IPF Blog

Apr 11, 2014

In the aftermath of the Palestinian Authority’s decision to submit 15 applications to UN agencies and Israel’s refusal to release the fourth group of prisoners, tensions between both sides have been running high this week. Nevertheless, several reports have indicated that the American team is fervently working to bring the Israelis and Palestinians to the table and taking steps toward reaching an agreement outlining the continuation of negotiations. This week, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett and others in government have threatened that they will leave the coalition if the prisoners are indeed released. On Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry met with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to discuss the current situation as well as its future.

Apr 04, 2014

This week, the state of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations has become significantly more fragile. Early this week, Israel's decision not to release the fourth group of prisoners until the Palestinians agree to continue negotiations prompted several last minute meetings aimed at restoring the talks. On Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry made a surprise trip to the region with the intention of meeting Israeli and Palestinian officials. After holding long meetings with Israelis, Kerry ultimately canceled his meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. On Wednesday, US Special Envoy Martin Indyk called an emergency meeting between the peace negotiators from each party, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Saeb Erekat. Reports suggest that the US and Israel spoke at length about new terms to release Jonathan Pollard in exchange for Palestinian prisoners. On Thursday, negotiations destabilized further, as Israel officially cancelled the prisoner release and the Palestinians submitted applications to 15 different international conventions at the United Nations.

Mar 28, 2014

This week, tensions have intensified around the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations as the fourth and final prisoner release rapidly approaches this weekend. On Tuesday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared that he would not recognize Israel as a Jewish state at the Arab League summit in Kuwait. In turn, the Arab League released a statement fully supporting this position. On Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry put his trip to Italy on hold in order to meet with Abbas in Amman. With the prisoner release scheduled for this weekend, Israeli politicians are pressuring Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to postpone the release until the Palestinians can commit to extending the peace negotiations. There have been reports that the US has suggested the release of Jonathan Pollard alongside the prisoner release, with the hope that it will help extend the talks. Also this week, reports of reconciliation between Israel and Turkey have strengthened in the face of elections in Turkey.

Mar 21, 2014

Commotion in the Middle East escalated this week, forcing both US and Israeli politicians to divide their attention among several different countries. The week began with a meeting between President Obama and President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday, with Abbas returning to Ramallah declaring that he did not make any concessions to Obama. On Tuesday, a Hezbollah-triggered explosive injured four IDF soldiers on the border with Syria, prompting an Israeli attack on Syrian outposts on Wednesday. Several Israelis have made statements regarding the fourth prisoner release scheduled for March 29, causing much uncertainty and debate. Simultaneously, developments surrounding the P5+1 talks with Iran, the Syrian conflict and the situation in Crimea continue to raise concerns about the future stability of the region and their effect on the US-led peace talks.

Mar 14, 2014

This week was marked by regional violence and a wary anticipation of Secretary of State John Kerry’s framework proposal. This week, Israeli troops shot and killed a Jordanian judge who tried to seize a gun from an Israeli soldier, sparking protests in Jordan. Three Palestinian Jihadist operatives were also killed, launching a barrage of rockets from Gaza into the south of Israel. A ceasefire was declared on Thursday, yet several rockets continued to be fired into Israel. On Wednesday, at the 2015 State Department Budget meeting, Secretary Kerry revealed he is still optimistic about the peace negotiations despite a sense of mistrust between both sides. Kerry also said, in a House Committee of Foreign Affairs meeting, that recognizing Israel as a Jewish State should not be a critical factor in a peace deal. Looking ahead to next week, President Barack Obama will sit down with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday, March 17 to discuss the state of the current peace negotiations.

Mar 07, 2014

The week opened with President Obama’s remarks on the peace process in an interview with Bloomberg, published on Sunday. While this may signify President Obama becoming more involved in the process, the escalating situation in Ukraine poses serious pressures for the White House as well as Secretary of State John Kerry. Also taking place this week was the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Conference in Washington, at which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other prominent figures discussed various issues concerning the State of Israel, including the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and the Iranian nuclear threat. Finally, on Wednesday, Israeli navy commandos boarded and seized a merchant ship in the Red Sea carrying an Iranian shipment of weapons headed for Palestinian militant groups in Gaza.

Feb 28, 2014

Livestream the conversation with MK Isaac "Bougie" Herzog and Jodi Rudoren of the New York Times happening Thursday, February 27 at 7:30 PM.

Feb 27, 2014

Among the findings: A majority of Israelis (55%) believe that "without intervention by the Arab states and the Arab League, the Palestinians will never reach an agreement with the Israelis," and 73% of Israelis would support Netanyahu if he were to present the public with an agreement regarding the end of the conflict.

Feb 21, 2014

Throughout this week, US Secretary of State John Kerry brought media attention to the peace talks. On Wednesday, Kerry met with PA President Mahmoud Abbas in Paris and also sat down with Israel's Channel 2 for an interview. Amidst his efforts, a top Palestinian official revealed that despite Abbas' avowal to not recognize Israel as a Jewish State, talks are in the works to declare the opposite. This stirred up some debate among Palestinians leaders. Also this week, the BDS movement remained a central topic in commentary on the conflict.

Feb 14, 2014

On Wednesday, the Israel Policy Forum released a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu in support of Secretary of State John Kerry’s initiatives in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process amidst growing criticism of Kerry from Israeli politicians. Also this week, European Parliament President Martin Schulz spoke at the Knesset, provoking a walk-out from Bayit Yehudi and vocal disapproval from other Knesset members. Finally, President Obama is set to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu on March 3 to discuss the status of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

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On Wednesday, April 9 at 2 PM ET IPF hosted an on-the-record conversation with Jeffrey Goldberg, columnist for Bloomberg View, on the latest developments concerning the US-led negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.