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 continued between Palestinians and Israeli security forces at Gaza-Israel fence and Palestinian Authority (PA) took steps to ease financial crisis in West Bank. In Gaza-Israel fence area, clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinian protesters 4 Oct left one protester dead; two rockets launched from Gaza hours later fell short of Israeli territory. Following 14 Oct meeting between Gaza-based Palestinian faction Islamic Jihad and Egyptian officials, Egypt released about 80 Islamic Jihad prisoners, most returned to Gaza. At southern end of strip Israel 17 Oct shot down drone near fence. Qatar 27 Oct began disbursing $7.5mn to Palestinians. Israeli jets 29 Oct downed drone over Gaza. In West Bank, amid deepening financial crisis, PA and Israel 3 Oct agreed to reactivate joint committees established under Paris Protocol (framework for Israeli-Palestinian economic relations) to discuss economic issues; after PA agreed to receive tax revenues collected by Israel in West Bank, which it had rejected since Feb, Israel 6 Oct transferred $428mn to PA. Israel continued to withhold portion of tax revenues which PA had earmarked for families of prisoners and martyrs. PA 7-11 Oct signed agreements with Egypt aimed at strengthening economic relations. PA 15 Oct said it would pay its employees salary arrears for April, May and June in coming days and pay those for July, Aug and Sept in coming months. PA President Abbas 16-17 Oct met Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman in Saudi capital Riyadh and agreed to establish joint bodies to increase trade. Israeli security forces 18 Oct killed Palestinian wielding knife near Tulkarem. After PM Netanyahu failed to form coalition govt by 23 Oct deadline, Israeli President Rivlin that day mandated leader of Blue and White party Benny Gantz to form one instead. Lebanese army 13 Oct said Israeli drone had illegally entered its airspace; Lebanese civilian 23 Oct shot down Israeli drone within Lebanese territory.
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.
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.
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.
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.