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  • Author: Robert Satloff, Dennis Ross
  • Publication Date: 05-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Bush administration confronts a certain context on the ground in Israel and the Palestinian territories: Increasing violence. The violence gets worse and worse, and seems to have a logic and momentum of its own. There has been a descent into what may only be described as "communal violence."
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Eyal Zisser
  • Publication Date: 05-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: While the violence in the West Bank and Gaza captures most of the attention, arguably more important developments in the last year have occurred in the Syria-Lebanon-Israel triangle.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, Arabia, Gaza, North Africa, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 05-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: This morning, the text of the long-awaited Mitchell Commission Report, an account of the past seven months of Israeli-Palestinian violence written by a five-member committee headed by former Senate majority leader George Mitchell, was made publicly available. Conceived as a "committee of fact finding" at the October 17, 2000 Sharm al Shaykh conference, its stated goal was to answer "What happened," "why it happened," and how the "recurrence of violence [could] be prevented."
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Shimon Perez
  • Publication Date: 05-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: "We are passing through a very demanding corridor of politics and exchanges, of an emotional crisis of blame and accusations where the voice of peace is minor and occasionally words may be as dangerous as bullets. We have to stop both the incitement and the fire. My real optimism is that I am convinced that sooner or later — and better sooner — all of us will recognize there is no alternative but to return to the table of negotiation, and part from the bloody battlefields that do not produce solutions."
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Politics
  • Political Geography: Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Reuven Paz
  • Publication Date: 05-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 21, the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, Shaykh Abd al-Aziz bin Abdallah Aal al-Shaykh, said that Islam forbids suicide terrorist attacks. This has raised a storm of criticism from supporters of the Palestinian intifada against Israel. However, the mufti may have been thinking more about Osama bin Ladin than recent Palestinian actions.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 05-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 30, the Department of State issued its comprehensive annual report Patterns of Global Terrorism, describing incidents and trends in international terrorism in the year 2000. This year's report covers the first three months of accelerated Palestinian-Israeli violence. It is also marks the first time the Bush administration State Department has been compelled to publicly comment on the nature of Lebanese Hizballah attacks against Israel in the post-withdrawal era.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Politics, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Limor Livnat
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: " . . . The political road that brought us to the crossroads we are now at was one replete with navigational errors, steering miscalculations, and poor vision, traveled by fatigue-driven guides driving under the influence of reckless idealism and senseless naïveté . . . On February 6 of this year, the people of Israel made it eminently clear that they know it, and have left the road that led from Oslo to chaos and bloodshed in their homes and on their streets. The best of Israel's political pundits could not have imagined that Ariel Sharon would ever be elected prime minister of Israel, let alone with a plurality unprecedented in democratic nations. But they did not understand the people of Israel, and probably still don't. It was the most potent statement imaginable in favor of a new road and a more promising future."
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries
  • Author: Reuven Paz
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The last two days have witnessed "The International Conference on the Palestinian Intifada" in Tehran. The conference was a major step in Iran's drive to accelerate terrorist attacks on Israel. Delegates to the conference came from thirty-four countries, including Syrian vice president Muhammad Zahir Mosahareqa, Lebanese National Assembly Speaker Nabih Berri, and representatives from many parliaments (e.g., Irish Senator Mick Lanigan). Palestinian participants included Palestinian Authority (PA) minister in charge of Jerusalem affairs Faisal Husseini and Palestinian National Council head Salim Za'noun (Abu Adib), one of the founding generation of Fatah and for many years the main link between Yasir Arafat and Islamic fundamentalist circles.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Tehran, Palestine, Arab Countries, Syria
  • Author: Khalil Shikaki
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Among the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, there are three perspectives as to why violent confrontations began in September: The Camp David II negotiations uncovered underlying differences in Israeli and Palestinian interests that are simply unbridgeable. Recent confrontations are basically the product of these differences. In this scenario, no return to negotiations is going to improve the situation. The current situation reflects domestic political constraints in both societies. Weak leaders, populations that are not prepared for the compromises needed for a final settlement, coalition politics, and questions of legitimacy are working against a solution. In this scenario, a permanent settlement is possible but certainly not easy. The two negotiating teams could have wrapped up the talks if they had had more time; indeed, they came very close to a compromise at Taba in January. According to this scenario, a matter of procedural difficulty — a miscalculation, misperception, or simply a lack of time — probably impeded the finalization of an agreement at Taba, while violence was still flaring in the territories. Most Palestinians are of the second school of thought. They did not believe that a deal was imminent at Camp David II or at Taba. Indeed, the belief that a comprehensive deal is imminent has eroded over time. Yet most Palestinians continue to hope that strong leaders in Israel and among the Palestinians can make essential compromises. Recently, a prominent perception among the Palestinian public was that Israel's weak government initiated the violence after Camp David II because Israel wanted the Palestinians to accept something that they had rejected. This perception, plus the heavy causalities and the collective punishment sustained over the past few months, has helped to radicalize Palestinian society.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza, Arab Countries
  • Author: Gilead Sher
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Yasir Arafat is responsible for the collapse of the peace process and for the extreme violence of the last seven months. In the year and a half of negotiations with the Palestinians under the leadership of former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak, the objective was a permanent peace settlement: Israel would withdraw from a large part of the occupied territories, and, in return, there would be an official end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The intention was to fashion an alternative to occupation, since this situation was not only untenable, but was also a strategic burden to Israel. Arafat, however, would only accept an agreement in which all of his demands were met; failing this, he would and did resort to imposing an arrangement through violent confrontation. Consequently, the peace process collapsed. Arafat was never ready — mentally, personally, or historically, at Camp David or afterwards — to conclude a deal; he is a leader of a national movement and not a statesman.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries