s was peacemaking punctuated by intermittent bouts of violence and conflict, the new decade will be marked by violence and conflict punctuated by intermittent bouts of diplomacy.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Yossi Baidatz
  • Publication Date: 10-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The capture of three IDF soldiers from the Israeli-Lebanese border last Saturday not only raises the danger of a third front for Israel—in addition to the upheaval in the Palestinian territories and the tensions with Israel Arabs inside sovereign Israel—but it offers the United States the first opportunity to test the intentions and capabilities of Syria's new yet inexperienced president, Bashar al-Asad.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 10-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As violence continues to flare in parts of Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, attention is increasingly focused on the Palestinian group responsible for much of the rioting and confrontation—the Fatah Tanzim. Just yesterday, the leader of the Tanzim, Marwan Barghouthi, ridiculed the ceasefire reached in Paris as useless. That the agreement was so short-lived highlights the growing importance of this quasi-civilian strike force.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Gaza, Arab Countries
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 10-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The fact that U.S. and Israeli officials—not Yasir Arafat—announced that the Palestinian leader had ordered a halt to violence in the West Bank and Gaza highlights the failure of the U.S.-led summit meeting in Paris. This underscores the prospect that the al-Aqsa Intifada—as Palestinians have termed the week-long spasm of violence and rioting—is a turning point, not a transitory blip, in the seven-year-old Oslo peace process. To the Clinton Administration, engrossed in the peace process since 1993, this came as a painful setback. Chances are high, however, that the President will wade into Arab-Israeli diplomacy at least once again before leaving office-either for one last push toward agreement or to ward off the accusation that he focused on peace when opportunity beckoned but left a mess to his successor. Much will depend on whether violence actually abates soon, as promised; on Arafat's success in internationalizing the conflict, as his current UN gambit for an international inquiry suggests; on the political fortunes of Israel's Ehud Barak and the potential for a national unity government; and on the outcome of the November election (i.e., will the passing of the baton next January be characterized, by and large, by continuity in policy and personnel [a Gore victory] or reassessments and staffing up lag-time [a Bush victory]?
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt
  • Publication Date: 10-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Uneven press coverage and shocking television footage have skewed analysis of the ongoing "Battle for Jerusalem"—the week-old explosion of violence that has swept from the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, to the West Bank, Gaza and Arab population centers in Israel. Seen in political and historical context, current events actually highlight a relatively low level of casualties, a general policy of restraint by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), and a confluence of interests among all elements of the Palestinian political spectrum—from the Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership to the street-level Fatah tanzim to the opposition Hamas—favoring violence against Israel.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Jerusalem, Gaza, Arab Countries
  • Author: Reuven Paz
  • Publication Date: 10-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The riots and violent demonstrations of Israeli Arab citizens in the last few days have been the most violent in 18 years and can be compared only to the violent protests that occurred in response to the massacres in the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatilah by Christian Phalanges in September 1982. Israeli Arabs did not give vent to such violence and rage even during the Palestinian Uprising (Intifadah) in the Territories. Although most of the Israeli Arab citizens have not taken part in the current violence, it seems from their reactions that most of them—especially the Muslim population—identify with the expressions of rage (Christian, Northern Bedouin, and Druze villages took no part in the latest incidents).
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 09-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: With talks completed between senior Israeli and Palestinian negotiators at a northern Virginia hotel, following Monday evening's tête-à-tête between Ehud Barak and Yasir Arafat, this week has marked the beginning of the Clinton administration's last big push to achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace. As the countdown to January 20, 2001 proceeds, the administration faces a difficult set of options to achieve its long-sought breakthrough on the peace process.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Shimon Peres
  • Publication Date: 09-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Jews are not only the Chosen People but also a people with a choice. The Israeli choices in this peace process have not always been pleasant, but the choice, particularly that to begin negotiating with the Palestinians, was basically a moral one. Israelis felt deep in their hearts that it was wrong for the Jewish people to remain dominators of another people. Although there are some advantages gained by holding the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Israel could not remain a Jewish state and be a dominating country at the same time.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Shimon Peres
  • Publication Date: 09-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The wishes of the Palestinian and Israeli peoples and the situation in which they find themselves mandate a resolution to the conflict. The fact that all three parties—Americans, Palestinians and Israelis—are motivated to reach a deal quickly makes this goal more readily attainable. However, in spite of the wish to reach an agreement before the American elections, this need is not absolute, for two reasons. Firstly, the peace process is not a partisan issue in the U.S. It is not a real catastrophe if an agreement doesn't take place in the next six weeks because negotiations are going to continue with whoever is elected, Gore or Bush. Secondly, "lame duck" presidents have managed in the past to accomplish great things in the Middle East.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Martin Kramer
  • Publication Date: 09-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The political status of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is the subject of final status negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. According to press reports, at one moment in the Camp David negotiations last July, senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat asked his Israeli counterpart: "How do you know that your Holy Temple was located there?" A Jerusalem Report cover story (September 11) placed this in the context of a growing Palestinian denial of the existence of the First and Second Temples. "It's self-evident that the First Temple is a fiction," one Palestinian archaeologist at Bir Zeit University is quoted as saying. "The Second also remains in the realm of fantasy."
