An Israeli-Palestinian peace deal in the foreseeable future is unachievable, as is a credible process for reaching one. Since 2002, Crisis Group has been working to advance a new, inclusive peacemaking model for Israelis and Palestinians and to reduce the likelihood of deadly conflict among Palestinians and between Israel and its neighbours.
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
Israeli forces launched wave of arrests inside Israel and suppressed Palestinian protests in West Bank amid attacks by settlers; ceasefire between Israel and Hamas faced strains. Following May deadly fighting between Israel and Gaza-based Palestinian factions that triggered widespread violence across Israel and West Bank, Israeli forces sought to restore security in what Palestinian activists claimed was attempt to suppress protests. Israel 3 June concluded operation that led to arrest of 2,142 citizens, 90% of them Palestinian. Israeli border police 5 June detained journalist Givara Budeiri, releasing her after four hours; International Press Institute director Barbara Trionfi same day slammed arrest. Israeli police 6 June detained twins Muna and Mohammed El-Kurd over their activism against removal of families from East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah; police same day clashed with protesters outside station before Muna’s release. In Jerusalem, Israeli-run municipality 7 June issued demolition orders to residents of al-Bustan area in Silwan neighbourhood, giving some 1,500 Palestinian residents 21 days to evacuate and demolish their houses; court hearing on matter postponed until 7 Aug. Thousands of Israelis 15 June rallied in nationalist march around Jerusalem’s Old City chanting “death to Arabs”. While attempting to suppress protest, Israeli police injured over 30 Palestinian protesters. Citing marches, Hamas 15 June flew incendiary balloons into southern Israel; Israel 15-17 June struck Hamas military compounds in Gaza in first strikes since ceasefire, leaving no casualties. In Gaza, Egyptian delegation 3 June arrived to aid reconstruction plans. In West Bank, Israeli settlers 8 June shot and mutilated Palestinian man after setting fire to Palestinian-owned land in al-Rihiya village, south of Hebron city; settlers fired live bullets at Palestinians attempting to extinguish fire. Israeli forces 11 June shot and killed four Palestinian residents protesting illegal settler outpost in Beita town. Palestinian security forces 24 June killed prominent activist Nizar Banat, outspoken critic against Palestinian Authority’s (PA) security coordination with Israel, leading to protests throughout West Bank against PA, which police repressed. In Gaza, Egyptian delegation 3 June arrived to aid reconstruction plans. New Israeli govt led by ultra-nationalist Naftali Bennett 13 June sworn in following power-sharing agreement between eight opposition parties, ousting Benjamin Netanyahu as PM.
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.
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.
Israel is pursuing new ways of cementing its grip on occupied East Jerusalem, further enmeshing the city’s Palestinians while maintaining a Jewish majority within the municipal boundaries. These schemes could spark conflict. The new Israeli government elected in September should set them aside.
A standoff looms between Palestinian worshippers and Israeli police over a shuttered building at Jerusalem’s Holy Esplanade. Israel and Muslim religious authorities should reopen the building to lessen tensions at the sacred site, where small incidents have blown up into prolonged violence before.
A ceasefire agreement has brought Israel and Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas back from the cusp of yet another calamitous war. However fragile, it offers a rare opportunity for all parties to finally break the cycle of recurring hostilities that has killed thousands since 2007.
Israel and Hamas stand on the brink of another full-scale confrontation in Gaza. The only viable exit from the ongoing cycle of escalation is for international actors to use carrots and sticks to bring about intra-Palestinian reconciliation, thereby allowing the Palestinian Authority (PA) to govern the Gaza Strip.
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
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.
[In Palestine,] the option is either to engage with Hamas or an incredibly unrepresentative and defunct governing — somewhat of a governing — authority that holds absolutely no legitimacy.
This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood talks to Crisis Group experts Azmi Keshawi, Tahani Mustafa and Mairav Zonszein about what the war looks like in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel and what its longer-term implications are for Israelis and Palestinians.
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
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.