Arab–Israeli and Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Saturday, 6 January 2018 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: Editorial, General, Union for the Mediterranean

© Oncenawhile

© Oncenawhile

(Latest update: 20 September 2019) The Arab–Israeli conflict is the political tension, military conflicts and disputes between a number of Arab countries and Israel. The roots (European colonial period, Ottoman Empire, widespread Antisemitism in Europe, Jews in the Russian Empire, Baron Edmond James de Rothschild (Jewish land purchase in Palestine), Theodor Herzl, Jewish National Fund, timeline of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, World War I, Sykes–Picot Agreement (San Remo conference, Mandate for Palestine, UN Charter, Chapter XII – International Trusteeship System, Article 80 (commonly known as the “Palestine Article” used by both conflict parties, Israel and Palestine, to create the wildest interpretations, speculations and conspiracy theories to assert the respective alleged right to the total land area), McMahon–Hussein Correspondence), Balfour Declaration, World War II, The Holocaust (International Holocaust Remembrance Day), Évian Conference, Mandatory Palestine, Forced displacement, and United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine) of the modern Arab–Israeli conflict (or the history of collective failure) are bound in the rise of Zionism and Arab nationalism towards the end of the 19th century. Territory regarded by the Jewish people as their historical homeland is also regarded by the Pan-Arab movement as historically and currently belonging to the Palestinians, and in the Pan-Islamic context, as Muslim lands. The sectarian conflict between Palestinian Jews and Arabs emerged in the early 20th century, peaking into a full-scale civil war in 1947 and transforming into the First Arab–Israeli War in May 1948 following the Israeli Declaration of Independence (Nakba). Large-scale hostilities mostly ended with the cease-fire agreements after the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Ramadan War, or October War. Peace agreements were signed between Israel and Egypt in 1979, resulting in Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula and abolishment of the military governance system in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in favor of Israeli Civil Administration and consequent unilateral, internationally not recognized, annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights and East Jerusalem. Even when the text is about 97 pages long, it is just a summary. The multitude of links point out that there is a lot more to learn in detail. At first, it is a timeline of the major developments in the region and it leads to today’s challenges. The starting point is the view of the international community, especially the European Union and North America, on the conflict, enriched with excursions into the ideas, convictions, believes, and thoughts of the direct and indirect involved parties to the conflict.

Content

Timetable of wars and violent events

The nature of the conflict has shifted over the years from the large-scale, regional Arab–Israeli conflict to a more local Israeli–Palestinian conflict, which peaked during the 1982 Lebanon War. The interim Oslo Accords led to the creation of the Palestinian National Authority in 1994, within the context of the Israeli–Palestinian peace process. The same year Israel and Jordan reached a peace accord. In 1988 the Palestinian Authority recognized the state of Israel. A cease-fire has been largely maintained between Israel and Baathist Syria, as well as with Lebanon since 2006. However, developments in the course of the Syrian Civil War reshuffled the situation near Israel’s northern border, putting the Syrian Arab Republic, Hezbollah (whose military arm is classified by the Western community as a terrorist organization – The Guardian, 25 February 2019: UK to outlaw Hezbollah’s political wing) and the Syrian opposition at odds with each other and complicating their relations with Israel. The conflict between Israel and Hamas-ruled Gaza, which resulted in the 2014 cease-fire, is usually also considered part of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict and therefore the Arab–Israeli conflict. Its 2006–2012 phase is, however, also attributed to the Iran–Israel proxy conflict in the region (Government of Syria and Hezbollah are being supported by Iran). Since 2012, Iran (predominantly Shia) has cut ties with the Sunni Hamas movement on account of the Syrian Civil War. Despite the peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan, interim peace accords with Palestine and the generally existing cease-fire, the Arab world and Israel remain at odds with each other over many issues.

National movements
The roots of the modern Arab–Israeli conflict lie in the rise of Zionism and the reactionary Arab nationalism that arose in response to Zionism towards the end of the 19th century (at that time, Zionism was still a liberal, religious-nationalist movement, which has only experienced a major right-wing spin in the past twenty years and is therefore discussed controversially in the diaspora, in particular because the Zionist movement in Israel isn’t only claiming to speak for all Jews worldwide, but also to determine who is a Jew and how Jews have to live. As expected, this is received well only in parts of the diaspora). Territory regarded by the Jewish people as their historical homeland is also regarded by the Pan-Arab movement as historically and presently belonging to the Palestinian Arabs. Before World War I, the Middle East, including Palestine (later Mandatory Palestine), had been under the control of the Ottoman Empire for nearly 400 years. During the closing years of their empire, the Ottomans began to espouse their Turkish ethnic identity, asserting the primacy of Turks within the empire, leading to discrimination against the Arabs. The promise of liberation from the Ottomans led many Jews and Arabs to support the allied powers during World War I, leading to the emergence of widespread Arab nationalism. Both Arab nationalism and Zionism had their formulative beginning in Europe. The Zionist Congress was established in Basel in 1897, while the “Arab Club” was established in Paris in 1906. In the late 19th century European and Middle Eastern Jewish communities began to increasingly immigrate to Palestine and purchase land from the local Ottoman landlords. The population of the late 19th century in Palestine reached 600,000 – mostly Muslim Arabs, but also significant minorities of Jews, Christians, Druze and some Samaritans and Bahai’s. At that time, Jerusalem did not extend beyond the walled area and had a population of only a few tens of thousands. Collective farms, known as kibbutzim, were established, as was the first entirely Jewish city in modern times, Tel Aviv. During 1915–16, as World War I was underway, the British High Commissioner in Egypt, Sir Henry McMahon, secretly corresponded with Hussein ibn Ali al-Hashimi, the patriarch of the Hashemite family and Ottoman governor of Mecca and Medina. McMahon convinced Husayn to lead an Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire, which was aligned with Germany against Britain and France in the war. McMahon promised that if the Arabs supported Britain in the war, the British government would support the establishment of an independent Arab state under Hashemite rule in the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire, including Palestine. The Arab revolt, led by Thomas Edward Lawrence (“Lawrence of Arabia”) and Husayn’s son Faysal, was successful in defeating the Ottomans, and Britain took control over much of this area. A very relaxed phase reached the relationships, as Baron Edmond James de Rothschild 1882 began to buy land in Palestine. All parties were satisfied with the solution, especially as Rothschild pushed ahead with his own goals, while the Arabs laughed that they had sold another piece of desert to the “batty European”. This could have gone on happily and endlessly, if there had not been fundamental upheavals in Europe and finally the Holocaust.

1974–2000

Egypt
Following the Camp David Accords of the late 1970s, Israel and Egypt signed a peace treaty in March 1979. Under its terms, the Sinai Peninsula returned to Egyptian hands, and the Gaza Strip remained under Israeli control, to be included in a future State of Palestine. The agreement also provided for the free passage of Israeli ships through the Suez Canal and recognition of the Straits of Tiran and the Gulf of Aqaba as international waterways (Foreign Policy, 15 January 2019: Club Med: Israel, Egypt, and Others Form New Natural Gas Group, Al Jazeera, 17 June 2019: Egypt in $500m settlement with Israel Electric Corp, Times of Israel, 17 June 2019: Egypt agrees to pay Israel $500 million to end gas dispute, Bloomberg, 24 July 2019: Israel Gas Partners to Change Egypt Deal to Avert Supply Halt, Arab News, 25 July 2019: Israel to start exporting natural gas to Egypt in November — minister, Israel Hayom, 7 August 2019: At summit, Israel, US, Greece, Cyprus agree to boost energy cooperation).

Jordan
In October 1994, Israel and Jordan signed a peace agreement, which stipulated mutual cooperation, an end of hostilities, the fixing of the Israel-Jordan border, and a resolution of other issues. The conflict between them had cost roughly 18.3 billion dollars. Its signing is also closely linked with the efforts to create peace between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) representing the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). It was signed at the southern border crossing of Arabah on 26 October 1994 and made Jordan only the second Arab country (after Egypt) to sign a peace accord with Israel (BBC, 21 October 2018: Jordan seeks to end Israel land lease).

Iraq
Israel and Iraq have been implacable foes since 1948. Iraq sent its troops to participate in the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, and later backed Egypt and Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War and in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Ramadan War, or October War. In June 1981, Israel attacked and destroyed newly built Iraqi nuclear facilities in Operation Opera. During the Gulf War in 1991, Iraq fired 39 Scud missiles into Israel, in the hopes of uniting the Arab world against the coalition which sought to liberate Kuwait. At the behest of the United States, Israel did not respond to this attack in order to prevent a greater outbreak of war.

Lebanon
In 1970, following an extended civil war, King Hussein expelled the Palestine Liberation Organization from Jordan. September 1970 is known as the Black September in Arab history and sometimes is referred to as the “era of regrettable events”. It was a month when Hashemite King Hussein of Jordan moved to quash the autonomy of Palestinian organisations and restore his monarchy’s rule over the country. The violence resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of people, the vast majority Palestinians. Armed conflict lasted until July 1971 with the expulsion of the PLO and thousands of Palestinian fighters to Lebanon. The PLO resettled in Lebanon, from which it staged raids into Israel. In 1978, Israel launched Operation Litani, in which it together with the South Lebanon Army forced the PLO to retreat north of the Litani river. In 1981 another conflict between Israel and the PLO broke out, which ended with a ceasefire agreement that did not solve the core of the conflict. In June 1982, Israel invaded Lebanon. Within two months the PLO agreed to withdraw thence. In March 1983, Israel and Lebanon signed a ceasefire agreement. However, Syria pressured President Amine Gemayel into nullifying the truce in March 1984. By 1985, Israeli forces withdrew to a 15 km wide southern strip of Lebanon, following which the conflict continued on a lower scale, with relatively low casualties on both sides. In 1993 and 1996, Israel launched major operations against the Shiite militia of Hezbollah, which had become an emergent threat. In May 2000, the newly elected government of Ehud Barak authorized a withdrawal from Southern Lebanon, fulfilling an election promise to do so well ahead of a declared deadline. The hasty withdrawal lead to the immediate collapse of the South Lebanon Army, and many members either got arrested or fled to Israel. In 2006, as a response to a Hezbollah cross-border raid, Israel launched air strikes on Hezbollah strongholds in Southern Lebanon, starting the 2006 Lebanon War. The inconclusive war lasted for 34 days, and resulted in the creation of a buffer zone in Southern Lebanon and the deployment of Lebanese troops south of the Litani river for the first time since the 1960s. The Israeli government under Ehud Olmert was harshly criticized for its handling of the war in the Winograd Commission (see Israeli–Lebanese conflict, Israel–Lebanon relations, and Palestinian insurgency in South Lebanon).

