Topic:

Palestinian Affairs

DEBATE: What Happened to Arab Support for the Palestinians?

| November 16, 2018

While the continuing influence of the Palestinians on the Arab world should not be underestimated, the current landscape in the Middle East is bringing new policy priorities to the fore. As Israel’s ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, recently observed, “The Arab states are no longer dancing to the Palestinians’ tune.” BESA joins the debate by posing the question: What has happened to Arab support for the Palestinians?

Palestinians, You Don’t Have to Live Like Refugees

and | October 2, 2018

President Trump is right to defund UNRWA, whose anti-Israel propaganda undermines efforts to make peace.

Palestinian Sovereignty after Abbas

| July 13, 2018

Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas’s recent illnesses have again raised the matter of his successor. This brewing issue highlights contradictory aspects of Palestinian political culture. The leaders create chaos and then blackmail Western powers in exchange for containment of the unrest. Their next step is to internationalize the conflict by demanding unconditional support. Both tactics create dependency and fundamentally undermine Palestinian sovereignty. Trusteeship schemes for the West Bank illustrate the pattern of dysfunction. Only a concept of Palestinian sovereignty free of blackmail and internationalization would allow for a successful state, but this is thwarted by the concept of Palestinian national honor, which demands a return to an imaginary status quo ante.

Kuwait: Serial Violator of Human Rights

| June 8, 2018

There is considerable hypocrisy in the fact that Kuwait, which in 1991 expelled approximately 400,000 Palestinians who worked and lived in its territory for decades (following the PLO’s enthusiastic support for the occupation of the emirate by Saddam Hussein), and even murdered thousands of others, is spearheading a diplomatic struggle in the Security Council that purports to protect Gazans following the violent riots along the border fence in the Gaza Strip.

The Danger to Jordan of a Palestinian State

| June 1, 2018

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan stands to lose more than any other party from the establishment of a State of Palestine. While the potential dangers and complications for Israel of such a state could be significant, Jordan would face threats to both its social stability and its foundational idea: that it governs the Arab population on both banks of its eponymous river. In addition to the substantial political and security difficulties such a state would create for Jordan, it could also jeopardize its continued viability by shifting the locus of political leadership for a majority of Jordanians away from Amman and towards Ramallah. 

Most Iranians Couldn’t Care Less About the Palestinians or Israel

| May 2, 2018

Diplomats who served in Tehran frequently claim that Israel and the Palestinians are marginal to Iranian concerns. They are correct about the Iranian public and wrong about the leadership. Maybe this and other formidable gaps between the Iranian public and the leadership could provide the fuel to ignite the opposition to remove them from power.

Transfer UNRWA’s Responsibilities to Whom?

| April 20, 2018

International political changes and genuine refugee crises have prompted a renewed examination of UNRWA, the internationally funded mechanism for the Palestinians. The problem of transferring UNRWA’s health, welfare, and education responsibilities to other organizations is not easily resolved. Despite obvious problems (primarily the inevitable corruption), absorbing UNRWA into the PA is the least bad alternative, as it offers a path for both capacity-building and real oversight.

Reframing the Middle Eastern and Palestinian Refugee Crises

and | March 13, 2018

There are two Middle Eastern refugee crises currently vying for resources and attention. One is nominally focused on Syria but in fact extends from Libya to Afghanistan. The other crisis is Palestinian and has supposedly been going on since 1948. A closer look at the causes of these crises shows the former to be primarily the result of the collapsing Arab state system and the rise of militant Islam, while the latter cannot be considered a crisis at all.

The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Thinking Outside the Box

| February 21, 2018

A creative solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must start with appreciating the advantages of the hybrid spatial model that has emerged in the West Bank, notably the governmental powers granted to the Palestinian Authority as far back as January 1996 in Areas A and B, and discarding the stillborn paradigm of total separation.

DEBATE: Should US Aid to the Palestinians Be Suspended?

| February 8, 2018

Q: On January 2, 2018, US President Donald Trump threatened to pull funding from the Palestinians with the tweet: “But with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?” Two weeks later, the US said that it while it remains committed to a voluntary contribution of $60 million to sustain Palestinian schools and health services, it is holding back a further $65 million for reconsideration. BESA joins the debate by posing the question: Should US aid to the Palestinians be suspended?