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 09-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Last Sunday, the world breathed a sigh of relief as the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Central Council voted to postpone a declaration of statehood until at least November 15, 2000. Less noticed, however, has been the internal battle over what is perhaps the second most important political issue on the Palestinian political agenda—the drafting of the Palestinian Constitution. Within the Palestinian Authority (PA) today, the constitution is the focus of an increasingly bitter debate pitting PLO "outsiders" against West Bank/Gaza "insiders." The outcome of this contest will determine not only the future of the PLO as a revolutionary movement and political institution but it may also have far-reaching implications for any future Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Kenneth W. Stein
  • Publication Date: 09-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: President Clinton will again meet his two Camp David partners—though not yet in scheduled three-way talks during this week's Millennium Summit, six weeks after the conclusion of their inconclusive Camp David negotiations. In the August interval, each side sent leaders and diplomats jetting about Europe, Asia, and the Middle East offering their spin on what was offered at the summit, what went wrong, and what needed to be done next. In stark contrast to the effective news black-out that governed Camp David, world leaders have, over the past month, been pitched one, two, or even three sets of briefings about each side's views and where the negotiations should go from here.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Asia, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 07-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Domestic political considerations will be an important factor in Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak's moves at Camp David. Although he would like to have one for a myriad of reasons, politically Barak does not need a deal. To the contrary, failure to reach an agreement could even bring his "big tent" coalition back from dead. Barak had hoped to have a broad government that included the religious parties behind him, having learned from the Yitzhak Rabin era that it was a mistake to have a narrow government relying on its Arab members to squeeze through Knesset confidence votes. But having lost the Jewish majority before his departure, the prime minister's critics will insist that the results of the Camp David summit are illegitimate. Undoubtedly, Barak will reject such assertions, pointing to his promise to hold a national referendum.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 09-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: A decision whether to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks at a reconvened Camp David Summit may be made next Wednesday, but as it stands now, the prospects seem very uncertain. President Bill Clinton is scheduled to hold separate meetings with Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority chairman Yasir Arafat during the United Nations special Millennium Summit. Mindful of an array of ticking clocks, Washington would like to reconvene Camp David for a short and final session sometime during the second half of September. Yet, given the failure of the last summit in July, a generally recognized precondition for a revival of summitry is the prior resolution of almost all outstanding issues between the parties, in order to virtually guarantee the success of renewed negotiations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 08-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In the aftermath of Camp David II and with the start of the Knesset summer recess yesterday, there appears to be a 40-90 day "window" for Israelis and the Palestinians to determine whether a diplomatic breakthrough is still possible or whether the parties will move in alternative directions.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Elyakim Rubinstein
  • Publication Date: 07-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Although the failure of the Camp David II summit to reach a final status agreement between Israel and the Palestinians is certainly sad, it is important to emphasize that this two-week meeting was not a waste of time. For the first time, Israelis and Palestinians sat together in an official setting and thoroughly discussed previously deferred matters like Jerusalem and the refugees. Although unsuccessful in reaching a full resolution, a "basic and very deep clarification of the positions" was achieved at Camp David. A partial agreement was not the preferred alternative of either the Israelis or the Palestinians.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Shlomo Slonim, Geoffrey Watson
