Final Solution for Western Sahara?

November 19, 2020

Western Sahara is the last colony in Africa. It has been today’s silent conflict for decades, but on 13th November 2020, Morocco launched a military operation against peaceful protesters in Guerguerat, near the Mauritanian border; It accused the Polisario of blocking the highway, which is key to trade with the rest of Africa. On 14th November, the SADR declared war on Morocco. By its actions, Morocco violated the 1991 ceasefire agreement with the Western Sahara Liberation Movement Polisario, which ended a 15-year war.

Western Sahara has fought for more than 40 years for its sovereignty under international law. The Sahrawis of this time have lived geographically dispersed in refugee camps in Algeria, the the conflict remains unresolved and Western Sahara remains occupied. Rabat controls around three quarters of the Western Sahara, a vast swathe of desert on the Atlantic coast, including its phosphate deposits and its lucrative ocean fisheries. The Polisario controls the rest. 

The Sahrawi

The Sahrawi culture is a mix of Berber, Black African and Arab elements. It shows mainly Berber people core characteristics with Arab cultural elements. Sahrawis are composed of many tribes and are largely speakers of the Hassaniya dialect of Arabic. Sahrawi population is ~570,000 – in Western Sahara there still lives some 160,000 Sahrawi, ~250,000 Sahrawi live in Algeria, of them nearly 100,000 in refugee camps and part of the diaspora in neighboring countries, Europe or even Cuba.

The Polisario

The Polisario, the national front for the liberation of Western Sahara, was founded in 1973 to demand independence from Spain, which ruled the region for nearly a hundred years. In 1974, Spain granted autonomy to the region and announced that it would hold a referendum on sovereignty. The referendum never materialized.

The aim of the Polisario movement, which originated in the student movement, was to put an end to Spanish colonialism in the region; this goal was achieved, but at the same time the neighbors – Morocco and Mauritania – conquered the area where Polisario wanted autonomy and possible independence. The Polisario declared the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) born in Bir Lehlou, Western Sahara, on February 27th, 1976. A war broke out.

Western Saharan separatists parade to mark 40 years of conflict (MEE/Massina Benlakehal)

The Conflict

Morocco Air Force bombed Western Sahara with napalms and phosphorus bombs and much of the indigenous Sahrawi of Western Sahara fled across the desert to Algeria. Mauritania withdrew from the region in the summer of 1979 after signing the so-called Argel’s agreement. The agreement recognizes the right of the Sahrawi people to self-government, while Mauritania waives all territorial claims in Western Sahara. The Moroccan army took over the territory ruled by Mauritania, but Mauritania recognized the SADR on 27 February 1984.

The 1991 UN-assisted peace agreement ended 15 years of fighting between Morocco and the Western Sahara Polisario. The peace treaty included a promise to hold a referendum on independence. Morocco has systematically blocked the terms of the peace agreement. The UN peacekeeping operation in Western Sahara, MINURSO, has failed to address violations of the peace agreement.

Occupation vs Intependence

Morocco has been occupying Western Sahara illegally since 1975. From the point of view of international law, Western Sahara has the right to independence, but for years Morocco has prevented a referendum. According to a 1975 report published by the International Court of Justice in The Hague, there is no historical evidence that Morocco ruled the region. Morocco continues to violate human rights in Western Sahara. Sahrawi are widely discriminated against in employment and education. The display of one’s own national symbols in the Occupied Territories is strictly forbidden and any action to promote independence is suppressed.

Algeria has supported the independence of Western Sahara since 1975 with the withdrawal of Spanish troops and recognized the independence of the SADR in 1976. The SADR is a founding member of the African Union and since 1982 the AU has supported the right of the Sahrawi people to self-government.

The EU supports the UN line, which in turn advocates a just and lasting solution that safeguards the sovereignty of the Sahrawi people. However, among other things, the EU has a fisheries agreement with Morocco, which applies to the resources of Western Sahara, contrary to the wishes of the Sahrawi people. The controversy over Western Sahara is also strongly economic. In addition to rich fishing waters, Western Sahara has extensive phosphate reserves and iron ore deposits.

The UN Security Council has adopted more than 100 resolutions in support of this. As of 2017, the independence of the SADR had been recognized by 84 UN member states, but 44 of them have either suspended or revoked the recognition. However, several states that do not recognize the independence of the SADR consider the Polisario to be the legitimate representative of the people of the region but not the refugee government of the independent state.

Morocco regards the Polisario as a separatist movement and the SADR as a puppet state used by Algeria against Morocco. Morocco considers Western Sahara to be a historical part of it, but according to a report published by the International Court of Justice in The Hague in 1975, there is historical evidence that Morocco has never ruled the region. As a result, the conquest of the area was contrary to the 1960 Declaration of Sovereignty of the Colonial Powers. A protest movement has also sprung up among Moroccans, as the country is ruled by a small elite. Morocco has successfully frozen protests by censoring the internet, obstructing the work of journalists and disseminating false information.

Bottom line

Contrary to the position of the International Court of Justice that Western Sahara is a non-autonomous region, will continue to occupy the region and exploit its natural resources.  Morocco has also relocated 350,000 civilians and 20,000 troops to Western Sahara, despite international humanitarian law governing armed conflict prohibiting the occupying state from relocating its civilian population to its occupied territories. An estimated 20,000 people have died as a result of the illegal occupation and the war that ensued. The disappearance of thousands of Sahrawis by Morocco remains unexplained and unpunished.

The fighting between the Western Sahara Liberation Movement Polisario and Morocco ended as early as 1991, but it has started again as Morocco launched its a military operation against peaceful protesters in Guerguerat, on November 2020. It remains to see if the conflict will be solved by violence or would international community finally take actions leading justified peace and independent SADR.

Visio 2026 by Sahrawia

 


This article first appeared in Conflicts by Ariel Rusila blog

 


Peace Process by Economic Approach

September 19, 2020

The road to Arab-Israeli peace no longer runs through Ramallah.” (Avi Mayer)

The US-brokered Israel-UAE normalization agreement in August 2020 was swiftly followed by a similar agreement between Serbia and Kosovo, as well as an Israel-Bahrain agreement. The Israel vs. Arab perception is rapidly changing to an Israel-Arab vs. Iran perception. White House announced the Serbia-Kosovo normalization agreement only 22 days after it announced the groundbreaking Israel-UAE normalization agreement, and an Israel-Bahrain normalization agreement was announced shortly after the Serbia-Kosovo news.

Kosovo’s normalization with Israel makes it the fifth Muslim country to normalize or sign a peace agreement with Israel following the peace agreements with Egypt in 1977, Jordan in 1994, Lebanon in 1983 after the Israeli invasion the previous year, and the UAE in 2020—and since the announcement they have been joined by a sixth, the Gulf State of Bahrain.

Critics accuse Trump of seeking a quick foreign policy success to tout ahead of his bid for re-election in November 2020. This might be true. However in my opinion the recent MidEast (peace) process is moving fast forward. Previous peace process implemented last two decades has been moderate at most; the goal Utopian or delusional and the roadmap towards aim has been dead for years. The new partly implemented – out of the box – approach is from my perspective based facts on the ground, the progress is made by economic side first instead of political and the approach is more regional one than bilateral especially related to Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Widening anti-Iranian coalition

And, you know, if you want to have peace in the region, you have to create peace with Israel. This is the first step. This is the strong message.” (Tri Ali Rashid al Nuaimi/UAE)

The decision by the United Arab Emirates to sign an agreement toward normalization with Israel was hailed by Egypt, Oman, Bahrain, Sudan and Mauritania. It was severely criticized, however, by Islamist forces and the Palestinian Authority. For many years, and particularly over the last decade, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has striven to disseminate a religious-political doctrine that defines peace as an Islamic value and a fundamental element of national identity. It poses this stance as an ideological alternative to the radical concepts of political Islam advocated by the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafi-jihadist forces in the region. Those who formulated it named it the Abraham Accord, in honor of the father of the three monotheistic religions.

UAE-Israel deal is very significant also to Iran. The Iranian investments in the Emirates are estimated to total in about 300 billion dollars. The Emirates are home to a large community of hundreds of thousands of Iranians. According to various estimates, 454,000 Iranians lived in the Emirates in 2018 (about five percent of the UAE’s population), most of them in Dubai (Iran Migration Outlook, 2020). In addition, about 8,000 Iranian traders operate in the UAE, along with thousands of Iranian-run businesses. There is also a social-cultural Iranian club in Dubai, Iranian schools and an Iranian hospital. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, airlines operated about 200 flights on a weekly basis from various cities in Iran to the UAE, which brought in about 100,000 Iranian tourists into the country on an annual basis.

Serbia/Kosovo

On September 4th, 2020, President Donald Trump hosted Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo PM Avdullah Hoti at the White House to sign an economic normalization agreement that will i.a lead to the establishment of air, rail, and motorway links between Serbia’s capital, Belgrade, and Kosovo’s capital, Pristina. However on the economic front, Serbia and Kosovo are also at odds over the Trepca lead and zinc mining complex, energy supplies, the Gazivode/Ujmani reservoir and trade barriers.

Kosovo broke away from Serbia in 1999 when NATO bombed for 11 weeks Serbia. It declared independence in 2008 with the backing of the major Western powers and over the fierce objections of Serbia and e.g. its big-power ally Russia. The EU, with the backing of the US, has spent years trying to prod the two sides towards what diplomats call a ‘normalization of relations’.

As part of normalization deal Belgrade and Pristina have both vowed to establish relationships with Israel. They plan to open embassies in Jerusalem by 2021, which will make them the first European countries to do so. Significantly, Pristina’s will be the first embassy of a Muslim-majority state in Israel.

