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  • Author: Joel S. Fishman
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: Israel and the PLO have been confronting each other according to completely different paradigms of conflict. Since the late 1960s, the PLO has adopted a "people's war" paradigm that continued to guide its policies even after the signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords. According to the "people's war" paradigm, borrowed from Marxist-Leninist traditions in China and Vietnam, conflict is waged on both the political and military levels, but for militarily weaker guerilla groups, political conflict is more important, especially the delegitimization of an adversary and the division of his society. Prior to 1993, Israel largely responded to the PLO militarily as a terrorist threat, but not politically. After 1993, with the PLO "renouncing" terrorism, Israel embraced the PLO leadership and ignored the signs that the PLO was still engaged in political warfare against it (incitement, reluctance to alter PLO Covenant, UN votes, textbooks). Israeli governments later complained about these symptoms of political warfare, without identifying the cause. Established Israeli traditions place undue emphasis on the narrowly-framed military approach to the detriment of the political, which leaves Israel particularly vulnerable to broad-based strategic deception. Israeli policy-makers must reexamine the assumptions upon which they have based political and military policy over the last decade.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, War
  • Political Geography: China, Middle East, Israel, Vietnam, Arab Countries, Oslo
  • Author: Gerald M. Steinberg
  • Publication Date: 08-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: The record of formal efforts to negotiate peace in protracted ethno-national conflicts (Balkans, N. Ireland, Sri Lanka, etc.) is not encouraging. Israel needs a serious insurance policy, in the form of unilateral separation, to minimize vulnerability to another and potentially more deadly terror campaign, should the "roadmap" fail. The construction of a separation barrier is supported by over 70 percent of the Israeli public, representing a broad consensus from across the political spectrum that favors a physical barrier blocking access to Israeli cities in order to prevent a resumption of the Palestinian terror campaign of the past three years. Political separation will also promote a two-state solution, allowing Israel to remain a culturally Jewish and democratic society while fostering Palestinian sovereignty. Key policy issues concern the pace of construction and the route to be taken for the remaining sections. While options range from a minimalist 300 km line to a 600 km alternative that would include most Israeli settlements, a pragmatic middle route including settlement blocs like Ariel and Gush Etzion may provide the optimum mix under present circumstances. If the Palestinian security framework proves its capabilities in preventing terror, and political negotiations on borders progress, the barrier can be relocated.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Sri Lanka, Palestine, Arabia, Balkans, Ireland
  • Author: Anne Bayefsky
  • Publication Date: 07-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: The roadmap has significant roots in the UN, an organization long understood as biased against Israeli interests and Jewish well-being in general. Examples include the work of the UN "Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories," established in 1968, and the UN "Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People," created in 1975. There is a pressing need to clarify with the American administration what attributes of sovereignty will not be accorded a Palestinian state with provisional borders prior to final status negotiations. Israel must reassert that its consent is necessary for any decision affecting its essential interests. An American commitment to object to any unilateral declaration of independence should be immediately forthcoming and clearly understood by the parties. The UN and the European Union must be kept out of any monitoring and assessment function. Recognition of a fundamental breach, and the ability to apply the necessary consequences, require that precise and public monitoring by Israel start now.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, United Nations
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Dore Gold
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: The quest for defensible borders has been an axiom of Israeli governments since 1967 on the basis of UN Security Council Resolution 242. Defensible borders for Israel has been explicitly backed by Washington since the Reagan administration. In Rabin's last Knesset address he made clear that Israel "will not return to the 4 June 1967 lines." He insisted on a map including a united Jerusalem, the settlement blocs, and the Jordan Valley. In 2003, Israeli planners will have to operate under the assumption that the dismantling of the Palestinian terrorist infrastructure will be incomplete, and should a Palestinian state nonetheless be established, its complete demilitarization will not be reliable. During the Oslo years, the Palestinian leadership was in material breach of the military clauses of the Interim Agreement, seeking to import illegal weaponry like SA-7 shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles and manufacturing Qassam rockets. Many of the same security figures who breached Oslo now serve the government of Mahmud Abbas. Moreover, fundamentalist groups like Hamas that mentioned the Islamic term hudna, for cease-fire, understood that it means a truce that is maintained until the balance of power changes. This means they will seek rearmament; Israeli military intelligence was, in fact, reporting that Hamas had accelerated production of Qassam rockets in early July. In their pronouncements, Hamas and Islamic Jihad have even used a weaker term: ta'liq - a temporary cessation of hostilities. In the wake of the decline of the threat from Iraq, Israel will require defensible borders to meet the growing lethality of the Palestinian threat, backed by the assistance of Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia. The Bush administration should provide Israel with assurances concerning defensible borders as it seeks Israel's acquiescence to the creation of a Palestinian state.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan
  • Author: Justus Reid Weiner
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: In recent decades, municipalities and governments in all parts of the world have struggled with illegal building. However, compared with the incessant denunciation of rather infrequent demolitions by the Jerusalem Municipality, there has been nearly a complete lack of publicity when other governments demolish illegal structures. Those who complain that many Arabs cannot afford housing in Jerusalem ought to recognize economic reality; Jewish residents of Jerusalem who also cannot afford the high cost of housing find it necessary to move to the periphery of the city where housing is more affordable. In New York, nobody would excuse or tolerate people building illegally in Central Park, whatever their attachment to Manhattan or however large their family. Even the Palestinian Authority has demolished houses constructed illegally. Particularly refreshing was PA leader Sari Nusseibeh's statement that the "gangs that build illegally on land that does not belong to them should be thrown into jail," and that "Nobody in their right mind is in favor of illegal building."
