It was an uprising with all its meaning. This is what happened in the events of the 14th to the 28th of last July, where the "Al-Aqsa Intifada" took place.

All the five features of the first Intifada existed:

First:Participation between all generations and ages, between the sexes, between all classes, social groups, professions and local communities, between Muslims and Christians among our people, between Palestinians of Jerusalem and Palestinians inside the Green Line, between religious and secular. Between the field leadership and the street,

All participated together to protect our national existence, and its meaning embodied in the image and structure of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Secondly, and third:National unity, solidarity and cohesion: unite all behind national United  slogans: the slogans of factions were not raised, and the compitition between everyone to provide food and drinks and other needs of the protesters without waiting for any support or funding. Every one was following the decisions of the four Shiekhs, the sound was one and the act was the same.

Fourth, the characteristic of continuity and communication as a reflection of national resilience , self-esteem, and a high sense of dignity, was expressed by the absence of refraction in the face of the repression of the occupation and its daily attacks on the protesters. And what amazed the Israeli police that the number of protesters was increasing day after day despite all the use of the methods of repression and abuse. After each "meal" of oppression , the number of protestors increased. After the next "meal" of oppression, it increased more and more. Perhaps this was the main factor that made the occupation forces retreat in the face of the high psychological resilience  and the unrelenting willingness to give to our people.

Fifthly, the characteristic of the peaceful and non violent  nature of the Intifada, and the measures of the occupation have not changed its course. The preservation of this character has enabled the continued participation of all groups, despite their varying capabilities, and has enabled the world to stand by and support the creative approach adopted by the Intifada participants.

Therefore, we have experienced an Intifada, not measured by the number of days, but measured by its qualities, and what it achieved:

In the context of what has been achieved, many are trying to limit what has been achieved, which is only to prevent the occupation government from imposing electronic gates and surveillance cameras. This flawed view has not been able to take into account the following Palestinian, Arab, Islamic and international results:

Let us start with a Palestinian: a living model has emerged here, and an additional glimmer of examples of what popular resistance can achieve, a model whose lessons and mechanisms will be absorbed and replicated elsewhere. Unfortunately, this model has not yet affected both sides of the divide, leading them to unity.

On the other hand, the Arabs were forced to hold an extraordinary meeting of the ministers of Forwign Affairs on the subject, and Jordan stood on its feet to follow up the event as well as other Arab countries. It is important also to say that those who were thinking of normalizing their relations with Israel would think now and after the Al-Aqsa Intifada a thousand times before they take such steps.

On the popular Arab and Islamic level, we have seen the demonstrations of anger that have taken place in Amman, Istanbul and many other Arab and Islamic capitals and cities.

Europe: At the beginning, European countries called on "the parties to exercise restraint and not to be dragged into violence," according to their statements, but later, as the nature of the matter became a further step to impose full Israeli control of Jerusalem, there was a change in the European position, which called on the preservation of " The Religious and Historical Status of Al-Aqsa Mosque: The Status Quo ".

The problem was in the US position, which completely adopted Netanyahu's speech on the need for electronic doors and cameras to ensure its security, so America chose to work to ensure the security of the occupation, as an alternative to work to end it.

In this context, there is a need to speak with the Americans in order to understand that the Al-Aqsa Intifada must make them think a thousand times before taking the foolish step of moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The Al-Aqsa Intifada has achieved all these results. What remains important is the continuation of the popular struggle for the accumulation of other achievements, such as the end of the provocative settlers' incursions into the Aqsa Mosque, the cessation of settlement expansion and others as steps on the way to end the longest settler colonial occupation of the last century.

Published in Tribune
Friday, 28 July 2017 20:50

Syrian Conflict Moves Closer an End

Article by Shehab Al-Makahleh and Maria Dubovikova

Quiet meetings in Amman between the Syrian opposition and other parties are a step forward.

The Syrian conflict is moving closer to its end. Despite global expectations, the key settlement process is occurring on the ground and in closed talks, not in front of the media and, therefore, not manipulated by geopolitical players and games in Astana or Geneva. Such formats on the ground and in talks beyond closed doors prove to be more successful and fruitful than all the pomp covered by the media, which just recycles the message of “no outcome.” But through minor steps the greatest goals are achieved.

One of such talks was held recently in Jordan for three days between representatives of Syrian armed forces and officials from Jordan, the United States and Russia. The meetings discussed the logistics of the de-escalation zones in southwestern parts of Syria, and they demanded that Al Nusra fighters pull out from this area. This move would give the Syrian army and its allies, as well as Jordan and its allies, the impetus to control the eight-kilometer “pinnacle” that has been a thorny issue for the Syrian, Israeli and Jordanian armies.

The talks included 58 representatives of the Syrian rebel alliance, including the Free Syrian Army, who label themselves the “Southern Front.” The meeting also discussed moving some of these forces to Al Shaddadi Military Camp near Deir al-Zour in order to liberate it from the Islamic State (Daesh).

After the meeting with the Syrian opposition, Jordan has started to change its tone toward Syria and its regime. This fact can be inferred from the recent statements of Jordanian officials, stressing the kingdom’s great interest in southwestern Syria. Official statements on-record and off-record about the security and stability of this part of Syria show that the region is of strategic interest for Jordan and the whole Middle East — an implicit signal that there is no rejection of the current government or Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. A ceasefire control mechanism brokered by Russia, the US and Jordan in southwestern Syria is nearly ready, as Jordanian Minister of State for Media Affairs Mohammad Momani said following the Amman meeting on behalf of the Syrian opposition.

The Jordanians know very well that such phrases are aimed at approaching the nearest possible distance from the logic of the Syrian regime, which today prides itself with so many victories on the ground — recapturing many strategic locations that are deemed major victories, especially the “dubious melting away” of Daesh and the suspicious absence of other Islamic factions such as Al Nusra, which are supported by regional powers. The recent breakdown of many factions has led the Syrian armed forces to gain the momentum and to spread its troops into many parts of Syria, with the aim of liberating the whole country before the end of the year.

Assad has refused to demarcate the southern border by delineating an area of eight kilometers in southern Syria that would secure Jordan and Israel as well near the Nasseeb border crossing point. In other words, the Syrian president rejected the opening of the crossing point that would serve both Jordan and Syria. However, with Eid Al Adha approaching, the opening of the border indicates a gateway for cooperation, according to sources close to the president.

