21 Sep: A series of events is now taking shape in the Middle East.
- Iran is in full compliance with the nuclear agreement and Donald Trump, seeking an excuse for war, is preparing to declare Iran in non compliance with the spirit of the agreement on Oct 15th.
- The Israeli Knesset is expected to approve delegation of authority for war to the cabinet in November.
- A long delayed American delegation is expected to visit Jerusalem and Ramallah in Nov or Dec to lay out the Trump Middle East Peace Initiative.
- Both the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority are expected to seek a mandate for the talks by going to elections.
- The Hamas Military Wing is expected to take exception to the Hamas Political Wing’s reconciliation with Fatah and participation in elections with Fatah, by publicly condemning the moves and a possible incident with Israel.
- Israel is expected to attack the Hamas Military Wing and other Gaza extremists, fully destroying them and opening the way for the Palestinian elections and future peace talks.
- This conflict is expected to spread to destroy Hezbollah and the Revolutionary Guards in Iran, opening the way for regime change and a broad regional peace agreement.
- The Peace Initiative could be in several phases with security, borders and Jerusalem in the first phase with a limited time frame for a deal and its implementation, to be followed later by talks on other issues.
This is a general line up of the present trends.
19 Sep: Netanyhu all but declares war on Iran in his UNGA speach., promising to attack any Iranian forces inside Syria once the Islamic State is eliminated. Transcript here.
A UN General Assembly shocked into stunned silence, listened to a bombastic Trump speach attacking Iran and threatening North Korea with total destruction. The speach scheduled for one hour was completed in 45 minutes. Listen to Trump here.
17 Sep: “Hamas’ leader in the West Bank, Hassan Yusuf, who has just been released from 22 months of administrative detention, was quick to share in the Jerusalem Post a proposal for a long-term ceasefire.
In Israel, as usual, we do not listen. Even 20 years ago, in early September 1997, we did not listen. At that time, King Hussein of Jordan transferred a Hamas proposal for a 30-year hudna with Israel, but we were busy planning to assassinate Khaled Mashaal.
More than three years have passed since Hamas fired a bullet or rocket into Israel. Three years in which the one which calls itself the leading resistance organization of the Palestinians has locked its weapon.
If, in the coming year, we go into another unnecessary confrontation in Gaza, it will be more because of us than because of them.” —Alon Ben-David, military affairs reporter and analyst for Channel 10 News, writes in Maariv that Israel chooses to ignore opportunities for peace with Hamas.
In a dramatic announcement, Hamas accepted the rival faction Fatah’s key demands and dissolved a contentious administrative committee set up earlier this year to run Gaza, and invited Fatah to return to Gaza and to hold new unity government elections.
The announcement came following heated Egyptian mediation efforts in Cairo with Hamas and PLO delegations. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, from Fatah, kept his word and announced an end to sanctions that the Palestinian Authority had put on the Gaza Strip.
Hamas and the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority have been embroiled in a conflict ever since Hamas won the Palestinian legislative elections in 2006. Angry at losing power, Fatah refused Hamas’ request to jointly govern the Palestinian Territories and a bloody conflict between the two groups broke out. Azzam al-Ahmad, the head of Fatah’s delegation to the Cairo talks, welcomed Hamas’ announcement: “It will strengthen Palestinian unity.” (Maariv).
This is a move by the Hamas Political Wing which is not endorsed by the Hamas Military Wing.
Gaza: Kiryat Shmona, Sderot to be evacuated in case of Gaza conflict – IDF and the National Emergency Management Authority would evacuate city residents as well as residents of towns near border to protest them from rocket fire and possible infiltration of terrorists. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman have decided to completely evacuate Kiryat Shmona or Sderot in the case of a military conflict against Hezbollah in the north or Hamas in the south. (Yedioth/Ynet).
Israel also plans to evacuate towns in Upper Galilee during war with Hezbollah. See 5 Sep news.
11 August Update: Kushner to head a delegation to the Middle East the last week of August, to hold talks with Israel and the Palestinians as well as senior officials in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Jordan and Egypt. “The president has asked that these discussions focus on the path to substantive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks”. See also Middle East Peace Initiative Planned for September 2017
Jared Kushner will be accompanied by Special Envoy for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt and Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategy Dina Powell.
Events Trending Towards Autumn 2017 – Summer 2018 Mideast Crisis
President Trump is planning to launch his Mideast peace initiative in late September and to push hard through October for Israel and the Palestinians to hold a genuine dialogue for peace. See Middle East Peace Initiative Planned for September 2017
To counter Trump’s plans the Likud’s ideological bureau voted to formally oppose the creation of a Palestinian state. Netanyahu had reluctantly endorsed a “two state solution” under pressure from the Americans but is personally ideologically opposed to a Palestinian state.
In 1948 the UN voted to create a Palestinian and a Jewish state; the Palestinians are still waiting.
The bureau, which is the party’s ideological institution, voted late Tuesday night to reinforce a May 2002 decision – supported by Netanyahu at that time – by the Likud central committee against the two-state solution: meaning that they reject any serious peace talks.
The next step is to convene the Likud’s governing central committee in September to pass proposals calling for unlimited construction in Judea and Samaria and annexing their Jewish communities. More than 800 central committee members have signed a petition demanding a vote on the proposals.
The Knesset enters its summer recess at the end of July and Netanyahu has announced his backing of a bill to annex Gush Etzion, Efrat, Betar Illit, Givat Ze’ev and Ma’aleh Adumim to Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries, creating a greater Jewish Jerusalem and turning Palestinian Jerusalem communities with about 100,000 residents into a small island completely surrounded by a Jewish Greater Jerusalem.
This is the issue which is now being protested by the Palestinians and the Islamic world.
When the Knesset reconvenes at the end of October the Legislative Committee is planning to expedite the annexation bill to advance the Settler Movement agenda which would also provoke the Palestinians into rejecting any peace talks.
The annexation bill is likely to quickly pass in committee and is expected to bring a critical coalition crisis when it comes up in the Knesset in November.
Mass Palestinian demonstrations – even if they fade during the summer – will resurface as this bill advances. These demonstrations and the ire of President Trump along with that of the whole world and the obviously intended provocation of unilaterally annexing land without negotiations, could bring Lapid to leave the coalition bringing the present government down.
This timeline trend dove tails nicely with the demise of the Islamic State which is expected to take another three months or so.
A regional war will break out and the electorate will hold Netanyahu and the Settler Movement Extremist’s responsible, not only for the cost in treasure and bloodshed, but for the war itself, voting in a peace oriented government.
New governments in Israel and the region will negotiate a genuine peace, but the Israeli minority of extremists will resist every moment and will work as hard as they can to sabotage any peace agreement.