Despite normalization agreement I still think that Kosovo’s secession from Serbia, as well as its hasty recognition as an independent state, was a mistake – in my view Kosovo is failed state or even captured state by organized crime clans –Albanian mafia. Links between drug trafficking and the supply of arms to the KLA Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA aka UÇK) were established mid-90s during war in Bosnia. In West KLA was described as terrorist organization but when US selected them as their ally it transformed organization officially to “freedom” fighters. After bombing Serbia 1999 KLA leaders again changed their crime clans officially to political parties. This public image however can not hide the origins of money and power, old channels and connections are still in place in conservative tribe society. (More e.g in Kosovo President Hashim Thaçi Indicted for War Crimes )

 

Bahrain

Bahrain agreed to establish formal relations with Israel in advance of Tuesday’s [15th Sep. 2020] anticipated historic signing in Washington of an accord to normalize ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. It is likely that a second accord could be signed Tuesday between Israel and Bahrain.

Israel is now “working toward the opening of an Israeli embassy in Bahrain,” according to a Foreign Ministry official. Already on Saturday [12th Sep. 2020] Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi spoke with his Bahrain counterpart Abdullatif bin Rashid al Zayani. “I look forward to deepening and strengthening the relations between our two countries. Together we will work towards peace and stability in the Middle East,” Ashkenazi tweeted.

On Friday [11th Sep. 2020] Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that more agreements with Arab states would follow the Bahrain agreement, and the one arrived at with the UAE in August. To underscore the speed with which events are unfolding, Netanyahu noted on Friday that it took 26 years, from the signing of a peace deal between Israel and Jordan in 1994, for there to be an existing deal, such as the one with the UAE. After that, he said, it was only another 29 days to make a fourth deal. “This is a new era of peace,” Netanyahu said in a video message, in which he underscored that what is occurring now is “peace for peace” and “economy for economy.”

After Trump’s announcement, the US, along with Israel and Bahrain issued a joint statement.

This is a historic breakthrough to further peace in the Middle East. Opening direct dialog and ties between these two dynamic societies and advanced economies will continue the positive transformation of the Middle East and increase stability, security and prosperity in the region,” it said.

Israel’s ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan had a conversation with Bahrain’s ambassador to the UN, Jamal Fares Alrowaiei. Israel’s Mission to the UN called the conversation “warm” and said that the two congratulated each other. The two reportedly “also agreed to meet to discuss cooperation in the UN on issues of innovation and economic development for the benefit of the two countries.

Expanding the circle of peace in the Middle East can lead to a change at the UN as well,” Erdan said. “We are entering a new era in which we can publicly work together on security issues and the economic prosperity of Israel and the Arab countries. Together, we will face the challenges that threaten stability in the Middle East.”

 

Qatar

According to London-based Asharq Al-Awsat, Maj.-Gen. Herzl “Herzi” Halevi, IDF’s Southern Command chief, flew to Doha/ Qatar late August along with other officials from the IDF, Shin Bet, Mossad, and National Security Council to reduce tensions with the Gaza Strip and restore a sense of quiet to the South and to prevent a military escalation.While Egypt has been playing the main role in mediating the crises, the report said the IDF wants to see Qatar play a larger role in mediating, and not just send financial aid to the group. Halevi made a similar visit in February with Mossad Chief Yossi Cohen.

Qatar is the main financial provider to Gaza, periodically sending millions of dollars to Hamas every month for the past two years with Israel’s approval to pay for fuel for the Strip’s power plant, as well as to pay the salaries of the group’s civil servants and provide aid to tens of thousands of families. Doha first began sending $5 million per month, later increasing it to $10m. and then to $20m. This year it started sending $30m. According to reports, Hamas is demanding another increase, $40m. every month in cash on a regular basis, to extend to a “pre-determined long-term period of time.”

 

Splitting Arab League

the triumph of money over dignity” (Senior PA official Hussein al-Sheikh)

In blow to Palestinians, Arab League refuses [9th Sep. 2020] to condemn normalization deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, proposed by the Palestinian Authority. Senior official says foreign ministers were not in agreement on Palestinian issue, after PA foreign minister criticizes body for failure to show unity in backing its cause. Palestinian politicians condemned the deal as soon as it was announced in mid-August by US President Donald Trump, with many calling it “a stab in the back” by an Arab ally. Palestinian Liberation Organization chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said that if Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit could not condemn the treaty, he ought to resign.

https://youtu.be/18NtyF-ZEWA

Furthermore, the Arab League wasn’t in any rush to discuss the issue. Palestinian officials had originally called for an emergency meeting of the pan-Arab body against the deal when it was announced, but said they were told to wait nearly a month, when a regular meeting had already been scheduled. The event also exposes the profound schism in the current Arab and Muslim world between the pragmatic axis, centered in Egypt, Jordan, UAE, and Saudi Arabia, and the radical axes, led by Turkey and Iran.

From historical background it might be worth to mention that on May 15, 1948, the seven founding member states of the Arab League launched what the body’s then-secretary general, Azzam Pasha, called a “war of extermination and a momentous massacre” against Israel, which had been established the previous day. Following Israel’s resounding victory in the 1967 Six-Day War, the League gathered in Khartoum and issued its notorious “three ‘no’s”: “no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it.”

 

Incapable EU and Delusional Palestinians

I call on the Palestinian leadership to understand the reality, to be responsible, to play a leadership role — as the UAE and Bahrain have done — and to return to the negotiating table,” ( Gabi Ashkenazi. FM/Israel)

The Serbia-Kosovo deal surprised the European Union, which has been leading complex talks between Serbia and its former territory of Kosovo on improving their long-strained relations.The European Union has warned Serbia and Kosovo that they could weaken their chances of gaining membership in the bloc by opening up respective embassies in Jerusalem. Brussels has long maintained that Jerusalem’s final status should be determined through Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, although there is no longer a consensus due to Israel having made diplomatic inroads with numerous European countries, primarily those located in the eastern part of the continent.

Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi was recently the host of his German counterpart, Heiko Maas, whose countries currently assumes the EU presidency. The discussions between FM’s were related to the new situation after UAE-Israel agreement and freezing of Israel’s plan to extend its sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) as part of the accord. Several EU foreign ministers have reportedly called for the renewal of the EU-Association Council which has not held a formal meeting since 2012. Now in the framework of the recent US-brokered agreements there might be time for normalization also Israel-EU relations.

El Al Flight 971 to the UAE awaits departure from Ben-Gurion Airport, August 31 | Photo: Menahem Kahana/Pool via AP

In another setback for those hoping that the Palestinians be given veto power over Israel’s relations with other countries, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have agreed to make their airspace available to flights flying eastwards out of the Jewish state. The development, will drastically reduce flight times between Israel and the Far East. That knocks down a barrier that’s been up for 72 years.

One can easy understand Palestinian and Iranian concern about the impact of the agreements on the balance of power in the region as a whole and the Persian Gulf in particular. I hope that White House ceremony (signing for peace agreements) could serve as a wake-up call to Palestinians who have long been led to believe that Arab leaders will sacrifice their own national interests on the altar of Palestinian rejectionism. That is clearly no longer the case. Avi Mayer hits the nail on the head concluding that the road to Arab-Israeli peace no longer runs through Ramallah.”

 

My conclusion

An improved economic situation was]“a necessary precondition to resolving what was previously an unsolvable political situation,” (Jared Kushner)

Foreign policy has not figured prominently in the election campaign, but President Trump is eager to present himself as a peacemaker, his pro-Israel moves have been seen as an effort to bolster his appeal to evangelical Christian voters, an important segment of his political base. Elections might be the cause for timing of these deals but in my opinion they are implementing parts of ”Deal of Century” (DoC) aka ”Trump peace plan” – a long waited Mideast peace plan by the White House – officially known as ”Peace to Prosperity: A Vision to Improve the Lives of the Palestinian and Israeli People, which is a proposal to resolve the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.

DoC is “out of the box” plan made by by the Trump administration is a reaction to political realities in MidEast, instead of previous UN’s, EU’s etc high flown statements and utopias. DoC is the United States’ redefinition of the parameters for definitively resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as an updated version to sc ”Clinton parameters” – created during Oslo process – which were the framework some two decades for negotiations between Israel and Palestinian authority.

And this plan seems to be working on the ground. Today many leaders in the MidEast recognize that the approach that’s been taken in the past hasn’t worked and they realize that there are people who want to see a more vibrant and exciting future.  In my opinion the recent MidEast (peace) process is moving fast forward. Previous peace process implemented last two decades has been moderate at most; the goal Utopian or delusional and the roadmap towards aim has been dead for years. The new partly implemented – out of the box – approach is from my perspective based facts on the ground, the progress is made by economic side first instead of political and the approach is more regional one than bilateral especially related to Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Main sources: AP , JerusalemPost , EuropeanJewishPress , TimesofIsrael , IsraelHayom , JerusalemPost , BESA .

“The shameful agreement between the Emirates and the phony Zionist government is the greatest betrayal of Jerusalem’s hopes” (Tasnim, August 15, 2020)


This article first appeared in Conflicts by Ari Rusila blog


Doc: Ethnic cleansing after the arrival of NATO troops in Kosovo

August 11, 2020

All of us Westerners went to Kosovo Pro Albanian. We’d all read in the press how the Serbs were were ethnically cleansing the Albanians from Kosovo so we all went there very Pro Albanian but as one American soldier told me later he said we all came out here to defend the Albanians but I think we backed the wrong side that the Albanians who are committing genocide against their minorities…”   (Paul Polansky)

‘Just a Witness’ (2016) – Documentary film by independent journalist and reporter Milenko Srećković. The movie deals with ethnic cleansing committed after the arrival of NATO troops in Kosovo. The interviewee Paul Polansky speaks about his experiences as the UNHCR Advisor on the issue of Roma people.