RUSSIA, TURKEY AND ISRAEL

More importantly, Jordan is investing its relatively “sophisticated communications” with Russia. In a closed-door meeting at the royal palace a few days ago, discussion about President Vladimir Putin described the Russian leader as a “trusted friend” and a “credible man.” Until now, Jordan has tried to reopen the Nasseeb crossing point, but President Assad has been “dodging” the issue for the past few months. With the agreement, Russia provided an opening for the Syrian leader to voice willingness to reopen the crossing point under certain security arrangements that will guarantee the eight kilometers. The whole area that will be the demilitarized zone in southern Jordan will include a 30-kilometer-wide strip in Syria running parallel to the Jordanian border.

Simultaneously, the Jordanian government held talks to reopen the Turaibeel crossing point between Jordan and Iraq. Turaibeel was closed after Daesh emerged in the eastern region of Iraq but now it is open, according to Jordanian officials. This fact is confirmed by Iraqi sources who said there are joint security and military operations nearby the Jordanian and Iraqi borders. Private meetings helped to set the stage for the Turaibeel reopening where cooperation is essential. The Jordanian official spokesperson confirmed the talks publicly a few days ago with regard to the reopening of the Turaibeel crossing point.

Jordan is also focusing on Turkey’s recent public position that a “terrorist group” should not be allowed to have a base in northern Syria, as this factor would threaten other safe or de-escalation zones in the country. The Jordanians now strongly believe that Amman has great interest in Syrian unity, and they pin high hopes on the tripartite deal with the Americans and Russians for a “long-term ceasefire” in southern Syria.

The tripartite deal has neutralized Israel as this agreement serves Israeli security as well; yet Israel is pushed away from the Syrian battleground and any Israeli intervention in Syria remains a constant possibility. However, there are multiple hidden indicators that determine the mechanism of monitoring the ceasefire, which will be announced in its final stages very soon as the Syrian predicament is reaching its finale.

Amman is struggling behind the scenes to put in place a mechanism that would be mandatory for all parties concerned to adhere to for a Syrian truce. The Americans believe the truce will eventually lead to the formation of a “Daraa region” within a Syrian federal system that will determine matters in the future Syria. The so-called long truce is called “a wide, low-tension zone” by the Russians.

At present, the Syrian government sounds very “cooperative” and in line with Russian demands. Recent battlefield successes mean the Syrians are keen not to waste the army’s efforts, and they want to strongly invest manpower into rebuilding Syria and to avoid military attrition in southern regions of the country, instead focusing on a magnet for Daesh: Deir al-Zour.

Overall, Jordan seeks to stabilize Syria now and supports the de-escalation zones scenario not only in order for the region to prepare for the return of Syrian refugees to their homeland, but also to ensure Jordan’s share and role in any future regional and international arrangement in Syria’s south.

Jordanians believe they have the “winning card” as the closest and most connected to the bloc of Daraa tribes and to Druze tribes in Jabal Al Arab of northern Jordan. While it is possible to discern “differences” that must be monitored between all parties in any private and quiet arrangements in southern Syria, Jordan’s focus on a “ceasefire monitoring mechanism” is a realpolitik solution to secure the best possible military — and then political — truce by the borders of the Hashemite Kingdom.

Article published in Fair Observer: https://www.fairobserver.com/region/middle_east_north_africa/syria-bashar-al-assad-jordan-russia-iraq-middle-east-news-01214/

Photo Credit: OBJM / Shutterstock.com

Published in Tribune

Arab countries led by Jordan and Saudi Arabia have been pushing the Americans and the European Union to prepare for a framework agreement between the Palestine National Authority (PNA) and Israel based on a two-state solution, which ensures a Palestinian state in the areas occupied by Israel in 1967.

Though the laws of gravity are not in favor of Arab countries; yet, the endeavors of both Jordan and Saudi Arabia to solve the Arab Israeli conflict seem a preventive measure to avert any negative and destructive consequences that would arise if the stalemate between Palestinians and Israelis continue further with blurry hazy image.

Following the visits of King Abdullah II of Jordan and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman of Saudi Arabia to Washington, Americans have planned to initiate a peace conference between Arab states and Israel to discuss the issue of stalemating talks between the Palestinians and the Israelis which have led to deadlock to their talks.

Arabs believe that a two-state solution is the cornerstone to end the conflict in the Middle East, and that Americans should play a key role to help both the Palestinians and the Israelis reach an agreement that paves the way to establish a Palestinian state in pursuance with United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.

Any proposal to create one state where both nations live happily is refused by Arab countries and their leaderships and for sure by Palestinians as this means the Palestinians abroad will not be able to return to their country. This would be another impediment for future cooperation between Israel and Arab countries at trade and economic levels. All Middle Eastern countries are vulnerable to social unrest and extremism if the main reason for the conflict is not addressed and unresolved as further regional hostility to Israel would intensify and lead to a new type of skirmishes with new war players.

The Arab Summit in Jordan will highlight this issue and the committees concerned will be discussing it thoroughly in order to ink an accord between the PNA and Israel on the two-state paradigm with American and Russian direct mediation and honest brokerage. No super power is allowed to distance itself from this mission as the internal situation in Middle Eastern countries is exacerbating due to economic and social pressures which would lead to implosion in a number of states that would destabilize the whole region and lead to eccentric comprehensive war with new fighting techniques leading to street wars that no army would be able to stand.

The meetings of American President Donald Trump with Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas aim to probe into means to launch a new pace conference to discuss further details, taking the concerns of both Netanyahu and Abbas into consideration.

However, the nonchalant comments and statements by American officials regarding the one-state or two-state solution complicated matters as both Palestinian and Israeli leaders cannot totally control their people and the situation if it aggravates. The one –state solution is rejected by a majority of Israelis as per a survey conducted in Israeli last February which showed that 55 per cent of Israelis and 44 per cent of Palestinians support the two-state solution for two people. The years of acrimony and hostility between both nations should come to an end and a new age of Arab-Israeli relationship should start as a new dawn has just started with a new American president who seeks to find Arabs and Israelis in one boat against Iran. Trump is currently working along with his administration on establishing a new paradigm for peacemaking, without abrasively encroaching upon Netanyahu’s views towards Arab Israeli conflict. In other words, any solution should be attuned with Israeli right wing opposition principles.

