This page links only to Crisis Group publications on Syria, Lebanon and Israel/Palestine, as researched and written by our Middle East and North Africa Program. For publications about Eastern Mediterranean energy, maritime boundaries, Turkey-Greece tensions and the Cyprus problem, please see our Eastern Mediterranean Rivalries page.
A new Israeli government is set to replace long-serving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. As Crisis Group expert Mairav Zonszein explains, however, not much but antipathy for the ex-premier holds the prospective cabinet together. It may well struggle to survive.
Originally published in Política Exterior
To accompany this month’s CrisisWatch, Interim President Richard Atwood looks at the dramatic turn of events in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, the danger of new fighting and its implications for Horn of Africa geopolitics.
As it tries to pull out of its economic tailspin, Lebanon badly needs a functional cabinet able to make reforms. Such a government must have broad support, including from Hizbollah. The party’s domestic and external foes should accordingly stop attempting to curtail its role.
Lebanon’s reeling economy badly needs outside aid. Yet the political class, which largely created the problems, is resisting necessary change. The European Union should keep limiting its assistance to humanitarian relief until Lebanese politicians make reforms that benefit all citizens, not just the privileged few.
A cluster of coronavirus cases indicates that community transmission is occurring in the Gaza Strip. Israel should relax its blockade to permit entry of medical equipment and exit of seriously ill patients. Donors should respond quickly to requests for aid.
An uprising of unprecedented scope has rocked Lebanon as the country’s economy tumbles deeper into recession. Poverty and unemployment could lead to violent unrest. Donors should put together an emergency package but condition further aid upon reforms to tackle corruption, a major grievance driving protest.
With the Syrian regime’s offensive in Idlib paused, the time is now for a deal sparing the rebellion’s last stronghold the full wrath of reconquest. The parties should pursue an improved ceasefire including the regime, Russia, Turkey and the Islamist militants entrenched in the province.
The coronavirus is now present in Gaza, the populous Palestinian enclave blockaded by air, land and sea since 2007. An epidemic would be calamitous. Hamas should tighten public health measures; Israel should loosen restrictions so that medical supplies can enter and afflicted Palestinians can leave.
Conceptually, Hamas put the Palestinians back on the radar and Jerusalem at the center of their issues. The [Israeli] government has realized that Palestinians are uniting; that the fragmentation isn’t as effective as they would like it to be; that they empathize with each other’s struggles, regardless of whether they are in the West Bank, Jerusalem or Gaza
Putting the lifeline of three million Syrians up for negotiations every six to 12 months, is an unsustainable situation. And Syrian civilians end up paying the price.
Dispossession is central to the Palestinian struggle, and Jerusalem is a microcosm of that.
Any pursuit toward the [Israel-Palestine] peace process will not be accepted by the majority of Palestinians if it’s being done on behalf of a small cluster of people that they do not see as being representative.
Netanyahu was very eloquent. He didn’t actively seek war, he was cautious. As for Bennett, we don’t yet know. Could he drag Israel into new wars?
For those who care about the Palestinian side, they see every Israeli government as similar, they feel like the occupation is going to continue regardless and it doesn’t matter who is the face of it.
The Israeli leadership calls what it is doing in Gaza now 'mowing the grass,' knowing it will grow back before long
Originally published in The Telegraph
The confrontations across Israel-Palestine are well on the way to becoming one of the worst spasms of violence there in recent memory. In this Q&A, Crisis Group experts explain what is behind the explosive events and where they might lead.
As Israeli strikes on Iran-linked targets in Syria continue, there is always a risk that occasional spikes of violence could escalate into a broader confrontation.
Originally published in Middle East Eye
The absence of a peace process doesn’t mean the absence of U.S. responsibility—or of the need to act as Jerusalem begins to boil over.
Originally published in The American Prospect
This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood and Naz Modirzadeh talk to Daniel Levy, president of the U.S./Middle East Project, about “indefinitely postponed” Palestinian elections, Israeli politics, the Biden administration’s policy toward the conflict and what a rights-based approach would entail.