Palestinians
The 1970s were marked by a large number of major, international terrorist attacks, including the Lod Airport massacre and the Munich Olympics Massacre in 1972, and the Entebbe Hostage Taking in 1976, with over 100 Jewish hostages of different nationalities kidnapped and held in Uganda. In December 1987, the First Intifada began. The First Intifada was a mass Palestinian uprising against Israeli rule in the Palestinian territories. The rebellion began in the Jabalia refugee camp and quickly spread throughout Gaza and the West Bank. Palestinian actions ranged from civil disobedience to violence. In addition to general strikes, boycotts on Israeli products, graffiti and barricades, Palestinian demonstrations that included stone-throwing by youths against the Israel Defense Forces brought the Intifada international attention. The Israeli army’s heavy handed response to the demonstrations, with live ammunition, beatings and mass arrests, brought international condemnation. The PLO, which until then had never been recognised as the leaders of the Palestinian people by Israel, was invited to peace negotiations the following year, after it recognized Israel and renounced terrorism. In mid-1993, Israeli and Palestinian representatives engaged in peace talks in Oslo. As a result, in September 1993, Israel and the PLO signed the Oslo Accords, known as the Declaration of Principles or Oslo I; in side letters, Israel recognized the PLO as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people while the PLO recognized the right of the state of Israel to exist and renounced terrorism, violence and its desire for the destruction of Israel. The Oslo II agreement was signed in 1995 and detailed the division of the West Bank into Areas A, B, and C. Area A was land under full Palestinian civilian control. In Area A, Palestinians were also responsible for internal security. The Oslo agreements remain important documents in Israeli-Palestinian relations (see Israeli–Palestinian conflict and the film “The Oslo Diaries” by Mor Loushy and Daniel Sivan).

2000–09
The Second Intifada forced Israel to rethink its relationship and policies towards the Palestinians. Following a series of suicide bombings and attacks, the Israeli army launched Operation Defensive Shield. It was the largest military operation conducted by Israel since the Six-Day War (“Censored Voices” by Mor Loushy and Daniel Sivan). As violence between the Israeli army and Palestinian militants intensified, Israel expanded its security apparatus around the West Bank by re-taking many parts of land in Area A. Israel established a complicated system of roadblocks and checkpoints around major Palestinian areas to deter violence and protect Israeli settlements. However, since 2008, the IDF has slowly transferred authority to Palestinian security forces. Israel’s then prime minister Ariel Sharon began a policy of disengagement from Gaza from the Gaza Strip in 2003. This policy was fully implemented in August 2005. Sharon’s announcement to disengage from Gaza came as a tremendous shock to his critics both on the left and on the right. A year previously, he had commented that the fate of the most far-flung settlements in Gaza, Netzararem and Kfar Darom, was regarded in the same light as that of Tel Aviv. The formal announcements to evacuate seventeen Gaza settlements and another four in the West Bank in February 2004 represented the first reversal for the settler movement since 1968. It divided his party. It was strongly supported by Trade and Industry Minister Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni, the Minister for Immigration and Absorption, but Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom and Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu strongly condemned it. It was also uncertain whether this was simply the beginning of further evacuation. On 16 March 2003, Rachel Corrie, an American peace activist was crushed to death by an Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) bulldozer in Rafah during a non-violent protest of the Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes. Corrie stood in confrontation with the bulldozers for three hours wearing a bright orange jacket and carrying a megaphone. Although the Israeli government has denied responsibility in the incident and ruled her death as an accident, several eye-witness reports say that the Israeli soldier operating the bulldozer deliberately ran her over. In June 2006, Hamas militants infiltrated an army post near the Israeli side of the Gaza Strip and abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Two IDF soldiers were killed in the attack, while Shalit was wounded after his tank was hit with an RPG. Three days later Israel launched Operation Summer Rains to secure the release of Shalit. He was held hostage by Hamas, who barred the International Red Cross from seeing him, until 18 October 2011, when he was exchanged for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners. In July 2006, Hezbollah fighters crossed the border from Lebanon into Israel, attacked and killed eight Israeli soldiers, and abducted two others as hostages, setting off the 2006 Lebanon War which caused much destruction in Lebanon. A UN-sponsored ceasefire went into effect on 14 August 2006, officially ending the conflict. The conflict killed over a thousand Lebanese and over 150 Israelis, severely damaged Lebanese civil infrastructure, and displaced approximately one million Lebanese and 300,000–500,000 Israelis, although most were able to return to their homes. After the ceasefire, some parts of Southern Lebanon remained uninhabitable due to Israeli unexploded cluster bomblets. In the aftermath of the Battle of Gaza, where Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in a violent civil war with rival Fatah, Israel placed restrictions on its border with Gaza borders and ended economic cooperation with the Palestinian leadership based there. Israel and Egypt have imposed a blockade of the Gaza Strip since 2007. Israel maintains the blockade is necessary to limit Palestinian rocket attacks from Gaza and to prevent Hamas from smuggling advanced rockets and weapons capable of hitting its cities. On 6 September 2007, in Operation Orchard, Israel bombed an eastern Syrian complex which was allegedly a nuclear reactor being built with assistance from North Korea. Israel had also bombed Syria in 2003. In April 2008, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told a Qatari newspaper that Syria and Israel had been discussing a peace treaty for a year, with Turkey as a go-between. This was confirmed in May 2008 by a spokesman for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. As well as a peace treaty, the future of the Syrian Golan Heights is being discussed. President Assad said “there would be no direct negotiations with Israel until a new US president takes office.” Speaking in Jerusalem on 26 August 2008, then United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice criticized Israel’s increased settlement construction in the West Bank as detrimental to the peace process. Rice’s comments came amid reports that Israeli construction in the disputed territory had increased by a factor of 1.8 over 2007 levels. A fragile six-month truce between Hamas and Israel expired on 19 December 2008; attempts at extending the truce failed amid accusations of breaches from both sides. Following the expiration, Israel launched a raid on a tunnel suspected of being used to kidnap Israeli soldiers which killed several Hamas fighters. Following this, Hamas resumed rocket and mortar attacks on Israeli cities, most notably firing over 60 rockets on 24 December. On 27 December 2008, Israel launched Operation Cast Lead against Hamas. Numerous human rights organizations accused Israel and Hamas of committing war crimes (United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict (Goldstone Report)). In 2009 Israel placed a 10-month settlement freeze on the West Bank. Hillary Clinton praised the freeze as an “unprecedented” gesture that could “help revive Middle East talks.” A raid was carried out by Israeli naval forces on six ships of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in May 2010. After the ships refused to dock at Port Ashdod. On the MV Mavi Marmara, activists clashed with the Israeli boarding party. During the fighting, nine activists were killed by Israeli special forces. Widespread international condemnation of and reaction to the raid followed, Israel–Turkey relations were strained, and Israel subsequently eased its blockade on the Gaza Strip. Several dozen other passengers and seven Israeli soldiers were injured, with some of the commandos suffering from gunshot wounds (The National, 9 July 2019: Israeli court rules Palestinian Authority responsible for Second Intifada attacks).

2010–present
Following the latest round of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, 13 Palestinian militant movements led by Hamas initiated a terror campaign designed to derail and disrupt the negotiations. Attacks on Israelis have increased since August 2010, after 4 Israeli civilians were killed by Hamas militants. Palestinian militants have increased the frequency of rocket attacks aimed at Israelis. On 2 August, Hamas militants launched seven Katyusha rockets at Eilat and Aqaba in Jordan, killing one Jordanian civilian and wounding 4 others. Intermittent fighting continued since then, including 680 rocket attacks on Israel in 2011. On 14 November 2012, Israel killed Ahmed Jabari, a leader of Hamas’s military wing, launching Operation Pillar of Cloud. Hamas and Israel agreed to an Egyptian-mediated ceasefire on 21 November. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights said that 158 Palestinians were killed during the operation, of which: 102 were civilians, 55 were militants and one was a policeman; 30 were children and 13 were women. B’Tselem stated that according to its initial findings, which covered only the period between 14 and 19 November 102 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip, 40 of them civilians. According to Israeli figures, 120 combatants and 57 civilians were killed. International outcry ensued, with many criticizing Israel for what much of the international community perceived as a disproportionately violent response. Protests took place on hundreds of college campuses across the U.S., and in front of the Israeli consulate in New York. Additional protests took place throughout the Middle East, throughout Europe, and in parts of South America. Following an escalation of rocket attacks by Hamas, Israel started Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip on 8 July 2014.

MAIN CONFLICTS TODAY
Consensus in Europe and North America is, that Israel within the 1967 borders is non-negotiable (Times of Israel, 14 February 2019: Is it really legitimate to talk about legitimacy?). This position has prevailed in most of the rest of the international community as well. Such a basic agreement between the two parties to the dispute is only partially given yet. In all other challenges, of which there are many, significant national and international differences in interests are evident. Of course, it is easier to classify and assess the conflict when not affected personally or emotionally, especially because of the differentiation in countries, states, policies, governments, populations and religions is easier. The closer you get to the action, the more emotional it becomes, and the differentiation hardly succeeds or is going lost at all. Even in this blog post it become clear how difficult it is to keep a semi-neutral observer role in order to include as many voices and views as possible, so that all readers can find themselves at one point or the other and at the same time familiarize themselves with the views of others. This has already been achieved on many points, while we are still working on others. This can also be seen by the selection of the media reports. There are, of course, hundreds of reports on every single topic, of which only a small portion is linked. All in all, however, this is not scientific work, but rather a summary of the conflicts in the region and the approach to the topics from different perspectives, as well as the attempt to make the complexity of the conflicts more comprehensible and accessible, also against the background that the realities of life in Europe and North America are quite different from those in the Levant, which is not conducive to mutual understanding in the sometimes opposing worlds of thought.

