• US Consulate Closure in Jerusalem Puts Commitment to Middle East Peace in Question

    The closure of the US Consulate General in Jerusalem—the de facto US Embassy to the Palestinian Authority—marks the end of an era.

    The maintenance of a distinct diplomatic representation to the Palestinians, symbolically and practically independent of the US ambassador and embassy to Israel, signified our commitment to dealing with the Palestinian Authority as a valid interlocutor and as the precursor to a state for the Palestinian people living in peace with Israel.  It was a crucial component for building a working relationship with Palestinians and their security forces, and for the difficult pursuit, together with Israelis, Palestinians, and the international community, of the two-state solution to which we had been committed.  

    Read More
  • Cohen in Forbes: Israel's Leviathan Energy Prize: Where Will The Gas Go?

    Read More
  • The Warsaw Summit: Not So ‘Anti-Iranian’ but Still a Success

    It is too early to assess the long-term consequences of the Ministerial to Promote a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East. But for Poland and several other actors, the meeting can already been seen as a success.

    Poland, after hosting a NATO summit in 2016 and a UN Climate conference in 2018, has once again shown that it is able to organize large international events.

    Read More
  • Poland Summit Strives for Stability in the Middle East

    The Trump administration accurately identified the Iranian threat and has, on some significant issues, acted accordingly—including the US withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and the application of increasingly tough sanctions on Iran, as well as organizing the Ministerial to Promote a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East in Warsaw on February 13-14. A reported seventy-nine states will participate in the conference, including the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, and Jordan, as well as Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Iran was not invited to the conference. 

    The Poland summit officially centers around three major issues: The challenge of missiles, terror funding, and cyber threats. The common denominator of all three categories is the Iranian threat, which is for all intents and purposes at the center of the conference—though the Trump administration has backtracked its comments about Iran being the center of the debate.

    Read More
  • Iran’s Revolution, 40 Years On: Israel’s Reverse Periphery Doctrine

    Iranian-Israeli hostility is actually quite odd. Tehran is well over a thousand miles from Jerusalem. The two countries do not border each other. They have no major bilateral claims toward one another. Whereas large Arab neighbors of Iran, like Iraq or Saudi Arabia, might be considered its natural competitors, Israel cannot. Even fans of the “ancient hatreds” school of Middle East conflict would come up short.

    What historical memory there is of Persian-Judaic interactions is largely positive in Jewish eyes: Streets in Israel are named for Cyrus the Great, who allowed the Jews to return to Judea from their Babilonian exile in 538 BCE. Conversely, Judea never rose to compete with Persia for regional prominence, as did Greek or later Arab forces.

    Read More
  • US Pressure on the Palestinians Must Not Come at the Cost of Security

    In a December 26, 2018, letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah wrote that his government “no longer wishes to accept any form of assistance” from the United States as a consequence of new legislation—the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act (ATCA)—that places entities receiving US financial assistance under the jurisdiction of US courts.

    Hamdallah’s decision, which will go into effect on January 31, shuts down one of the few remaining avenues of interaction between the United States and the Palestinian Authority.

    Read More
  • Israel and Iran Exchange Blows in Syria: A View From Israel

    The January 20 Israeli attack on an Iranian weapons shipment delivery near the Damascus airport in Syria led to a quick and exceptional succession of events that could have easily brought both sides to the brink of war. 

    Iran reacted with a missile launch at the Golan Heights. Israel then responded with an attack on Iranian military targets in the Damascus vicinity. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesperson’s official statements and briefings that were given to journalists appeared to present a detailed picture of what had occurred on the northern front. However, in spite of the abundance of material published and the unusual openness on the part of Israel, there still remains information gaps and a number of unanswered questions. These require additional examination and interpretation. First and foremost, there is the need to distinguish the background noise from accurate signals. 

    Read More
  • The Influence of Domestic Politics on Foreign Policy in Syria

    On January 13, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahuannounced that Israeli forces attacked Iranian weapons warehouses in Damascus the day prior, confirming similar reports by Syrian state media. What is unusual about Netanyahu’s statement is not the content—indeed, Israeli officials previouslyacknowledged carrying out hundreds of strikes onthousands of Iranian targets in Syria—but the context. The announcement broke with a “policy of ambiguity” under which Israel refuses to claim responsibility immediately after a specific attack; the rationale being to safeguard against potential retaliation. 

    Read More
  • Violence Erupts Between Gaza and Israel

    A new round of violence has erupted in the Gaza Strip following an Israeli military raid on November 11 that killed a local Hamas commander. The undercover military operation by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) took place in the Gaza Strip, a 141-square-mile territory on Israel’s southern border currently controlled by Hamas, which the United States, Israel, and the European Union categorize as a terrorist organization.

    Read More
  • Israel Seeks to Bridge the Gulf

    Sultan of Oman, Netanyahu hold rare meeting

    On October 25, Omani Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said hosted a delegation of Israeli officials that included Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Mossad chief Yossi Cohen for an unannounced meeting in Muscat. The meeting turned heads as Gulf leaders rarely meet Israeli officials. It was a sign of not only improving Israeli-Omani relations, but also Israel’s quest to develop diplomatic relations across the Persian Gulf.

    Read More