More reading:  In addition I would recommend


Srebrenica: Greatest triumph of propaganda at the end of the twentieth century

July 30, 2020

This month, July 11th to be exact, was the 25th anniversary of Srebrenica. To different people that means different things. To defenders of the narrative that began to crystallize in the late 1990s, in particular after the Hague Tribunal began issuing its judgments, Srebrenica is a synonym for “genocide.” It refers to the killing of “8,000 men and boys” and signifies the greatest massacre committed in Europe after World War II. Srebrenica subsequently morphed into the rationale for the Right to Protect doctrine, which in practice served the imperialist powers to systematically and ruthlessly violate international law by invading and pillaging “disobedient” countries, on the specious pretext of protecting their threatened populations.

To critical minds, such as the late Prof. Edward Hermann, Srebrenica symbolizes the “greatest triumph of propaganda at the end of the twentieth century.” It is a synonym for callous exploitation of both Serbs and Muslims for cynical propaganda purposes. And it is a largely fraudulent construct, unsupported by compelling evidence in the form in which it is dished out to the global public. It is also designed to induce a permanent rift between the two largest religious communities in Bosnia, making foreign domination “to keep the peace” necessary, and to tar Serbs as a nation with the commission of the heinous crime of genocide.

Marko Gasic is a Serb community leader and spokesperson in the United Kingdom who is thoroughly familiar with the intricacies of the Srebrenica Question. In this brilliant interview he reviews a quarter century of Srebrenica disinformation and sets the record straight on key issues. 

You may view the interview here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXeYupbIYYc&feature=youtu.be

 

Source and more: http://srebrenica-project.org

 

My previous articles:

Biased ICTY Sentenced Karadzig 40 Years Based On Srebrenica [Hoax]

Srebrenica – The guide for the perplexed

Srebrenica: A Town Betrayed” – Finally a Critical Documentary about Srebrenica Tragedy

Media War of Yugoslav Secession continues

NIOD Report on Srebrenica

Srebrenica again – Hoax or Massacre?

 

And here is a small selection of articles, documents and analysis, which are also telling the other side of story:

Media War: The Use and Mis-Use of the Visual Image in News Coverage and Propaganda . A study of the visual media war against the Serbs.

Demonizing the Serbs by Marjaleena Repo June 15, 1999 in Counterpunch

One view about issue in video Bosnia and Media Manipulation

Srebrenica: The Star Witness by Prof Edward S. Herman

The Star Witness by Germinal Civikov (translated from German by John Lauchland),Belgrade 2010,

Srebrenica: Deconstruction of a Virtual Genocide” by Stephen Karganovic and Ljubica Simic (Belgrade 2010)

Analysis of Muslim Column Losses Due to Minefields and Combat Activity” by Stephen Karganovic: .Proceedings of the International Symposium on ICTY and Srebrenica (Belgrade-Moscow 2010)

Was Srebrenica a Hoax? Eye-Witness Account of a Former United Nations Military Observer in Bosnia by Carlos Martins Branco

Media Disinformation Frenzy on Srebrenica: The Lynching of Ratko Mladic by Nebojsa Malic

Media Fabrications: The “Srebrenica Massacre” is a Western Myth

What Happened at Srebrenica? Examination of the Forensic Evidence  by Stephen Karganovic

Using War as an Excuse for More War: Srebrenica Revisited by Diana Johnstone

The Srebrenica Massacre: Evidence, Context, Politics by Edward S. Herman and Phillip Corwin

NIOD (Netherlands Institute for War Documentation)/Srebrenica investigationreport

INTELWIRE.com has published over 2.000 pages of of declassified U.S. State Dept. Cables about Srebrenica

UN Report:The Fall of Srebrenica


West Bank Annexation – A Window of Opportunity or an Apocalyptic Nightmare

June 28, 2020

As of July 1, 2020 the Prime Minister will be able to bring the agreement reached with the United States regarding the application of sovereignty for discussion by the cabinet and the government and for the approval of the government and/or the Knesset.” (Article 29 of the national unity government)

 

Application of Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley and parts of the West Bank is a historic opportunity. According the national unity government deal PM Netanyahu can bring his proposal regarding the application of sovereignty to government as of 1st July 2020. It is a difficult strategic dilemma: Annex now during coming months or not, how much to annex, how big are the risks in West Bank, in Israeli borders and internationally, does ”window of opportunity” close after US presidential elections on November 2020 in case Mr Trump’s rival Joe Biden – who opposes annexation – is elected and reverses US policy?

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz instructed  already 1st June the IDF chief of staff, Lieut. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, to speed up the military’s preparations for developments on the Palestinian front, including the country’s planned annexation of parts of Judea and Samaria. Gantz is believed to have asked Kochavi to present the IDF’s plans for a possible escalation of violence in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. The IDF has been preparing for annexation-related scenarios for the last six months.

Two-States according Deal of Century (Trump Peace Plan)

Annexation?

Annexation is the term applied when a state unilaterally proclaims its sovereignty over other territory. and many international institutions look that it is forbidden by international law. Many international organizations and states have view that extension of Israeli law and jurisdiction to West Bank is against international law. Some experts, especially in Israel, claim opposite as there is no another state in West Bank or making claims for that territory.  A recent example of annexation was Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in 2014, but this approach of international law – whatever it is –  is also flexible as seen e.g. in case of Kosovo earlier.  However in this article I use ”annexation” as a general, not legal, term. 

In terms of territory, Judea and Samaria (West Bank) have not been parts of any sovereign state since the fall of the Ottoman Empire over 100 years ago. Israel, which has controlled those territories since 1967, possesses the only strong claim to sovereignty—but it has never actually claimed that sovereignty. After Ottoman rule West Bank was part of British mandate agreed to serve as Jewish homeland in San Remo 1920. After UN partition plan 1947 – which was accepted by Jewish organizations but not by local Arab representatives, Jordania attacked and occupied West Bank until Israel took it back in Six-Days-War 1967. Jordan and Israel made peace agreement in 1994 where the international boundary between Israel and Jordan follows the Jordan and Yarmouk Rivers, the Dead Sea, the Emek Ha’Arava/Wadi Araba, and the Gulf of Aqaba. The section of the line that separated Jordan from the West Bank was stipulated as “without prejudice to the status of [that] territory.”

One of the most significant differences between annexation and current situation is in settlement construction. Currently, building and zoning in the West Bank requires the approval of Israel’s defence minister and prime minister, and can take months or years. Following annexation, it would become a local matter and consequently easier for Israel to build there.

Starting point, exact boundaries are at planning stage or negotiated with Palestinians.

The area

In public debate there has been views that Israel is annexing, or should annex, the entire West Bank, the sc One-State-Solution as its outcome. However areas earmarked for annexation (the precise contours of which are being mapped by Israel and the US) may comprise about 30% of the West Bank according to Trump peace plan (Peace to Prosperity ).

Under the Trump peace plan, which Israel has accepted, Israel can and should declare its sovereignty, and extend its civilian law, over the portions of Judea and Samaria it’s capable of governing effectively and efficiently without military support. So the specific areas that Israel is considering annexing are already primarily Jewish, and already under Israeli control, they are located in area C agreed with Palestinians in Oslo Accords in 1993.

One scenario is a plan for “gradual” Israeli annexation in the West Bank, Mr Netanyahu might initially act to annex just the settlements, which could amount to only 3%, and the remaining 27% later on once the boundaries are agreed with Washington or Palestine Authority.

Gershon Hacohen /BESA gives another aspect which is Israel’s growing residential and infrastructure density. He sees annexation as ”a golden opportunity to develop the West Bank communities. This means that the application of sovereignty calls for the strategic governmental formulation of a new national master plan for the development of Israel’s eastern rampart. The master plan, according Hacohen, could include e.g:

  • To consolidate Jerusalem as a metropolitan city while developing circumferential transportation and municipal infrastructures
  • To fully utilize the open corridor from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea for the saturation construction of hundreds of thousands of housing units.
  • turning the Jordan Valley, up to the eastern ridge lines in Samaria, into a tract of continuous settlement for the absorption of two to three million Israelis.

All these trends exist in Area C, and they offer a guiding framework for organizing the infrastructures of the Palestinian entity in lands controlled by Israel.

One of the Israeli settlements in West Bank, Ma’ale Adumim. Photo credit AFP

 

Different views

Our future doesn’t depend on what the Gentiles will say, but on what the Jews will do.” (David Ben-Gurion)

The declared intention for the implementation of sovereignty in certain parts of the West Bank is prompting vigorous debate in Israel. The matter of applying Israeli sovereignty to certain areas of the West Bank has been disputed both Israeli right-wing and left-wing camps.

Right-wing camp highlights the security risks and that Palestinian Authority (PA) would get half of the Area C – which is agreed to be under Israeli administration due Oslo accords – in addition to Area A and B, which are now full or partial under PA. Settlement leaders are not keen on annexation, either. They have launched a public campaign against the Trump plan. They say annexation would risk opening the door for a Palestinian state while ending any expansion of Israeli settlements in much of the West Bank. .

The left-wing camp, backed by many former army officers and public servants, sees more risks than and opportunity; so far, as the details and terms of annexation can make it more attractive. Leftist view has been that annexation would be counterproductive if not completely fatal for the prospect of an eventual two-state solution. Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz stipulating that they would seek to advance the Trump plan “while pursuing the security and strategic interests of the State of Israel, including the need to maintain regional stability, preserve peace agreements and pursue future peace agreements”.

Some Israeli commentators anticipate swift and terrible ramifications of a decision to annex parts of the West Bank. Their darkest visions include e.g.

  • an intensification of violence between Israel and the Palestinians,
  • a severing of relations by Jordan and Egypt, which might even go so far as to nullify their peace treaties with Israel,
  • the Gulf States that have been tacitly cooperating with Israel on security and intelligence fronts will end their cooperation,
  • the EU will condemn Israel in the strongest possible terms,
  • scores of countries will recognize the Palestinian state,
  • the BDS movement will significantly intensify,
  • antisemitism will reach new heights.

The problem with annexation of Jordan valley is the matter of control of the West Bank’s main traffic corridors. From a security standpoint, IDF should remain in charge of security on the ground. It questionable if the completion of bypass arteries, bridges and tunnels are enough.