State borders
The territory of a future State of Palestine and its border with Israel are unclear and even controversial among Israelis and Palestinians themselves. With the Arabs rejecting the UN Partition Plan of 1947 (Resolution 181) and Israel annexing much of the Palestinian territories during the Palestinian War, the area originally planned for a Palestinian state was reduced enormously. From 1960 to about 1989, according to internal and official documents, the PLO sought a Palestinian state that included Jordan, Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. The PLO gave up the demand for a state in Israel in the Oslo Accords and officially recognized Israel’s right to exist in 1988 (UN Security Council Resolution 242 – at the same time proclaiming the Palestinian Declaration of Independence), while international law doesn’t provide a “right for existence of states” (if there would be a right to exist, there wouldn’t be that many wars around the world, because they wouldn’t make any sense in principle). However, the word creation has served Israel well, especially as a vehicle was needed to create an alternative to the “Territorial Integrity of States” which explicitly refers to “the inviolability of the territory and borders of sovereign states”. Israel and Palestine, Israel and Syria and Israel and Lebanon doesn’t have such borders yet (United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194), so that it will take some time before nationally and internationally recognized borders will be given (it is astonishing that although the “right to exist” of Israel is mantra-like prayed, the fact, that the Palestinians have declared their independence in 1988 is often missed out. Both countries are only majority recognized by the UN as states, or conversely: If one country got granted the right to exist, this must be granted to the other country as well or, consequently, deny the existence to both. There is no solution in between (double standard)). Today, the PLO is seeking a state in the territory of the entire West Bank and the Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital, and is with solution in line with the international community. Parts of Fatah as well as the Islamist, classified by Israel and by parts of the Western community as terrorist organizations, Hamas (international positions) and Islamic Jihad (Times of Israel, 1 April 2019: Reports: Islamic Jihad planning large Gaza attack to derail ceasefire talks) continued to demand the “liberation of the whole of Palestine” including the territory of Israel, with it its elimination. In its recently revised charter, Hamas has distanced itself from this goal and is now referring to the 1967 borders, with the state of Israel still not recognized as such. On the Israeli side, there are calls from settlers and other right-wing extremist, radical and nationalist terrorist organizations (in Israel, referred to as “Taliban with Kippah“) for Eretz Israel, that is, the violent annexation of Gaza, the West Bank (the so-called, internationally unacknowledged, but supported by Christian Zionists (Second Coming of Christ), Judea and Samaria (Judea is the historical core settlement area of the Jews) and the Syrian Golan Heights to create a “Greater Israel”. The demolition of the Bedouin village Khan al-Ahmar in September 2018 has created further conditions for the full partition of the West Bank into two disjointed parts (on both sides of Highway 1) to illegally settle on more Palestinian lands and at the same time prevent the implementation of the 1988 Palestinian Declaration of Independence permanently and at any cost, thereby continuing the Netanyahu government’s endless sabotage of a peace treaty and the two-state solution (Israel National News, 29 May 2017: “Netanyahu no longer supports two-state solution”, BBC, 26 September 2018: Trump: Two-state Middle East solution would work best, NPR, 30 September 2018: Netanyahu’s Not-Quite-2-State Solution, Bloomberg, 15 November 2018: Netanyahu’s Opposition Keeps the Two-State Solution Alive and Times of Israel, 5 March 2019: What if a desperate Netanyahu embraces West Bank annexation?), driving the country more and more into international isolation and turning it into a theocracy. As a result, Netanyahu’s Israel has developed at a remarkable pace backwards and thus becoming increasingly similar to neighboring countries.

Important players in the region are the Gulf States, which are aiming for the two-state solution within the 1967 borders (Arab Peace Initiative), as well as the Western community. Without these players, solving the given challenges will not be possible (Jerusalem Post, 24 March 2019: Stronger Evangelical-Muslim relations will be key in achieving Middle East peace). To signal willingness to negotiate, Saudi Arabia surprisingly announced in May 2017 that it would allow Israeli companies to do business in the country (as part of the Saudi Vision 2030 (Arab News: Road to 2030, Al Arabiya, 15 August 2019: Saudi Arabia’s reforming business landscape)). Another milestone followed in March 2018: for the first time in history, Saudi airspace was opened for commercial passenger flights of Air India to Israel. On 2 April 2018, the reform-oriented (The Washington Post, 1 March 2018: Are Saudi Arabia’s reforms for real? A recent visit says yes.) Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced in an interview with The Atlantic (Saudi Crown Prince: Iran’s Supreme Leader ‘Makes Hitler Look Good’) that “the Palestinians and the Israelis have the right to their own land.” This is the first time ever, that a Saudi Arabian high profile awards Israel the right to exist. A statement that seemed to be unthinkable a year ago (New York Times, 3 April 2018: Saudi Prince Says Israelis Have Right to ‘Their Own Land’, BBC, 3 April 2018: Israel and Saudi Arabia: The relationship emerging into the open, France24.com, 3 April 2018: Saudi Crown Prince recognises Israel’s right to exist, Deutsche Welle, 3 April 2018: What is the Saudi prince’s strategy in recognizing Israel?, Haaretz, 1 May 2018: Palestinians Should ‘Shut Up’ or Make Peace, Saudi Crown Prince Told Jewish Leaders, Haaretz, 5 August 2018: Why Younger Saudis Won’t Fund, Facilitate or Fight for a Palestinian State, The New York Times, 23 November 2017: Saudi Arabia’s Arab Spring, at Last: The crown prince has big plans for his society., The Washington Post, 7 August 2018: Saudi Arabia cannot afford to pick fights with Canada, The Guardian, 12 August 2018: The bizarre spat with Canada shows Mohammed bin Salman’s true colours, The Washington Times, 26 October 2018: Israel’s Netanyahu pays surprise visit to Oman, Middle East Eye, 26 October 2018: Netanyahu makes surprise trip to Oman and meets with Sultan Qaboos, Reuters, 26 October 2018: Israeli PM Netanyahu makes rare visit to Oman, Al Jazeera, 26 October 2018: Israel’s Netanyahu meets Sultan Qaboos in surprise Oman trip, Bloomberg, 28 October 2018: Netanyahu’s Oman Visit Sets Off Israeli Cabinet Rush to Gulf, The Washington Post, 1 November 2018: Saudi crown prince described journalist as a dangerous Islamist in call with White House, officials say, The Atlantic, 1 November 2018: Progress Without Peace in the Middle East and BBC, 6 November 2018: Israel-Arab ties warm up after long deep freeze). Even if the Gulf States and Israel officially exclude mutual diplomatic missions, there has been unofficial backroom diplomacy for years, advocated and supported by the respective country leaders. Otherwise these talks wouldn’t be held at all (Jerusalem Post, 6 August 2019: Israelis and Arabs say one thing in public and another behind closed doors). That’s why sometimes Arab delegations stroll through West Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, or observers wonder which conversation partners meet in the business and conference centers of the hotels in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Today, the state of Israel is recognized by 169 of the 193 United Nations states, and since 1988 by the Palestinians. Today, the state of Palestine is recognized by 136 137 states (The Washington Post, 7 November 2017: Map: The countries that recognize Palestine as a state, Times of Israel, 30 July 2019: Tiny island nation St. Kitts and Nevis recognizes Palestinian state). Israel isn’t among them (or as Israreli writer Amos Oz wrote: “Israel is a refugee camp, Palestine too. The conflict is a tragic clash between the right and the right … both nations don’t have another place to go. They cannot unite into a big happy family, because they are not family, and they are not happy – these are two miserable, different families. A historical compromise must be made: a two-state solution.”).