At present, we are at the threshold of either of a two-state solution or radicalism and wild-eyededness. Thus, the two-state paradigm should not be a fairy tale at Trumpland or a dream in the Palestinian Wonderland. Arab leaders are not more than ever aware that any further escalation in the Palestinian lands would lead to a third Intifada or uprising which will spill over oil on fire to turn the region into an erupt volcano as all Middle Eastern states with no exception are on “hot tin roof”.

The Arab Summit should reiterate that there is no solution to the regional conflicts without a Palestinian polity with its people to have the sole right of self-determination. This can be brokered by the two super powers: Russia and the USA. The sooner to resolve the conflict, the better it will be to foil all radical attempts to recruit more jihadis.

In 2002, Arabs offered their Peace Initiative in Beirut Summit based on full Israeli withdrawal to the borderline before 1967 and a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem. Now, at Amman Summit they can recap this initiative with American support to create the proposed affinity of Sunni Arab countries and Israel to counter the increasing Iranian threats to Arab states.  This alliance would also help stand against extremism and terrorist risks.   

As far as the two-state solution might be unseen at least in the near future due to internal troubles in Israel, the PNA and the USA, the status quo will be last until further notice until an honest mediator or broker takes the initiative to end this dispute which lasted for over 69 years. An honest mediator will be in charge of understanding the nature of the Arab-Israeli conflict in terms of sovereignty and religion including the holy shrines in East Jerusalem. If there is no cooperation from the UN and from other neighboring states, the issue will amalgamate. If the issue of the holy shrines is left unrequited, radicalism and jihadi threats will be in the offing.

 

Published in Tribune

Introduction: The re-emergence of the settler colonial approach in the academic world

The 1940's to the 1970's was a period of decolonization and self-determination for many countries in Asia and Africa. An immense amount of academic and intellectual writings about colonialism, neo-colonialism as well as settler colonialism accompanied that process of decolonization. At the same time, the UN released several resolutions and documents condemning colonialism and seeking the immediate fulfillment of the right to self-determination for all peoples living under colonial rule. The most famous among these resolutions is the 1960 UN General Assembly resolution about decolonization.
The writings on colonialism at that time focused on military colonialism and the right of all peoples to self-determination and emancipation from colonial occupation, while neocolonialism focused on how colonialism "left through the door and came back through the window",  using economic and cultural means rather than direct military control as it was the case with colonialism before.
The writings about settler colonialism focused on a type of colonialism which combines military occupation with a settler colonial component that included taking over land, space, territory and landscape, through displacement and uprooting of indigenous populations, and replacing them by another population. This created, at the expense of the dispossession of the indigenous people, a new society and state with a different type of space, landscape, language, and culture. The Palestinian academic and intellectual Fayez Sayigh was one of the pioneers of analyzing the Israeli Zionist settler colonial project, alongside Edward Said, whose book Orientalism is considered a leading work in the field. He focused on the approach of Western scholars towards the Orient who wrote about western connections to the land and the territory of the Orient while disregarding the peoples living in that territory as if they are non-existent. The contribution of the seminal writings of the Egyptian Scholars Abdel Wahab Al Masiri and Majdi Hammad should be also mentioned in this regard. Algerian, South African, and Irish writings were published during that period analyzing the settler colonial projects in these respective countries and their different fates.
Contrary to the colonial military occupation that has a clear point of beginning and end, settler colonialism is a continuous process without an end, and as the pioneer in the recent studies of settler colonialism, Patrick Wolf, put it “It is a structure rather than an event”( Wolf, 2006).
After the 1970's it was only in the beginning of the third century that the settler colonial approach came back to the academic discourse for example in presentations during the International Studies Association (ISA) conferences since 2013, and the publication of the Settler Colonial Studies online Journal by Taylor and Francisin the same year.

The significance of settler colonialism regarding Jerusalem

The quotation by Patrick Wolf above, demonstrates that the Zionists settler colonial project which started in the 19th century continues to be used against the Palestinians in the West Bank (especially in Area C that constitutes two thirds of West Bank) and East Jerusalem till today. It uses the same methods of dispossession, ethnic cleansing, and spacio-cide (as it was called by Sari Hanafi) that were used in the prior 1948 period. Therefore, the Palestinian State is limited to Gaza Strip, while the West Bank and East Jerusalem are subject to a continued Nakba with the 1948 and 1967 transfers as moments of escalation. These phenomena are continuing today, using different methods of internal and external displacement, including also the Palestinians inside Israel. They faced different internal displacements 1948 to 1967, which have continued ever since, including for example the destruction of Palestinian Bedouin villages in the Negev today.
The settler colonial approach can help to identify the common discrimination in Israeli policies against all the Palestinians regardless of whether they live inside Israel, in the 1967 occupied territories, or as refugees abroad. In addition to the commonalities, this approach can assist in finding significant characteristics for each situation or each group. This article will use the approach to further examine the situation in Jerusalem..

The settler colonial approach can help overcome gaps and discrepancies that limit the four other approaches of analysis of the situation of Jerusalem and West Bank. These four approaches are: Firstly, the inequality approach that analyzes the aspects of inequality in Jerusalem, while seeking to suggest how to overcome them, with very little focus on ending the settler colonial project in the city. This approach is adopted and applied by Israeli organizations who prepare analyses or conduct projects for more equitable relations in the city within the current framework of the existing power structure.

The Occupation Approach


The second approach considers the situation in East Jerusalem to be just an occupation, as the Palestinian Authority and the international community keep stressing, and asking for its end. Such a call according to the International law which does not accept any form of occupation, including in regard to Jerusalem, is not wrong, but misses the point that Israel is an ideologically driven state. It is even better described as state-project that considers itself to continue to be a ‘state in the making’, with its final size and borders still to be determined.

 

The Combination of Colonialism and Neo-colonialism Approach

The third approach regards what is taking place in East Jerusalem by Israel as a combination of colonialism and neo-colonialism (by placing Jerusalem under full Israeli economic domination in addition to the military occupation). Such an approach is partially right, but still has to be completed with the settler colonial approach. In the short run including settler colonialism will assist to analyze and follow the state driven and the state supported settler colonial project, and in the long run it will help to see how the colonial and the neocolonial approaches are practiced within the framework of a settler colonial project. Discrimination as practiced temporarily till the achievement of the full formation of the settler colonial project at the expense of the indigenous population, leads to a point of time when the colonial and the neocolonial policies will cease to exist due to the transfer of all indigenous population.


