Showing posts with label Israel and Gaza. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Israel and Gaza. Show all posts

21 June 2018

ISRAEL’S STRATEGIC DEAD END IN GAZA

BY GERSHON BASKIN

Many high-level meetings of security experts and officials in Israel have tried over the past few weeks to come up with policy directives regarding the future of Gaza. This is a positive development, especially because over the past 11 years there has not been a serious review of Israel’s strategic goals in Gaza. Even after three wars with Gaza, the Israeli policy has been to leave a weakened Hamas in power. When the policy of “isolation” (bidul in Hebrew) of Gaza began – after the Hamas coup d’etat against the Palestinian Authority in June 2007 – the basic idea was to advance the peace process in the West Bank and its economic development while closing off Gaza, so that Palestinians could easily see the difference between the two regimes, their interaction and openness to Israel and to the world. Those were the days when Dr. Salam Fayyad was prime minister in Ramallah. Though he was the “darling of the United States and the West” whom some Israelis called “the Palestinian Ben-Gurion,” prosperity and peace did not appear.

7 June 2018

Moscow updates playbook on making Israel, Iran happy Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/06/russia-playbook-making-israel-iran-happy.html#ixzz5HTwI6elq

Maxim A. Suchkov 

Israeli soldiers walk near mobile artillery units in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, May 9, 2018. Tensions on Israel's northern border with Syria have heated up as Israel objects to the presence of Iranian forces in southern Syria. Russian and Israeli officials met this week in Moscow to discuss Israel’s concerns over the extent of Iran’s current and future presence in Syria. Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and other top Israeli officials met May 31 withRussian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. The primary focus of the visit was the situation in Syria and specifically, in Liberman’s words, “the entrenchment of Iran and its proxies” there.

6 June 2018

Iran and Israel are Racing toward Confrontation in Syria

By Mona Yacoubian

Israel has long been wary of Iran’s power projection in the Levant, particularly in Syria. Ties between Tehran and Damascus have been close since the 1979 revolution, but the relationship deepened after Syria’s civil war erupted in 2011. With the Assad regime’s survival at stake, Tehran doubled down on its support, providing critical military assistance—fighters and strategists—and economic aid estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Syria and Iran now have a partnership with existential stakes—for the Assad regime’s longevity and Iran’s enduring position in Syria, the most strategic property in the Levant. USIP’s Mona Yacoubian looks at Iran and Israel’s goals and concerns in Syria and the potential of their shadow war spilling over into a regional conflagration.

5 June 2018

Israel’s Nuclear Strategy: Enhancing Deterrence in the New Cold War

By Louis René Beres

“Oh ship of state, new waves push you out to sea….”

—Horace, Odes

By definition, as long as particular countries regard their nuclear status as an asset, every state that is a member of the so-called nuclear club is a direct beneficiary of the Cold War. This is because all core elements of any national nuclear strategy, whether actual or still-contemplated, were originally conceptualized, shaped, and even codified within the earlier bipolar struggles of post World War II international relations.[1] Nonetheless, as the world now enters into a more-or-less resurrected form of this initial struggle the strategic postures of each extant nuclear weapons state are being modified within the still-developing parameters of Cold War II.

31 May 2018

Hamas, Netanyahu and Mother Nature

By Thomas L. Friedman

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks on stage as U.S. ambassador to Israel David Friedman (L) looks on during the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem on May 14, 2018 in Jerusalem, Israel. US President Donald J. Trump's administration officially transfered the ambassador's offices to the consulate building and temporarily use it as the new US Embassy in Jerusalem. Trump in December last year recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and announced an embassy move from Tel Aviv, prompting protests in the occupied Palestinian territories and several Muslim-majority countries.

The Israel-Palestine Standoff

by Richard A. Epstein 

Few issues produce more political and emotional discord than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In principle, there is much to commend a two-state solution. If achieved, it could allow the two groups to live beside each other in peace. Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, the interminable peace process came to a screeching halt this past week as the American embassy opened in Jerusalem. An exultant Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proclaimed before Israeli and American dignitaries, “We are in Jerusalem and we are here to stay.” At the same moment, thousands of angry Palestinian demonstrators were rebuffed with deadly force as they sought to storm into Israel from Gaza. The confrontations took place on May 14 and 15—and the Palestinians consciously timed their protests to correspond with the seventieth anniversary of the Palestinian Exodus that resulted in the birth of the Israeli state. Some 62 Gazans died and thousands were wounded as the Israelis used live ammunition to keep protestors from storming over the barricades into Israel.

28 May 2018

Hamas, Netanyahu and Mother Nature

By Thomas L. Friedman

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks on stage as U.S. ambassador to Israel David Friedman (L) looks on during the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem on May 14, 2018 in Jerusalem, Israel. US President Donald J. Trump's administration officially transfered the ambassador's offices to the consulate building and temporarily use it as the new US Embassy in Jerusalem. Trump in December last year recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and announced an embassy move from Tel Aviv, prompting protests in the occupied Palestinian territories and several Muslim-majority countries.