April 2019 Israeli legislative election
Early legislative elections were held on 9 April 2019 to elect the 120 members of the 21st Knesset. Elections had been due in November 2019, but were brought forward following a dispute between members of the current government over a bill on national service for the ultra-Orthodox population, as well as impending corruption charges against incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu’s Likud tied with Blue and White alliance of Benny Gantz, both winning 35 seats. The balance of power was held by smaller parties, with right-wing and religious parties that have previously sat in coalition with Likud, which would have allowed Netanyahu to form the next government. Due to continuation of the disagreements over the national service of the ultra-Orthodox, a snap election was called, and is set to be held on 17 September 2019. Media coverage: The Jerusalem Post, 24 December 2018: Netanyahu’s coalition collapses; Israel heading to elections in April, Al Jazeera, 24 December 2018: Israel to hold early elections in April, The Guardian, 24 December 2018: Israeli government agrees to hold early elections in April and i24 News, 24 December 2018: Israel announces dissolution of government, snap elections in April (like Trump on Twitter and Putin with his RT channel, besides his “advertisement agency” Israel HaYom, Netanyahu now has his own fake news TV channel, named “Likud TV”, streamed on Facebook – Times of Israel, 4 February 2019: With fake media outlet Likud TV, Netanyahu sets up nakedly self-serving soapbox, matching to the upcoming elections) Times of Israel, 20 February 2019: Netanyahu’s despicable push to bring racists into Israel’s political mainstream, Haaretz, 20 February 2019: Top Posts for Merging With Kahanists: Netanyahu, Far-right Party Reach Deal, France24, 20 February 2019: Israel PM deal seeks to boost ultra-right in April vote, Haaretz, 21 February 2019: Netanyahu Just Destroyed One of Israel’s Key National Security Assets, The Guardian, 21 February 2019: Benjamin Netanyahu strikes deal with hardline parties ahead of Israel elections, Haaretz, 21 February 2019: Netanyahu Now Endorses Jewish Fascism. U.S. Jews, Cut Your Ties With Him Now, Times of Israel, 22 February 2019: AIPAC slams ‘racist and reprehensible’ extremist party wooed by Netanyahu, Haaretz, 22 February 2019: ‘Racist and Reprehensible’: AIPAC Slams Kahanist Party Backed by Netanyahu, Times of Israel, 23 February 2019: Lapid: Netanyahu puts politics before country, harms Israel’s image, Times of Israel, 23 February 2019: After AIPAC rebuke, Netanyahu defends aiding Kahanists: ‘Hypocrisy by the left’, Haaretz, 24 February 2019: For U.S. Jewry, Kahanist Caper Casts Netanyahu as Prince of Darkness and Trump on Steroids, Times of Israel, 24 February 2019: The desecration of Israel, Times of Israel, 24 February 2019: Ex-AIPAC official: By backing extremists, Netanyahu ‘overstepped the line’, Times of Israel, 25 February 2019: US Reform leader: Netanyahu’s deal with extremists is like ‘welcoming’ the KKK, The Guardian, 25 February 2019: Pro-Israel US group condemns Netanyahu pact with extremists, Times of Israel, 28 February 2019: High Court rejects Likud petition to prevent AG announcing Netanyahu indictment, France24, 28 February 2019: Israeli Justice Ministry confirms intention to indict Netanyahu and The New York Times, 28 February 2019: Prosecutor Moves to Indict Netanyahu on Corruption Charges (which is why he is no longer referred to as “Prime Minister” but as “Crime Minister” in Israel), The Guardian, 28 February 2019: Netanyahu to be indicted on corruption charges, Israeli attorney general says, The New York Times, 28 February 2019: Netanyahu Indictment Closer as Israeli Prosecutor Seeks Charges, Times of Israel, 28 February 2019: Gantz appeals to Netanyahu to put Israel’s interests first and ‘resign’, Times of Israel, 28 February 2019: Netanyahu’s illicit dealings benefited tycoon by $500 million, AG alleges, Times of Israel, 28 February 2019: ‘You knew you were taking a bribe’: The specifics of Netanyahu’s alleged crimes, The New York Times, 1 March 2019: Time for Netanyahu to Go, Times of Israel, 1 March 2019: Poll shows two-thirds of Israelis think Netanyahu should resign if indicted, Times of Israel, 2 March 2019: Bret Stephens calls Netanyahu the ‘Nixon of Israel,’ says he should resign, The New York Times, 2 March 2019: Can Israel Survive Without Netanyahu? Israelis Imagine the Future, Times of Israel, 3 March 2019: Is Netanyahu a crook? Allegedly. A threat to democracy? That verdict is sadly in, Haaretz, 4 March 2019: Netanyahu Is Going Down, but What About His Powerful Accomplice?, Times of Israel, 6 March 2019: Right-wing ally of Netanyahu proposes bill to save him from prosecution, Times of Israel, 7 March 2019: Police recommend bribery charges for Likud’s David Bitan, Times of Israel, 7 March 2019: Lapid: If Netanyahu is reelected, he’ll legislate to place himself above the law, Times of Israel, 30 June 2019: Mandelblit warns against ‘real erosion’ of Israel’s founding legal principles, Haaretz, 7 March 2019: Yair Lapid Outlines Four Demands for Peace With Palestinians, The Washington Post, 7 March 2019: Israeli electoral committee bans Arab candidates, allows extreme right to run, Haaretz, 7 March 2019: The Israeli Elections Committee Embraced Jewish Supremacists and Expelled Arab Radicals. So What Else Is New?, Times of Israel, 8 March 2019: Benny Gantz’s tall order: Convincing Israel that he can replace Netanyahu, The Guardian, 10 March 2019: Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel is ‘not a state of all its citizens’, The New York Yimes, 10 March 2019: Netanyahu-Trump Partnership Is Stronger Than Ever. Are These Its Final Days?, Times of Israel, 10 March 2019: Amid Likud’s ‘Bibi or Tibi’ campaign, ADL slams ‘demonization’ of Israeli Arabs, Times of Israel, 10 March 2019: There are no second-class citizens, Rivlin says, in implicit swipe at Netanyahu, Times of Israel, 11 March 2019: For Netanyahu, all Israelis are equal, but some are more equal than others, NPR, 11 March 2019: Netanyahu Says Israel Is ‘Nation-State Of The Jewish People And Them Alone’, Jewish News, 12 March 2019: Jerusalem’s cable car: Moving in the wrong direction, ynet, 12 March 2019: The Likud is the real threat to Israel, Times of Israel, 12 March 2019: Yair Netanyahu put on leave from NGO job a day after deriding Rivlin (the most important lines of the articel are “Throughout the election campaign we have been careful to be respectful toward the Netanyahu family, but now we are calling on Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu: Control the mouth and keyboard of your son Yair,” a statement from party leader Benny Gantz said. “Your incitement toward our president crosses every possible line. Israel comes before anything else, the Netanyahu family doesn’t.”), Haaretz, 14 March 2019: J Street to Offer Competing Free Trip to Israel for Those Fed Up With Birthright, Times of Israel, 14 March 2019: Clouds gather as Israel emerges from economic ‘golden decade’, Jerusalem Post, 14 March 2019: 71% of Israeli Jews find Israeli control over the Palestinains as immoral, The Guardian, 14 March 2019: The fall of the Israeli peace movement and why leftists continue to fight, Haaretz, 14 March 2019: What a Netanyahu Election Victory Will Mean for American Jewry, Haaretz, 16 March 2019: To Defeat Gantz, Netanyahu Instructs His Party to Lie, Netanyahu’s next low point (though he can barely go lower anyway, he manages to beat himself again): Times of Israel, 17 March 2019: Cyber entrepreneur says Netanyahu behind ‘Iranian hack’ of Gantz, Times of Israel, 18 March 2019: Gantz calls for state commission of inquiry into submarine scandal, Times of Israel, 18 March 2019: Gantz: Ignore phone hack, Netanyahu guilty of ‘worst scandal in Israeli history’, The Washington Post, 20 March 2019: Under investigation and up for reelection, Netanyahu’s kinship with Trump has never been clearer, Haaretz, 20 March 2019: Pocket Money, Loans and Millions for Legal Advice: Has Netanyahu’s Wallet Finally Been Found?, Times of Israel, 20 March 2019: Pompeo in region to counter Iran, boost Netanyahu, Haaretz, 20 March 2019: Pompeo Arrives in Israel to Discuss Iran Threat, Energy and Regional Issues, Times of Israel, 20 March 2019: State prosecutors said mulling criminal probe of Netanyahu in submarine case, Times of Israel, 21 March 2019: Gantz is target of most fake news for 8th week running — report, Times of Israel, 21.03.2019: Netanyahu and the submarine scandal: Everything you need to know, Jerusalem Post, 22 March 2019: UNHRC voted 26-16 against Israel’s ‘occupation’ of the Golan Heights, Times of Israel, 22.03.2019: Supreme Court orders state witness in submarines case kept in custody, Jerusalem Post, 22 March 2019: Trumpet recruits Netanyoohoo as 2020 running mate in US elex, The Guardian, 23 March 2019: Israel’s Netanyahu to play Trump card in tight election, Haaretz, 22 March 2019: U.S. Media Finally Discovers Netanyahu-Trump Similarities – and pro-Israel Groups Are Worried, The New York Times, 23 March 2019: Israel Lobby Convenes in Washington Amid Fraying Bipartisanship and Rising Tension, Times of Israel, 24 March 2019: Incredulous Gantz bashes Netanyahu for okaying sub sale to Egypt on his own, Haaretz, 24 March 2019: AIPAC Is More Divisive Than Ever. As Confab Kicks Off, Here’s How to Fix It, Haaretz, 25 March 2019: Cleared of Collusion With Russia, Trump Can Now Collude Shamelessly With Netanyahu, Times of Israel, 25 March 2019: With some of Rabin’s awkward charisma, Gantz passes the AIPAC test, Times of Israel, 25 March 2019: At AIPAC, Gantz vows to rid Israel’s leadership of racism, corruption, The Washington Post, 26 March 2019: On Israel, Charles Schumer rises to the occasion, Haaretz, 27 March 2019: It’s a Grave Mistake to Entrust American Evangelicals With Israel’s Future, Haaretz, 28 March 2019: Bank of Israel Warns of Long-term Decline in Economic Growth, Times of Israel, 31 March 2019: Gantz says Netanyahu rancor could spark ‘civil war’, Haaretz, 1 April 2019: Network of Fake Social Media Accounts Boosting Netanyahu Ahead of Election, Report Says, The New York Times, 1 April 2019: Twitter Network Uses Fake Accounts to Promote Netanyahu, Israel Watchdog Finds, Times of Israel, 1 April 2019: Gantz