As Area C already is in Israel’s control, the annexation could happen with a vote in Israel’s parliament but in practice with almost no changes on the ground. However, if Israel formally declares land as part of its state, it would make it even more difficult to give it up in any future agreement. The main problem would be, that reversal would require in Knesset the support of a large majority (66%) of Israeli MPs and as I understand, that this something which is very unlikely.

My rhetorical question: Does anyone think (except some Palestinian leaders publicly) that this “settlement” would be given to State of Palestine in any possible Peace Deal?  City of Ariel (founded 1978) located between -67 line and security barrier in West Bank:

 

Global response to annexation?

We can disagree with Israel on political issues and still cooperate in other areas, such as the coronavirus and technological matters,” (FM Anwar Gargash, UAE)

Global response to annexation is negative. Sure the Palestinians are against and calling for international pressure. The UN has warned that annexation would most likely trigger conflict and instability in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. However, the US is likely to block any attempts to pass resolutions at the UN Security Council condemning Israel.

Jordan has said it would be forced to review its relations with Israel if annexation goes ahead. One reason for hardline statements might be that the US call for is naturalizing the Palestinian refugees in Jordan, which is considered by the regime as a severe threat to Jordan’s stability.

Egypt has traditional solidarity with the Palestinians and with their demand for an independent and sustainable state based on the 1967 borders. A Egyptian national interest is the desire for a renewal of negotiations on an Israeli-Palestinian settlement, which will contribute to regional stability and could – according to the Trump plan – lead to projects worth billions of dollars in Egypt’s own territory.

The Arab world has sharply criticised Israel’s plans. The EU – Israel’s biggest trading partner – says it will use diplomatic means to “discourage” Israel from carrying out its plans. Some member states have called for tougher action, including possible sanctions.

Probably annexation will negatively affect Israel’s relations with the Gulf states. their public opposition to the annexation will likely continue, but so will their quiet security cooperation with Israel, particularly in light of the common interest of curbing Iran’s regional and nuclear aspirations.

In my opinion the global response will be verbally hard against annexation, it will be condemned but as usual there will no meaningful countermeasures as outcome.

 

Palestinian Authority has opportunity to negotiate a better deal

Every Time Palestinians Say ‘No,’ They Lose” (Bret Stephens)

Palestinian Authority has opposed  annexation and Trump peace plan  even before it was published. Again the Palestinians seems to be the only nation that ever said “no” to an offer of independence with international support.

PA declared on May 2020 they’re no longer bound by the 1990s-era peace accords that govern Israeli-Palestinian relations, and have begun refusing to coordinate with Israel on matters of daily Palestinian life, from tax collection to policing to cancer treatments — arrangements they’ve found humiliating. The even didn’t took corona aid from UAE as the aid-cargo came via Ben Gurion airport. Ordinary Palestinians are paying the price for the disruptions in funds, policing and medical care. Palestinian authorities also refuse to coordinate with Israel to allow Palestinian patients to travel outside the impoverished Gaza Strip for life-saving treatments, according to Physicians for Human Rights-Israel.

Palestinian officials are now refusing to accept any of the tax revenues Israel collects on their behalf, leaving tens of thousands of Palestinian civil servants unlikely to get full paychecks this month. The $145 million a month Israel transfers to the Palestinians is estimated to make up about 60% of the Palestinian Authority’s budget.

The Trump peace plan violates no agreement as such. It sets out an ostensible framework for peace between the Palestinians and Israel, including the establishment of a Palestinian state and the granting of considerable economic benefits for the Palestinian people. In my opinion exactly Palestinians have now window of opportunity to get a good deal and finally their own state. And exactly now in coming months when President Trump is in office and wants to make his ”Deal of Century”, winn the next elections and maybe get the Nobel peace prize. So Palestinians have now excellent cards in their hands to get best possible deal for them.

 

My view

The fundamental principle, recognised by Britain’s Peel Commission in 1937  and by the fledgling United Nations in 1947, that the only way to resolve the conflict is to partition the Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states, guaranteeing national self-determination for both peoples who claim it as their own.

Comprehensive peace proposals were presented to Palestinian leadership three times in the past – once by the United Nations (1947) and twice by Israel (2000, 2008). All three times, Palestinian leadership rejected broad peace deals, while Israel said yes.

As White House finally published its ”Peace and Prosperity plan” (Deal ofCentury/DoC) , I commented  it as follows:

I agree with President Trump that his Vision is the most serious, realistic, and detailed plan ever presented, one that could make Israelis, Palestinians, and the region safer and more prosperous. In my opinion even at minimum it creates updated framework for possible Israeli-Palestinian negotiation as well possible one-sided Israeli actions if negotiations don’t start. DoC is just the first step and provides the basis for historic progress toward peace. Anyway the best aspect with DoC in my opinion is that it simply mirrors the reality on the ground as it exists today in the West Bank and not high-flown ideas and utopies.

In my opinion the DoC could be even better. From my point of view the map would be more clear if Israel would annex only some 200,000 Israelis who live in the 12 Jewish neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem and the second group of some 300,000 Israelis who live in the so called ‘settlement blocs,’ located west of the security barrier which are usually very close to the Green Line. This kind of approach could be described as constructive unilateralism as this kind of annexation is not foreclosing the possibility of a future Palestinian State and sc Two-State-Solution. The rest 90,000 settlers – less than 20 per cent of the entire population of those living beyond the Green Line – who live beyond the route of the security barrier, could be, if so agreed after possible negotiation with PA, relocated inside barrier and future border.

David Ben-Gurion faced a similar dilemma in 1937 when accepting the Peel Commission’s partition plan, which offered the prospective Jewish State a small fraction of the territory of mandatory Palestine. “The Jewish state now being offered us… is not the Zionist goal, but it could serve as a decisive stage on the way to realizing the larger Zionism,”

A Palestinian counteroffer of direct talks with Israel might be the best and pragmatic approach to resolving the conflict of the century. In my opinion this would be a win-win outcome for Israel, Palestine and President Trump.

 

Palestine-Jordan confederation, Three-state option

Best solution in my opinion: Spatial separation with Jordanian and Sinai options

 

Sources:

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 1,606, June 15, 2020 ,

Trump peace plan ,

al-Jazeera ,

Council on Foreign Relations ,

Dr. Raphael G. Bouchnik-Chen/BESA in The Jordan Valley Annexation Dilemma: A Realistic Approach ,

INSS: A Strategic Framework for the Israeli-Palestinian Arena ,

Israel Defense ,

My related articles:

Gaza Options ,

Deal of Century finally released ,

Constructive Unilateralism (II) as Solution to Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,

Herzog’s Plan: Security Barrier Around the Major Settlement Blocs of West Bank ,

Analysis: Resolving The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict


Kosovo President Hashim Thaçi Indicted for War Crimes

June 25, 2020

Kosovo President Hashim Thaçi and nine other former militants were indicted for war crimes by the Office of the Special Prosecutor in the Hague. The prosecutors said the charges were laid in April before being publicly unveiled on 24th June 2020 according reports by Deutsche Welle as well also AFP, AP, Reuters…

They are “responsible for nearly 100 murders,” according to the prosecutors at the EU-backed Kosovo Specialist Chamber. The victims included Kosovar Albanians, Serb and Roma people, with political opponents also targeted, according to the officials. The group also faces charges of torture, persecution, and enforced disappearance. The officials described the indictment as “the result of a lengthy investigation” adding that the effort reflected the SPO’s “determination that it can prove all of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.”

KOSOVO2004The 52-year-old Thaçi is one of the most powerful and most experienced Kosovo politicians and like many other present-day Kosovo politicians, or better say clan leaders of organized crime, played a prominent role in the resistance movement that pitted ethnic Albanians against Serbs in what was then a Serbian province. One could note that less than a year ago, Kosovo’s Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj resigned after he was summoned by the same court on suspicion of war crimes.

DW’s correspondent from the Serb-dominated northern Kosovo, Milica Andric Rakic, described the announcement as “probably the single most shocking event since Kosovo unilaterally declared independence” in 2008. “Thaçi will use any last power lever at his disposal to stop the Court, like he tried to do in December 2015 with the attempt at abolishing the Law on the Specialist Chamber,” she said. She warned that the move might also spark protests by former militants that could escalate into “ethnic violence.”

Despite operating for years and summoning hundreds of witnesses, this is the first indictment ever issued by the Chamber’s prosecutor. The office also accused Thaci and another suspect, former parliamentary speaker Kadri Veseli, of trying to “obstruct and undermine” the tribunal’s work. “Thaci and Veseli are believed to have carried out a secret campaign to overturn the law creating the Court and otherwise obstruct the work of the Court in an attempt to ensure that they do not face justice,” the statement said according DeutscheWelle .

After Balkan wars Balkan war crimes were prosecuted before the now-defunct International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague. The court has now been replaced by the Kosovo Specialist Chamber, an EU-backed body set up in 2015 and also based in The Hague. The Chamber is ruled by Kosovo law, but funded by the EU and staffed by international judges and prosecutors.

 

Background

In my earlier article Quadruple Helix – Capturing Kosovo I described how (Kosovo) Albanian organized crime organizations gained remarkable role in Europe. It is estimated that they are the chief perpetrator of drug and people smuggling, trafficking, organ sales etc. Past estimates suggested that ethnic Albanian traffickers controlled 70% or more of the heroin entering a number of key destination markets, and they have been described as a “threat to the EU” by the Council of Europe at least as recently as 2005. Kosovo is serving as a junction for heroin trafficking from Afghanistan to West Europe through famous Balkan route. Recently Columbian drug dealers are setting up cocaine supply bases in Albania and Balkans to penetrate into Europe. Already earlier ethnic Albanians organized the transportation of cocaine from the Netherlands and Belgium towards Italy.

