Hard Questions, Tough Answers

Yossi Alpher is an independent security analyst. He is the former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, a former senior official with the Mossad, and a former IDF intelligence officer. Views and positions expressed here are those of the writer, and do not necessarily represent APN's views and policy positions.

Hard Questions, Tough Answers with Yossi Alpher: February 17, 2014

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This week, Alpher discusses the Obama administration examining alternative options to the failed Geneva talks on the Syria conflict and whether there are any military or non-military US options; what are Israel's priorities regarding its approach to the fighting, even though they're not involved in efforts to end the conflict in Syria; if the Syria conflict ended tomorrow, how soon would the region revert to something approaching normalcy.

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Hard Questions, Tough Answers with Yossi Alpher: February 10, 2014

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This week, Alpher discusses what motivates pro-settler critics of Kerry; what the Israeli public thinks about the danger of sanctions; whether there is more than meets the eye to the issue of the controversy provoked by Netanyahu's remark that he "doesn't intend to remove a single settler;" and with two Iranian warships are currently crossing the Atlantic and heading toward the US territorial water boundary, what is Iran trying to tell us.

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This week, Alpher discusses the flood of policy statements from the most senior spokespersons on every side; whether Abbas is making concessions; Kerry's remarks about the consequences for Israel of not reaching an agreement; Indyk's statement in a phone briefing to American Jewish leaders that the upcoming framework agreement would address the right of Jews who fled Arab countries; and the issue of public attitudes toward the peace process in both Israel and the Palestinian Authority and whether they are changing.

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Tbenjamin-netanyahu-settlements320x265his week, Alpher discusses Netanyahu's comment at Davos last week that he "doesn't intend to remove a single settler" and the reactions it provoked; whether Livni has joined the chorus of Israelis despairing of this peace process, and if so, why doesn't she resign; why is the Israeli security establishment returning to the tactic of targeted killings of Gazan extremist now, after a two-year lull, and a few last words in memory of Shulamit Aloni.

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Hard Questions, Tough Answers with Yossi Alpher: January 20, 2014

Alpher_gazawar This week Alpher discusses whether there is any chance of replacing Assad with a transition regime as discussed at the Geneva I talks, who else agrees with Israeli Defense Minister Yaalon's labeling of Kerry by  as "obsessive and messianic," or if this is "last week's news," and whether there is anything really new on the Israeli-Palestinian scene.

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Alpher_gazawarThis week, Alpher discusses how the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships are positioning themselves in anticipation of being presented with some sort of framework agreement by US Secretary of State John Kerry, the story of Ariel Sharon's meeting with Alpher in 1994 to discuss his use of the settlements to "divide and rule" the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, what he thinks of the Palestinian allegation that Israel could do far more to prevent settler attacks, and whether there is a broad strategic significance to the internecine fighting in Sunni areas of both northern Syria and western Iraq.

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This week, Alpher discusses the pronouncements on the peace process made by Secretary of State John Kerry in the course of his most recent Middle East trip, Foreign Minister Lieberman's departure from his traditional hawkish stance in his pronouncements that seem to view Kerry's performance as highly constructive, the relevance of Ariel Sharon's legacy for the current situation, and whether there is a Palestinian angle to Sunday's demonstration of more than 20,000 Eritreans in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square, demanding freedom to work and live in Tel Aviv.

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This week, Alpher discusses what Kerry is doing differently from his many predecessors who have tried and failed to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, how bad the escalating Palestinian violence is, whether there is escalating Israeli opposition to a deal brokered by Kerry, the interaction between Israeli prisoner release and the new settlement construction and the third release of pre-Oslo Palestinian terrorists and whether Pollard fits in somewhere, and whether he has any predictions for the Middle East in 2014.

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This week, Alpher gives an interim assessment of ramifications for the region on the three year anniversary since the outbreak of the Arab revolutions and where this leaves the United States and Israel, discusses whether Sunday's terrorist bus-bombing in Israel is part of a new escalation, and comments on the latest Snowden revelations regarding American eavesdropping on senior Israeli leaders' cell phones and emails.

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This week, Alpher discusses conflicting American statements regarding the objective of the current Israeli-Palestinian talks, how the relatively optimistic American approach jibes with repeated negative assessments by involved Israelis and Palestinians, whether last weekend's mega-storm that passed over the Middle East had any effect on Israeli-Palestinian cooperation, and what's behind the effort of the Israeli far right in once again trying to pass legislation that would restrict activities of foreign-funded NGOs.

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