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April 15 2024

Q. On Saturday night, Iran for the first time in history attacked Israel directly and openly, with missiles and UAVs. What is the backdrop, what is likely to happen now, and how does this affect both the region and Israel-US relations?

AIn the course of Saturday night’s attack, Iran fired (by Israel’s count) 185 UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones), 36 cruise missiles and 110 ballistic missiles. Virtually none of these penetrated Israeli air defenses; one Israeli child was badly injured. Israel, the US, the UK and Jordan all participated in intercepting incoming missiles and UAVs. Israel’s innovative multi-tier anti-missile defense system performed well; Israel claimed 99 percent intercept success. Supportive missile and rocket attacks on Israel from Yemen (Houthis) and Lebanon (Hezbollah) were equally ineffective.

Despite, or possibly because of the absence of damage, the unprecedented Iranian attack has the potential to alter military developments, tactics and alliances throughout the Middle East. Our analysis here must be understood to reflect no more than preliminary insights and assessments. As of this writing, Israel had not responded militarily though it committed publicly to do so.

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Yossi Alpher's Death Tango: Ariel Sharon, Yasser Arafat and Three Fateful Days in March
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"Anyone seeking to understand how Israelis and Palestinians traded the hopes of Oslo for something approaching hopelessness is well-advised to read this book. With penetrating analysis and elegant prose, Yossi Alpher has told the gripping story of three days nearly two decades ago that continue to haunt would-be peacemakers. Yossi’s faithful readers will not be disappointed with his latest effort."

Ambassador Frederic C. Hof, Bard College

"A riveting account of the crucial days in March 2002 when the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was profoundly changed for the worse. The peace camp has never recovered from those wrenching days, and we live now without any hope of a just settlement. Alpher is a highly respected expert who has spent decades studying this conflict from both sides."

Bruce Riedel, Director of the Brookings Intelligence Project

"A critical assessment of a key period in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict never before presented in such detail. The best and most capable players at the executive and political levels proved unable to forge any resolution, final or partial, because both parties continued to maintain an insurmountable gulf between themselves. This is a MUST read for anyone daring to tackle the future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and of Israel-Arab relations in general."

Efraim Halevy, former Head of the Mossad (1998-2002)

Yossi's New Book:

Oraib Khader and Avi Bar-On are youngish Palestinian and Israeli bachelors with security experience, readiness to do business with one another, a shared fondness for women and money, and total cynicism about the lack of peace between their two peoples.

Oraib and Avi can never become true friends: the cultural and political gaps are too wide. But as they confront a failed peace process and a bleak peace future, they readily become business partners: shady business that exploits a lot of naïve international peace aspirations.
As Oraib sums up on a visit to Sarpsborg, Norway, where the ultimately-failed Oslo peace talks were held, “There is a lesson here for those who still doggedly and hopelessly pursue a two-state solution in the Middle East. Get smart. Get out of the Israeli-Palestinian peace business. Step back and let the Jews and Arabs screw one another while making money.”

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