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.
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.
Originally published in Middle East Eye
Low-level violence persisted between Israeli forces and Palestinians along Gaza-Israel fence. Palestinians in Gaza resumed weekly “Great March of Return” protests along Gaza-Israel fence 6 Dec after three-week suspension. Palestinian militants 7 Dec fired three rockets from Gaza into Israel, two were intercepted and one landed in field; Israel responded with airstrikes on Hamas targets in Gaza. Israeli aircraft 17 Dec killed Palestinian approaching fence. Palestinian militants launched two rockets at Israel night of 18-19 Dec, one was intercepted and one landed in field; Israel retaliated by bombing three Hamas sites and temporarily reducing Palestinian fishing area. Palestinians 25 Dec launched rocket toward Ashkelon in Israel, where PM Netanyahu was addressing campaign rally; Israel intercepted rocket and responded by striking several Hamas targets in Gaza. Hamas 26 Dec said it would suspend weekly demonstrations along Gaza-Israel fence until April and would then reduce their frequency to monthly. In West Bank, Palestinians 9 Dec launched general strike and clashed with security forces in Hebron after Israeli defence minister approved construction of new settlement there. Ahead of anniversary of Hamas’s founding, security forces night of 11-12 Dec arrested a dozen senior Hamas officials across West Bank. Israel 15 Dec reduced power supply to Palestinian residential areas in several cities to pressure Palestinian electric company to pay outstanding debt. In Israel, after Blue and White Party leader Benny Gantz failed to form coalition govt, Israeli lawmakers 11 Dec passed bill to dissolve parliament and hold new elections 2 March. PM Netanyahu won Likud party primaries 26 Dec with over 72% of votes. In Syria, suspected Israeli airstrikes targeting Iranian weapons depots 7 Dec killed at least five.
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.
Facts on the ground in Syria are defining the contours of the country’s political future and also the geography of a looming clash between Israel, Hizbollah and other Iran-allied militias. Russia should broker understandings to prevent a new front from opening.
The collapse of U.S.-led Israeli-Palestinian talks in 2014 led to political instability, rising violence and settlement expansion. To improve his successors’ peace-making chances, President Obama should push for a new UN Security Council resolution setting out the basic parameters of a deal.
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.
The Trump administration is trying to unravel international consensus on this issue of the illegality of settlements.
La division au sein de la droite [israelienne] ne suffit pas à hisser Gantz à la tête d’un gouvernement, c’est juste assez pour empêcher Netanyahou de rester Premier ministre.
Jordanian and Israeli elders are sounding the alarm, hoping current coalition formation talks in Israel would decisively redraw the direction and rescue the [1994 peace] treaty.
The debate unfolding within Israel now is not whether annexation has happened or not, but rather whether to formalize it or not.
Hamas agreed to restrain the protests in return for concessions. Those haven’t materialized.
The Israel-Lebanon border has been relatively quiet for the past 13 years. The latest tit-for-tat threatens the balance.
Originally published in The American Prospect
Fighting in Gaza killed 25 Palestinians and four Israelis on 3-6 May. In this Q&A, our Israel/Palestine Analyst Tareq Baconi links the violence to a continuing failure to ease restrictions on Gaza as agreed in a November ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, Gaza’s dominant Palestinian group.
A tense standoff in Jerusalem and simmering tensions between Israel and Hamas in Gaza have heightened the risk of violence and unrest. In this excerpt from the first update of our Watch List 2019 for European policymakers, Crisis Group outlines steps for the EU to help alleviate Gaza’s economic crisis and support the status quo in Jerusalem.
Watch List Updates complement International Crisis Group’s annual Watch List, most recently published in January 2019. These early-warning publications identify major conflict situations in which prompt action, driven or supported by the European Union and its member states, would generate stronger prospects for peace. The Watch List Updates include situations identified in the annual Watch List and/or a new focus of concern.