Radical Islamists and OC groups had/have a common interest in Kosovo

Links between drug trafficking and the supply of arms to the KLA Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA aka UÇK) were established mid-90s during war in Bosnia. In West KLA was described as terrorist organization but when US selected them as their ally it transformed organization officially to “freedom” fighters. After bombing Serbia 1999 KLA leaders again changed their crime clans officially to political parties. This public image however can not hide the origins of money and power, old channels and connections are still in place in conservative tribe society.

Wahhabists, al-Qaeda etc arrived first to Bosnia to help Muslim brigades in their fight against Serbian army and Serb and Croatian civilians

Thaçi and other members of his inner circle were “commonly identified, and cited in secret intelligence reports” . For example the German secret state agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), describes Thaçi’s Drenica group “as the most dangerous of the KLA’s ‘criminal bosses’.” Trading on American protection to consolidate political power, thus maintaining control over key narcotics smuggling corridors, having succeeded in eliminating, or intimidating into silence, the majority of the potential and actual witnesses against them (both enemies and erstwhile allies), using violence, threats, blackmail, and protection rackets,” Thaçi’s Drenica Group have “exploit[ed] their position in order to accrue personal wealth totally out of proportion with their declared activities.” Indeed, multiple reports prepared by the U.S. DEA, FBI, the BND, Italy’s SISMI, Britain’s MI6 and the Greek EYP intelligence service have stated that Drenica Group members “are consistently named as ‘key players’ in intelligence reports on Kosovo’s mafia-like structures of organised crime.”

Kosovo – ruled by clans

 

Whitewashing: From international protectorate to (captured) state

After bombing Serbia 1999 KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army) leaders changed their organized crime clans officially to political parties. This public image however can not hide the origins of money and power, old channels and connections are still in place in conservative tribe society. Last ten years now political leaders have whitewashed their drugs- and other OC-money by establishing façade-firms as well real enterprises, by success in donor funded investment projects and through privatisation process.

The insignificant economic base was easy to see when creation of the state of Kosovo was ongoing. Official statistics from year 2008 showed that export from Kosovo amounted about 200 million Euro while import increased to 2 billion Euro, which makes trade balance almost 1,800 million Euro minus. If export is covering some 10 percent of import so from where is money coming to this consumption. The estimate is that when export brings mentioned 71 million Euro the organised crime (mainly drug trafficking) brings 1 billion Euro, diaspora gives 500 million Euro and international community 200 million Euro.

Kosovo has a small domestic market and limited industrial production, and its imports remain still higher than exports. According to Kosovo Agency of Statistics, Kosovo’s trade deficit continued to widen in 2018 to EUR 2.97 billion, from EUR 2.45 billion a year earlier, with imports rising to EUR 3.34 billion, from EUR 3.05 billion, whereas exports fell to EUR 367 million, from EUR 596 million a year earlier. IMF estimates that the 2018 balance of payments (net trade in goods and services) to be USD -2.2 billion. According to the World Bank, Kosovo’s overall trade deficit, which includes trade in both goods and commercial services, stood at an estimated 29.1% of GDP in 2018. (Source: Societe Generale )

 

My view

I agree with those who claim that it is clear that Kosovo’s secession from Serbia, as well as its hasty recognition as an independent state, was a mistake.

The real power in Kosovo lays with 15 to 20 family clans who control “almost all substantial key social positions” and are closely linked to prominent political decision makers. German intelligence services (BND) have concluded for example that Prime Minister Thaçi is a key figure in a Kosovar-Albanian mafia network.

While I was working in Kosovo after bombings as EU expert for local administration it was clear how Kosovo Albanian ”freedom fighters” started to transform themselves to political leaders of this then international protectorate. International community – via UN/UNMIK, NATO/KFOR, EU/TAFKO/EAR and affiliates – which were administrating Kosovo, was well aware of the direct links between organized crime clans and political leaders (See Appendix below).

The original or better to say official aim of international community was to build “standards before status”, on 2005 the task was seen impossible so the slogan changed to “standards and status”. Even this was unrealistic so Feb. 2008 “European”standards were thrown away to garbage and “status without standards” precipitately accepted by the Western powers. For international community I don’t see any success story with this backward progress.

The reason why this whitewashing was supported by international community might be the need to sustain some kind of stability in Kosovo Albanian part of province. The second reason might be that US and EU could not admit that they selected wrong side already mid-90’s by blaming Serbs about all negative events in e-Yugoslavia. The third aspect might be some economical interests of Washington, Paris and Berlin related to West Balkans. The forth reason might be the opportunity to break Yugoslavia and increase Western influence in this region as Russia was then too weak to support their Serbian friends;   the Pentagon goal already in late 1998 was to take control of Kosovo in order to secure a military base to control the entire southeast European region down to the Middle East oil lands, Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo is now reality.

International community could not admit that it was fooled to support the separatist movements in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo. This bias was clear during my work in field level, for example the aid and development programs were made to benefit Kosovo Albanian part more than match the needs of Kosovo Serbian part. This bias was clear for everyone and even admitted privately in higher levels but changing policy – decided in Washington and Bruxelles – was impossible to keep the old facade. Now after two decades the real roles of different players in ”operational theatre” are coming more clear for wider public and so far the the indictment of President Thaçi is good step to right direction 

The truth might be as Canadian Major General Lewis MacKenzie, former UN Protection Force commander in Bosnia, cited the admission in an April 2008  statement  to the Lord Byron Foundation:

This anti-Serb bias and sympathy for their “victims” was exploited by the Kosovo Liberation Army, (KLA), an internationally recognized terrorist organization at the time when it commenced killing Serbian security personnel in the late 90s. The KLA hired the same North American PR firms employed by the Bosnian government and successfully won the PR war in spite of the fact their organization initiated the armed conflict.

The current Prime Minister Hashim Thaci was the leader of the KLA. He has admitted that the KLA orchestrated the infamous Racak “massacre” dressing their KLA dead in civilian clothes, machine gunning them and dumping them in a ditch and claiming it was a Serbian slaughter of civilians. NATO bought into the ruse and on its 50th birthday looking for a role in the post cold war world the alliance became the KLA’s air force and bombed a sovereign nation from the safety of 10,000 ft.

 

Kosovo

 

More reading:

My articles: Kosovo: Two years of Pseudo-state , Balkan route-Business as usual and Captured Pseudo-State Kosovo .

About possible solutions e.g. my articles Dividing Kosovo – a pragmatic solution to frozen conflict and Cantonisation – a middle course for separatist movements

More about link between organized crime and Kosovo political leaders one can find e.g. from “leaked” German Intelligence report BND report 2005 .

The report, Inhuman treatment of people and illicit trafficking in human organs in Kosovo”, prepared by Swiss prosecutor-turned-politician Dick Marty. Investigations conducted by the Swiss diplomat, Dick Marty on behalf of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) have revealed the true picture of Kosovo’s prime minister Hashim Thaci. In his report to the PACE’s Commission, Thaci is presented as the leader of a criminal gang engaged in the smuggling of weapons, the distribution of illegal drugs throughout Europe and the selling of human organs for unlawful transplantation. The Swiss senator conducted a two-year inquiry into organised crime in Kosovo after the Council of Europe mandated him to investigate claims of organ harvesting by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) after the war with Serbia ended in 1999.

A good article by F. William Engdahl: Washington’s Bizarre Kosovo Strategy could Destroy NATO  .

 

 

Appendix:

Organized Crime in Kosovo, resume by NATO/KFOR

 

 


How to fight a virus: Lessons from cybersecurity

May 28, 2020

Guest Post by Yotam Gutman

Lt. Commander (Ret.) Israel Navy, Yotam Gutman, currently Marketing Director at SentinelOne, wrote down an interesting piece about how healthcare officials can take the lessons learned in three decades of fighting “cyber viruses” and apply these to fight the Coronavirus. To mitigate today’s plethora of rapidly evolving cyber threats, the cybersecurity industry has developed several methodologies. These (after adaptation) could be used to reduce the spread of malicious software and to mitigate its effects.

How to fight a virus: Lessons from cybersecurity
 

Yotam Gutman

There has been a great deal of conversation around the similarities between the spread of the Covid-19 virus and that of computer viruses. And indeed, as the first global pandemic to occur during the age of connectivity, this comparison is valid. But while most focus on how we can leverage the knowledge gained in the “real world” in identifying and stopping the spread of plagues in the virtual world, I would like to offer another perspective.

Perhaps we in cybersecurity can return the favor. Perhaps the medical world can take the lessons learned in three decades of fighting “cyber viruses” and implement these in their fight to mitigate the Coronavirus?