The Ethnocracy Approach

 

The fourth approach describes the situation in East Jerusalem to be the result of Israel being an ethnocracy rather than being a democracy. This view is based on the inclusion and exclusion of people from the Demos according to a certain ideology, which results in this case in including the Jews all around the world eligible to the citizenship in Israel, including also the Israeli Settlers who live in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and not in Israel, while depriving the Palestinians who live inside Israel of equal civil rights and excluding the Palestinians in the 1967 occupied territories from citizenship. In this sense, the ethnocratic state claims and seeks to represent its ethnic group and to promote its domination regardless if they live inside or outside its borders, while at the same time it limits or completely denies the civil rights of other ethnicities. Such an analysis led Yiftachel to suggest that Israel stopped its settler colonial project after the Oslo Accords 1993, and moved to the politics of what he called "creeping apartheid" against the Palestinians (Yiftachel, 2012).


The problem of such analysis is twofold: On the one hand it focuses mainly on the inclusion and the exclusion from the Demos, and less on the territorial issue that is very relevant to the Palestinians. On the other hand: It's conclusion that the “creeping Apartheid” became an alternative to settler colonialism cannot explain the continuous settlement expansion, which especially increased during the Post Oslo period as empirical data and research has shown.
Like the third approach, the fourth one also focuses on the means of discrimination against the equal rights of Palestinians in Jerusalem at all levels, ignoring their Palestinian identity by considering them to be as "Jordanian citizens residing permanently in Israel" till they will be transferred. This is already partially enforced by the different incidents of ethnic cleansing that took place against the Palestinian Jerusalemites since 1967. Some took the shape of external displacement and some others internal displacement, such as: the evacuation of part of East Jerusalem Palestinians and expelling them to Jordan during 1967 war; the expulsion of Al Sharaf neighborhood population of the Old City of Jerusalem to Shuafat refugee camp directly after the 1967 occupation; the deportations that followed to Jordan, and the ethnic cleansing through identity cards confiscations on the basis of the law of entry to Israel of 1952 that was practiced in East Jerusalem when it was occupied in 1967.

Main features of the Israeli settler colonial project in Jerusalem

In Jerusalem, the settler colonial project is practiced while using a set of complex intertwined procedures that include: dispossession (such as uprooting from land by land confiscation, from the house by house demolition among other different types of displacement); ethnic cleansing (by deportations and identity card confiscations and uprooting and re- concentration in other places like what is happening with the Bedouin collectives around Jerusalem). A third element is the isolation of those who continue to live in East Jerusalem by separating East Jerusalem from the West Bank and Gaza by the closure that started in the end of March 1993, and the separation of East Jerusalem communities from each other by creating Israeli Jewish settlements in between them,  by discrimination when it comes to public services transforming Palestinian communities in East Jerusalem into slums of poverty and underdevelopment, and lastly the isolation is enforced by what I called "the inclusion in Israel, but without integration in it" (Salem 2006).
These politics of disposition, ethnic cleansing of part of the Palestinians in East Jerusalem, and the isolation of those who continue to live in the city, are combined with other policies such as: The de-development of East Jerusalem by separating it from Palestine and the world economies on the one hand, and ignoring the developmental needs of these communities on the other hand. The de-equalization regarding the rights of those Palestinians who still live in the city is a concept that goes beyond the term" inequality". The treatment of people in East Jerusalem is an inequality that is created by a state premeditated policy, therefore it is more a de-equalizing process. The de-development and the de-equalization are combined with a de-democratization process by dissolving the Jerusalem Palestinian municipality of 1967, and preventing the Palestinians from holding elections ever since, and by preventing the East Jerusalem Palestinians from defining themselves as Palestinians through insisting that they are " Jordanian citizens residing permanently in Israel" since Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem on 28/6/1967. Finally, all of this is combined with the preservation of the refugee status of those Palestinian Jerusalemites who were displaced in 1948 and 1967 as part of the Palestinian refugees. When Israel allowed some of the refugees to come back to the West Bank and Gaza as part of Oslo implementation, Palestinians who are originally from Jerusalem were not allowed to come back to their city but only to the West Bank and Gaza.
These politics were followed by two other politics of replacement: One of them is the Jewdiazation of the place, space, territory, and the landscape, and the other is the Israelization process which on the one hand creates an Israeli majority in East Jerusalem, and on the other hand imposes the Israeli law on the Palestinian people and institutions in East Jerusalem.

Where to? Comparisons and Alternatives


If the settler colonial project is based on the concept and the practice of full exclusion, then it's fate depends on different internal and external factors. When there were no external impeding factors, the situation led to genocides against the indigenous population as happened in the cases of the U.S. and Australia.  The opposite outcome is the merger of the settler colonial community with the indigenous population majority as happened in South Africa after 1994 due to the international boycott and sanctions against the South African apartheid system combined with the nonviolent struggle of the African National Congress led by Nelson Mandela. In a third case, the settler colonial project can end in evacuation of the settlers as in Algeria in 1962 due to the split between the settlers and the French Government, and due also to the armed struggle by the Algerian National Liberation Front.
In the case of Jerusalem and Palestine, option three seems not likely. On the one hand the settler community is a decision maker in the Israeli Government, and the Palestinians have not proven the capability to liberate Palestine by the means of armed struggle.


The history of the Israeli Palestinian conflict has shown a signs of population transfer combined with partial genocides on the way, therefore the future options seem to be the following: The first is an Israeli repetition of the forced transfer of Palestinians including and maybe starting with those who live in East Jerusalem for a third time. This is likely if the current trend in Israeli politics, that started talking openly about the transfer, will continue. If at the same time the ongoing international and Palestinian politics will continue to focus on the revival of negotiations between the two sides instead of focusing on confronting the settler colonial project and creating Palestinian facts in the ground, that will equally increase the likeliness of further displacement.

However, if alternative policies will be promoted, it might be possible to reverse the settler colonial project towards either a two state solution based on the 1967 borders or a one state solution with equal rights for all. The main strategies that might lead there are: A continuous and comprehensive, nonviolent and creative Palestinian campaign that includes actions on the ground and components of developmental and diplomatic resistance. Parallel to that, an international recognition of the State of Palestine - after 50 years of occupation and 100 years of Balfour declaration - with the political will to use all diplomatic, economic and developmental means that will ensure its implementation.


