New Publications and Recent Activities

December 2016

In this update: 

A. Guiding Principles for a New Israeli Foreign Policy

B. US Policies towards Israel and the Middle East 

C. Israel-Turkey Policy DIalogue Publication Series

D. Lessons from Nagorno-Karabakh for Israel-Palestine

E. The Postponement of the Palestinian Local Elections

F. Towards the Centennial Year of the Balfour Declaration

G. How Can Israel Help the Syrian People?

H. Recent Mitvim Activities: November-December 2016

A. A New Paradigm for Israel’s Foreign Policy

1. Guiding Principles for a New Israeli Foreign Policy: Recommendations of a Mitvim Institute Task-Team

Israel lacks a coherent foreign policy. This has a harmful effect on its position in the world, on the role of its Ministry of Foreign Affairs in decision making processes, and on the conduct of Israel’s diplomacy.

Israeli foreign policy is subordinated to the security establishment and focuses on public diplomacy (hasbara) efforts, rather than advancing diplomatic processes that would enable Israel a fresh start among the nations, regional belonging, and a future of peace, security and prosperity.

The Mitvim Institute is working to change that. A multi-disciplinary Mitvim task-team formulated guiding principles for a new Israeli foreign policy paradigm - a pro-peace, multi-regional, outward looking, modern and inclusive foreign policy.

Read here the guiding principles of Mitvim’s new foreign policy paradigm.

Read here the summary of the Mitvim-Israel Democracy Institute event on "Towards an inclusive Israeli foreign policy".


B. The US Elections and the Middle East

1.  US Policies towards Israel and the Middle East, December 2016

"US Policies towards Israel and the Middle East" is a monthly Mitvim report edited by Rebecca Bornstein.

The December 2016 issue covers the following issues: (A) US-Israel relations: US elections, Israel’s settlement policy, anti-BDS legislation, Rep. Keith Ellison and the DNC Chair race; (B) The Israeli-Palestinian peace process/conflict: A possible final move by President Obama, international peace initiatives, Israel’s “legalization bill”; (C) The changing Middle East: Syria, the Islamic State, Yemen, Saudi Arabia; (D) The Iran deal and its aftermath. The issue also includes a list of suggested reading and a monthly timeline.

Read here the December 2016 issue.

Read here all past issues, since 2012.


2.  US Elections and the Middle East, A Mitvim-IPCRI event

Following the US elections, Mitvim and IPCRI held (Jerusalem, December 14th) an Israeli-Palestinian public panel discussion to assess possible implications of the elections’ results on the Middle East. The event, supported by the Kingdom of the Netherlands, featured Dr. Gershon Baskin, Co-Chairman of IPCRI; Dr. Nimrod Goren, Head of the Mitvim Institute; Mr. Dan Rothem, Senior Research Consultant, The S. Daniel Abraham Center for Peace in the Middle East; Mr. Mofid Deak, Former US Diplomat, Ms. Rebecca Bornstein, Researcher, The Mitvim Institute. The event was chaired by Ms. Suheir Jamil, Former Researcher at the International Crisis Group.

To view Rebecca Bornstein’s lecture, click here.

To view Dan Rothem’s lecture, click here.

For pictures from the event, click here.


B. A New Chapter in Israel-Turkey Relations 

1. Israel-Turkey Policy DIalogue Publication Series

Mitvim and the Global Political Trends (GPoT) Center, in cooperation with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, have been working together since 2012 to support the mending of Israel-Turkey relations. They have carried out seven rounds of policy dialogue in Israel, Turkey, and the US. Following the signing of the agreement between the countries, the two institutions published a set of policy recommendations for a successful reconciliation process.

After the recent exchange of Ambassadors between Israel and Turkey, Mitvim and GPoT Center are launching a new publication series in which experts from both countries offer their thoughts on lessons from the recent period of tensions as well as on the future of ties. The first articles are by former Turkish Ambassador to Israel Oğuz Çelikkol and by Arad Nir, foreign news editor of Israel's Channel 2 News.

Read here Arad Nir’s article “The Path to Normalization between Israel and Turkey”.

Read here Oğuz Çelikkol's article "Turkey-Israel Relations: Crises and Opportunities".


D. Conflict Comparisons to Assist Israeli-Palestinian Peacemaking

1. Lessons from Nagorno-Karabakh for Israel-Palestine, by Dr. Dahlia Scheindlin

Dr. Dahlia Scheindlin, Policy Fellow at Mitvim, is comparing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to other conflicts in order to generate new ideas for de-escalation and conflict resolution. Her new publication examines lessons from Nagorno-Karabakh for Israel-Palestine, and whether unresolved conflict destroy democracy.

According to Dr. Scheindlin, "The main contours shared by both Israel-Palestine and Nagorno-Karabakh involve conflicts in which one side, in word or deed, is ultimately unwilling to accept self-determination of the other. In each of the two conflicts, the geopolitical status of the land areas under dispute is unstable, eroding the political status-quo […] Social echo-chambers on both sides of each conflict commonly reinforce hardline positions […] A close look at each region shows protracted conflicts that are increasingly incompatible with democratic norms, even when such norms appear strong on the surface."

Read here the article on lessons from Nagorno-Karabakh for Israel-Palestine.