History

Originally, the type of computer software described as “a program that can infect other programs by modifying them to include a, possibly evolved, version of itself” was named “Virus” by Fred Cohen in his 1986 Ph.D. thesis. Another biological reference made its way into the computer lingo when the first worm was unleashed (although the phrase was used in an earlier sci-fi novel).
In the last couple of years, computer viruses, or more widely the panoply of malware as we think of cybersecurity today, have undergone rapid evolution that has made them much more difficult to identify and mitigate:

 

  • More variants: 439,000 new malware variants were detected in 2019. That’s a 12.3% increase over the previous year.
  • More capable: Modern malware threats are far more capable than the old viruses spreading through illegal copies of software distributed via floppy-disks. Today’s malware can steal passwords, exfiltrate sensitive data, encrypt and delete data, and much more.
  • Harder to detect: Malware authors work hard to make their software difficult to detect. This includes hiding it in legitimate documents (aka “weaponizing” Word, PDF and Excel documents), utilizing detection-evasion mechanisms (like avoiding execution in sandboxed environments), and using legitimate software update mechanisms, all to make the work of the defenders harder.
  • More aggressive: Some malware types are extremely aggressive; they scan for open RDP ports, brute-force their way onto a device, and then move laterally within the organization’s network, abusing password-protected servers and seeking sensitive data, all without the knowledge of the victim.
  • Fast: contemporary malware is extremely fast and works at machine-speed to bypass protection mechanisms and achieve its goals—ransomware like “Wannacry” disabled entire organizations in minutes.
Adopting Cybersecurity Response To Fight Covid-19


To mitigate today’s plethora of rapidly evolving cyber threats, the cybersecurity industry has developed several methodologies. These (after adaptation) could be used to reduce the spread of malicious software and to mitigate its effects. I will refrain from discussing the obvious virus/Anti-virus analogy. Obviously, a vaccine for a computer “virus” would be the answer, but estimates suggest that such a vaccine would not be available in the next 12-18 months, and there’s a lot we can do until then:

  • Zero trust policy- A methodology that defies the traditional security assumption that everything inside the perimeter (protected by the firewall) is trusted. The main principle of Zero Trus is “never trust, always verify”. This means that every user is asked to verify their credentials every time they wish to “enter” the organization and that every file and process are being constantly monitored – even if they have been “authorized” to run on the computer.
    In a similar manner, humans should consider that other humans are carriers, and only “trust” them after they have been tested negative (or at the minimum, have had their temperature taken).
  • Detection beats prevention: following a similar line of thought, most organizations today operate under the “Assume a Breach” paradigm. Instead of striving to identify and mitigate 100% of threats 100% of the time, they assume that some threats would be able to infect them and concentrate their efforts on quickly finding these and stopping them before they could do more harm.Similarly, it is prudent to assume that humanity would not be able to vanquish this virus, and we will be playing “whack-a-mole” with it for the foreseeable time. Given that this is the case, it’s prudent to invest in rapid detection of the infection (quick detection kits, even home detection kits), ensure those that are sick are given quick treatment, and continue to monitor the entire population for outbreaks.
  • Segmentation; an important principle that limits the “movement” within the organization, so that intruders cannot move freely and infect other parts of the organization.The real-life manifestation would be to identify infection “hot-spots”, lock these down and then tend to these infected rather than to lock-down entire countries.
  • Risk modeling: it might be possible, perhaps, to provide 100% security, 100% of the time, but the cost to the organization would be detrimental; either the security costs would be through the roof, or the security restrictions imposed to maintain 100% security would cause the business to stand still. Instead, a CISO conducts risk assessments and prioritizes security spending to mitigate the most acute threats and secure the most valuable assets.Healthcare officials should do the same and ensure that the most sensitive segments of the population (elderly, sick) are being shielded from the disease and if need be, are provided with better care.
  • Intelligence intake: fighting a stealthy enemy is hard because you don’t know what to expect. Security professionals, governments, and those in the security industry have been formally and informally sharing information about malware, cybercrime groups, and data leaks for a long time. This has proved to be immensely helpful in fighting and defeating cybercrime rings.Such collaboration should also be adopted by global scientific, medical communities, governments, and healthcare organizations. As this threat is new to humanity, we should all share information about detection and treatment mechanisms, and notify others when we think we’ve made breakthroughs in finding a cure or a vaccine.
Conclusion

We can debate the similarities between biological and computer “Virus” (which, some believe, more resembles a Bacteria than a virus), but the analogy is, for the most part, correct. Viruses are dangerous to the victims, and they spread quickly through the population until a cure, or a vaccine is found. The spread of the Coronavirus pandemic and its impact on our lives is nothing like the world has seen before. It spread almost at machine speed and overwhelmed countries and healthcare organizations. We believe that utilizing the lessons learned by the cybersecurity industry in the past 3 decades could help to thwart the Coronavirus pandemic.

About Yotam Gutman and SentinelOne

Lt. Commander (Ret.) Israel Navy, Yotam Gutman, has filled several operational, technical, and business positions at defense, HLS, Intelligence, and cybersecurity companies, and provided consulting services for numerous others. Yotam joined SentinelOne 6 months ago to oversee local marketing activities in Israel and contribute to the global content marketing team. Yotam founded and managed the Cybersecurity Marketing Professionals Community, which includes over 300 marketing professionals from more than 170 cyber companies.

SentinelOne stormed into 2020 with reports of a $200 million round led by New York-based venture capital and private equity firm Insight Partners. This investment, coming just seven months after a previous $120 million series, gave SentinelOne a $1.1 billion valuation and a prominent spot on the global map of leading cybersecurity companies.


Gaza Options

May 1, 2020

The Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), created a professional research group for the purpose of suggesting policy that meets the State of Israel’s diplomatic and defense objectives while relieving the severe problem of the Gaza Strip. After mapping the range of alternatives and selecting the five main alternatives, INSS decided on criteria for comparing these alternatives based on Israel’s interests and especially on Israel’s security doctrine. Then INSS made expert analysis of each alternative clarifying the positive and negative consequences and then ranking alternatives.

 

The Gaza Strip has been in an ongoing crisis since the Israeli disengagement from Gaza in 2005, especially since Hamas took over the territory by force. The situation in Gaza is characterized by economic, social, and infrastructural distress—verging on a humanitarian crisis—and influenced by the political rivalry and struggle for leadership of the Palestinian camp between Hamas on one hand, and Fatah and the Palestinian Authority on the other. Hamas’s comprehensive and stable control of the territory, along with its proven ability to cause damage, has led to unofficial Israeli recognition of Hamas as the sole body responsible for the Gaza Strip.

Three rounds of fighting between Israel and Hamas (2009, 2012, and 2014) have caused wide-scale destruction of civilian infrastructure in Gaza, and socioeconomic collapse of Gaza has continued since then. Israel restricts the passage of goods and people in and out of the territory in order to prevent building rockets and missiles used to attack against Israel. Egypt has destroyed most part, over one thousand, of smuggling tunnels on Gaza border so that ISIS affiliate jihadist Sinai group could not use Gaza as their support area. In addition, Hamas has confiscated part of reconstruction materials and international donations and invested these resourses to build attack tunnels against Israel instead to build civilian houses, infrastructure and services for Gaza population. All this has caused increasing distress in Gaza. In addition, Hamas has initiated international boycott campaigns, such as BDS, controlled escalation against Israel to place the blame on Israel for Gaza’s distress.

 

Strategic Alternatives

In order to address the challenge that the Gaza Strip poses for Israel’s security, the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) published [26/04/2020] its memoranda Israel’s Policy Toward the Gaza Strip: Strategic Alternatives . Five main alternatives were examined—most of which have been raised in the public and military discourse—under the lens of how they serve and advance Israel’s interests.

The five alternatives are as follows:

 

1. Managing the conflict 

2. Extended ceasefire between Israel and Hamas 

3. Completely disconnecting the Gaza Strip from Israel and from the West Bank

4. Military operation to overthrow Hamas’s military wing 

5. Creating conditions for intra-Palestinian reconciliation 

 

The Stages of Comparing the Alternatives

The first stage (above) involved mapping the various alternatives and selecting the four main alternatives that are within the control of the Israeli government and one alternative that is not within Israel’s control, yet which Israel can influence and has some degree of feasibility, justifying its examination.

In the second stage, uniform criteria were defined for comparing between the alternatives based on the interests of the State of Israel. The criteria reflected Israel’s national security doctrine: maintaining the character of the state (Jewish and democratic); achieving military stability and calm over time; avoiding escalation into a large-scale war; shaping internationally recognized borders; and maintaining Israel’s levers of influence, aside from military might.

In the third stage, criteria were sorted into three levels according to their contribution to advancing Israel’s interests and based on their importance according to the national security doctrine.

In the fourth stage, each alternative was analyzed. The analysis was conducted by an expert in the field, and it focused on clarifying the positive and negative consequences of each alternative.

In the fifth stage, the alternatives were ranked based on the analysis, and each criterion was given a score from 1 to 5. This tested their sensitivity; that is, whether there is a gap between the results of the qualitative analysis, which was done in the research group, and the quantitative results received by each researcher individually.

In the sixth stage, the scores provided for each alternative were weighted, and the alternatives were ranked.

 

Strengths and Weaknesses of the Alternatives

1. Managing the conflict in accordance with the logic of adjustment and deterrence. Implementing this alternative means strengthening and maintaining deterrence as a tool for exerting ongoing pressure on Hamas in order to weaken it and achieve calm.

2. Extended ceasefire between Israel and Hamas (“ tahadiya ”) according to the logic of an arrangement. Choosing this alternative means recognizing Hamas as the sole body responsible for Gaza.

 

3. Completely disconnecting the Gaza Strip from Israel and from the West Bank according to the logic of disengagement. Choosing this alternative means closing crossings between Gaza and Israel and enabling Gaza a sea outlet and access to the Sinai Peninsula.

4. Military operation to overthrow Hamas’s military wing according to the logic of military victory. Choosing this alternative requires follow-up steps with the aim of influencing and stabilizing the Gaza Strip. This alternative can also be a platform for advancing another alternative, such as maintaining Hamas’s rule but in a very weakened state, or creating the conditions for returning the PA to Gaza and making it the responsible body there, or establishing an international trusteeship in Gaza (an option whose likelihood is very slim).

5. Creating conditions for intra-Palestinian reconciliation and supporting steps in this direction according to the logic of an arrangement; in this alternative, the PA is the only body that represents the Palestinian camp.

 

Connectivity between the Alternatives

According INSS analysis it is evident that none of the alternatives is stable over time. In the diagram below, the connectivity between the alternatives creates a circular dynamic: Implementing an alternative in the short term leads to a different alternative in the medium term and even a return to managing the conflict in the long term. Breaking out of this circularity is only possible in a situation in which the PA returns to ruling and managing the Gaza Strip, thus creating a single functioning leadership for the two Palestinian territories—this is the preferred way to restore security to the Israeli communities near Gaza and to maintain Israel’s regional interests.

According to the diagram above, disconnection appears to be the least stable of the alternatives, as it inevitably leads to implementing another alternative. The alternatives of an arrangement and of a military operation are more dominant, as they both have the potential to substantively change the security situation. An arrangement could reduce the chances of intra-Palestinian reconciliation, a military operation would create the necessary conditions that could lead to the return of the PA to managing Gaza. A military operation could also lead to an arrangement, but this would not necessarily be better for Israel than an arrangement without a military operation. The inability to control the final results and the heavy toll of a military operation—in terms of human lives, costs, and Israel’s international standing—increase the risks inherent in this alternative.