Finally, it should be noted that the Israeli settler colonial policies in East Jerusalem have been expanded to Area C in the West Bank, leading to the existence of a Jewish settler majority in the area versus the minority of Palestinians who live there. The issue of the holy places in Jerusalem was not discussed here, and the formal issue of the different types of identity cards given by Israel to Palestinians in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, but these two issues do not have great impact regarding what is common between Jerusalem and area C in connection to the expansion of the settler colonial project in both of them. Therefore, the issue of Jerusalem is more and more, though not exclusively, becoming an issue of Palestinian rights as a whole.

 

Published in Tribune

John Kerry’s speech this week clearly and rationally explained why the status quo will not enable Israel to maintain its Jewish and democratic character. Are Israelis paying attention?

By Elie Podeh and Nimrod Goren

Throughout 2016, analysts were wondering what – if at all – will be President Obama’s final move regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The options discussed included a presidential speech (like the Cairo speech in 2009), updating the Clinton parameters of 2000, and the advancement of a resolution at the UN Security Council. Eventually, all answers were somewhat right: UN Security Council Resolution 2334 was not initiated by the U.S., but it was definitely encouraged by the American administration. Obama himself did not deliver a speech, but his Secretary of State, John Kerry, did, conveying the frustration and disappointment of the administration from both sides, and especially from Israel’s settlement policy.

The Kerry speech introduced parameters for the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They did not differ much from the Clinton Parameters, and were more ambiguous and concise. Still, it was a much-needed move in light of the regional changes that took place since 2000, and of issues which gained traction since (such as Israel’s request that Palestinians recognize it as a ‘Jewish state’). The updated parameters provide Israelis – public and politicians alike – more clarity regarding the two-state solution and the steps needed in order to get there. They also generate new momentum by enabling the discussion on an end-game agreement to be based on a recent document, which is part of a set of international moves to advance conflict resolution, and not on a plan devised sixteen years ago.

The Trump effect

A key difference between the Kerry parameters and those of Clinton is the reference made by Kerry to the Arab Peace Initiative (which was not yet published in 2000) and to regional ramifications of Israeli-Palestinian peace. Kerry highlighted the unique opportunity that Israel is currently facing – an opportunity to establish normal ties with Arab countries, and to even launch a joint security framework. Kerry stressed that the fulfillment of this opportunity is clearly linked to progress towards Israeli-Palestinian peace, contrasting recent claims by Netanyahu that normalization between Israel and Arab countries can precede Israeli-Palestinian peace. In his speech, Kerry tried to convince Israelis that peace will bring them concrete regional benefits. He focused on relations with the Arab world and on chances for enhanced security, but he could also have mentioned the EU’s offer for a Special Privileged Partnership with Israel and the future Palestinian state, as another incentive for peace.

Kerry refrained from addressing a major change that took place since the Clinton parameters were issued – the split between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip following the Hamas takeover of Gaza. The Palestinian divide is a major obstacle on the road for a two-state solution, and is one that the international community tends to avoid due to the sensitivity of dealing with Hamas. It is worth remembering that because of this obstacle, the negotiations between Olmert and Abbas in 2007-8 were aimed to reach a “shelf-agreement” only; one that will be implementable only after the restoration of Palestinian unity. While the Quartet report of July 2016 focused on this thorny issue, Kerry decided to skip it altogether.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses the 2016 AIPAC Police Conference in Washington D.C., March 21, 2016. (Photo courtesy of AIPAC)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses the 2016 AIPAC Police Conference in Washington D.C., March 21, 2016. (Photo courtesy of AIPAC)

Paradoxically, it was Trump’s victory and his positions on the Israeli-Palestinian issue that may have increased Obama’s motivation to make a final move. The UN Security Council resolution and the Kerry speech leave a legacy for Trump to deal with, but they also provide clear guidelines for future American administrations and for other countries that want to contribute to Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking. These steps demonstrated the continuity in American policy since 1967 regarding the occupied territories and Jerusalem.

Despite efforts along the years to mask and downplay differences between Israel and the U.S. on these issues, the American position – of Republican and Democratic administrations alike – has remained remarkably the same. A different policy by the Trump administration, if such will actually be taken, will be the exception. One can only wonder why hasn’t the Obama administration introduced its clear-cut positions earlier, during a time that still allowed the international community to act on them.

Looking in the mirror

The Kerry speech put a mirror in front of the Israeli government and society. Kerry clearly and rationally explained why the continuation of the status quo will not enable Israel to maintain its Jewish and democratic character in the long run. The ongoing occupation and the expansion of settlements makes the two-state solution gradually less feasible, and may lead to an irreversible situation. Those in the Israeli Right, who are ideologically committed to the settlements, do not have a reasonable answer to this dilemma, except for their wishful thinking that the Palestinians will somehow disappear or move to Jordan. The renowned Palestinian scholar Edward Said defined the role of intellectuals as “speaking truth to power.” In our case, it was the opposite. The power Kerry spoke explained the unsolvable contradiction between the occupation and Israel’s Jewish and democratic nature.

Netanyahu and his government responded to the American move with unprecedented bashing of an acting American administration. Netanyahu is looking forward to Trump’s inauguration, expecting a much more sympathetic approach by the next president. However, while American positions may change, the international consensus regarding the Palestinian issue is not likely to erode. This was demonstrated at the UN Security Council, and will be demonstrated again at the upcoming international conference in Paris. The Israeli government’s enthusiasm of Trump’s victory, should be replaced with genuine concern for Israel’s global standing, and for a change of policy that will help Israel regain the international legitimacy it is currently losing.

While American and international actions are important, they alone will not change facts on the ground and resolve the conflict. Eventually, Israelis and Palestinians themselves will have to take the lead. For this to happen, a courageous and pro-peace leadership is needed, as well as a strong civil society that challenges policies that jeopardize the two-state solution and lead Israel to increased isolation.