  • Publication Date: 06-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Since 1967, U.S. administrations have varied their policy regarding the status of East Jerusalem. Under the Johnson and Reagan administrations, East Jerusalem was not considered occupied territory, and, consequently, Israeli control of the city in its entirety was implicitly accepted. Johnson emphasized that the international interest lay only with the holy sites of Jerusalem, and Reagan indicated that Jerusalem as a whole should remain under exclusive Israeli administration. In contrast, the Nixon and Bush administrations viewed East Jerusalem as occupied territory, therefore implicitly calling for a reorganization, if not redivision, of the city. The Nixon administration was the first to declare East Jerusalem "occupied" under the provisions of the 1949 Geneva Convention, and Bush went so far as to declare Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem as contrary to international law. The Carter and Clinton administrations were both ambiguous about the status of East Jerusalem.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Nicole Brackman
  • Publication Date: 07-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Among the issues being discussed at Camp David between Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak, Palestinian Authority chairman Yasir Arafat, and President Clinton is one matter that directly affects several other states in the region not represented at the talks, namely, the situation of the Palestinian refugees, especially those in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Syria, Jordan
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 07-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: There have been at least seven agreements between Israel and the Palestinians in the past seven years. Negotiations with intermittent spurts of violence have been a way of life. Any new agreement will not be about an end to the conflict: The original 1993 agreement specified such an end, with all further disputes to be settled by negotiations alone. What Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak is looking for is an agreement that will put an end to all further claims.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 06-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: U.S. secretary of state Madeleine Albright completed her round of talks with both Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) today, failing to announce the immediate convening of a U.S. summit. At the end of her discussions, she said she would report to U.S. president Bill Clinton on Thursday, and that he would only then determine whether and when such a summit will take place. But Palestinian officials say the likely format will be further Israeli-Palestinian talks with an aim toward convening a summit at a later date.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Reuven Paz
  • Publication Date: 06-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Israeli-Palestinian dispute is no longer the main issue on the Islamist agenda. The fall of the Soviet Union in 1990 and the development of national and Muslim-Christian disputes in various parts of Europe and central Asia assisted in the globalization of the Islamist struggle. In addition to the continuing troubles in Afghanistan and Kashmir, the 1990s have seen warfare in Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya, and parts of Indonesia (most prominently East Timor). All this brought about a transfer of the main Islamist struggle from the Arab world to the margins of the Middle East. Afghanistan has become the meeting point between the Arab Islamists and their Asian colleagues in the developing globalization of the Islamic radical struggle.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Europe, Indonesia, Middle East, Arabia, Kosovo
  • Author: Reuven Paz
  • Publication Date: 06-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The sudden death of Syrian president Hafiz al-Asad on June 10 added confusion and uncertainty to the relations among Syria, Israel, and Lebanon—relations that were already in flux after Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon. One unexpected result may be increased politicization of the Israeli Arabs in northern Israel.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: David Schenker, Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 06-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Palestinian Authority (PA) president Yasir Arafat meets President Bill Clinton today strengthened by the death of Syria's Hafiz al-Asad, whose funeral Arafat attended Tuesday. An Arafat buoyed and more confident by the death of his longtime nemesis adds a new wrinkle to an already complex game of brinkmanship that constitutes the Israeli-Palestinian dual-track negotiations on interim issues and permanent status.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Author: Reuven Paz
  • Publication Date: 05-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Israel's quick withdrawal from Lebanon and the collapse of the South Lebanon Army (SLA) is certain to be studied by Hamas, the main Palestinian Islamist organization. To understand what lessons Hamas may draw, it is useful to look at two recent developments: discussion inside Hamas about "Lebanonizing" the Palestinian territories and the early May arrest of Hamas military commander Muhammad Deif by the Palestinian Authority (PA).
