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  • 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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