Prof. Elie Podeh is a Board Member at Mitvim – The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies, and teaches Middle Eastern Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Dr. Nimrod Goren is the Head of the Mitvim Institute. This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

Material by +972 https://972mag.com/kerrys-parameters-force-israelis-to-take-a-hard-look-in-the-mirror/124070/

Published in Tribune
 
Any serious analysis of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict subsequent to the Israeli elections of the 17th of March, will not take the results of those elections as a point of departure, as if these results represent a starting point for a new path. The " new" path was there all the while since the Israeli occupation started in 1967, and ever since one can witness a process of colonization that went on systematically, regardless of the party that was ruling Israel.
This colonization process is practiced since 1967 via five methods that were implemented in different ways during the 48 years that passed since 1967:
First: the colonization of the place, space, territory, and all the land( Judization process). Second: changing the shape of the landscape.Third: displacement,  mass expulsion and ethnic cleansing to tens of thousands of Palestinians. Fourth: the replacement process of Jewish colonizers in the Palestinian Territories in the expense of those Palestinians displaced( the Israelization process). Fifth, The isolation of the Palestinians that were not displaced in fragmented enclaves that are disconnected from each other by the Israeli colonies that exist between each one and the other, or by the separation wall, or by the prevention of freedom of access between the three areas of West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem through the closure system.
These colonization procedures are combined with ethnographic ones. The latter is not excluded to the ethnic cleansing that is taking place only, but it also includes the definition of those isolated in enclaves in different way by each enclave and the other, and as less than Palestinian citizens: in this since the Israeli imposed law considers the Palestinian Jerusalemites to be as " Jordanian citizens residing permanently in Israel", a definition that continued also after Oslo declaration of Principles of 1993. While the West Bank people were considered before Oslo to be "Jordanian citizens residing in areas administered by Israel", and after Oslo they became" Palestinian residents in areas that are under dispute". In regard to the Gazans they were considered prior to Oslo to be " People with unknown nationality residing in areas administered by Israel", and they became to be considered after Oslo as " Palestinian residents in a Palestinian territory".
Upon these categorizations, Gaza of its space that exceeds only a little bit more than one percent of the historical Palestine, is the Palestinian State, according to the Israeli policies. Some add to it Jericho based on 1994 Cairo agreement, and Jenin based on Sharon dismantling of the Israeli colonies there similar to Gaza in 2006.
These Israeli policies continued from 1967 till today regardless of which party/ coalition that was ruling Israel.
In the last Israeli elections, the policies above expressed them selves, also some parties went further building on them towards sustaining the Israeli control over the Palestinian Territories and move from that point to the point of annexation. the programs of the Likud and the right wing parties towards Palestine for the last elections ranged for example between the idea of de facto annexation and de jure  annexation of Area C of West Bank representing 64 Percent of the size of all West Bank. While the Zionist Camp program spoke about a Palestinian State with land swap, keeping the Israeli security presence in the Jordan Valley, Annexing the big settlements blocks to Israel, and keeping Jerusalem as the United capital of Israel, while an" arrangement" for the Palestinians to be agreed upon through negotiations. Both the Zionist Camp, the Likud and the right wing Parties agreed on that" no single Palestinian refugee", will be allowed to return to Israel, accordingly to Tzipi Livni's article Failure Not An Option in the special Haaretz magazine for the Israel conference on Peace; and Herzog's policies as the policies of the ZU highlighted in the following piece in the Times of Israel: http://www.timesofisrael.com/from-annexation-to-right-of-return-what-the-parties-say-about-the-palestinians/
 
It can be concluded Then that the  big political parties in Israel programs did not include the minimum that the Palestinians can live with, further than that some positions of the Zionist Camp gave priority to a war against Hamas or Hizbollah on reaching an agreement with the Palestinian authority, moreover they spoke about a framework agreement rather than a final agreement( Livni), (Apo: Quotation from her speech in Haaretz Conference when she said that there or she hope that a framework agreement will be reached) or about another long period of three years of negotiations without a guarantee what the results will be, and without a commitment to freeze the settlement expansion in the big settlement blocks and in East Jerusalem during the negotiations)( Apo: Quotation from Herzog speeches please),  One also will remember Ms Livni idea of 2007 of getting to a framework agreement that will be put in the drawers, and will not be implemented till Hamas regime in Gaza being dismantled.
Therefore the Israeli elections included roughly two camps: one that is clear on his ideas ranging between de facto or de jure annexation, and the second looks for negotiations but is not presenting the minimum requirements that the Palestinians can accept in order to go back to negotiations.
Some Might argue that if the Zionist Camp succeeded, this might created a situation were a bargaining process might took place leading subsequently to a compromise that will result with the resumption of the negotiations.The Arab List inside the Israeli Knesset would also played a role in creating such compromise in case that the Zionist Camp will need their support to his coalition from outside.
While such a thought presented a possibility that might happened if the Zionist Camp succeeded in the elections, leading subsequently to the resumption of the negotiations, but still such negotiations as the history of the Israeli Palestinian negotiations shown cannot guarantee that an agreement will be achieved given the content of the program of the Zionist Camp presented above that cannot meet the minimum requirements of the Palestinians. 
A better way after 25 years of negotiations starting with the 8 rounds of talks in Washington in 1990, will be by having a clear cut positions, and not the so called " constructive ambiguity formulas" that are capable to resume the negotiations, but are not capable to reach agreements. Many attempts and failures were already made, and there are no space any more for another failure.
Such a better way can be achieved by using the Arab Peace Initiative as a point of departure for a UN Security Council resolution that will create a mechanism for the creation of the Palestinian State besides Israel and on 1967 borders, using tools and procedures that will make Israel move forward regardless to its rejectionist position towards the API and the ending of the occupation.
Around The Arab Summit in Cairo of the 28th   29th of March, the API has become " the only game in town" with the potential to move the Israeli Palestinian track forward. Moreover, the Arab Foreign Ministers gave their support to a UN SC resolution for the API on March 10th 2015 with reaffirmation by the Arab League during the Arab Summit on March 29th 2015, coupled with the announcement by Saudi King Salman Ibn Abdelaziz for a UN Security Council resolution for the implementation of the API and a creation of a special UN envoy to see through with the API's implementation.
To approach the implementation effectively, the components of the resolution can include:
 1. Two states based on 1967 borders with agreed upon equal borders modifications and not only reciprocal ones.
2. Go beyond the unilateral recognition of Israel as a Jewish state controversial issue by the Recognition of the attachments and narratives of both the Israelis and Palestinians, with an arrangement that will respect the aforementioned attachments and narratives.
3. Sovereignty of Jerusalem should not be excluded to one party.
4. Reciprocal security arrangements that meet the requirements of both the Israelis and the Palestinians. 
5. An agreed upon solution the refugee problem in accordance to the UN Resolution 194.
The resolution can include conditions for effective execution:
 
                 1. Commencing with an international conference for peace that will create mechanism for follow-up on the time-framed negotiations; the mechanism will include cooperation between Quartet countries and the Arab League with Jordan and Egypt.
 
