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 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.
Israel signed bilateral normalisation agreements with United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain; Hamas and Fatah announced deal to hold elections and tit-for-tat attacks broke out between Gaza militants and Israel. At White House ceremony, PM Netanyahu alongside Emirati and Bahraini FMs 15 Sept signed deal to normalise relations. Ahead of signing, President Abbas 3 Sept chaired meeting with Palestinian factions, including Hamas, to define unified response, calling for formation of popular committees to oversee resistance activities against occupation and later stressing need to unite Palestinian political system. At Arab League meeting, UAE and Bahrain 9 Sept defended deal by citing Israel’s commitment to halt prospective West Bank annexation. Following failure of Palestinian efforts to get Arab League to pass resolution condemning deals, Palestinian PM Mohammed Ishtayeh 14 Sept called for reconsidering relations with league, describing forum as “a symbol of Arab inaction”. Hamas and Fatah 24 Sept announced deal to hold Palestinian Authority (PA) legislative elections, PA presidential elections and Central Council elections for the Palestinian Liberation Organisation. Across West Bank, Israeli security operations led to numerous arrests and clashes that caused injury of at least 70 Palestinians and two Israelis; notably, Israel 7 Sept detained over 45 Palestinians in Hebron in largest arrest campaign this year while skirmishes between Palestinians and settlers near Ramallah early Sept broke out. In sign of Israel’s ongoing de facto annexation of West Bank, Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz 6 Sept approved construction of 5,000 settler housing units. In Gaza, Egyptian delegation 10 Sept visited amid efforts to mediate prisoner exchange talks between Hamas and Israel. Despite late Aug ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, armed factions 15 Sept protested normalisation deals by firing around 15 rockets into southern Israel, wounding two in Ashdod; Israeli air force retaliated with airstrikes. Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Gaza despite lockdown, heightening fears of major outbreak in blockaded territory. In Israel, coronavirus cases rose rapidly; govt 13 Sept imposed a three-week national lockdown. Weekly anti-govt protests continued despite health restrictions: thousands 12 Sept gathered outside PM Netanyahu’s residence denouncing corruption and govt’s handling of pandemic.
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.
Cairo’s public condemnation of Israeli unilateralism in Ramallah is a blow to (Benjamin) Netanyahu’s narrative that Israel's Arab partners are indifferent toward annexation if not desirous of it.
This is the first time [Palestinian Prime Minister] Shtayyeh has acquired significant support among Palestinian people as a potential long-term successor to [Palestinian President] Abbas.
Even Netanyahu’s critics are appreciative of his risk averseness [toward Coronavirus], and the clear majority of Israelis thinks he performs well.
There needs to be a serious exploration — not another empty threat from the president’s office — of what dismantling the [Palestinian Authority] looks like.
[Trump's peace plan's] message to the Palestinians, boiled down to its essence, is: You’ve lost, get over it.
Netanyahu fears this incident lacks a broader U.S. strategy and would either merely escalate dynamics without restraining Iran’s nuclear program and regional activities.
In this podcast series, Crisis Group President Rob Malley and Board Member Naz Modirzadeh, a Harvard professor of international law and armed conflict, dive deep into the conflicts that rage around the globe, along with Crisis Group field analysts and special guests. This week, they discuss U.S. support for the Yemen war and the absence of the Palestinian issue from the normalisation agreement among Israel, the UAE and Bahrain. Crisis Group's Senior Analyst for Ethiopia, Will Davison, also joins them to discuss the challenges facing Ethiopia.
Originally published in Jadaliyya
The plan could pave the way for an Israeli takeover of the holy site in Jerusalem.
Originally published in Al Jazeera
After 13 years of maintaining the status quo, Israel and Hezbollah are now negotiating new rules of engagement.
Originally published in Middle East Eye
Whatever the outcome of Israel’s post-election government negotiations, there is a historic surprise in the way most of Israel’s Arab-Palestinian majority parties, united under the Joint List, backed Blue and White’s Benny Gantz. Crisis Group Senior Analyst Ofer Zalzberg discusses the repercussions for Israel’s political landscape.