Read here Dr. Scheindlin’s Haaretz op-ed following Netanyahu’s visit to Azerbaijan.

See also previous articles in Dr. Scheindlin’s publication series:

Lessons from Cyprus for Israel-Palestine: Can negotiations still work? (also on this topic, listen to an interview to TLV1 and watch a briefing at BICOM)

Colombia’s omen for Israel: When the people don’t give peace a chance

The curse of stagnation and the need for conflict comparison


E. Internal Palestinian Politics

1. The Postponement of the Palestinian Local Elections and its Ramifications, by Dr. Ido Zelkovitz

Dr. Ido Zelkovitz, Policy Fellow at Mitvim, is analyzing developments in internal Palestinian politics and their implications for Israeli-Palestinian relations. His new paper examines the postponement of the Palestinian local elections and its ramifications.

According to Dr. Zelkovitz, “the fact that no general elections have been held in the Palestinian Authority for a significant period of time – beyond what is permitted in the constitution – has brought about a severe crisis of trust between citizens and the regime. This trend has worked against the Fatah movement, because of its identification as the governing party.”

Read here the article about the postponement of the Palestinian local elections.

See also previous articles in Dr. Zelkovitz’s publication series:

Who will inherit Palestinian President Mahmous Abbas?

The revolt of the younger Palestinian generation.


F. Towards the Centennial Year of the Balfour Declaration

Prof. Elie Podeh, Board Member at Mitvim writes at the Jerusalem Post about the battle over the memory of the 1917 Balfour Declaration. 

According to Prof. Podeh, "the connection between two key dates in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – 1917 and 1967 – is explosive: the symbols and myths related to these dates have the ability to mobilize masses. Battles over collective memories usually do not cost lives, but they establish an ideological foundation that can trigger the outbreak of violence. Both sides in this conflict need responsible leaders who are capable of preventing such developments. Alas, based on past experience, we currently do not have anyone to count on to do just that."

Read here Prof. Podeh’s article on the battle over the memory of Balfour.


G. How Can Israel Help the Syrian People?

In light of the atrocities taking place in Aleppo, we are re-publishing the article written a year ago for Mitvim by Dr. Kamal al-Labwani of the Syrian opposition.

In his call to the Israeli public, Dr. al-Labawani wrote that: "Israel must denounce and condemn the crimes against humanity that are taking place in Syria. This is especially true in light of the fact that the Jewish people were the victims of such crimes and are well aware of the importance of international cooperation and humanitarian aid in such situations [...] What Israel should do is send humanitarian aid to the Syrian side of the border […] Additionally, Israel can help improve the living conditions of the Syrians who reside close to the Israeli-Syrian border. Such work can be done in partnership with neighboring Arab countries and has the added value of promoting cooperation between the Syrian and Israeli peoples."

Read here Dr. al-Labwani’s article on how Israel can help the Syrian people.


H. Recent Mitvim Activities: November-December 2016

22 December 2016 - Dr. Nimrod Goren lectures to Israeli political activists, as part of a Geneva Initiative seminar.

20-21 December 2016 – Prof. Elie Podeh and Dr. Ido Zelkovitz speak at the 6th Annual Abir Conference on Middle Eastern studies, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

20 December 2016 – Dr. Nimrod Goren speaks at the Australia-Israel-UK Leadership Dialogue in Jerusalem.

14 December 2016 – Mitvim-IPCRI public panel discussion in Jerusalem on the US elections and the future of the Middle East.

1 December 2016 – Dr. Dahlia Scheindlin speaks on lessons from Cyprus for Israel-Palestine at BICOM; London, UK.

28-30 November 2016 – Merav Kahana-Dagan participates in an Israeli-Palestinian Young Political Leaders program at the European Parliament in Brussels.

24 November 2016 – Mitvim experts meet with Augusto Santos Silva, the Foreign Minister of Portugal, during his visit to Israel.

21 November 2016 – Mitvim is a partner organization at the 2016 Israeli Energy and Business Convention. Dr. Nimrod Goren speaks at a panel on geo-political developments in the eastern Mediterranean.

18-19 November 2016 Gabriel Mitchell delivers a lecture series at Har Zion Temple (Pennsylvania, USA), on "Israel and its Allies: A Conversation about the MIddle East".

16 November 2016 – Dr. Dahlia Scheindlin speaks at an IPCRI event on lessons from Northern Ireland for Israel-Palestine.

16 November 2016 – Dr. Nimrod Goren lectures at George Mason University (USA) on the role of incentives in advancing Israeli-Palestinian conflict resolution.

11 November 2016 – Dr. Nimrod Goren holds a briefing on the peace process and regional affairs at the UN’s Middle East and West Asia Division in New York.

9 November 2016 – Dr. Nimrod Goren participates in a working meeting and briefing of the EuroMeSCo Network in Brussels.

6 November 2016 – Merav Kahana-Dagan and Dr. Nimrod Goren brief Princeton University's Middle East Peace Policy Workshop on possible next steps in the peace process.

3 November 2016 – Kamal Ali-Hassan lectures at a conference on the two-state solution, organized by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and the Netanya Academic College. 


The Mitvim Institute wishes you a Happy New Year!

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Dr. Nimrod Goren, Head of the Institute

Mitvim - The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies

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Read Mitvim's 2016 Israeli Foreign Policy Index