                  2. During the negotiations, both sides must fulfill obligations according to previous agreements. The International community will have its disposal tools and procedures to be used against the party(ies) that does not meet its obligations or is unable to go forward with the resolution's implementation. 
 
                   3. The implementation of the resolution will be supported by a follow-up committee that will bridge communication between the Arab League, Quartet, and the parties; while Jordan and Egypt- due to their diplomatic relations with Israel- will communicate between Israel and the Arab League. 
incentives to be provided to the Palestinians to the effect of accepting Palestine as a full-member to the UN.  Additionally, to allow Palestinian reconciliation to be implemented, build Gaza, and create Palestinian facts on the ground in East Jerusalem and Area C of West Bank, and the linking of the West Bank and Gaza; moreover, the tasks of the Quartet office in Jerusalem to be transformed to be equipped with such transformative tasks that will create a symmetry in the ground between the two sides of the conflict. 
As such, one will highly consider the reports coming from New York regarding a possible Quartet process of activating the API as a basis for a resolution on the bi-lateral Israeli-Palestinian track.
The only way out of impasse looks to be a Quartet based plan that will start with a new UNSC clear cut resolution that will be implemented with or without negotiations leading to two States Solution. Russia as an active member in the Quartet might play an important role in that direction.
 
Published in Tribune
Friday, 20 March 2015 12:54

Netanyahu's Victory: The masks are down.

Talking about the Israeli elections, the results and its meaning for the Peace Process, let start first with figures. The result is that Netanyahu got 57 seats all together with the right and religious parties’ bloc, and the left-center bloc parties got 53. In the middle there is a centrist party – Kulanu which is quiet moderate according to their declarations made before the elections, got 10 seats. But since this party descent from Likud, the assumption here is that Netanyahu with his 57 seats in the Parliament can form a coalition together with it – so they’ll form the coalition uniting 67 members of Parliament. In the previous elections the right religious bloc all-together had 61 seats. And actually what happened in the current elections is that the right wing parties and the religious forces have lost 3 seats in the Parliament, as Netanyahu took the seats from the ultra-orthodox parties, from the right-radical parties, and became bigger (30 seats), than the second party in the Parliament, which is the Zionist Camp (the former Labor party with 24). And so he gains the right to be the first to form the coalition. So, from my point of view, he made a big victory, but this victory was due to his expanse on the right wing radical parties. And mostly he has done it in the last three days before the elections, because most of the polls predicted him gaining 20-21 sits in the Parliament and he gained 30. So it was a big failure for the pollsters and for the media in Israel, because all of them had been assuming, that the Labor party and the Zionist Camp would win the elections and it appeared to be a disinformation. The real change was between parties but not between the two blocs of the political arena.   

There were also two very bad declarations of Netanyahu, as he stepped out of the Two-State solution and he incited the Arab population in Israel. And by this kind of announcement he gained the popularity among those who are ultra-right and ultra-orthodox. Many voters from the radical nationalist party ‘The Jewish home’, ruled by Nafrali Bennet moved to Netanyahu’s camp. Bennet had 12 seats in the Parliament previously. Now he has only 8. And all the seats he lost, he lost because of Netanyahu’s announcement that he is not in favor of the two-State solution anymore. That was a game changer in the last three days before the elections. 

We should understand also, that there is a big discord inside Israel, inside the Jewish population. We can even say that there are two states in Israel, as the society is divided to 2 blocs. One part of the Israeli society supports the Zionist Camp and the Labor party,’Yesh Atid’ party and ‘Meretz’.It is characterized by a very high gross national product, liberal values of cooperation with the Arab minority, diplomatic moderation, pragmatic security viewpoint. The other bloc is formed by ‘Likud’ party, The ‘Jewish home’, The Ultra-religious parties and Liberman party ‘Israel Beitenu’ . Most of that part is haunted by archaic fears it is prickly, isolationist and conservative and suspicious of the Arab neighbors .with small-income salaries. And however, they suffered a lot from the last years of Netanyahu’s internal social and economic policy, they’ve voted for him.

The result is that it is easier for Netanyahu to form a coalition, than for Labor Party and the Zionist Camp headed by Isaac Herzog.

As far as the future of the Peace Process is concerned, it should be reminded that in the end of the month the gathering of the Arab League will take place in Egypt. And I think that the Arab League will stay with the Arab Peace Initiative declaration. And I think, there is a possibility that Netanyahu would be set to say that he is for collaboration with moderate Arab states, as Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, Jordan and Egypt. He understand that main topic that interest Arab leaders is the fight against ISIS and stemming the expansion of Iran. The problem is that he wants to bring this ME collaboration without the Palestinians and in this case there will be no kind of diplomatic solution, and this would even paralyze the negotiations on the matter. Personally, as well as my organization, NISPED-AJEEC and the Peace camp in Israel, we strongly support the API and we see it as a right base for negotiation for peace together with the Palestinians. But the future for us, at least the nearest future, looks very gloomy. I must admit we don’t see any advancement in the Peace Process. One good thing is that the masks of Netanyahu and his government supporting the Peace Process and declaring the Two-State Solution do not exist anymore.

One good thing is that the masks of Netanyahu and his government supporting the Peace Process and declaring the Two-State Solution do not exist anymore.

–Mully Dor

The first announcement of the US administration was saying «Ok. So everything is clear now».

That means that the US is not going to stop the Palestinians, with their attempts to settle the conflict through the UN institutions. And this would probably have good consequences for the situation, compared to what we witnessed in the past, when the US had been automatically supporting everything Israel had been doing. And it was not helping Israel at all. I must admit that I didn’t like the way Obama was reacting to the Netanyahu’s speech to the Congress. He publicly hazed the president and got home safe and sound without paying any prize. The people of Israel saw no act of the US administration when Netanyahu behave like this and they understood that he defeated Obama. It was a big mistake of Obama.

