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.
Tit-for-tat attacks escalated between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza; Israel and United Arab Emirates (UAE) signed deal to normalise relations, while anti-govt protests in Israel gathered steam. In Gaza, militants 2-18 Aug launched near-daily cross-fence attacks into Israel – mostly incendiary balloons and flaming kites – to which Israel responded by striking Hamas targets in Gaza. In response to attacks, Israel 11 Aug closed Kerem Shalom crossing, 13 Aug halted fuel shipments to Gaza and 16 Aug closed fishing zone off Gazan coast. Israeli measures cut electricity supply in Gaza down to less than 4 hours per day, prompting militants in Gaza 19-21 Aug to launch around dozen rockets into Israel. Israel responded with retaliatory strikes against Hamas in Gaza; tit-for-tat attacks continued until 30 Aug; Hamas 31 Aug announced it had reached ceasefire agreement with Israel. After recording first four community-spread COVID-19 cases, Hamas 24 Aug imposed total lockdown in Gaza. In West Bank, Israeli security forces’ fire night of 6-7 Aug killed bystander amid clashes with Palestinians in Jenin; night of 19-20 Aug Israeli forces fatally shot Palestinian allegedly preparing to attack Israeli civilians near Deir Abu Meshal village. In Jerusalem’s Old City, Israeli police 17 Aug shot and killed Palestinian who stabbed police officer. In Israel, Palestinian 26 Aug stabbed to death Israeli rabbi in Petah Tikva city. Israel and UAE 13 Aug signed U.S.-brokered deal, with UAE agreeing to full normalisation of relations with Israel in return for “suspension” of West Bank annexation; PM Netanyahu same day said annexation plans remain “on the table”. Across Israel, large-scale protests over govt’s mismanagement of COVID-19 and economic crisis continued; most notably, some 20,000 gathered 29 Aug outside PM Netanyahu’s official residence in Jerusalem calling for his resignation. In north, security forces night of 2-3 Aug killed four “terrorists” allegedly planting explosives near security fence between Israel and Syria in southern Golan Heights; suspected Israeli airstrikes 3 Aug reportedly killed around fifteen members of Iran-backed militia in Syria; suspected Israeli airstrikes 31 Aug left at least two dead in Syria. Israel night of 6-7 Aug downed drone that entered Israeli airspace from Lebanon. Hizbollah snipers night of 25-26 Aug allegedly opened fire on Israeli troops near Lebanese border; Israel responded by bombing Hizbollah posts in Lebanon.
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.