• 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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  • Hellyer in The Globe and Mail: To Arabs, Jerusalem Represents the Symbolic Denial of Freedom

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  • Cunningham Joins Fox to Discuss Trump’s Decision to Move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem

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  • All You Need to Know As The United States Opens its Embassy in Jerusalem

    [Editor's note: This blog post has been updated.]

    Massive protests have erupted in the Gaza Strip on May 14 as the United States relocated its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, becoming the world’s first nation to have an embassy in the holy city.

    On December 6, US President Donald J. Trump announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to shift the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem—the two cities are about an hour’s drive apart.

    The decision is a controversial one. Palestinians turned out in large numbers to protest the decision. At least fifty-two Palestinians were killed by Israeli gunfire at the Gaza border. Health officials said 2,400 Palestinians were wounded, hundreds of them by live bullets. Protests were also reported in the West Bank.

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  • The President’s Speech and the Prospects of an Iranian-Israeli War

    The evening US President Donald J. Trump took the United States out of Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), it smelled in Israel as if war was coming. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cut short a trip to Cyprus. His Chief of Staff canceled his speech in the prestigious Herzliya conference. A few minutes before President Trump began his remarks, the Israel Defense Forces ordered residents of the Golan Heights (a northern region bordering Syria to brace for a possible attack from Syria, due to “abnormal movements of Iranian forces in Syria.” CNN reported that American officials had similar concerns and the State Department issued a travel advisory for the Golan Heights.

    Shortly after the president’s speech, Israeli planes launched what seemed to be a pre-emptive strike against an Iranian missile site located in a military base in southern Syria. The following day, Iranian forces fired a barrage of rockets on Israeli posts in the Golan. Israel retaliated (or rather, used the opportunity) to conduct a massive air raid on dozens of Syrian and Iranian targets in Syria.

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