This week, Alpher discusses the flurry of obstructive peace process-related events of the past week, what derailed the process, and what could save it; the broader international situation; more basic or strategic factors informing the crisis; how serious the immediate damage is and how all this affects Israeli politics.
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 discusses what Olmert's conviction for receiving bribes means for the peace process; why Netanyahu refuses to release veteran terrorist prisoners who are Arab citizens of Israel; how this issue jibes with a new Israel Foreign Ministry document that appears to find legal justification for Avigdor Lieberman's proposal to transfer Arab-populated parts of Israel to Palestinian sovereignty under a two-state redrawing of borders.
This week, Alpher discusses why Israel is hesitating to release another group of Palestinian prisoners this week; the Hamas connection; if the US-sponsored two-state talks will be extended; the upset in Israel-US relations by Israeli statements and actions, mainly regarding Iran; and whether there is an Iranian parallel to Yaalon's challenge to the current international effort to reach a nuclear agreement with the Rowhani government.
This week, Alpher discusses how critical Monday's meeting between Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and US President Barack Obama is likely to be; why it took Obama and Kerry all this time to recognize just how far apart the two sides are; what the strategic ramifications of last week's firing of more than 70 rockets into Israel Islamic Jihad are; and what it means at the national level that last week, Israel's parliamentary opposition boycotted three key Knesset debates and votes regarding highly controversial measures of national importance.
This week, Alpher discusses how serious Netanyahu's reported sponsoring of a study of the existence of Belgian and Dutch sovereign enclaves in each other's territory with a view to proposing a similar model for Israeli settlements that remain inside Palestinian territory under a two-state solution; the similarities and differences of Israeli operations: the Israel Air Force reportedly destroying Syrian-supplied strategic weaponry at a Hezbollah base and the Israel Navy captured a ship in the Red Sea carrying Syrian rockets sent by Iran to Islamists in Sinai or Gaza; was there anything unique about the circumstances of the alleged IAF attack against a Hezbollah base; why all the publicity on the Red Sea operation.
This week, Alpher discusses the possible dynamics of PM Netanyahu arriving to talk with President Obama in the midst of the Ukraine/Crimea crisis; the influence of the Ukraine crisis on the Middle East; what we can expect in the weeks ahead regarding the American-sponsored framework agreement and Monday's Obama-Netanyahu meeting; and Netanyahu's thinking for the "day after" failure scenario.
This week, Alpher discusses a government legislative initiative intended to lead to increased military service for the ultra-orthodox; the Russian, Iranian and Hezbollah motives in supporting Assad; and what is the strategic significance of the first export deal signed with Jordan in Israel's Tamar Mediterranean gas field.
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.
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.
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.