Israel

  • The Golan Heights: Avoiding an Unforced Error

    A July 17, 2018 hearing in the United States House of Representatives considered the possibility of Washington recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, occupied by Israel since 1967. The hearing took up this issue months after it was first tabled by Republican Representative Ron DeSantis of Florida. At least one cabinet member of Israel’s government is calling on President Trump to follow up on his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital by recognizing the Golan Heights as part of Israel. If Mr. Trump takes this advice, he would inadvertently hand an unearned victory to Iran, the Assad regime, and Russia.

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  • MASHAV: How at 10, Israel was Busy Helping Others

    Ten years after its founding, Israel established MASHAV—Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation—that has over the past six decades helped nations in need.

    On July 18, the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center co-hosted a celebration of MASHAV’s sixtieth anniversary.

    Ambassador Gil Haskel, deputy director general of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and head of MASHAV, recalled that the agency was born out of a trip by then-Israeli foreign minister Golda Meir to Africa in 1957. On the trip, Meir “went into the communities first hand to see what the challenges were,” and, despite the considerable economic and political obstacles facing the Israeli state, “came back with a very deep conviction to establish an international development agency.”

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  • Netanyahu’s New Iran Approach: YouTube Diplomacy

    Benjamin Netanyahu’s leadership style always includes dramatic warnings about threats to Israel. For more than a decade now, Israel’s prime minister warns that Iran—in particular its nuclear program—are the chief threat.

    In 2015, a glaring Netanyahu stared down the United Nations General Assembly in silence for almost a minute. The gesture was to protest what Netanyahu described as the organization’s lack of action against Iran’s murderous plans to destroy Israel.

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  • Expect Russia to Do Little on Iranian Presence in Syria

    Israel’s prime minister met with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss Iranian presence in Syria, on the same day the Supreme Leader’s senior advisor arrived in Moscow with a message.

    Benjamin Netanyahu told Russia’s president on June 11, “Our opinion is known that Iran needs to leave Syria—that is not something new,” hours after a Syrian drone entered Israeli airspace. According to Reuters, an anonymous official claimed that Netanyahu also told Putin, “We won’t take action against the Bashar al-Assad regime, and you get the Iranians out.”

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  • Doctor, Minister, Soldier, Spy: Tehran’s Man in Tel-Aviv

    On June 15, the Israeli state prosecution indicted a former minister, Dr. Gonen Segev, for spying for Iran. Israeli authorities arrested him about a month earlier. His arrest and indictment were kept secret until a gag order was partially lifted on June 18.  If found guilty, Dr. Segev would be the most senior Israeli political figure ever to spy for an enemy country.

    Dr. Segev – a former combat soldier, officer and medical doctor – was elected in 1992 as a member of the right wing Tzomet party. In 1994 he left the party. The following year he was appointed minister of energy in the second Rabin government. He also was made a member of the security cabinet, a group of select ministers that discuss and decide on the most important security matters.  Although Dr. Segev served as a minister for less than a year, his vote allowed Prime Minister Rabin to secure a majority in the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament) on a crucial vote for the implementation of the controversial peace deal with the Palestine Liberation Organization. By 1996, Dr. Segev was ejected from politics.  

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  • The Art of the (Russian-Israeli) Deal

    On June 1, Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya told the press that he “believes” that his country and Israel reached an agreement regarding “certain disengagement in the southwest of Syria.” Other sources reported that the agreement will include the withdrawal of Iranian and Iranian-backed forces from the Syrian-Israeli border in return for implicit Israeli acceptance of the Syrian forces’ redeployment there. More speculative reports even suggested that Russia promised to look the other way during future Israeli attacks in Syria, as long as Jerusalem commits not to target Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

    The Russian ambassador’s statement was the only formal recognition that such an agreement was reached. All other Russian and Israeli officials refused to confirm that such a deal was secured. Indeed, on June 2, a “senior Israeli diplomatic source” denied that an agreement was reached, and so did the Syrian foreign minister, Walid Mualem. The reports came amid intensive Israeli-Russian diplomatic interactions. 


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  • Slavin Quoted in Newsweek on Israel- Iran Relations


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  • US Initiative Vital for Calming Israeli-Palestinian Tensions

    The death of at least sixty Palestinians during clashes with Israeli security forces at the Gaza border on May 14 was just the latest reminder of a crisis that has gradually worsened in the absence of diplomacy and progress toward improved political and economic conditions in the Palestinian territories. A US-led initiative is needed to prevent the situation from spiraling out of control.

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  • Alfoneh Quoted by the United States Institute of Peace on Iran's Role in Syria


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  • Has The United States Jeopardized Its Prospects For ‘The Ultimate Deal’ In The Middle East?

    Early in his presidency, Donald J. Trump set out to achieve “the ultimate deal”: Israeli-Palestinian peace. The US president deputized his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, with the task, claiming the feat could be achieved within the first year of his administration.

    A little over a year later that “ultimate deal” is nowhere to be seen. Instead, the Trump administration appears to have further jeopardized its own prospects of brokering such a deal by relocating the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and again failing to acknowledge the potential for Jerusalem to also be the capital of a future Palestinian state.

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