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Why the U.S., or Any Third Party, Will Fail at Solving the Israel–Palestinian Conflict

March 13 2018

In the coming days the Trump administration is reportedly poised to release its plan aimed at reviving the moribund peace process. Noting that, since 1948, Western leaders from Clement Atlee to John Kerry have attempted to negotiate a lasting agreement between Israel and its Arab neighbors, and have failed every time, Amir Taheri suggests their experience should serve as a warning:

There are many reasons why so many prospective dealmakers have failed. The first is that peace is [almost] always imposed by the side that wins a war. There is scarcely an instance in history, which is primarily a narrative of countless wars, in which an outsider has imposed peace on unwilling belligerents. The second reason is that outside dealmakers have their own interests and agendas, which make an already tangled web even more complicated. . . . The third reason is that wannabe dealmakers do not fully appreciate the importance of the status quo, the reality on the ground.

Whenever a status quo is at least tolerable for both belligerents, the desire to risk it in the hope of an ill-defined peace is diminished. Many people in the world live with a status quo they don’t regard as ideal. . . .

Finally, and more importantly, there could be no deal and no peace unless and until those involved in a conflict desire it. . . . My bet is that, at this moment, . . . both [sides] are happier with the status quo than with the prolongation of a “peace process” that could never lead to peace and now is no longer even a process.

Read more at Asharq Al-Awsat

More about: Donald Trump, Israel & Zionism, John Kerry, Peace Process

Hamas’s Dangerous Escalation in Gaza

June 22 2018

As Hamas has stepped up its attacks on communities near the Gaza Strip—using incendiary devices attached to kites and balloons—Israel has begun to retaliate more forcefully. In response, the terrorist group has begun firing rockets and mortars into Israel. Yoav Limor comments:

What made Wednesday’s rocket salvo different is that ‎unlike previous flare-ups on the border [since 2014], this time it ‎was Hamas operatives who fired at Israel, as opposed ‎to Islamic Jihad or the ‎rogue terrorist group in the coastal enclave. ‎Still, Hamas made sure the attack followed most of ‎the familiar “rules”—only [firing] at night and only at the ‎ communities in the vicinity of Gaza, and apparently while also ‎trying to minimize any casualties, to avoid further ‎escalation. ‎. . .

The first reason [for the shift in tactics] is Israel’s own change of policy ‎with regard to kite terrorism. It took Israel far ‎too long to define the incessant waves of incendiary ‎kites sent over the border as actionable acts of ‎terror, but once it did, the IDF began ‎systematically countering them, including firing ‎warning shots at terrorist kite cells and targeting ‎Hamas assets in Gaza in retaliation.‎

The second reason is Hamas’s own frustration and ‎distress in Gaza. Since the border-riot campaign was ‎launched on March 30, some 150 of its operatives ‎have been killed and the Israeli military has ‎carried out over 100 strikes on Hamas positions in ‎the coastal enclave, all while Hamas has nothing to ‎show for it. ‎In this situation, Hamas is searching for [some sort of victory] by declaring that “bombings will be ‎met with bombings,” as Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum ‎said Wednesday, in order to portray itself as defending Gaza from ‎Israel.‎ . . .

Hamas is banking on Israel opting against a military ‎campaign in Gaza at this time so as not to split its ‎focus from the [developments in Syria], but it is sorely ‎mistaken if it thinks Israel will simply contain ‎kite terrorism or shy away from action given the new ‎equation it has presented. ‎At some point, Israel’s patience will expire.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security