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
Violence flared in Gaza between Israel and Palestinian faction Islamic Jihad leaving 34 Palestinians dead. In Gaza, militants fired ten rockets into Israel night of 1-2 Nov, one landed in Sderot; Israel same night struck Hamas sites in Gaza leaving one Palestinian dead. Israeli airstrike 12 Nov killed Islamic Jihad senior leader and his wife in Gaza City. In next two days Islamic Jihad launched over 450 rockets and projectiles into Israel (most intercepted or landed in fields) to which Israel responded with airstrikes on Islamic Jihad targets throughout Gaza killing at least 34 Palestinians, including sixteen civilians. Despite Egyptian-brokered ceasefire between Israel and Islamic Jihad that came into effect 14 Nov, sporadic strikes continued. Hamas cancelled weekly protests along Israel-Gaza fence 15, 22 and 29 Nov. Israel 23 Nov shot down drone near fence and Israeli security forces 29 Nov shot dead one Palestinian protester near fence area. In West Bank, EU 5 Nov contributed some $18mn to Oct salaries and pensions of Palestinian Authority civil servants. Clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinians commemorating anniversary of death of Yasser Arafat, former leader of Palestine Liberation Organization, 11 Nov left one Palestinian dead near Hebron. U.S. 19 Nov said it would no longer consider Israeli settlements illegal under international law. Thousands 26 Nov demonstrated in cities across West Bank against U.S. policy change, dozens injured. In Israel, following elections in Sept, parties continued attempts to form coalition govt but to no avail. Israel’s attorney general 21 Nov indicted PM Netanyahu on corruption charges. In Syria, Israeli airstrike targeting Islamic Jihad member in capital Damascus 12 Nov killed at least two. Following Israeli airstrikes on Iranian targets in Hama and near Palmyra, suspected Iran-backed forces 19 Nov launched four rockets from Syria toward Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, all intercepted. Israel next day launched airstrikes on Iranian and Syrian positions in and near Damascus leaving at least 23 dead.
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 Trump administration is trying to unravel international consensus on this issue of the illegality of settlements.
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.
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.