In order to reap the benefits of the arrangement alternative, Israel must help the PA avoid negative consequences. To this end, Israel must strengthen the PA and its standing in the West Bank and, at the same time, not sabotage intra-Palestinian reconciliation efforts. Israel—in coordination with the international community—can strengthen the PA by providing it with a leading role in reconstructing Gaza, while the PA government could handle the reconstruction budgets.

INSS concludes that the preferred option for Israel is for the PA to rule in the Gaza Strip; but without the necessary conditions, Hamas’s rule is the best of the worst from Israel’s perspective, since it also strengthens the coordination between Israel and Egypt.

.

 

My View: The Sinai Option is best for Israel, Egypt and Gazans

The core principle of the Sinai option is: Land AND money for peace.” (Ari Rusila)

The Sinai option is not a new option to solve Egypt-Gaza-Israel conflict. According Middle East Monitor (MEMO) report [01 September 2014 ] Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi offered Palestinian Authority 620 square miles of land adjacent to Gaza in exchange for relinquishing claims to 1967 borders for the purpose of establishing a Palestinian state. PA President Abbas reportedly rejected proposal. Speaking in a meeting of Fatah leaders in Ramallah, Abbas said: “The plan, which was proposed in 1956, included annexing 1,600 square kilometres from the Sinai Peninsula to the Gaza Strip in order to receive Palestinian refugees.” He continued: “The plan is being proposed again, but we refused it.” One idea with offer was to resettle “Palestinian refugees” in the Sinai. Under the initiative, this state will be demilitarized, Army Radio reported . Experts summarise that Sisi’s generous offer stemmed from Egypt’s difficulty in then controlling terrorist groups based in the Sinai Peninsula. According to the reports, the territory in Sinai would become a demilitarised Palestinian state – dubbed “Greater Gaza” – to which returning Palestinian refugees would be assigned.

sinai option by Ari RusilaAccording Middle East Eye (MEE) the scheme became the centrepiece of the 2004 Herzliya conference, an annual meeting of Israel’s political, academic and security elites to exchange and develop policy ideas. It was then enthusiastically adopted by Uzi Arad, the conference’s founder and long-time adviser to Benjamin Netanyahu, the current prime minister. He proposed a three-way exchange, in which the Palestinians would get part of Sinai for their state, while in return Israel would receive most of the West Bank, and Egypt would be given a land passage across the Negev to connect it to Jordan. (This and more plans in Herzliya Papers )

According the Arab newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat the Egyptian source said a similar proposal was put to President Mohamed Morsi when he came to power in 2012. A delegation of Muslim Brotherhood leaders travelled to Washington, where White House officials proposed that “Egypt cede a third of the Sinai to Gaza in a two-stage process spanning four to five years”. US officials, the report stated, promised to “establish and fully support a Palestinian state” in the Sinai, including the establishment of seaports and an airport.  (More in Sinai Option again

From my point of view the Sinai option is both feasible and viable especially if the economic part of ”Deal of the Century” (DoC aka Trump peace plan) will be implemented. It was billed as “a vision to empower the Palestinian people to build a prosperous and vibrant Palestinian society.” The plan calls for a $50 billion mix of grants, loans and private investments over ten years to develop a future Palestinian state’s infrastructure, telecommunications, tourism and health care industries.(more in Palestine: Peace & Prosperity Plan )

If Gazans can – with international support – improve their infrastructure, decrease unemployment by economic development and work permits to Israel and Egypt and live in peaceful conditions they have less reasons to support radical jihadist movements and violence as then Gazans could endanger their the well-being they have achieved.

As in my opinion the Sinai option is the best alternative for Israel, Egypt and Gazans there is still question about West Bank.  It is very possible that PA is not in short term involved to this arrangement.  However only in few years the benefits from this option can be seen as improving living conditions among Gazans and at least there is some positive perspective, way ahead and maybe realistic hope.  Sinai option could be an example that violence and utopies are not the solution but negotiations, compromise and deal might be. If Hamas will get rid off its military wing and can decrease the influence of PIJ and other terrorist groups it can create good change for cooperation with Fatah.  This cooperation can lead to common state – be it federal,  confederal etc – and even to modern democracy. 

 

 


Deal of Century finally released

February 9, 2020

Deal of Century” (DoC) aka ”Trump peace plan” – a long waited Mideast peace plan by the White House – has now been released as its full format. Officially known as ”Peace to Prosperity: A Vision to Improve the Lives of the Palestinian and Israeli People, is a proposal to resolve the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Earlier in late June 2019 the economic portion was made for public as the first part of Deal in the Bahrain Conference.

DoC – this “out of the box” plan made by by the Trump administration – is rather a reaction to political realities in MidEast; it is the United States’ redefinition of the parameters for definitively resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in large part espoused Israeli positions. One can describe DoC as an updated version to sc ”Clinton parameters” – created during Oslo process – which were the framework some two decades for negotiations between Israel and Palestinian authority.

 

DoC aka ”Trump peace plan”

[An improved economic situation was]a necessary precondition to resolving what was previously an unsolvable political situation,” (Jared Kushner)

The plan, outlined in a 180 page report, calls for a two-state solution (Israel and a future Palestine) with Israel retaining all of its current West Bank settlements, all of Jerusalem including the holy sites, and security control over the entire West Bank. The capital of the Palestinian state will be in “eastern Jerusalem,” in neighbourhoods beyond Israel’s security barrier.

The plan speaks about an innovative network of roads, bridges and tunnels that enable freedom of movement. The tunnels will be state-of-the-art, according to the plan. It will include tunnels or a covered road that might link Gaza and the West Bank, according to the map.a 34-km. tunnel or covered overpass that links the West Bank to Gaza.

The plan’s map seems to show the Palestinian state extending to large enclaves in Israel’s Negev that will be larger than Gaza itself.

Here are some of the key points, as outlined by the White House:

  • The Vision provides for a demilitarized Palestinian state living peacefully alongside Israel, with Israel retaining security responsibility west of the Jordan River.
  • Over time, the Palestinians will work with United States and Israel to assume more security responsibility as Israel reduces its security footprint.
  • Approximately 97% of Israelis in the West Bank will be incorporated into contiguous Israeli territory, and approximately 97% of Palestinians in the West Bank will be incorporated into contiguous Palestinian territory. Land swaps will provide the State of Palestine with land reasonably comparable in size to the territory of pre-1967 West Bank and Gaza.
  • Israel has agreed to a four-year land freeze to secure the possibility of a two-state solution.
  • Jerusalem will stay united and remain the capital of Israel, while the capital of the State of Palestine will be Al-Quds and include areas of East Jerusalem located in all areas east and north of the existing security barrier, where the United States will build its embassy.
  • Palestinian refugees will be given a choice to live within the future State of Palestine, integrate into the countries where they currently live, or resettle in a third country. but refugees will be able to return to Palestinian territory (i.e., the territory controlled by the PA) or to receive reparations from an international fund. After the agreement is signed the status of refugee will be abolished and UNRWA will be dismantled.
  • The Palestinian population located in enclaves that remain inside contiguous Israeli territory but that are part of the State of Palestine shall become citizens of the State of Palestine and shall have the option to remain in place unless they choose otherwise. They will have access routes connecting them to the State of Palestine. They will be subject to Palestinian civilian administration, including zoning and planning, within the interior of such Palestinian enclaves. Such enclaves and access routes will be subject to Israeli security responsibility.
  • Beyond its borders, the State of Palestine will have high-speed transportation links (such as the West Bank/Gaza connection), and until such time as the State of Palestine may develop its own port, access to two designated port facilities in the State of Israel.
  • Two access roads will be built for the benefit of the State of Palestine that will be subject to Israeli security requirements. These roads will enable Palestinians to cross the Jordan Valley to the border crossing with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, allow Jordanians and others from the region to enter the State of Palestine.

Small detail of goals in “Economic part” of DoC

The economic portion of the Doc is slightly similar to the Marshall Plan which was aimed to rebuild Western European economies after World War II. This part of DoC (more in Palestine: Peace & Prosperity Plan ) was billed as “a vision to empower the Palestinian people to build a prosperous and vibrant Palestinian society.” The plan calls for a $50 billion mix of grants, loans and private investments over ten years to develop a future Palestinian state’s infrastructure, telecommunications, tourism and health care industries. Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt, states that have absorbed Palestinian refugees for decades, would receive nearly half the funding.

 

Some critical remarks

In my opinion the DoC could be even better. From my point of view the map would be more clear if Israel would annex only some 200,000 Israelis who live in the 12 Jewish neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem and the second group of some 300,000 Israelis who live in the so called ‘settlement blocs,’ located west of the security barrier which are usually very close to the Green Line. The rest 90,000 settlers – less than 20 per cent of the entire population of those living beyond the Green Line – who live beyond the route of the security barrier, could be relocated inside barrier and future border.

There is a risk – according study by Commanders for Israel’s Security (CIS)that the annexation might lead to the collapse of the Palestinian Authority and the absence of an alternative government authority will force Israel to seize control of Areas A and B and to impose upon them a Military Administration regime. The annexation of the entire West Bank will constitute the irreversible abandonment of the trend toward separation and the de facto adoption of a one-state outcome.

I think that the core problem is whether Israel is a democratic state including its Palestinian residents from disputed territories or a Jewish State separating Israeli citizens from most part of Palestinian residents in West Bank; Israel can be democratic only if all its citizens have equal human and political rights.