claims Netanyahu trying to ‘steal elections’ as fake news network revealed, Times of Israel, 2 April 2019: Twitter said to take down most fake pro-Netanyahu accounts flagged in report, The Guardian, 3 April 2019: I fought South African apartheid. I see the same brutal policies in Israel, Times of Israel, 3 April 2019: Benny Gantz to ToI: Future of Israel as a democracy is at stake in this election, Jerusalem Post, 3 April 2019: Former Generals call for national inquiry into submarine corruption, Haaretz, 3 April 2019: Under a Decade of Netanyahu Rule the Israeli Economy Has Gone Backwards, Daily Herald, 3 April 2019: Palestinians Are Nowhere to Be Found in Israel’s Election, Times of Israel, 4 April 2019: Report: PM ‘likely benefited’ from sales by cousin’s company to Gaddafi’s Libya, Jewish News, 4 April 2019: Hidden danger behind the new US approach, Haaretz, 4 April 2019: Netanyahu Deserves to Win the Election. And We Israelis Deserve Him, Times of Israel, 4 April 2019: Who knows?, The Guardian, 5 April 2019: Best of the worst? Israel’s left looks to Gantz as election nears, The Washington Post, 5 April 2019: Israel’s Netanyahu, a political Houdini, is facing his toughest escape act yet, Times of Israel, 5 April 2019: Up to 1 in 5 Israelis said exposed to fake news smearing Gantz, Times of Israel, 5 April 2019: With Israeli election looming, liberal US Jews set their ire on Netanyahu, France24, 6 April 2019: Israeli political parties seek to integrate former generals into their ranks, Haaretz, 6 April 2019: Three Days Until Israeli Election: Netanyahu Hits the Panic Button, The Guardian, 7 April 2019: Netanyahu vows to annex Jewish settlements in occupied West Bank, Haaretz, 7 April 2019: With Gantz as Election Rival, Netanyahu Competes Against an Old Version of Himself, The New York Times, 7 April 2019: As Israel Charts a Future, Color and Chaos Abound in Its Election, Times of Israel, 7 April 2019: The simple, agonizing question for voters Tuesday: Is Netanyahu good for Israel?, The Guardian, 7 April 2019: Netanyahu’s fearmongering is working. Israelis have forgotten how to hope, Haaretz, 7 April 2019: Netanyahu Owned Shares in More Than One of His Cousin’s Companies, France24, 7 April 2019: Israeli extreme right set to become kingmaker, The Guardian, 7 April 2019: Benjamin Netanyahu’s proposal would bury the two-state solution, The Guardian, 7 April 2019: The Observer view on Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel’s elections, Times of Israel, 7 April 2019: Bibi, Trump and the Death of ‘Truth’, Times of Israel, 7 April 2019: The case for Gantz – and a return to decency, Times of Israel, 7 April 2019: Likud cancels Sunday right-wing rally in Jerusalem over fears of poor turnout, The New York Times, 7 April 2019: Will the Israeli ‘King’ Be Recrowned?, The Guardian, 8 April 2019: The secret of Netanyahu’s success? A simple tale of good versus evil, Haaretz, 8 April 2019: Non-Jews Are About to Lose the Right to Vote in Israel, Times of Israel, 8 April 2019: Day before election, Gantz says ‘the right is not in danger – Netanyahu is’. Both, Trump’s recognition of West Jerusalem as an Israeli capital forced by Netanyahu and the recognition of the Syrian Golan Heights as belonging to Israel, have only one consequence, namely that the entire international community has developed the exact opposite point of view, after Netanyahu had forced the member states of the international community to clearly define their own points of view on the two topics. By doing so, Netanyahu ensures the further isolation of Israel (at the same time, of course, he has significantly weakened Israel’s standing in the world, as it becomes increasingly clear that his claim that “Israel belongs to the West” collapses like a house of cards. On all major issues of the recent past, “the West” (with the exception of the USA) from Canada to Australia took opposing positions to his. Instead, he courtes semi-autocrats, autocrats and dictators around the globe and call them “true friends of Israel”. In light of the 2019 election results, 57% of Israelis seems to like this Israeli policy and approach. This will not have a positive impact on Netanyahu’s Israel. It is to be expected a development as recently in Turkey, of course, with Judaism and not Islam as the center). After Netanyahu has already gotten a black eye in the total misjudgment that Trump’s announcement to recognize West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and thus sets the world community on the same path, he will also succeed in getting the next black eye in regard to the Syrian Golan Heights: Haaretz vom 21.03.2019: Trump: Time for U.S. to Recognize Israel’s Sovereignty Over Golan Heights, Times of Israel vom 21.03.2019: Trump says time has come for US to ‘recognize Israel’s sovereignty’ over Golan, The New York Times vom 21.03.2019: Trump Wants U.S. to Recognize Israeli Sovereignty Over the Golan Heights, The Washingotn Post vom 21.03.2019: Trump endorses Israeli control of the disputed Golan Heights, France24, 21 March 2019: Trump says US recognises Israeli sovereignty over Golan Heights, The Guardian, 22 March 2019: Trump provokes global anger by recognising Israel’s claim to Golan Heights, Times of Israel, 22 March 2019: Trump tweet does little for Golan, but much for Netanyahu, critics charge, France24, 22 March 2019: France says Israeli sovereignty over Golan breaks international law, Reuters, 22 March 2019: EU holds position on Golan Heights despite Trump: Tusk, Times of Israel, 22 March 2019: EU says it will not follow Trump in recognizing Israeli sovereignty over Golan, The Guardian, 23 March 2019: Israel’s Netanyahu to play Trump card in tight election, France24, 24 March 2019: Netanyahu in Washington with Golan Heights recognition on tap, France24, 25 March 2019: Trump signs US recognition of Israeli sovereignty over Golan Heights, Times of Israel, 25 March 2019: Alongside PM, Trump signs proclamation recognizing Israeli sovereignty on Golan, France, 26 March 2019: Trump’s Golan move unites Gulf States and Iran in condemnation, The New York Times, 26 March 2019: Golan Heights Recognition by U.S. Sets Precedent for Annexation, Netanyahu Says, Times of Israel, 26 March 2019: Israel says US Golan recognition helps pave way for keeping other captured lands, Haaretz, 26 March 2019: If You’re Still Voting Netanyahu After This Rocket, You’re Thinking Like Hamas, The Guardian, 26 March 2019: Israel-Hamas relations: a predictable but fatal dance, The Guardian, 27 March 2019: Trump’s Golan Heights proclamation is a cynical, dangerous move, Times of Israel, 27 March 2019: All EU countries say no to recognition of Israeli Golan Heights, Times of Israel, 27 March 2019: European envoys said sent to White House, State Department to protest Golan move, Jerusalem Post, 27 March 2019: All 28 EU member states reject Israeli souvereignty over Golan, Haaretz, 27 March 2019: Two-state Solution: U.S. Jews Won’t Budge. Will It Cost Them Their Relationship With Israel?, Haaretz, 27 March 2019: Why Golan Recognition Can’t Pave Way for Israel to Annex West Bank, Haaretz, 27 March 2019: EU States Unanimously Announce: We Do Not Recognize Israeli Sovereignty Over Golan Heights, Times of Israel, 28 March 2019: US slammed at UN Security Council for recognizing Golan as Israeli, The Guardian, 22 May 2019: Israel plans to name settlement on occupied land after Trump (At least United Nations Disengagement Observer Force can finally be ended). So you can get popcorn ready to watch and laugh at Netanyahu’s latest election comedy stunt, especially since it is completely unimportant what Netanyahu dictates Trump to the pen, because it is not more than ineffective symbolism anyway. Among other things (United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 and United Nations Security Council Resolution 497), this was ensured by the intellectually and strategically overwhelmingly superior and prudent US President Barack Obama, who helped to pass Resolution 2334 on 23 December 2016 in the United Nations Security Council, declaring East Jerusalem, the West Bank, Golan Heights and the Gaza Strip as “non-Israeli”, creating a hurdle insurmountable to Netanyahu and Trump. The only option for the two hasardeurs to overcome the hurdle would be to bring in their own resolution to the Security Council, which would not only neutralize Resolution 2334, but even turn it in the opposite direction. One can probably bet a larger amount of money without hesitation that such a project would be crowned by a crushing defeat. Palestine and Syria should actually cheerfully thank Obama for this even today. In addition, of course, international law explicitly prohibits the annexation of foreign territory. If Netanyahu wants to develop Israel into a pariah state, he is very well on the way. Times of Israel, 28 March 2019: Ex-Mossad chief: Netanyahu’s version on Egypt submarine deal ‘makes no sense’, Haaretz, 29 March 2019: Netanyahu’s Likud Lags Behind Gantz-Lapid Alliance, New Election Poll Shows, Jerusalem Post, 31 March 2019: Bank of Israel: Rising expenditure, reduced taxes endangers economy – with the 2019 Israeli parliamentary elections scheduled for April 9, one can only hope that former IDF Chief of Staff Aluf Benny Gantz will be able to win the election and then begin with the recovery of the deeply damaged and weakend democracy by Netanyahu over the past decades, and, as a result, will more likely be able to activate international support than is the case during the Netanyahu government (even in the US, the approval ratings for Israeli policy have been on the decline for years – Times of Israel, 7 March 2019: New poll: Americans’ support for Israel falls to lowest point in a decade and Times of Israel, 11 March 2019: Omar furor reflects increasingly polarized US debate over Israel). After the killing of Yitzhak Rabin (Times of Israel, 31 March 2019: Gantz accuses Netanyahu of role in incitement ahead of Rabin murder), Israel deserve to have another smart, serious, law-abiding and internationally welcomed statesman (and not only when he finally gets back on the plane to fly off) for Prime Minister, and with it the exact opposite of Netanyahu and his Likud, to not further damage the national and international image and perception of Israel. Following the saying “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”, it