Hard Questions, Tough AnswersYossi 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.
This week, Alpher offers further comments on Netanyahu's UN General Assembly speech; whether ISIS and Hamas are both "fruits of the same poisonous tree", as Netanyahu stated; how, as Netanyahu mentioned, Israel improving relations with Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi (i.e., the United Arab Emirates) in order to counter Iran and ISIS could "eventually" benefit the two-state solution; were the East Jerusalem settlement announcements a deliberate provocation by Netanyahu to humiliate Obama, or yet another case of cognitive dissonance between the two sides?
This week, Alpher discusses whether Abbas has slammed the door on a peace process, what to make of Netanyahu's remarks in response to Abbas' speech at the UN, how much progress Abbas will register on his new initiatives, what could happen now in the Israeli-Palestinian sphere, why the issue of African migrants is so significant for Israelis.
This week, Alpher discusses the prospects of nuclear negotiations with Iran and Gaza negotiations in Cairo; whether a new intifada has erupted in East Jerusalem; is the resignation of a senior Likud minister who was conflicted with Netanyahu, leaving the party second in size to Yesh Atid in the Knesset, the beginning of the end for the current government;
This week, Alpher discusses whether Egypt's reported proposal to help solve the Palestinian issue by allowing the Gaza Strip to expand into Egyptian territory in northeast Sinai in realistic; is it a breakthrough that for the very first time a senior Hamas official stated that there is no religious prohibition on negotiating directly with Israel; is it a watershed event that Friday 43 reservists from the IDF's elite listening unit 8200 published a declaration refusing to serve, in protest at the abuse of intelligence data to perpetuate the occupation; why the Sunni Arab world is seemingly so reluctant to sign up for President Obama's military campaign against ISIL.
This week, Alpher discusses military stagnation and attrition, how the Israeli public is viewing Netanyahu and Yaalon's caution, last week's promise by Netanyahu of a "new political horizon" and his release of a report that Hamas had planned an intifada and a power grab on the West Bank, the talk of a new and dramatic proposal from Abu Mazen, and a UN option, and where this bewildering catalogue of diplomatic and military initiatives leaves us.
(Monday, August 25, day 49 of the Gaza conflict)
Q. Last week, Israelis appeared to think the Gaza war was over. Now we seem to have entered a cycle of
ceasefires and negotiations. Has a new dynamic emerged?
A. Yes. Roughly speaking, it breaks down as follows. Both sides are now completely dependent on Egyptian mediation: Israel willingly, because Egypt is more hostile than ever to Hamas and is strategically friendly to Israel; and Hamas unwillingly, having lost any capacity to recruit its supporters Turkey and Qatar to mediate and having accepted that the West Bank-based PLO and Palestinian Authority represent it.