26 May 2018

The United States Withdraws from the Nuclear Deal with Iran: Lessons from a Simulation

Sima Shine

In the coming days President Donald Trump is to decide whether or not to authorize the continued suspension of nuclear-related sanctions on Iran. The US president is required to waive sanctions every 120 days to remain in compliance with the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Failure to waive sanctions will result in the automatic reinstatement of American sanctions on Iran, which contravenes the commitments stipulated in the agreement and therefore constitutes a breach of the deal and, in practical terms, an American withdrawal from it. This scenario was examined in a simulation that took place in November 2017 at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), in collaboration with the RAND Corporation. The purpose was to consider Iran’s potential response and the responses of other relevant parties should the United States withdraw from the deal, as well as the consequences of such a development for Israeli national security.

The Israel-Palestine Standoff

by Richard A. Epstein

Few issues produce more political and emotional discord than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In principle, there is much to commend a two-state solution. If achieved, it could allow the two groups to live beside each other in peace. Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, the interminable peace process came to a screeching halt this past week as the American embassy opened in Jerusalem. An exultant Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proclaimed before Israeli and American dignitaries, “We are in Jerusalem and we are here to stay.” At the same moment, thousands of angry Palestinian demonstrators were rebuffed with deadly force as they sought to storm into Israel from Gaza. The confrontations took place on May 14 and 15—and the Palestinians consciously timed their protests to correspond with the seventieth anniversary of the Palestinian Exodus that resulted in the birth of the Israeli state. Some 62 Gazans died and thousands were wounded as the Israelis used live ammunition to keep protestors from storming over the barricades into Israel.

25 May 2018

Turkey and Israel: Barking, Biting, But Still Doing Business

Cengiz Candar 

While the recent diplomatic rift between Israel and Turkey indicates a further deterioration in relations, the Turkish government has avoided taking concrete steps that could directly hurt Israel, whereas the Israeli response to Turkey's rhetoric was more detrimental and bitter. Israeli security forces have killed some 62 Palestinians and wounded scores of civilians by firing during demonstrations held on the Gaza border, which coincided with the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem. The carnage drew a harsh denunciation from Turkey’s sworn pro-Palestinian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Yet closer scrutiny suggests Erdogan wasn't framing his response for the international community, but rather to appeal to Turkish voters ahead of the June 24 snap elections.

23 May 2018

Now Or Never: Israel Makes Its Move Against Iran


"Better now than never." These were the words of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a recent tweet affirming his country's resolve to block Iranian aggression at any cost. Perhaps no statement could better encapsulate the current Israeli mindset and resolve to block Iranian aggression at any cost. When else will Israel have the ear of a U.S. president willing to tear up a diplomatic deal and double down on Iran, the freedom to strike with impunity against targets in a state already ravaged by civil war, and a young Saudi prince willing to openly collaborate with the Jewish state against the Islamic republic?

22 May 2018

The Gaza Challenge: Social Warfare Strategy in Action

ARIEL (ELI) LEVITE, JONATHAN (YONI) SHIMSHONI
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With hundreds of Palestinian casualties and many acres of burned Israeli wheat fields, the week of May 15 is witnessing the predictably tragic climax of several weeks of Palestinian protests along the Gaza border fence in confrontation with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). These events have pitted the IDF against tens of thousands of protesting Gaza residents, inspired and organized by Hamas, who have managed to set fire to Israeli fields and have aimed to topple the fence and cross into Israel while some are engaging in acts of terrorism under the cover of mass nonviolent protest. Much attention has been given to these events from a current affairs perspective; this short piece offers a more fundamental explanation of the dynamics and their policy implications.

What the Gaza Protests Portend

Tareq Baconi
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The battle against infiltration in the border areas at all times of day and night will be carried out mainly by opening fire, without giving warning, on any individual or group that cannot be identified from afar by our troops as Israeli citizens and who are, at the moment they are spotted, [infiltrating] into Israeli territory. This was the order issued in 1953 by Israel’s Fifth Giv’ati Brigade in response to the hundreds of Palestinian refugees who sought to return to homes and lands from which they had been expelled in 1948. For years after the war, the recently displaced braved mines and bullets from border kibbutzim and risked harsh reprisals from Israel’s army to reclaim their property. The reprisals included raids on refugee camps and villages that often killed civilians, as the Israeli historian Benny Morris and others have laid out. Still, refugees persisted in their attempts to return, and Israel persisted in viewing these attempts as “infiltration.”

21 May 2018

Violence in Gaza: “An Ugly Witch’s Brew”


Since the United States declared the opening of its new embassy in Jerusalem, violence has broken out along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, where thousands of protesters have gathered for months for what they have dubbed “The Great March of Return” [to Israel]. Earlier this week, Israeli troops fired into the crowd from across the border fence, killing at least 58 Palestinians and wounding more than 2,700. Israel has faced international backlash for its heavy-handed approach to the protests, including Turkey expelling its ambassador and a number of countries calling for an investigation of the bloodshed. However, what’s just as interesting is which voices are missing in the conversation.

