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For Israel, the peace process has always been about demography

The 25th anniversary of the Oslo Accords has been marked with unsurprisingly downbeat coverage and talk of broken promises. Marginalised or neglected in much of the analysis, however, has been an honest appraisal of Israel’s own strategic considerations at the time.

First, from Israel’s point of view, Oslo was not about Palestinian statehood. Read more

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Unseating Netanyahu: New faces, same policies on Palestinians

After Avigdor Lieberman’s departure from Israel’s ruling coalition, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defied expectations by keeping his government intact.

The prospect of an immediate vote might have receded, but election speculation is only intensifying, with a maximum of a year left in the government’s term.

A major part of the debate pertains to the Israeli opposition, and in particular, the possibility of Netanyahu finally being replaced as prime minister. Read more

The missing element from GCC normalisation with Israel: The Palestinians

Late October and early November saw a number of well-publicised visits by Israeli ministers to Gulf states, including a surprising trip by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Oman, where he was hosted in Muscat by Sultan Qaboos bin Said.

That trip was followed by Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev’s attendance at a United Arab Emirates (UAE)-hosted international judo tournament, where she found time in her itinerary to become the first Israeli minister to visit the world’s third largest mosque, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. Read more

Analysis: What does Gaza escalation mean for appetite for calm?

As recently as Sunday morning, all signs pointed to a longer-term truce taking hold between Israel and Palestinian factions in the besieged Gaza Strip.

But only a four hours later, that prospect seemed far more distant.

On Sunday evening, the Israeli army launched a secret operation in the coastal enclave that killed seven Palestinians, including a senior commander of the armed wing of Hamas, the group administering the Strip, as well as one of its soldiers. Read more

Support for Israel ‘continues to drop’ among US liberals, youth

In February 2017, Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked expressed concern about “decreasing support for Israel in the Democratic party”, telling her Jewish American audience that the problem was “a strategic issue” for Israel.

“I couldn’t sleep after I saw a poll two weeks ago”, she added.

A new US poll on the same topic will not help Shaked rest easy. The results indicate that key trends identified in recent years show no signs of slowing; Israel’s reputation is deteriorating among demographics such as Democrats, younger voters, African Americans and Hispanic Americans. Read more

Has the BDS campaign really achieved so little?

Last March, outgoing Jewish Agency chair Natan Sharansky declared that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign had “been almost fully defeated”. Sharansky’s pronouncement came two years after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced BDS had been “beaten“.

BDS ‘failure’?

Premature reports of the BDS campaign’s “failure” are not the sole preserve of Israeli officials. In a recent article on the attempted deportation of American student Lara Alqasem by Israeli authorities, Haaretz staffer Anshel Pfeffer, who also writes for The Economist, portrayed Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan’s handling of the affair as a rare boost for the BDS campaign. Read more

When it comes to Palestine,’taking sides’ and ‘solutions’ are not mutually exclusive

Back in August, I received an invitation from an organisation called Solutions Not Sides (SNS) to be a speaker at their Student Leadership Programme event in London in early September. After some research, I declined the invitation – and I want to explain why in a public forum. Read more

Palestinian violence isn’t ‘antisemitic’, it’s a response to occupation

On September 16, Khalil Jabarin – a 17-year-old Palestinian from Yatta in the southern West Bank – left his family home and headed north, to the Israeli settler-managed Gush Etzion Junction. There, the teenager fatally stabbed American-Israeli Ari Fuld, before being shot and arrested.

Following the killing of Fuld, a well-known far-right activist who lived in the nearby Efrat settlement, some Israelis vociferously objected to the reporting of his death, and in particular, to Fuld being described in various international news reports – quite accurately – as a settler. Read more

Can Hamas walk the fine line between deterrence and escalation?

More than a month has passed since the last significant exchange of fire between the Israeli military and Palestinian factions in the occupied Gaza Strip.

Thus, despite a number of significant and deadly flare-ups, the summer passed without a new large-scale Israeli assault on the blockaded territory materialising.

While Israeli military strategy has long relied on deterrence – the idea that short, sharp shocks to enemy forces and civilian population will secure periods of “quiet” – events this summer beg the question whether Hamas and other factions in Gaza have established their own deterrence. Read more

The Troubled History of the Two-State Solution

Since 30 March, when ‘Great March of Return’ protests began in the occupied Gaza Strip, the Israeli army’s brutal crackdown on Palestinian demonstrators has prompted condemnation worldwide. On 14 May, Israeli snipers positioned across the other side of a fortified fence killed 60 Palestinians and injured many more – some 1,300 were hit with live fire.

The bloodshed of 14 May occurred the day before Nakba Day, marked annually by Palestinians to remember the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian communities in 1948, and protest Israel’s continued rejection of the refugees’ right of return. Read more