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.”
Aug 8 2022
Q. What’s the immediate backdrop to the latest round of fighting with Gazan Islamists? How did it start? How did it end?
A. ‘Breaking Dawn’ represents an escalating spiral seemingly foreordained. On August 2, as part of a sustained IDF campaign against a Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorist base in the northern West Bank, Israeli commandos captured a PIJ leader there, Bassem Saadi. The PIJ leadership in the Gaza Strip responded by threatening rocket and anti-tank missile attacks on Israel’s ‘Gaza Periphery’ of towns and kibbutzim.
Israel’s response was to lock down the periphery, cancelling work and summer activities as a precautionary measure while residents stayed close to shelters. The daily flow of Gazan day laborers into Israel ceased. The PIJ, sensing it had scored points against Israel without firing a shot, simply sat tight.
With elections approaching, Prime Minister Lapid--a security novice--and Defense Minister Gantz sensed they had been maneuvered into a bind. If they relaxed the alarm around Gaza, there could be casualties from a much-anticipated PIJ attack. If they did nothing, they were paralyzing life for hundreds of thousands of Israelis and ceding the tactical advantage to the PIJ. They were also potentially drawing criticism from the principal political opposition, the Likud, thereby losing votes in Israel’s upcoming elections. The IDF, too, looked helpless...
Latest Strategic Analysis
Yossi Alpher's Death Tango: Ariel Sharon, Yasser Arafat and Three Fateful Days in March
"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)