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.
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.
Originally published in Middle East Eye
Clashes continued in occupied territories while tensions between Israeli govt and Palestinian Authority (PA) remained high and could escalate further in July amid possible Israeli annexation of portions of the West Bank. Clashes 2-15 June between Israeli security forces and Palestinians in West Bank left 25 Palestinians injured, including nine children; Israeli forces 26 June shot and injured nine Palestinians in Kufur Qaddoum in West Bank during protest against Israeli settlements. Israeli police officers 23 June shot dead Palestinian driver near East Jerusalem. Meanwhile, PM Netanyahu’s annexation plans – cabinet discussions over which can begin 1 July – prompted criticism at home and abroad: settler leader David Elhayani 3 June publicly criticised U.S. President Trump for endangering existence of Israel; United Arab Emirates Ambassador to U.S. 14 June warned annexation would jeopardise Israel’s efforts to improve relations with Arab countries; over 1,000 parliamentarians from 25 European countries 23 June signed joint letter describing plan as “fatal to the prospects of Israeli-Palestinian peace”. Following President Abbas’s mid-May suspension of all agreements with Israel, PA reportedly shut down channels of communication. After PA 3 June rejected tax revenues Israeli authorities collected on its behalf, PM Shtayyeh 9 June announced PA would be unable to pay civil servants’ salaries. PA 15 June announced it will start issuing personal documents for Palestinians without validation by Israeli authorities. PM Shtayyeh 9 June said PA had submitted counter-proposal to U.S. peace plan to international mediators; proposal reportedly includes establishment of demilitarised, sovereign Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as capital. United Arab Emirates 9 June sent second shipment of COVID-19 aid to Palestinian territories via Israeli airport; PA next day condemned move. In Gaza, Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) 15 June launched airstrikes in southern Gaza strip in retaliation to rocket fired from Gaza. Hamas 25 June called Israeli annexation plan “declaration of war”. Militants in Gaza 26 June reportedly launched two rockets into Israel, IDF next day launched airstrikes in southern Gaza strip. In Syria, Israel reportedly launched numerous airstrikes throughout month on suspected Iranian and Iran-linked targets (see Syria).
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.
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.
There are no signs (Hamas) will accept Israel as a permanent fact but indications they have come to accept it in the medium term and seek arrangements with it.
The plan could pave the way for an Israeli takeover of the holy site in Jerusalem.
Originally published in Al Jazeera
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.