From my point of view Israel’s borders are defensible even if Israel annexes only 5-15% of West Bank and after Security Barrier has completed. I base this claim e.g. with following aspects:

  • Israel has military and intelligence edge and I don’t have any doubts that it can keep this edge also in future,
  • IDF, Mossad, Shin Bet etc can copy fast and flexible way to any new threads and challenges be they kite balloon or cyber attacks e.g. due first class ecosystem supporting new innovations,
  • IDF is developing whole time both technic and strategic levels and probably it will have also enough financial resources to be updated based to its popular support in Israeli society;  IDF is one of the most respected organisations in Israel.

If aspects mentioned above are valid it makes possible political decisions – negotiated or unilateral – like separation and relocating outposts. (More in Israel´s Eastern Border? )

Two-States according Deal of Century. Source: The White House

The DoC contemplates the possibility, subject to agreement of the parties that the borders of Israel will be redrawn such that the Triangle Communities become part of the State of Palestine. The Triangle is an area southeast of Haifa, near the Palestinian city of Jenin, which includes 14 towns and villages where more than 260,000 Arab Israelis live. These communities, which largely self-identify as Palestinian, were originally designated to fall under Jordanian control during the negotiations of the Armistice Line of 1949, but ultimately were retained by Israel for military reasons that have since been mitigated.

Residents of those areas have protested against the idea that they may one day be redefined as living in a new Palestine state.  I don’t understand why this kind of detail still is in final version of DoC;  one reason why the Triangle is in DoC could be to win support from hawkish Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman who has long advocated for such adjustments in any peace deal with the Palestinians.

 

sinai option by Ari RusilaMy third critical view is related to land swaps in Negev as those planned industrial, agricultural and residential zones are artificial and a bit isolated from Gaza.

In my opinion implementing the sc Sinai Option in cooperation with Egypt would be much better solution to Egypt, Israel and Gazans. This option was last time in public 2014 when – according Middle East Monitor (MEMO) report [01 September 2014 ] – Egypt offered Palestinian Authority’s President Abbas a Palestinian state in Sinai. Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi offered Palestinian Authority 620 square miles of land adjacent to Gaza in exchange for relinquishing claims to 1967 borders for the purpose of establishing a Palestinian state. (More in Sinai Option again )

 

 

Is DoC politically realizable?

Every Time Palestinians Say ‘No,’ They Lose (Bret Stephens)

Comprehensive peace proposals were presented to Palestinian leadership three times in the past – once by the United Nations (1947) and twice by Israel (2000, 2008). All three times, Palestinian leadership rejected broad peace deals, while Israel said yes. Palestinian rejection – anchored in refusal to accept the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state – remains the primary obstacle to peace. As Israel made major concessions for peace with Egypt and Jordan , so probably Israel will do the same with Palestinians based on DoC and possible negotiations with Palestinians.

Many ministers from Netanyahu’s Likud party as well as the Yamina alliance of right-wing parties are against the Trump plan, if it includes any mention of a Palestinian state. However in my opinion clear majority of center-right and center-left political parties support DoC so saying “yes” to a Palestinian state on what is likely to be some 80% of the West Bank, while also agreeing to a Palestinian capital on the northern and eastern outskirts of Jerusalem beyond the current security barrier.

In Judea and Samaria the PA and Fatah declared a “day of rage” in the Jordan Valley. They also organized protests in cities and at the friction points with the Israeli security forces. However only few dozen Palestinians participated in the protests at the various locations, and in some instances they clashed with the Israeli security forces. As there were no mass demonstrations and the events did not spin out of control, the situation and reactions were completely different than e.g. during 2nd Intifada after failure of the 2000 Camp David Summit to reach final agreement on the conflict.

Arab powers appear to be prioritizing close ties with the United States that are vital to countering Iran over traditional unswerving support for the Palestinians in their reaction to President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan. Despite Palestinians’ rejection of the plan and boycott of Trump over perceived pro-Israel bias, three Gulf Arab states – Oman, Bahrain and the UAE – attended the White House gathering in a sign of changing times. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, and the UAE issued statements welcoming the Trump administration’s peace plan.

This time the U.S. initiative has a wide regional support and probably it will gain support also among Palestinian population as it indeed gives “a vision to empower the Palestinian people to build a prosperous and vibrant Palestinian society.” So from my point of view the plan, also its political part, has good change to be implemented also without acceptance from current Palestinian leadership.

Also The United States hopes that DoC will lead to direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and then it will be up to Israeli and Palestinian leaders to take courageous and bold actions to end the political stalemate, resume negotiations on the basis of Doc, and make lasting peace and economic prosperity a reality.

New high-tech Qalandiya Crossing: the process of examination and entry at the crossing has been shortened so that passing through requires only a few minutes as opposed to the hours it required in the past. Source: COGAT

 

My view

Every Time Palestinians Say ‘No,’ They Lose (Bret Stephens)

Israel and Palestinian Authority have negotiated two decades about solution based on Two-States, and now maybe more than ever one can claim that the roadmap towards it is the dead end. Instead the situation today is drifting towards One-State option, which is unwanted outcome for both parties. The outcome of the U.S. initiative may well be Two-States but the roadmap is new with regional and economy first approach and this in my opinion gives a better change for positive development and even solution this time.

Prior U.S. and international efforts to settle the more than 70-year Israeli-Palestinian conflict have focused on a process that would leave many of the most sensitive issues to negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. The Trump plan veered from that by presenting a proposed final outcome. No prior conception of a peace settlement, moreover, has gone as far in articulating a plan to foster Palestinian civil and economic vitality.

I agree with President Trump that his Vision is the most serious, realistic, and detailed plan ever presented, one that could make Israelis, Palestinians, and the region safer and more prosperous. In my opinion even at minimum it creates updated framework for possible Israeli-Palestinian negotiation as well possible one-sided Israeli actions if negotiations don’t start. DoC is just the first step and provides the basis for historic progress toward peace.  Anyway the best aspect with DoC in my opinion is that it simply mirrors the reality on the ground as it exists today in the West Bank and not high-flown ideas and utopies.

 

Some of my related articles:

Israel-Palestine Conflict: Regional Approach

New” Idea: Connecting Gaza to Northern Sinai

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: A Revised Hybrid Model as Solution

Palestinians Put Jordanian Option on the Table

Constructive Unilateralism (II) as Solution to Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Herzog’s Plan: Security Barrier Around the Major Settlement Blocs of West Bank

Analysis: Resolving The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Peacemaking – a Holistic Approach


Appendix:

From deal to ”Quality peace”

The only way to solve a conflict at any level of society is to sit down face to face and talk about it.” (John W. McDonald)

.

Deal of Century is exellent peace plan but does it sole the conflict is other question. From my point of view current peacemaking, peace-building or crisis management structures are not designed to cope today’s modern type of conflicts. In my opinion peacemaking is only secondary action by managing conflicts – a deeper holistic approach is needed to make more sustainable solutions. This approach can have an outcome which I call ”Quality peace”.

More about holistic approach e.g :

Peacemaking – a Holistic Approach

Peacemaking – How about solving Conflicts too?

Civil Crisis Management: Filling the Gaps Between the Aims and on the Ground Effectiveness of a Mission

R2P vs Facades of Interventions

Multifaceted Intervention Practices

Quality Peace?


Elron & RDC Divulge Insights to Danish Innovation Center, Strengthening The Israeli-Denmark Cyber Ecosystem

December 10, 2019

Zohar Rozenberg, former head of the IDF Cyber Department, spoke at Innovation Centre Denmark in Copenhagen to help stakeholders in the Danish Cyber ecosystem learn about Israel’s hi-tech cyber landscape and ecosystem.

Guest Post by Adir Alon, DM Communications:

Elron & RDC Divulge Insights to Danish Innovation Center, Strengthening The Israeli-Denmark Cyber Ecosystem

In an event aimed at building Denmark’s Cybersecurity ecosystem and strengthening business ties between Israel and Denmark, Zohar Rozenberg mapped out the successes and environmental factors which have allowed Israel’s Ecosystem to flourish over the last number of decades. As the former head of the IDF Cyber Department and current VP of Cyber Investments at Elron Electronic Industries & RDC, Zohar holds a unique vantage point at the crossroads between cyber and business needs.

At the beginning of Israel’s startup era, the ability for Israeli firms to develop towards various industry pain points grabbed the attention of a handful of Venture Capital Firms. Today, Israel and Tel Aviv are synonymous with tech innovation and an abundance of early-stage funding. Along a strip spanning 15KM by 3KM between Tel Aviv and Herzliya, one can find 348 Investors with 140 of them investing in cyber technology. Zohar explains that this is due to three strategic factors. Increased demand, government readiness, and traditionally non-digital sectors eyeing integrated digitization.

Having experienced first hand the potential of cybersecurity, many graduates of Israel’s 8200 intelligence unit have years of practical experience in developing ironclad solutions. Many entrepreneurs recognize a specific industry need while in this special unit and continue their cybersecurity pursuit upon completing their service. “Elron & RDC have invested in many companies who focus on addressing key vulnerabilities in specific industries. Cyberattacks have been growing at an astounding rate globally. We are investing in a future that supports the entrepreneur’s in their efforts to secure our data and acknowledge the full potential of our digital age. ”Two cybersecurity initiatives in Elron & RDC’s portfolio are Kindite and Cynario. Kindite addresses the unique challenges of Data security in the cloud era faced by regulated enterprises while Cynario addresses the growing number of incidents in the healthcare field.

The success of many Israeli startups has encouraged a new generation of Israeli’s to view entrepreneurs as rockstars and begin ventures of their own. Although there are an abundance of startups and an abundance of local investors, there is still a separation between these worlds. Each has found new ways to market themselves and cut through the noise that buzzes around Israel’s abundant ecosystem. Meet and greet events along with pitch nights have helped bring the startup and VC communities together for benefits beyond funding. “Rubbing elbows with relevant insiders help all sides understand how they can continue to strengthen cyber ecosystems and better serve the growing global hi-tech community.” Said Rozenberg.

The new ‘advanced technologies’ cyber park being built in the Negev desert city of Beer Sheva. One could add that Israeli cybersecurity exports last year was $6bn.