now looks (a few days before the election and despite the charges of fraud and embezzlement awaiting Netanyahu, as well as suspected election interference through the use of bots), as if the Likud government will get another term in order to promote the further erosion of democracy and the rule of law, deepening the right-wing radicalization, xenophobia and continued terrorist activities in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Overall, the election campaign in recent weeks has become a head-to-head race in a directional election, so that voters are now faced with the task of deciding in which direction the Israeli state should develop: Should Neteanjahu’s Likud continue the further de-democratization and the development of a Jewish theocracy, or should the Blue and White coalition, led by Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid, lead the country into a process of re-democratization, including the return to lawfulness and the fight against corruption (in which Netanyahu for personal reasons, especially because of his own entanglements in numerous crooked businesses, isn’t interested at all)? The answers of the voters will be given soon. Subsequently, the certainly not easy coalition talks to form the future government will start. If the Likud should be re-elected, it would probably be likely that there will be new elections in about a year, because then the lawsuits in several cases against Netanyahu will go on trial, although he is apparently just about to tinker with an immunity law against his prosecution (Haaretz, 8 April 2019: Who Is Running in Israel’s Election? The Full List of Parties and Candidates, France24, 9 April 2019: Polls open in high-stakes election in Israel, The Guardian, 9 April 2019: Israel election: voters go to polls as Netanyahu seeks fifth term, The New York Times, 9 April 2019: In Trump, Netanyahu Sees an Ally Who Helps Him Push the Envelope, The Wahington Post, 9 April 2019: Israeli elections to decide Netanyahu’s fate as voters cast ballots, Haaretz, 9 April 2019: Israel Election 2019: ‘Arab Turnout at Historic Low’; Netanyahu Defends Hidden Cameras in Arab Polling Stations, Haaretz, 9 April 2019: Israel Votes: Everything You Need to Know About Netanyahu’s Corruption Scandal, The Guardian, 12 April 2019: Trump and his imitators are out to nobble the world’s referees, Times of Israel, 12 April 2019: Nine Jewish groups ask Trump to restrain Netanyahu on West Bank annexation, Times of Israel, 14 April 2019: Gantz warns next government will distance country from law and democracy, Times of Israel, 11 June 2019: Democrat Buttigieg warns he would cut Israel aid over West Bank annexation). The election result shows two things: Benny Gantz won the showdown in direct competition with Netanyahu, proving that there is indeed a serious, democratic and liberal alternative to the dubious and racist Netanyahu. Israel will remember it in a year, namely when Netanyahu is expected to stand trial. At the same time, “Blue and White” could not win the election altogether, because Netanyahu had already forged a coalition with nationalists, fascists and extremists before the elections, so that in the future two extremists (Israeli and US commentators compare them to the KKK) will hold ministerial posts. The erosion of democracy and the rule of law will therefore increase in speed. Neighboring states will rejoice that Israel is developing into another theocracy in the region, so that they themselves have no reason to develop their countries towards democracy and still call themselves “one of the many democracies in the Levant”. It will be a mammoth task for the future successor of Netanyahu to get Israel back on track, if at all possible (when religious fanatics are in power, the downward spiral can drag on for decades). Turkish President Erdoğan will also be pleased with the election results, as members of his Justice and Development Party has been voicing concern for some time that Israel could join the EU before Turkey (in real life, no country in the Levant will actually become an EU Member State unless Turkey has already become member). After all, his country is on the list of potential EU Member States, even when the accession talks are frozen and a timely membership is currently excluded. Netanyahu’s Israel isn’t even able to enter the list of potential candidate countries (France24, 9 April 2019: Netanyahu poised to claim victory in Israeli election, The Guardian, 10 April 2019: Israeli election: Netanyahu appears on track for victory despite tied result, France24, 10 April 2019: Right-wing world leaders congratulate Netanyahu on likely election victory, The New York Tims, 10 April 2019: It’s Netanyahu’s Israel Now, Times of Israel, 10 April 2019: Blue and White concedes race, vows to battle Netanyahu from opposition, The Washington Post, 10 April 2019: In tightly fought election, Netanyahu appears set to clinch fifth term in office, Times of Israel, 10 Apri 2019: Top Palestinian official: Israelis voted to maintain status quo, want apartheid, The Guardian, 10 April 2019: ‘The future is dark’: Palestinians react to Israel’s election, Times of Israel, 10 Apri 2019: Netanyahu won, everyone else lost: 5 takeaways from the 2019 elections, The Guardian, 11 April 2019: The Trump-Netanyahu relationship is sowing disaster for both countries, Haaretz, 12 April 2019: AIPAC-affiliated Democrats Warn Netanyahu Against West Bank Annexation, Times of Israel, 13 April 2019: Some of Israel’s best American friends worried by Netanyahu’s annexation talk, The Washington Post, 14 April 2019: Netanyahu was a cautious leader — until Trump came along, The Guardian, 15 April 2019: Europe urged to reject US Middle East plan if it is unfair to Palestinians, Times of Israel, 15 April 2019: German leader calls Netanyahu, stresses need for two-state solution, Times of Israel, 15 April 2019: Trump peace plan likely won’t include Palestinian state — report, Times of Israel, 15 April 2019: The people have spoken. They want to live in Netanyahu’s Israel (2019 electin results), The Washingotn Post, 14 April 2019: Trump peace package for Middle East likely to stop short of Palestinian statehood, Jerusalem Post, 17 April 2019: EU rejects Israeli annexation talk, warns of Middle East chaos, Times of Israel, 17 April 2019: President officially taps Netanyahu to form next government, The Atlantic, 19 April 2019: The French Ambassador Is Retiring Today. Here’s What He Really Thinks About Washington., Times of Israel, 20 April 2019: French envoy to US: Trump plan ‘very close to what Israel wants, 99% doomed’, Haaretz, 21 April 2019: Israel Already an Apartheid State Says Outgoing French Ambassador, Discussing Trump’s Peace Plan, The Guardian, 22 April 2019: Is Benjamin Netanyahu about to go rogue in Jerusalem? All the signs are there, Politico.com, 23 April 2019: Netanyahu calls for new Golan settlement named for Trump, Jerusalem Post, 12 May 2019: Location found in Golan Heights for town to be named after Trump (a nice idea to give the Syrians a clue as to where they can start reconquering their national territory), Times of Israel, 24 April 2019: With immunity gambit, Netanyahu endangers his legacy and our democracy, The Guardian, 24 April 2019: Israelis are not all rightwing. But our leftist parties have lost faith in themselves, Times of Israel, 24 April 2019: Poll: Most Americans like Israelis – but not their government, Times of Israel, 29 April 2019: Mandelblit: The rule of law trumps Netanyahu’s win at the polls, Times of Israel, 13 May 2019: Netanyahu said to plan bill to override High Court, safeguard his immunity, Jerusalem Post, 13 May 2019: Gantz compares ‘threat to democracy’ from Netanyahu to Israel’s enemies, Times of Israel, 13 May 2019: In first Knesset speech, Gantz warns of ‘threat to democratic system’, Times of Israel, 16 May 2019: Full text: The criminal allegations against Netanyahu, as set out by Israel’s AG, Times of Israel, 16 May 2019: Opposition lambastes Netanyahu after report says he will push for immunity law, Haaretz, 16 May 2019: If the U.S. Goes to War With Iran, Netanyahu Will Be the Prime Suspect, Times of Israel, 19 May 2019: Veteran former Likud MK blasts Netanyahu’s ‘corrupt’ immunity bid, Haaretz, 20 May 2019: Netanyahu Is Seeking a Free Hand to Commit Crimes, Times of Israel, 23 May 2019: Former justice minister for Likud warns of Netanyahu ‘dictatorship’, Times of Israel, 25 May 2019: Thousands gather for mass rally to ‘safeguard Israeli democracy’ from Netanyahu, Haaretz, 25 May 2019: Tens of Thousands of Israelis Protest Netanyahu’s Immunity Bills in Opposition’s First Rally, Times of Israel, 25 May 2019: At rally, Gantz and Lapid vow they won’t let Netanyahu turn Israel into Turkey, Haaretz, 26 May 2019: In the Face of Netanyahu’s Threat to Democracy, Israel’s Opposition Makes Rare Show of Unity, Times of Israel, 26 May 2019: Ex-justice, AG: If Netanyahu is above the law, Israel is not a civilized country, The Guardian, 27 May 2019: Netanyahu threatens to call fresh election as coalition talks falter, France24, 29 May 2019: Israel moves towards election rerun as deadline looms, Times of Israel, 28 May 2019: Israel is already in a constitutional crisis, leading law scholar warns, The Washington Post, 29 May 2019: Israel will hold unprecedented second election after Netanyahu fails to form governing coalition, The Guardian, 29 May 2019: Israel to hold new elections after Netanyahu coalition talks fail, DW, 29 May 2019: Israeli parliament votes to hold new election in September, France24, 29 May 2019: Israel faces new election as Netanyahu fails to form coalition, The New York Times, 30 May 2019: Israel in Uncharted Territory as Netanyahu Fails to Form a Coalition, Times of Israel, 30 May 2019: Knesset votes for new elections on September 17 after PM fails to form coalition, Times of Israel, 30 May 2019: The final results of April’s election are in: No one won, Netanyahu lost, Haaretz, 30 May 2019: Netanyahu Just Suffered One of the Biggest Losses of His Political Career, Times of Israel, 31 May 2019: Behind closed doors, Likud officials blame Netanyahu and think about what’s next, France24, 31 May 2019: Great survivor Netanyahu facing fight for political future, The New York Times, 1 June 2019: Is This the End for Netanyahu?, i24News: Israel Elections 2019.

