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.
On 14 September, strikes of uncertain provenance hit Saudi Arabia’s largest oil facilities, taking some 50 per cent of the kingdom’s oil production temporarily offline. Crisis Group offers a 360-degree view of the attacks and their implications for Middle Eastern and international peace and security.
Clashes erupted at Jerusalem’s Holy Esplanade between Muslim worshippers and Israeli police and fighting along Israel-Gaza fence area left at least nine Palestinian militants dead. In Jerusalem, tens of thousands of Muslims gathered to pray at Holy Esplanade on first day of Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha 11 Aug, which coincided with Jewish holiday Tisha B’Av. After rumours spread that police would allow Jews entry in violation of status quo, clashes broke out between Muslims and police leaving at least 61 Palestinians and four police officers injured. Later that day, police authorised Jews to enter, allowing some 1,700 Jews to be on site. Jordan, custodian of Jerusalem’s sacred sites, condemned Israel’s 11 Aug decision to allow Jews access on that day; Jordanian MPs 19 Aug recommended that govt expel Israel’s ambassador and reconsider Israel-Jordan peace treaty. Israeli police 15 Aug shot dead Palestinian youth who stabbed policeman near Holy Esplanade. In Gaza, Israeli forces 1-17 Aug killed at least nine Palestinian militants who approached fence. Militants fired rocket into Israel 16 Aug, Israel intercepted it and same day struck Hamas targets in Gaza. Next day militants fired three rockets into Israel, two intercepted, one landed in Sderot. Two suicide bombings 27 Aug at police checkpoints in Gaza city left three officers dead; Hamas declared state of emergency throughout Gaza. In West Bank, Israel 5-6 Aug approved construction of 2,304 houses for Israelis in Area C. Following deadly stabbing 7 Aug of Israeli soldier near Migdal Oz settlement, Israeli security forces in Beit Kahel village 10 Aug arrested two Palestinians suspected of attack; Israel blamed Hamas. Suspected Palestinian bombing 23 Aug killed Israeli near Dolev settlement. Iranian-backed Iraqi paramilitary group accused Israel of conducting airstrikes on their assets in Iraq (see Iraq). Israeli airstrikes 24 Aug hit Iranian forces near Syrian capital, Damascus, leaving five dead (see Syria). Suspected Israeli drone strikes targeted Iran-backed militants in Lebanon; Lebanese President Aoun 26 Aug called attack on Beirut “declaration of war” (see Lebanon).
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.
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.
Given that the PA’s main source of legitimacy is its capacity to employ a considerable proportion of the Palestinian workforce, internal discontent could challenge its ability to govern effectively.
Netanyahu prefers to deal with Hamas because clear dynamics have been established and Hamas will not seek a final resolution [of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict] from Israel.
If Israel annexed Gush Etzion, would Trump let it lie? He could decide that the Golan was desirable, but the West Bank is not. He did not commit to recognizing all Israeli annexation. Trump never said he was going to be consistent.
Live thread: Escalation on Haram al Sharif / Temple Mount - Molotov bottle thrown at police station on upper plateau. Israel Police cleared the site, closed all gates.
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.
Israel’s parliamentary elections on 9 April seem set to see Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu return to lead a fragile, more right-wing coalition, an outcome unlikely to prompt a dramatic change in the country’s policies in the West Bank and Gaza.
As in 2014, Hamas and Israel appear close to a conflagration that neither party desires – though now a shaky ceasefire seems to have taken hold. Crisis Group’s Israel/Palestine analyst Tareq Baconi explains how the parties got to the brink and how they can step back.