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Arab Countries
  • Author: Nicole Brackman
  • Publication Date: 03-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: While Hizballah still mulls over its options in the wake of Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon–terrorism, political activism, or both–there remains in Lebanon one other sizable community that could be the source of renewed tension and violence: the 350,000 Palestinian refugees. This group has a long and tortured history in Lebanon, but the development of the Oslo process (which most refugees in Lebanon perceive as an illegitimate betrayal of their cause), along with both the loss of Syrian-Lebanese leverage over Israel following unilateral withdrawal and the increasing desperation of the refugees, has fostered those ideological movements inside the refugee camps that may turn violent in order to bring attention to the refugees' humanitarian plight.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Arabia, Arab Countries, Lebanon
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 05-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As violence rocked the West Bank and Gaza, Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak was scoring a significant parliamentary victory Monday. By a 56-48 margin, the Knesset approved transfer of three Palestinian villages on the outskirts of Jerusalem, including Abu Dis, from partial to full control by the Palestinian Authority (PA). An endorsement of Barak's peace process approach, the vote also stemmed a growing perception that the prime minister is hopelessly captive to the escalating, conflicting demands of recalcitrant coalition partners.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Jerusalem, Gaza, Arab Countries
  • Author: Reuven Paz
  • Publication Date: 05-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The May 15 clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinian civilians and policemen on the occasion of the Nakbah ("catastrophe"), a Palestinian memorial day protesting the establishment of Israel, were the most violent since the September 1996 opening of the tunnel entrance in Jerusalem's Old City. Five Palestinians were killed and over 300 were wounded in. this week's clashes, along with over ten Israeli soldiers wounded in the fighting.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Yoram Hazony, Israel Bartal
  • Publication Date: 05-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Abandonment of the Zionism of Ben Gurion and Herzl by Mainstream Zionist Intellectuals. The movement away from the concept of Israel as a Jewish state is spreading across the ideological spectrum and at times has had an effect on Israeli policy. Examples include: In 1994 a new code of ethics was adopted for the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) which in its explanation of the purposes for which the IDF fights excluded all references to the Jewish state, the Jewish people, and the land of Israel. The Law of Return, the law that Ben Gurion said gives a "bill of rights" to all Jews in the world, has been recently under fire. It has been termed one of the main racialist aspects of the Jewish state that must be repealed if Israel is to ever have peace with its Arab citizens. Preeminent Zionist thinker and Hebrew University professor Eliezer Schweid is promoting the adoption of a universalistic Zionism applicable to Jews and non-Jews alike in Israel. He suggests adding a symbol to the Israeli flag that would represent the participation of the Arab minority (it is difficult to imagine a symbol other than the half-crescent moon that would serve this purpose) and changing the national anthem to reflect a more universalist interpretation of Zionism.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 03-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As Palestinian and Israeli negotiators settle into a negotiating routine in Eilat this week, the peace process quietly marks an anniversary of sorts—one year ago the Oslo-Wye diplomacy faced the threat of a unilateral Palestinian declaration of independence. That step was temporarily averted when Palestinian Authority (PA) ra'is Arafat postponed his May 4 declaration until after the Israeli election that month and then, following the signing of the Sharm el-Sheikh accord with the new government of Ehud Barak, until September 13, 2000. Today, May 4 is no longer a critical date on the calendar of Palestinian national aspirations. Yet, it does remain an important milestone for those committed to developing a more representative, democratic, and accountable PA. And more so than is commonly recognized, that process in turn is likely to have a significant impact on the prospects for an eventual Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 04-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: With Israeli-Palestinian peace talks getting underway in Eilat this weekend, the Middle East seems to be switching peace tracks yet again. After President Bill Clinton held separate White House meetings with Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Yasir Arafat earlier this month, State Department spokesman James Rubin said, "In our judgment, the next six to eight weeks could well be a decisive phase in the pursuit of peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis. . . . That phase obviously is now including a more intensive American involvement." This shift—after several months of focusing on Syria talks—does not necessarily mean that the Syrian track can be considered dead and buried (and indeed Arab leaders such as Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah are said to be quietly seeking to revive that track). Yet, operationally, it means that the United States and Israel will no longer wait for Syria as they revive the Palestinian track and plan for Israel's pullback from Lebanon in July.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Arab Countries, Saudi Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Frederic C. Hof
  • Publication Date: 04-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 16, Israel officially notified the United Nations (UN) that southern Lebanon would be evacuated in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 425, adding further weight to the March 5, 2000, announcement by the Israeli cabinet that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) would "redeploy on the border with Lebanon by July 2000." Twenty-two years after the passage of UNSCR 425, Israel has decided to leave Lebanon unconditionally.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Japan, Middle East, Arabia, Arab Countries, Lebanon