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.

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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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This week, Alpher discusses the seemingly significant high-level developments and statements regarding both the Israel-Arab peace process and Iran, against the backdrop of Israeli-American relations, how does the American security plan or "thoughts" challenge Netanyahu's security concept regarding the Jordan Valley, what is the significance of Obama's mention of a framework agreement as a negotiating outcome, what is the significance of Netanyahu's linkage of Iran and the two-state solution at the Saban Forum, and thoughts on Nelson Mandela's support for the Palestinians and consistent criticism of Israel.

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Hard Questions, Tough Answers with Yossi Alpher: December 2, 2013

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This week, Alpher discusses whether Salafist Islamist terrorists in the West Bank is another sign of escalation toward a third intifada, if Netanyahu is inciting Congress and American Jewish leaders against Obama in the wake of the Geneva agreement with Iran, and what's behind the sharp protests by Druze and Bedouin--minorities who generally serve in the IDF.

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This week, Alpher discusses whether the Geneva agreement between the P5 + 1 and Iran is a "bad deal" and a "historic mistake" as Netanyahu argues, what about it should realistically worry Israel, what we have learned over the weekend regarding Israel's relationship with the Obama administration, whether Netanyahu's strategy regarding Iran and the international community has failed, what all this may say about the election in recent days of Yitzhak "Boozhi" Herzog to head the Labor party, and whether Netanyahu's invitation to Palestinian President Abbas to speak to Israel's parliament his inviting himself to a reciprocal appearance in the Palestinian parliament is a serious initiative.

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This week, Alpher discusses Netanyahu's meetings this week with Hollande, Putin, and Kerry to discuss the prospective Iran nuclear agreement, a possible revival of the French-Israeli alliance of the 1950s and 60s, how Netanyahu could allow tenders for planning 24,000 additional settlement units to be published last week, considering how sensitive the current juncture is for Israel's international relations, and whether there was something unique or particularly worrisome about the latest "price tag" attack launched against Palestinians by extremist settlers in the West Bank.

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This week, Alpher discusses Netanyahu's opposition to an interim nuclear deal with Iran and its consequent strain on the US-Israel relationship, the Israeli perception of a link between the Iranian nuclear issue and the Palestinian issue, the emergence of an ad hoc alliance between France, Israel and the Saudis and Emirates on Iran, who disagrees over what at this juncture, a rating of Netanyahu's overall performance on this issue in recent days, how will Avigdor Lieberman's acquittal and return to his post as foreign minister. affect Israel's foreign relations and how will it affect coalition politics in the Netanyahu government,

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This week, Alpher discusses the NSA listening in on Israel and whether the repeated leaks from Washington that link Israel to mysterious attacks on Syrian missiles are in the same category, Secretary of State Kerry's returning to Israel and Palestine this week and what new initiatives by the two sides await him upon arrival, and why the IDF needs more money now, with security threats from the Arab world reduced by chaos and revolution

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