September 2019 Israeli legislative election
Snap legislative elections are due to be held in on 17 September 2019 to elect the 120 members of the 22nd Knesset. Following the prior elections in April, incumbent and Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a governing coalition, the first such failure in Israeli history. On 30 May, the Knesset voted to dissolve itself and trigger new elections, in order to prevent Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz from being appointed Prime Minister-designate. This election was the first time that the Knesset voted to dissolve itself before a government had been formed. Media coverage: Haaretz, 6 June 2019: Neither Israel’s nor Germany’s Slide Into Fascism Was Accidental, Haaretz, 12 June 2019: Right Wing Starts to Sour on Netanyahu, but Can’t Replace Him, Times of Israel, 13 June 2019: As election campaign begins, cracks emerge in right-wing loyalty to Netanyahu, Times of Israel, 13 June 2019: Supreme Court chief accuses new justice minister of leading Israel to ‘anarchy’, Times of Israel, 16 June 2019: No plans, no budget: ‘Trump Heights’ inauguration slammed as a PR stunt, The Guardian, 17 June 2019: ‘Trump Heights’: Israeli settlement in Golan named after US president, Jerusalem Post, 20 June 2019: Ex-Mossad chief: Netanyahu voters ‘ignorant’ – PM: Left is condescending, Times of Israel, 20 June 2019: Ex-Mossad head: Netanyahu voters are ‘ignorant,’ have no moral standards, Times of Israel, 24 June 2019: Netanyahu offered Gantz rotating premiership in bid to avert elections – report, Times of Israel, 25 June 2019: Netanyahu says he’s considering proposal to cancel September election, Times of Israel, 25 June 2019: Opposition seethes as Netanyahu mulls bid to nix September elections, Palestine Chronicle, 25 June 2019: Fearing Poor Performance, Netanyahu May Try to Avoid New Elections, Haaretz, 26 June 2019: The Only Reason Netanyahu Would Try to Nix the New Election, Times of Israel, 26 June 2019: Netanyahu, Gantz deny reports of unity government, rotation deal, Times of Israel, 26 June 2019: Gantz on Likud bid to avert elections: PM pressed the button — no way back, Haaretz, 26 June 2019: ‘Netanyahu’s Regime Must Be Toppled’: Ehud Barak Makes Comeback With New Israeli Political Party, Haaretz, 27 June 2019: Gaza, Iran, or Is It Hezbollah? Netanyahu Using Intel Warnings to Justify Nixing Election, Jerusalem Post, 8 July 2019: Syria has right to recover the Golan Heights from Israel, envoy tells UNHRC, Arab News, 9 July 2019: Barak’s return a sad reflection of state of Israeli left, Times of Israel, 9 July 2019: Barak says ex-general ‘told the truth’ when he likened Israel to pre-war Germany (Times of Israel, 5 May 2016: Deputy IDF chief: Israeli societal trends akin to pre-Holocaust Europe), Times of Israel, 9 July 2019: ‘Feh!’ Top Holocaust scholar pans Netanyahu for warm ties with Poland, Hungary, Haaretz, 10 July 2019: Netanyahu Dirties Up Ehud Barak Over Jeffrey Epstein Scandal So He Looks Cleaner, Jerusalem Post, 19 July 2019: Netanyahu becomes Israel’s longest-serving Prime Minister on Saturday, Haaretz, 19 July 2019: 13 Years, 128 Days and Counting: Netanyahu Surpasses Ben-Gurion. But What’s His Legacy?, Times of Israel, 21 July 2019: Netanyahu’s Israel: Divided over the legacy of its longest serving PM, Times of Israel, 22 July 2019: Is Netanyahu an economic wizard? The numbers beg to differ, Times of Israel, 23 July 2019: Netanyahu said once again pushing right-wing union with racist party, Times of Israel, 26 July 2019: Russians are coming… to the polls. Israeli politicians are finally waking up, Arab News, 27 July 2019: Amid all the politicking, Israel’s policy-free election, Haaretz, 29 July 2019: Israel’s Parties Are Contracting to Bring About Netanyahu’s Downfall, Jerusalem Post, 31 July 2019: Gantz promised not to uproot any settlements in the Jordan Valley, Times of Israel, 31 July 2019: Bahraini king said to decline Netanyahu request to meet in Manama in August, Times of Israel, 30 July 2019: A general’s warning: Yair Golan says only Democratic Camp can mend Israel’s ills, Haaretz, 2 August 2019: Israel’s Do-over Election: A Guide to All the Parties and Who Holds the Keys to the Next Government, Times of Israel, 2 August 2019: Election lists close with rifts on left and right, leaving Liberman as kingmaker, Palestine Chronicle, 1 August 2019: ‘Clear and Decisive Win’: Why Netanyahu Needs a War on Gaza More Than Ever Before, Times of Israel, 1 August 2019: Gantz appears to open, then abruptly closes, door to government with Netanyahu, Haaretz, 3 August 2019: Israel’s Do-over Election: A Guide to All the Parties and Who Holds the Keys to the Next Government, Times of Israel, 3 August 2019: New poll: Most voters oppose unity government with Liberman, Haaretz, 3 August 2019: Jordanian King Rejected Request by Netanyahu for Meeting, Report Says, Times of Israel, 4 August 2019: Netanyahu alleges ‘plot’ to unseat him by Liberman, Lapid and right-wing figures, Israel Hayom, 4 August 2019: With elections afoot, can anyone break the political stalemate?, Times of Israel, 4 August 2019: Top 40 Likud candidates sign pledge not to oust Netanyahu after elections, Times of Israel, 5 July 2019: Netanyahu accuses Lapid of ‘anti-Semitism’ in campaign spot on ultra-Orthodox, Times of Israel, 5 July 2019: Most Israelis say PM tough on defense, but question his personal integrity, Jerusalem Post, 6 August 2019: The five Israeli politicians facing criminal charges, Palestine Chronicle, 6 August 2019: Israel’s Right-Wing Candidates Sign Pledge to Annex 60% of West Bank, Haaretz, 7 August 2019: Netanyahu Vows He Won’t Establish Unity Government After Israeli Election, Times of Israel, 7 August 2019: Smotrich: PM wants a left-wing government, only we can keep him to the right, Times of Israel, 7 August 2019: Netanyahu pans Smotrich’s dream for Torah law in Israel as ‘pure BS’, Times of Israel, 8 August 2019: IDF raids Palestinian village as troops hunt for terrorists who killed student, France24, 8 August 2019: Israel raids West Bank village after soldier found stabbed, Haaretz, 8 August 2019: After West Bank Murder, Netanyahu Vows to Build ‘In All Parts of Our Historic Homeland’, Jerusalem Post, 8 August 2019: In response to West Bank terror, Netanyahu hints at annexation of Area C, Times of Israel, 8 August 2019: Lawmakers blame government policies, push for annexation after student killed, Haaretz, 8 August 2019: Another Radical-right Netanyahu Government Would Decimate Israel’s Ties With American Jews, Haaretz, 11 August 2019: Israel Is Now a Key Battleground in the Global Clash Between Liberal Democracy and Its Enemies, Haaretz, 11 August 2019: Tokyo in Shock: Netanyahu Called Off Japan Visit He Asked for Days Ahead of Trip, Times of Israel, 12 August 2019: Reeling from the last election’s failures, Netanyahu turns on the right, The National, 12 August 2019: Israeli right-wing’s poll threat forced Netanyahu backtrack on Al Aqsa, Haaretz, 12 August 2019: Joint Left-wing Slate Seeks to Woo Voters With Specter of Gantz Joining Netanyahu’s Government, Haaretz, 13 August 2019: Netanyahu Is Running Out of Natural Partners, Haaretz, 13 August 2019: In Netanyahu’s Israel, Democracy Is Dying in Broad Daylight, Haaretz, 14 August 2019: The War for Israel’s Russian Vote Shifts Into High Gear – and Lieberman Is Still Winning, Haaretz, 14 August 2019: Netanyahu Forms New Strategy to Win Israel’s Election, CNN, 15 August 2019: Israel bars Democratic congresswomen from entering country (in view of the upcoming elections in September, Netanyahu’s stunt, ordered by Trump, was, of course, to be expected. The fact that Netanyahu can not deal well with opinions that do not coincide with his own, has become clear for some years in his dealings with the Israeli press (The Guardian, 1 May 2013: Israel downgraded in press freedom report), cultural workers (Haaretz, 1 August 2018: Rethink Policy of Linking Funds for Arts to Settlement Performances, Israel Top Court Says), educational institutions and NGOs (The Guardian, 12 July 2016: Israel passes law to force NGOs to reveal foreign funding). However, applying this procedure to politicians of friendly states, especially the USA, which is a vital partner, represents even for his standards a new low. It should be remembered that politicians of the structurally anti-Semitic German AfD can easily enter the country (but of course they are white and on top of that Islamophobe, just like Netanyahu himself). From a strategic point of view, there is also the question of how sensible it is to prove that political opponents are subject to entry bans and, in addition, to arm them with even more arguments against Israel, which Netanyahu has just done, instead of inviting them to the country to give them the opportunity to learn more about Israel’s points of view, no matter if they are willing to make these points of view their own or not. One day Israel will rely on these voices in one vote or another in US Congress and then don’t get them because of own initiatives and actions. It is becoming increasingly clear that Israel’s greatest enemy is not to be found outside of core Israel, but in the middle of West Jerusalem, in the main office of the Prime Minister’s Office.. Among many other topics, he does not care about the topics “intellect, strategy, security and Israel”. Important for him is himself only and alone), Times of Israel, 15 August 2019: Banned congresswomen call decision ‘insult to democracy’ and a sign of weakness, The Guardian, 15 August 2019: Israel bars entry to US politicians Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, Irish Times, 15 August 2019: Two US congresswomen denied entry to Israel after Trump plea, Al Jazeera, 15 August 2019: Amid outcry, US congresswomen slam Israel’s move to deny entry (Al Jazeera, 5 August 2019: Israel fears a visit by Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib), The Guardian, 15 August 2019: Israel’s decision to block congresswomen Omar and Tlaib draws widespread criticism, France24, 15 August 2019: Israel to bar visit by two US congresswomen who support boycott, Arab News, 15 August 2019: Israel bars visit by US Democratic lawmakers Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Arab News, 15 August 2019: Palestinians must focus on winning the argument internationally, Washington Post, 15 August 2019:Israel’s ban of Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib is a grave misstep, Washington Post, 15 August 2019: Did Trump and Israel get played by Omar and Tlaib? Some conservatives think so., Times of Israel, 15 August 2019: Barring Tlaib and Omar, Israel inexcusably abandons the diplomatic battlefield, Washington Post, 15 August 2019: Israel barring Omar and Tlaib is good for Democrats and bad for Republicans, Haaretz, 15 August 2019: Nixing Tlaib and Omar Visit, Netanyahu Harms Israel to Assuage Trump’s Ego, Times of Israel, 15 August 2019: Barring Tlaib and Omar, Israel inexcusably abandons the diplomatic battlefield, Haaretz, 15 August 2019: AIPAC, pro-Israel U.S. Lawmakers Rebuke Netanyahu Over Omar-Tlaib Ban, Times of Israel, 15 August 2019: Pelosi: Barring lawmakers beneath Israel’s dignity; Rubio: Decision is a mistake, France24, 15 August 2019: US lawmaker Tlaib rejects Israeli offer to visit West Bank, cites ‘oppressive’ conditions set, Times of Israel, 15 August 2019: AIPAC and other Israel-backers rebuke Israeli decision to bar Omar and Tlaib, Jerusalem Post, 15 August 2019: Israel’s history of blocking entry to anti-Israel activists and others, Palestine Chronicle, 16 August 2019: Tlaib Won’t Visit West Bank under ‘Oppressive’ Israeli Conditions (VIDEOS), Times of Israel, 16 August 2019: Contradicting PM, Omar insists she was planning to meet Israel officials on trip, The New York Times, 16 August 2019: If You Think Trump Is Helping Israel, You’re a Fool, BBC, 16 August 2019: Israel bars Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from visiting, Haaretz, 16 August 2019: Trump and Netanyahu Just Broke the Special Relationship Between America and Israel, Jerusalem Post, 16 August 2019: Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar outmaneuver Israel – analysis, Israel Hayom, 16 August 2019: Israel should have ignored Trump’s pressure on Omar and Tlaib, Times of Israel, 16 August 2019: The day Israel humiliated its US friends in Congress, Israel Hayom, 16 August 2019: Netanyahu had no choice, Times of Israel, 16 August 2019: Joe Lieberman says Israel made ‘serious mistake’ in banning Tlaib and Omar, The Guardian, 17 August 2019: Trump and Netanyahu are playing a bigoted game of chicken, Times of Israel, 17 August 2019: Pelosi: We can’t let ‘weakness’ of Trump, Netanyahu harm US-Israel ties, Haaretz, 17 August 2019: Fierce Backlash to Tlaib Travel Ban Is a Time Bomb for the U.S.-Israel ‘Special Relationship’, Jerusalem Post, 17 August 2019: Social media users compare ban of Tlaib, Omar, to apartheid S.Africa, Times of Israel, 17 August 2019: The day Netanyahu helped anti-Israel Democrats gain resonance and credibility, Haaretz, 17 August 2019: Netanyahu’s Singular Knack for Turning Friends Into Bitter Enemies, Jerusalem Post, 17 August 2019: Netanyahu’s vs. