Posts Tagged

Palestine

The Israeli general election scheduled for 9th April is widely expected to be followed with the release of what has been termed the ‘Trump peace plan’ for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The release of the plan likely rests on the outcome of the election: if Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud is not returned as the largest party with him as Prime Minister then the status of the plan is uncertain given that the Trump-Netanyahu relationship underpins it. However, who will win the election is far from certain, with the latest polling placing Likud in second place, but suggesting that the right-wing coalition headed by Netanyahu would retain a majority. Given the recent surprise announcement that the United States recognises the Israeli annexation of …

Saudi Arabia has been omnipresent in the headlines recently. By detaining several significant business figures and senior ministers, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has demonstrated the scope of his newly-inherited authority and violently asserted his power. What followed since, if not utterly unexpected, has been greatly intriguing and perplexing. Developments, however, are not limited to internal Saudi affairs, but also have regional implications. There are signals of a growing Saudi-Israeli cooperation and aligning of interests in their wish to counteract Iran. Two weeks ago, Ayoub Kara, Israeli Communications Minister invited Saudi’s Grand Mufti Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh to visit Israel, and a few days later, Saudi online journal Elaph, recorded Israel’s chief-of-staff Gadi Eizenkot saying that Israel is ready to share intelligence …

Hamas has been in power in Gaza – and democratically elected – since 2006. Hamas controls what comes in and out of Gaza through tunnels – more than 700 were reported in 2011. Hamas is not only the government, it is the organisation on which Gazans rely for schooling, health, housing and protection. Of course international organisations in Gaza play a large role in providing those services too, but Hamas is the overarching authority. Now that Hamas and other para-military organisations such as the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Popular Resistance Committees, along with Salafi groups and even the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade are firing rockets at Israel intensely again, why are Gazans supporting them?

On Wednesday 24th October, Oxford’s Dr Avi Raz delivered a talk at the DPIR in order to launch his new book, “The Bride and the Dowry: Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinians in the Aftermath of the June 1967 War”. The book – an expansion of his doctoral thesis – is a well-researched account of events surrounding one of the most important periods in the history of the Middle East: one which saw Israel secure a resounding victory over the Arab armies in the six day war, therein gaining territory 3 times the size of its nation and, after 2000 years, returning a united Jerusalem to Jewish authority.

In international relations there is sometimes a situation of political make-believe whereby states conduct themselves in a manner that actively and consciously ignores reality. On some occasions this is warranted in order to avoid a crisis or mitigate conflict. And once relevant self-deception can become ingrained after time, even though its usefulness is debatable at best. Such is the case (or perceived to be) with Israel’s capital city. Israel’s capital is Jerusalem. The government is located there; so are the Supreme Court and the Bank of Israel. All are located in West Jerusalem, which is seen by the international community as part of Israel’s sovereign territory – and would almost certainly be so following a future peace agreement with the …

In recent years we have seen the publication of a series of Palestinian life stories including, among others, the ‘Incomplete Autobiography’ of Yusif Sayigh (2009) and the autobiography of Shafiq al-Hout (2007). The subject of this review is also found within this series; the autobiography of Anis Sayegh, entitled Anis Sayegh ‘n Anis Sayegh, which was released in Beirut by Riad El Rayyes in 2006. The autobiography of Anis Sayegh describes his life from early childhood in the 1930s to the early 2000s. It consists of nine chapters. In the first chapter we learn that Anis Sayegh was born in November 1931 in Tiberias, the youngest of seven children in a traditional Protestant Christian extended family. His father originally came …

Last week the University of Oxford was fortunate enough to host Ambassador Thomas Pickering who gave the 2012 Fulbright Lecture on the topic of “The Decade Ahead: The US Role in the World”. It would have been difficult to find an individual more qualified for such a task, given the Ambassador’s highly successful four decade long career in the foreign service and considering that he is a man whose (deceptively, given his mental acuity) long life has been spent both in the study of international affairs and in the pursuit of the US’s interests and values within the world. His message comes at a poignant time, given the current academic fervour over the perceived decline of the US in the …

Tel Aviv has known many hot summers in its history. But 2011 will probably be remembered as an exceptionally burning summer, one in which the city was flooded by tents occupied by young middle class residents, protesting against the rise in the cost of living.  As Or Rosenboim argues, these protests were characterised by the claim to “go beyond the political”, to ask for social justice, referring to the colloquial distinction between issues relating to security and defence, and particularly, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, regarded as “the political”, and “the social”. I wish to argue that  these protests are closely interlinked to questions of foreign policy even though they put in much time and effort to avoid them. In a video …