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  • Author: Ayla Gurel, Laura Le Cornu
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The economic rationale for energy collaboration between Turkey, Cyprus and Israel is compelling. Cyprus and Israel need commercially viable export routes for their gas while Turkey is eager to diversify and increase its gas supplies. Hydrocarbon resources could potentially be a catalyst for both bringing about a Cyprus settlement and a Turkey-Israel rapprochement. A trilateral cooperation scheme involving a Turkey-Israel pipeline and an LNG plant in Cyprus could offer strong commercial incentives to all parties. But it would require bold political vision on the part of the region's leaders, coupled with backing from influential external actors with an interest in reconciliation and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Israel, Cyprus
  • Author: Augustus Richard Norton
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Arab awakening augurs the return of political contestation to key Arab societies in which little more than token opposition had been tolerated. Unfolding experiments in democratisation in which Islamically-oriented parties are leading players are underway but the prospects for the consolidation of stable political systems in key countries, such as Egypt or Syria are problematic. These developments have hastened a new regional balance of power in which Saudi Arabia and its allies have sought to stem the tide of change as well as thwart the hegemonial ambitions of Iran. Persistent issues, particularly the Israel-Palestine conflict, remain unresolved and have a powerful grip on the conscience of the Arab world. Key external powers, especially the United States, confront not only stubborn familiar issues but also a host of new strategic, economic, diplomatic and military challenges.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt
  • Author: Andrea Dessì
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The political and strategic landscape of the Middle East and North African region has changed dramatically since late 2010 and the events now loosely defined as the 'Arab Spring'. The dust has yet to settle in many Arab capitals and 2013 is set to be another defining year for the greater Middle East as regional actors, particularly new Islamist-led governments, take on more direct roles in influencing political, military and social developments in the Arab world. Israel and the Palestinian factions of Hamas and Fatah are not immune to these developments and while progress towards peace has been all but non-existent, change in the region must not necessarily lead to more tensions and conflict. The EU and US should work to establish greater Arab ownership of the diplomatic process, convince Israel that its security is best served by assuming a proactive approach to its changing neighbourhood and strive to harness the new realities in the region to modify the incentive calculus of the major domestic players in the conflict.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, North Africa
  • Author: Arturo Marzano
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Israel's international position has declined in recent years. Even if its relationship with the EU - and even more with the US - is solid, there have been frictions that are not likely to disappear in the years to come. Its relations with other states, from Middle Eastern countries to India and China, are either highly problematic or have not improved despite the Israeli government's efforts. It is Israel's policy in the Occupied Territories that is being increasingly criticised and this is creating a sort of 'vicious circle' in Israel: the critiques reinforce Israeli's 'bunker mentality', strengthening the ethno-nationalist character of Israeli politics and society and causing de-democratisation, and this, in turn, brings on more international isolation.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Liviu Horovitz, Roland Popp
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: A scheduled conference to promote a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East has renewed hopes for nuclear disarmament in this unstable region, if only innovative diplomacy could take advantage of the current shifts. However, a realistic assessment suggests that optimism is unwarranted. Fundamental strategic considerations related to Iran's nuclear program, Israel's atomic options, and the region's ingrate security architecture remain nearly insurmountable hurdles. Therefore, policymakers should focus first on attaining a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
  • Topic: Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Iyad Barghouti
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Despite the efforts put into negotiations, they have created a self-perpetuating cycle of disappointment, frustration and empty dialogue. With contradictory Palestinian and Israeli agendas - Palestinians negotiating for an independent state, an end to occupation, etc., and Israel negotiating primarily over security concerns - one must question the reason behind prolonged negotiations. Is US mediation, accused by many of extreme bias towards Israel, to blame? Or are negotiations an Israeli objective to execute a particular political agenda? In spite of the international community's recognition of establishing an independent Palestinian state, the current reality on the ground undermines any creation of one. This reality was allowed only by the strategic prolonging of negotiations. A particular focus on the proceedings following the Oslo Accords explains how Palestinian-Israeli negotiations have been used to pursue a particular objective.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Nimrod Goren
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Incentives are capable of creating favourable environments in which peace processes can make progress. This is especially true for mega incentives, which can assist in overcoming political and socio-psychological barriers to peace. In Israeli-Arab peacemaking, incentives have not yet proven efficient. To date, they have been used in a limited and inefficient manner. In 2010, the US offered Israel incentives in return for an extension of Israel's settlement freeze. This move failed due to unfavourable political conditions and scepticism regarding its ability to bring about a major breakthrough. Nevertheless, it signaled that incentives are now an integral tool in US diplomacy and could serve as a step towards crafting a multi-national mega incentive package for Middle East peace.
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Kamleh Khatib
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Through a series of open-question interviews carried out with those responsible for the UfM file between late 2008 and early 2009, some undeniable and unanimously accepted merits were voiced. However, views from the southern shores of the Mediterranean appear to be multifaceted and not uniform with only one dominant common trait echoing in all interviews and shaping negative perceptions, namely, the weight the Arab-Israeli conflict exerts in hampering the initiative. While a Union of projects could "address the architectural deficit that has prevented the Mediterranean from becoming a coherently functional economic regional space", high politics emerge, yet again, as an inescapable reality that demands prioritisation.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Menachem Klein
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: With Israeli having de facto control over historical Palestine, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has shifted from being a border conflict to an ethnic struggle between almost minority but powerful Israeli Jews and Arab Palestinians. Hence, the "one-state proposal" now circulating for the two peoples is not a viable solution but rather the current problematic reality: the area between the Jordan and the Mediterranean is heading toward Balkanisation. Nevertheless, as long as the majority on both sides rejects the joint state in favour of their own nation state, the Balkan model can be avoided. Indeed, when the cost of ethnic conflict becomes too high, Israel will be quick to put new effort into working on the idea of two states.
  • Political Geography: Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Volker Perthes
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The summer 2006 war in Lebanon can be perceived through at least five different frames of reference. The US administration saw the war in Lebanon as a local manifestation of the global war on terror. According to this framework, Hezbollah is an Al Qaeda-type enemy, not a national group with a local agenda and constituency; bargaining with Hezbollah is not possible. This point of view makes fighting global terror more difficult and jeopardises the search for stability and peace in the region. Many Israeli and European politicians saw the war as a confrontation between radical Islam and a modern Israeli state, a clash of cultures between Islamic fundamentalists and Western civilisation. This frame of reference, however, fails to recognise the fault line within the Muslim world itself, between those who want to integrate their societies into a globalised world and those who do not. The conflict in Lebanon can also be interpreted as a consequence of the weakening of a state, a framework which underlines the need to strengthen Arab institutions, or as an asymmetrical war between an armed nation state and a guerrilla movement. Finally, the war in Lebanon can be seen as a conflict over power, land, resources and sovereignty - the classic realist perspective. If the international community fails to work toward a comprehensive peace settlement in the Middle East, another framework will gain strength in the Arab world: one that interprets events according to a theory of non-negotiable conflicts between Western imperialism and radical Islamic resistance.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Lebanon