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.
This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood and Naz Modirzadeh talk to Daniel Levy, president of the U.S./Middle East Project, about “indefinitely postponed” Palestinian elections, Israeli politics, the Biden administration’s policy toward the conflict and what a rights-based approach would entail.
Amid tensions in Jerusalem, Jewish extremist attacks injured over hundred Palestinians; President Abbas indefinitely postponed elections, raising prospects of major protests in coming weeks. In Jerusalem, Israeli police 13 April clashed with Palestinians near Damascus Gate who were demonstrating against restrictions on gatherings to mark start of Ramadan previous day. Police 15-16 April arrested boy suspected of posting videos on TikTok showing Orthodox Jews being slapped in Beit Hanina, Jerusalem; in response to videos, far-right Jewish supremacists chanting “death to Arabs” 22 April attacked Palestinians and skirmished with police in East Jerusalem, injuring over hundred Palestinians and 20 police officers. Protesters overnight 24-25 April clashed with police; authorities 26 April removed barricades around Damascus Gate, relieving tensions. In Jaffa, old district of Tel Aviv city, police 18 April arrested at least two Palestinian citizens of Israel for allegedly attacking yeshiva (religious school) head; incident next day triggered clashes between Israeli and Palestinian protesters that injured two police officers. In West Bank, Israeli soldiers 5 April fatally shot Palestinian man and wounded his wife in village near Ramallah town, claiming car sped toward checkpoint; soldiers 9 April shot Palestinian child in eye with rubber bullet in Hebron. Palestinian Authority’s President Abbas 30 April cancelled Legislative Council elections scheduled for 22 May. Palestinian electoral commission 3 April had approved 36 candidate lists, including “Freedom List” headed by Yasser Arafat’s nephew Nasser al-Qidwa and Fadwa Barghouthi, spouse of imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Barghouthi, in direct challenge to official Fatah list. Hamas 30 April condemned cancellation as “coup”, while decision raised prospect of protests given high voter registration. In Gaza, Israeli jets 16 April struck Hamas targets in response to rocket fire into southern Israel; militants 23 April fired more rockets into Israel. Meanwhile, PM Netanyahu’s trial 5 April resumed; President Rivlin next day asked Netanyahu to form governing coalition by 4 May following inconclusive results of 23 March election. Internationally, Israel blamed Iran for 13 April missile strike on Israeli commercial vessel in Gulf of Oman (see Iran). Errant missile from Syria 22 April exploded in near Dimona nuclear plant in southern Israel, triggering retaliatory Israeli airstrikes (see Syria).
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.
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.
This week on Hold Your Fire!, Rob Malley and guest host Richard Atwood talk with Dahlia Scheindlin and Crisis Group’s North Africa Project Director Riccardo Fabiani about the normalisation of relations between Israel and Morocco and the accompanying U.S. recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara.
Come January 2021, the Biden administration will face the responsibility of mitigating harm caused by President Trump’s destructive policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Its challenge will be to undo Trump’s legacy without merely rewinding the tape to the situation that existed prior to his presidency.
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.
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. In this first episode, Naz and Rob talk about the role foreign policy played, or didn’t, at the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, and explain why the U.S. attempt to snap back UN sanctions on Iran was met with a collective shrug internationally.