I don’t believe that Netanyahu will be in practice more flexible on the two-state solution after the elections. In the past Netanyahu had been speaking more politely but had no intention to build it. He has been opposing this idea from the first minute. He had been declaring that he supports the conflict settlement on the basis of the two state solution on the international arena, while inside the country, for the home audience, he had been saying, that he don’t believe in it.

But of course it was a populist move to gain votes, but the question is what he is going to do after the elections. There is an important question if he is willing to enter the real negotiations on the two state solution or no. The Kerry initiative has failed, as Netanyahu didn’t want to draw the lines of the borders. He just wanted to stay in power. He is not willing to step into real negotiations and find a solution. He is a Mr. Security, declaring that he will secure the Israelis against Iran, against ISIS, against the Palestinians not believing in the two-state solution.

There is a big question whether this strategy and this policy can exist in the Middle East and in the modern world now. I don’t believe in this. But people actually vote for this policy. This policy will be of becoming isolated, conservative, to prefer any religious values over the democratic and liberal ones, to be a state that is suspicious of its neighbors. 

Published in Commentaries
Thursday, 19 March 2015 18:00

The Week in Quotes (16 March-22 March 2015)

Syria

As we have long said, there always has been a need for representatives of the Assad regime to be a part of that process. <...> It would not be, and would never be – and it wasn't what Secretary Kerry was intending to imply ­– that that would be Assad himself.

 – Jen Psaki, State Department Spokeswoman

The only way to put an end to the violence is via negotiations for a political solution, even if that makes talks with the Assad regime necessary.

– Frank-Walter Steinmeier, German Foreign Minister

 

Israeli Elections 

The results of the Israeli elections show the success of a campaign platform based on settlements, racism, apartheid and the denial of the fundamental human rights of the Palestinian people,

– Saeb Erekat, a member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s executive committee

Palestinians do not trust Israel on statements. They trust Israel on practice, and Palestinians have concluded much earlier that Netanyahu and his coalition are not at all interested in the concept of two states, regardless of what they say.

– Ghassan Al Khatib, a West Bank politician

Against all odds, we achieved a great victory for the Likud . . . I am proud of the people of Israel, who in the moment of truth knew how to distinguish between what is important and what is peripheral, and to insist on what is important.

– Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli PM

 

Terrorist Attack in Tunisia

Every Tunisian should feel directly threatened by what happened today. <...>And I think the people of Tunisia will respond as one man.

­– Beji Caid Essebsi, President of Tunisia 

 This deadly attack, which is quite deplorable, should not allow to derail from what many consider the transition from authoritarianism to a system of justice and respect for human rights, the most successful in the region.

– Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director of Middle East and North Africa program at Amnesty International.

Extremist terrorist groups seek to undermine the experience of democratic transition in Tunisia and in the region and create the climate of fear among the citizens who yearn for freedom, democracy and peaceful participation in the democratic construction.

– The organizing committee of the World Social Forum.

  

 

TWEET OF THE WEEK:  

Published in Weeks-in-Quotes

Though the elections results are not final yet, one can be sure that the ruling party Likud once again has reaffirmed its positions with a small advantage, and that is why now Benjamin Netanyahu is starting the process of coalition creation. In order to create a coalition he has to gain 61% of 120 members of Knesset. It is only possible in case of Netanyahu's success in attracting so called right-centrist parties. Two parties will probably become the decisive force – Yisrael Beiteinu, which has got six deputy seats, and Kulanu with 10 seats. If he manages to attract them, the qualified majority will be reached and he will be able to present a new government to the Israeli President. As far as the public opinion over the elections is concerned, first of all, the opposition block has also gained many votes, so not everybody in Israel is ready to vote only for the program of Benjamin Netanyahu which is mainly  focused on the security of Israel, many Israelis are more interested in solution of social and economic issues, and that is why they will demand the new government to pay attention right to these issues. So, that is the current situation, I believe it will remain the same and it means that the Middle Eastern policy of Israel will not change. It is possible to predict that the relations with the US will be rather tense as the personal relations between the Israeli Prime Minister and the US president are difficult enough. 

<...> Not everybody in Israel is ready to vote only for the program of Benjamin Netanyahu which is mainly  focused on the security of Israel, many Israelis are more interested in solution of social and economic issues, and that is why they will demand the new government to pay attention right to these issues. <...>

– Tatiana Karasova

As far as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is concerned, it is not very correct to say that Netanyahu has declared that the two state solution is impossible, as it was widely shared by the media. During the previous elections Netanyahu’s political program included the possibility of creation of an independent Palestinian state. However, it should be admitted, that it contained such preconditions from the Israeli part that it was completely unacceptable for the Palestinian administration. Secondly, I do not think that the new Israeli government is interested in the conflict escalation. I believe, the most important thing for Netanyahu now is to secure the status quo – no peace, no war, just slow negotiations, etc. And it is quite obvious. Though, as I have already mentioned, the increasing pressure from the US is expected, as well as relaunch of the negotiations. But we have been through this. The Israeli government will agree to the negotiations knowing they will be fruitless, as both parties cannot make their positions closer. In case of changes from the Palestinian side, some development may be expected. But as we do not expect important changes from the Israeli side, the Palestinians are unlikely to make such steps either.

Published in Commentaries

Netanyahu’s speech to U.S. Congress on Iran caused a stir among experts who are anxiously following the election campaign in Israel as it enters its final stage. Israeli society decides who will rule the country for the next four years and which political course will be chosen. This affects not only the life of ordinary Israelis, but also the fate of the region. Despite its small size and limited capacities, Israel influences the international agenda and is at the center of several complex relations between states. This becomes especially remarkable when one realizes Israel stands between tree major powers in the world arena: Russia, the U.S. and Iran.

Russia has strong and stable relations with Israel and Israel is among the rare countries which were absent from the U.N. General Assembly vote not to recognize Crimea’s new status. At the same time, Israel considers Iran one of its greatest enemies, while Iran has softened its rhetoric regarding Israel since the step down of Ahmadinejad. Iran still does regard Israel as the troublemaker of the Middle East, however.

Meanwhile Russia has stable relations with the Iranian government and intensifies its ties with Iran against the background of cold Russia-West relations. However, the Iranian youth is much more favorable towards the U.S. than towards Russia. The U.S. supports Israel, but hardly tolerates Netanyahu’s policy. The U.S. clashes with Russia but cooperates with it in the framework of six-party talks on the Iranian nuclear program.

To read the whole article go to Al Arabiya.

 

Published in Tribune
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