  • Topic: Security, Government, Religion
  • Political Geography: New York, Middle East, Palestine, Arabia, Jerusalem
  • Author: Dan Diker
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: The impending renewal of Arab-Israeli contacts after the Aqaba summit is an appropriate occasion to reassess one of the weak points of Israel's information effort. At the 1991 Madrid Peace Conference, then Deputy Foreign Minister Binyamin Netanyahu "broke the ice" with scores of Arab reporters when he provided articulate explanations of Israel's positions. Eytan Bentsur, Director General of Israel's Foreign Ministry at the time of Madrid, saw Israel's "paternalistic" approach to the Palestinians at Oslo as contributing to the ultimate collapse of the peace process. The launch of Arab satellite television in 1994 provided Israel with direct access to millions of Arab and Muslim viewers throughout the Middle East. Prime Minister Sharon's foreign media advisor, Raanan Gissin, is regularly interviewed on the leading Arab channels. Despite the high standards of news programming on Israel's new Arabic-language Middle East Satellite Channel, it is not widely viewed in the Arab world because it is recognized as an Israeli government operation. ArabYnet, an Arabic translation of the popular Ynet news website of the Israeli Hebrew daily Yediot Ahronot, has become one of the most popular Arabic language websites on the Internet, with nearly a million unique monthly users. It is a commercial site that presents an Israeli point of view but with no particular political agenda.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Irwin J. Mansdorf
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: Since 1993, attempts have been made to portray Palestinian-Arab perpetrators of suicide bombings as desperate individuals understandably coping with a difficult situation, in effect, transforming the attackers into victims, and thus diminishing the impact of one's revulsion at such attacks. The use of the “bomber as victim” model has led others to similarly view, and incorrectly justify, the motivations behind Palestinian-Arab suicide bombers. Yet, in fact, individual psychopathology or personal feelings do not appear to play any significant role. Unlike other groups that have used suicide as a political or military tool, only in the case of Palestinian-Arab terror has there been an attempt to personalize the perpetrator as a victim of uncontrollable psychological and motivational forces that forced such extreme behavior. It is actually group dynamics that reinforces behavior within a Palestinian-Arab culture where suicide bombers are viewed as heroes whose faces are prominently displayed on public posters and where families of bombers are showered with both respect and financial reward.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Dan Diker
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: International news organizations covering the Arab-Israeli conflict frequently refer to international agreements and resolutions in ways that are prejudiced against Israel's legal rights and claims. Frequent references to Israel's legal obligation to withdraw to the pre-1967 borders are inconsistent with UN Security Council Resolution 242 and the Oslo Accords. Neither the Oslo Declaration of Principles of September 1993 nor the Oslo II Interim Agreement of 1995 require either Palestinians or Israelis to refrain from the construction of settlements, neighborhoods, houses, roads, or any other similar building projects. References in the news media to “occupied Arab East Jerusalem” reflect an underlying assumption that eastern Jerusalem has always been an Arab city like Damascus or Baghdad, ignoring the fact that Jerusalem has had an overwhelmingly Jewish majority as far back as the mid-nineteenth century. Despite UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's announcement on 25 July 2000 that Israel had fully implemented UN Resolution 425 when it unilaterally withdrew from southern Lebanon, news organizations have continued to refer to the Shaaba Farms, located on Israel's side of the border with Lebanon, as “disputed.”
  • Topic: Security, Religion, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Jerusalem, Lebanon, Oslo
  • Author: Steven Windmueller
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: Martin Buber wrote: "Each Jew represents the mirror image of the collective soul of the Jewish people." In recent times, we have described ourselves as a proud people, assured of our place in the modern world. But the events of September 11 left us numbed and confused as to its meaning and message. The tragic events of that day fused with the events that occurred a year earlier in Israel with the onset of the second intifada, and may have fundamentally transformed the Jewish experience in our times.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Scott B. Lasensky
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: The collapse of the Oslo process and ever worsening Israeli-Palestinian violence demonstrate that certain long-held "truths" about the conflict need to be turned on their heads - none more so than the accepted wisdom that the Palestinian refugee problem, long a source of regional instability and a breeding ground for suicide terrorists, can only be addressed as part of a final settlement. Rather than follow a comprehensive agreement, ameliorating the Palestinian refugee problem increasingly looks like a necessary precondition for a permanent Israeli-Palestinian settlement. It might even be required for a meaningful resumption of negotiations.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Czech Republic