The View From Olympus: Israel, Gaza, and 4GW

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Hamas, which rules the Gaza strip, has traditionally been less competent than Hezbollah at Fourth Generation war. Its rocket attacks on Israel, although they have frightened Israelis, have done little physical damage while they have created a moral equivalence between Hamas and Israel that hurts the former. Now, however, it is beginning to look as if Hamas has gotten smarter in a way that poses a real 4GW strategic threat to Israel. On successive Fridays, Hamas has sponsored demonstrations at the border fence between Gaza and Israel. On April 27, the demonstrators broke through the fence. Israel responded, as it has before, with live fire that killed several Gazans. Anytime that happens, Israel suffers a defeat at the moral level, which in 4GW is the decisive level. Hamas’s challenge is to push that defeat up from the tactical to the strategic. Conditions may be ripe for it to do so. Israel, Egypt, and Fatah have combined their efforts to degrade the quality of life in Gaza to the point where people there feel they have nothing to lose. When everyday life is hell, risking that life is a modest risk. Hamas may be able to mobilize, not hundreds of demonstrators, but hundreds of thousands.

20 May 2018

Violence in Gaza: “An Ugly Witch’s Brew”


Since the United States declared the opening of its new embassy in Jerusalem, violence has broken out along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, where thousands of protesters have gathered for months for what they have dubbed “The Great March of Return” [to Israel]. Earlier this week, Israeli troops fired into the crowd from across the border fence, killing at least 58 Palestinians and wounding more than 2,700. Israel has faced international backlash for its heavy-handed approach to the protests, including Turkey expelling its ambassador and a number of countries calling for an investigation of the bloodshed. However, what’s just as interesting is which voices are missing in the conversation.

18 May 2018

The Next Israeli War

By Jacob Shapiro

Another war between Israel and Hezbollah may well be approaching. Iran, Hezbollah’s primary patron, continues to ship weapons to the Lebanese militia despite Israel’s insistence that doing so is something it cannot allow. Israel has conducted airstrikes on Iranian and Syrian targets in the past month accordingly, but to no avail. The more aggressively Israel behaves, the sooner a direct fight with Iran will come. Of course, the two have been engaged in a war of words for some time, but this contest has been confined to the battlefield of rhetoric for a simple if overlooked geographic reason: The two countries are too far away from each other to wage war. Now, though, Iranian bases are coming under attack, and casualties are beginning to mount, but Iran has yet to respond. Eventually it will have to, and when it does it will come in the form of Hezbollah.

16 May 2018

3 Reasons Israel Would Start a Nuclear War

Robert Farley
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Israel’s nuclear arsenal is the worst-kept secret in international relations. Since the 1970s, Israel has maintained a nuclear deterrent in order to maintain a favorable balance of power with its neighbors. Apart from some worrying moments during the Yom Kippur War, the Israeli government has never seriously considered using those weapons. The most obvious scenario for Israel to use nuclear weapons would be in response to a foreign nuclear attack. Israel’s missile defenses, air defenses, and delivery systems are far too sophisticated to imagine a scenario in which any country other than one of the major nuclear powers could manage a disarming first strike. Consequently, any attacker is certain to endure massive retaliation, in short order. Israel’s goals would be to destroy the military capacity of the enemy (let’s say Iran, for sake of discussion) and also send a message that any nuclear attack against Israel would be met with catastrophic, unimaginable retaliation.

15 May 2018

As Tensions Flare in the Middle East, Israel’s Netanyahu Flies to Moscow

By: Pavel Felgenhauer

The May 9 Victory Day commemoration is the year’s most important official event in President Vladimir Putin’s Russia—a country-wide extravaganza, marked by massive military parades. The largest of these is always held on Red Square, in Moscow. This year, some 13,000 service personnel in gold-glittering uniforms, mimicking old Russian imperial or Stalinist postwar garments, goose-stepped down the Square, followed by displays of tanks, guns and different types of missiles, including land-mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), as well as a fly-by of military aircraft. The parade included some of the newest weapons Putin has been boasting about recently, like the hypersonic air-launched Kinzhal missile (apparently a modified Iskander ballistic missile) attached to a modified supersonic MiG-31 interceptor, which provides this munition with an increased range of up to 2,000 kilometers and additional operational mobility. 

14 May 2018

The View From Olympus: Israel, Gaza, and 4GW


Hamas, which rules the Gaza strip, has traditionally been less competent than Hezbollah at Fourth Generation war. Its rocket attacks on Israel, although they have frightened Israelis, have done little physical damage while they have created a moral equivalence between Hamas and Israel that hurts the former. Now, however, it is beginning to look as if Hamas has gotten smarter in a way that poses a real 4GW strategic threat to Israel. On successive Fridays, Hamas has sponsored demonstrations at the border fence between Gaza and Israel. On April 27, the demonstrators broke through the fence. Israel responded, as it has before, with live fire that killed several Gazans. Anytime that happens, Israel suffers a defeat at the moral level, which in 4GW is the decisive level.