European Council on Foreign Relations

Gaza reconstruction: The new Israeli strategy

This article has originally been published by Middle East Eye.

The Israeli military has arrived at the conclusion that its near-total blockade of the Gaza Strip “has done more harm than good”, Israeli website Ynet - the online presence of daily Yedioth Ahronoth - reported on Friday.

The report listed the details of what veteran military correspondent Ron Ben Yishai described as Israel’s comprehensive plan for the Gaza Strip in the wake of the summer’s war.

According to Ben Yishai, who relies throughout the piece on unnamed military and government sources in Israel, the new strategy represents a decisive shift away from the idea of negotiating an independent state for the Palestinians and toward a tightly monitored “conflict management” approach. Under this approach, Palestinians will be allowed greater freedom of movement and greater autonomy, but under close Israeli and

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Children and civilian casualties in Gaza and Syria

With the latest Gaza conflict now over, the total death toll after 50 days of fighting stands at 2,104 Palestinians, 69 Israelis and 1 Thai national, clearly, a dramatic tally. Yet some have criticised what they see as a disproportionate international focus on Gaza given the scale of suffering witnessed in Syria over the last three years. The conflict in Syria has claimed 191,369 lives (these numbers, the most reliable we have, only cover the period between March 2011 and April 2014), with an average of 165 killed each day (compared to 44/day in Gaza). It may have been this contrast in scale that led Israeli Housing Minister Uri Ariel to say that President Obama should leave Israel alone and “go focus on Syria”. Ariel was not alone in voicing such sentiments.

Yet as the infographic that ECFR put together demonstrates, international preoccupation with the situation in Gaza seems to

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What the Gaza deal (really) means for Hamas and Israel

This article was first published by Your Middle East.

After 49 days of fighting it appears that Israel and Hamas have finally agreed on a ceasefire that will put an end to what has become the bloodiest round of violence yet between them. But despite talk of avoiding a return to the status quo, this is exactly what has seemingly happened. Far from solving the underlying causes behind recent flare-ups, the current ceasefire risks sacrificing long term stability for short term calm, guaranteeing only a limited period of quiet while sowing the seeds for yet another round of violence.

This comes despite recent rounds of negotiations having steadily forced a serious discussion amongst policy makers on meaningful ways of alleviating the siege on Gaza while guaranteeing permanent calm along Israel’s border. Over the last weeks such discussions have focussed on providing Palestinians with

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An alternative to intifada

This article was originally published by Cairo Review.

Whenever the Occupied Palestinian Territories flare up, predictions of a new Palestinian intifada generally follow. But with memories of the second intifada from 2000-2005 still raw, Palestinians have demonstrated no appetite for large-scale social upheaval. Even when Israel triggers serious confrontations, the status quo has prevailed. Each conflict has remained isolated and ultimately short-lived. Despite three conflicts with Hamas in Gaza, recent years have witnessed relatively low levels of Palestinian violence.

The current state of affairs will not last indefinitely. It would be wrong to think that a new generation of Palestinians will continue to tolerate Israel’s policy of dispossession and humiliation. The use of indiscriminate force once again against Gaza’s civilians has already caused an uptick in violence in East

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Has Europe walked away from the Israeli-Palestinian project?

This text is part of an article originally published by Carnegie Europe where leading experts answer the question: “Has Europe walked away from the Israeli-Palestinian project?”. Please find a link to the original post here.

Europe has not walked away, it has simply continued to play a rather marginal and unconstructive role.

That role is defined by a combination of internal division, excessive deference to U.S. positions, and, for some, a deliberate distortion of the conflict’s realities driven by political cowardice. The EU foreign ministers’ statement of July 22 was a Christmas tree affair, decorated with an eclectic mix of good, bad, and irrelevant policy positions. But by adopting Israel’s position on disarming Hamas and more, the EU sent a signal that was spun by Israel as an invitation to ramp up its military operation at an appalling cost in Palestinian civilian

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