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar’s calculations, Times of Israel, 17 August 2019: House Democrats said weighing censure of Israeli, US envoys over entry ban, Times of Israel, 17 August 2019: Tlaib’s grandmother wishes ‘ruin’ on Trump after he mocks her on Twitter, Haaretz, 18 August 2019: Meet Donald Trump’s Most Desperate Sycophant: Benjamin Netanyahu, Times of Israel, 18 August 2019: Feminist icon Steinem says she won’t visit Israel while ‘bully’ Netanyahu is PM, CNN, 18 August 2019: Trump has used Israel for political points — and there may be consequences, Jerusalem Post, 18 August 2019: Netanyahu – damned for bad ties with Obama, damned for good ties with Trump, Haaretz, 18 August 2019: On Israel, Omar and Tlaib Do Not Speak for Party, Says Jewish Democrat Max Rose, Haaretz, 20 August 2019: ‘Furious and Confused’: Liberal U.S. Jews Fume Over Israel’s Tlaib-Omar Rejection, Haaretz, 19 August 2019: Tlaib and Omar Make Things Clear About South Africa’s Successor, CNN, 20 August 2019: Jewish leaders outraged by Trump saying Jews disloyal if they vote for Democrats, The Guardian, 20 August 2019: Trump uses antisemitic trope to question loyalty of Jewish Democrats – live, Haaretz, 20 August 2019: Trump: Jews Voting Democrat Are Disloyal or Ignorant, Times of Israel, 20 August 2019: Jewish groups: Trump spreads anti-Semitic trope by accusing Jews of ‘disloyalty’, Haaretz, 20 August 2019: Gaza Emigration Ploy Suggests Netanyahu Hell-bent on Torching Israel’s Image Abroad, The Guardian, 21 August 2019: Jew-baiting is part of the Trump playbook. It’s a feature, not a bug, Haaretz, 21 August 2019: After Trump ‘Disloyalty’ Remark, Israeli President Tells Pelosi Israel Must Not Become Partisan Issue, The Guardian, 21 August 2019: Trump’s tweets about ‘disloyal’ Jews are laced with centuries of antisemitism, Times of Israel, 21 August 2019: With eyes on ‘erasing’ Green Line, Yamina introduces plan to fix housing crisis, Jerusalem Post, 21 August 2019: Jewish ‘disloyalty’ comments ‘unwelcome and downright dangerous’, Haaretz, 21 August 2019: Trump’s Vile ‘Disloyalty’ Smear Refle, Times of Israel, 21 August 2019: Dreadful symbiosis sees Israel and Jews pulled into volcanic core of US politics, Haaretz, 21 August 2019: Trump Has Made It Official: He Is the Greatest anti-Semite of Our Age, Jerusalem Post, 21 August 2019: One Jewish people, two different realities – analysis, Times of Israel, 21 August 2019: Before ban, ex-US envoy tried to set up meetings for Omar with Israelis, Times of Israel, 21 August 2019: Israel is neither Bibi nor the United States, Politico.com, 21 August 2019: Jewish Dems rage over Trump’s ‘disloyalty’ comments, Al Jazeera, 21 August 2019: Jews tweet ‘disloyal to Trump’ after Trump calls them disloyal, Times of Israel, 21 August 2019: Trump tweets claim Israelis ‘love him like he is the second coming of God’, Times of Israel, 21 August 2019: As Trump questions loyalty of US Jews, Netanyahu is silent, Israel Hayom, 22 August 2019: American Jewry’s implosion, i24 News, 22 August 2019: Trump: Jews who vote as Democrats ‘greatly disloyal’ or lacking knowledge, Israel Hayom, 22 August 2019: US and Israel sign agreement to strengthen partnership, Times of Israel, 22 August 2019: Blue and White MKs rule out center-left coalition with Arab lawmakers, Israel Hayom, 22 August 2019: For Trump, hurting Israel means hurting America, Times of Israel, 22 August 2019: Right-wing parties, left-wing parties ink vote-sharing agreements, Israel Hayom, 22 August 2019: Israel’s self-inflicted black eye, Israel Hayom, 22 August 2019: Trump’s ‘disloyal’ jab may boost base, not Jews, Times of Israel, 23 August 2019: Poll: Likud tied with Blue and White, neither has clear path to majority, Israel Hayom, 23 August 2019: The real turning point in US-Israel relations, Haaretz, 23 August 2019: Of Courage and Cowardice in Israel’s Election Campaign, Israel Hayom, 23 August 2019: Poll: Majority of Israelis plan on repeating April election vote, Jerusalem Post, 25 August 2019: German Jews slam Merkel’s FM for belittling Palestinian terrorist attack (Auswärtiges Amt, 23 August 2019: Der heutige Anschlag auf drei Israelis, einem Vater mit zwei Kindern, im Westjordanland macht uns tief betroffen. Wir verurteilen solche Gewaltakte mit allem Nachdruck & setzen uns dafür ein, dass die Spirale aus Gewalt und Hass überwunden wird.), Times of Israel, 24 August 2019: Dems Schneider, Sherman: Defending Israel harder under Trump-Netanyahu alliance, Haaretz, 24 August 2019: Netanyahu Is Going for Broke, Times of Israel, 24 August 2019: Barak says Netanyahu cowed by Trump ‘like a puppy’, Times of Israel, 25 August 2019: Given cold shoulder, Joint List head attacks ‘racist’ Blue and White, Haaretz, 25 August 2019: The Most Urgent Thing Is Removing Netanyahu. But What Happens the Day After?, Haaretz, 26 August 2019: We Must Choose the Lesser of Two Evils, Times of Israel, 26 August 2019: Israel alarmed by possible Trump-Rouhani talks, fears he’ll let Iran off hook (making Israel a partisan issue comes with a price tag. Even the blindest Netanjahu fan should now understand that the PM is a greater security risk for Israel than all external threats together), Haaretz, 26 August 2019: Israel Fears Trump Might Sit Down With the Iranians – and Be Outmaneuvered, Times of Israel, 27 August 2019: Former US envoy: Trump harming Israel for his own gain, The Washington Post, 27 August 2019: The hype over possible U.S.-Iran talks obscured something much more ominous, Al Jazeera, 27 August 2019: How will the Joint List fare in Israel’s snap election?, Haaretz, 27 August 2019: Trump’s Soft-pedal Outreach to Iran Is a Preview of Netanyahu’s Worst Nightmares, Times of Israel, 27 August 2019: The first Israel-Iran war, Israel Hayom, 28 August 2019: Israel’s shadow war with Iran bursts into the open, Haaretz, 28 August 2019: Netantyahu Okayed Sale of Submarines to Egypt to Get Israel a Discount, Report Says, Jerusalem Post, 28 August 2019: Editor’s notes: What is happening to Gantz?, Jerusalem Post, 29 August 2019: Blue and White sources: Gantz will have blocking majority against PM, Haaretz, 29 August 2019: In Deal With Far-right Leader, Netanyahu Edges Closer to Reelection. Next Up: The Kahanists, Israel Hayom, 29 August 2019: Lieberman won’t support right-wing government, PM tells Russian voters, Haaretz, 29 August 2019: A Leak That Leaves No Doubts About Netanyahu’s Illicit Deals With Media Tycoon, Israel Hayom, 29 August 2019: Is Israel on the verge of an all-out war?, Israel Hayom, 30 August 2019: The hot potatoes of the election, CNN, 30 August 2019: Israel is making the case for war, in public, against Lebanon, Israel Hayom, 30 August 2019: Pompeo: Israel can rely on diplomatic, legal, military support in any war with Iran, Times of Israel, 30 August 2019: Netanyahu tells Macron ‘now is precisely not the time to talk to Iran’, The Guardian, 31 August 2019: Israel risks becoming the fall guy in Donald Trump’s ‘shadow war’ with Iran, Haaretz, 31 August 2019: Four Bleeding Middle Eastern Fronts Awaiting Trump’s Next Tweet, Arab News, 31 August 2019: Playing with fire may burn more than Netanyahu’s fingers, Times of Israel, 30 August 2019: Liberman says his party is recruiting poll watchers for Haredi and Arab towns, The National, 31 August 2019: Lebanon is in the eye of the storm in the latest round of Iran-Israeli clashes, Jerusalem Post, 31 August 2019: Bennett backs immunity, giving PM majority if he gets 61 seats, Haaretz, 31 August 2019: First Drone War Pulls Israel’s Conflict With Iran Out of the Shadows, Times of Israel, 31 August 2019: IDF sends artillery to northern border as tensions with Hezbollah rise, Haaretz, 31 August 2019: Netanyahu Ratchets Up Attack on Production Company, Journalist Reporting His Corruption Probes, The Guardian, 1 September 2019: Israel and Hezbollah trade cross-border fire for first time in years, BBC, 1 September 2019: Hezbollah fires rockets into Israel from Lebanon, Haaretz, 1 September 2019: It’s Now Clear: Netanyahu Won’t Rest Until a Journalist’s Blood Is Spilled, France24, 1 September 2019: Hezbollah launch anti-tank missiles toward Israel, Tel Aviv fires back, Al Jazeera, 1 September 2019: Israel, Hezbollah exchange fire at Lebanon border, Haaretz, 1 September 2019: Netanyahu Seeks to Silence Critical Media by Hitting Their Revenues, Arab News, 1 September 2019: Hezbollah and Israel exchange fire on the Lebanese border, The National, 1 September 2019: Hezbollah raises spectre of war with Israel in retaliatory cross-border attack, Haaretz, 1 September 2019: Hezbollah Missiles Hit Israeli Base, Military Vehicle on Lebanese Border; No Casualties, Israel Hayom, 1 September 2019: Netanyahu reaffirms pledge to annex parts of Judea and Samaria (West Bank), Al Aarabiya, 1 September 2019: Israel says exchange of fire with Hezbollah likely over, Times of Israel, 2 September 2019: Netanyahu accuses Channel 12 owners of ‘terror attack against democracy’, Times of Israel, 2 September 2019: Gantz blasts Netanyahu for loose lips during Hezbollah flareup, Haaretz, 2 September 2019: Israel, Hezbollah Find Way Out of Escalation, but a Critical Dilemma Remains, Times of Israel, 2 September 2019: IDF chief to UNIFIL: Stop Hezbollah’s missile program, or we will, Palestine Chronicle, 2 September 2019: Palestinian Officials Slam Netanyahu’s Pledge to Annex West Bank, Times of Israel, 2 September 2019: Netanyahu has chosen to go to war with the media, Times of Israel, 2 September 2019: Hailing ‘bold, brave’ attack, Nasrallah vows: ‘No more red lines against Israel’, Haaretz, 3 September 2019: Israel Pats Itself on Back, but Almost Got Dragged Into War Due to Operational Failure, Gulf News, 2 September 2019: Israel, Hezbollah should not jeopardise innocent lives, Times of Israel, 2 September 2019: Attorney general says media can publish leaks from cases against Netanyahu, Al Jazeera, 3 September 2019: Netanyahu’s calculus: Bombs speak louder than words, Haaretz, 3 September 2019: Gantz’s Sleeper Campaign Could Be the Secret Weapon That Fells Netanyahu, France24, 3 September 2019: Israel-Hezbollah clashes ‘play positively’ for Netanyahu’s re-election campaign, Arab News, 3 September 2019: Netanyahu’s election gamble may be costly for Israel , Haaretz, 3 September 2019: Israel Needs an Old-fashioned Leader, Times of Israel, 3 September 2019: Worrying days for Israel when Hezbollah is a key source of credible information, Haaretz, 3 September 2019: The Israeli Election – Through the Eyes of Palestinians Who Can’t Vote, Israel Hayom, 3 September 2019: Dangerous bedfellows, Times of Israel, 3 September 2019: Gantz: No 2nd disengagement, the public will decide on any diplomatic deal, The Guardian, 4 September 2019: Benjamin Netanyahu to meet Boris Johnson on surprise visit to London, Times of Israel, 4 September 2019: Israel said again mulling raid on Iran; thinks Trump, unlike Obama, won’t oppose, The New York Times, 4 September 2019: The Secret History of the Push to Strike Iran, Haaretz, 4 September 2019: ‘Bibi-sitting’ and Drones Out of Azerbaijan: Report Reveals How Close Israel Came to Striking Iran, The National, 4 September 2019: Lebanon, Hezbollah and the danger of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, Times of Israel, 4 September 2019: Lebanese PM: We’re not responsible for Hezbollah; it’s a ‘regional problem’, Haaretz, 5 September 2019: As Bibi Meets Boris — Tory Rebels Prove Morally Superior to Likudniks, Times of Israel, 5 September 2019: PM’s wife, son insisted tycoon’s wife delete all messages from them – report, Haaretz, 5 September 2019: Israel’s Watchdog Proves Himself a Spineless Servant of Netanyahu, Jerusalem Post, 5 September 2019: Grapevine: Corruption allegations not a priority for Israeli voters, The National, 5 September 2019: Hezbollah and Israel have stepped back from the brink this time but the trajectory is deeply troubling, Times of Israel, 5 September 2019: ‘Miriam Adelson: Sara Netanyahu said it would be my fault if Iran nuked Israel’, Haaretz, 5 September 2019: Iran Overture and Greenblatt Departure Cloud Trump-Netanyahu Paradise, Jerusalem Post, 5 September 2019: Gantz: State comptroller works for Netanyahu, Times of Israel, 5 September 2019: Gantz derides Netanyahu’s jet-setting diplomacy as futile, self-serving, Haaretz, 6 September 2019: Casting Doubt on Election’s Integrity, Netanyahu Commits the Worst ‘Terror Attack on Democracy’, Haaretz, 6 September 2019: Poodles of the Autocracy, Times of Israel, 7 September 2019: Yair Netanyahu more dangerous than Rabin assassin Yigal Amir, says Labor head, Jerusalem Post, 7 September 2019: Gantz makes appeal to Arab voters: You are equal, influential, Times of Israel, 7 September 2019: Liberman says Likud planning to violently sabotage vote on election day,
The Guardian, 7 September 2019: Israelis return to the polls in the election that nobody wanted, Jerusalem Post, 7 September 2019: PA: Greenblatt resignation is Trump’s “opportunity to rethink” peace plan, Jerusalem Post, 7 September 2019: Moshe Ya’alon: Blue and White will not enter coalition led by Netanyahu, Jerusalem Post, 7 September 2019: Why American Jews should care about voter surpression in Israel, Haaretz, 8 September 2019: Netanyahu on Son’s Tweets About Assassinated Israeli PM Yitzhak Rabin: ‘His Opinions Are His Alone’, Times of Israel, 8 September 2019: Barak says passage of Likud-backed Camera Bill would mark ‘the end of democracy’, Times of Israel, 8 September 2019: Is Israel lost without Netanyahu, or are we losing Israel with him?, Times of Israel, 8 September 2019: Foreign Ministry forced to freeze most diplomatic activity due to lack of funds, Haaretz, 9 September 2019: Nine Days to Elections: Netanyahu Deploys Trump’s ‘Election Fraud’ Canard, to Devastating Effect, Times of Israel, 9 September 2019: Trouble in paradise? Trump conspicuously absent from Netanyahu’s re-election bid, Times of Israel, 9 September 2019: Averting shutdown, Foreign Ministry gets emergency cash injection, Jerusalem Post, 9 September 2019: Blue and White leads by one mandate, Otzma Yehudit passes threshold – poll, Times of Israel, 9 September 2019: The dark motivations behind Netanyahu’s bid to put cameras into polling stations, The National, 9 September 2019: With strikes against Iran, Benjamin Netanyahu risks jeopardising his closest alliance, Haaretz, 9 September 2019: Netanyauh’s Camera Bill Is a Gun at Israeli Democracy’s Head, Jerusalem Post, 9 September 2019: Gantz and Lapid: Netanyahu using national security for election campaign, Haaretz, 9 September 2019: Slain Prime Minister Rabin Is Suddenly the Star of Israel’s Mudslinging Election, Israel Hayom, 9 September 2019: An election diversion par excellence, Haaretz, 9 September 2019: Reigning Supremacist: The House of Netanyahu and the Jews Bibi Hates, Jerusalem Post, 9 September 2019: Gantz: I would have let Omar and Tlaib into Israel, The Guardian, 10 September 2019: Netanyahu vows to annex large parts of occupied West Bank, BBC, 10 September 2019: Netanyahu pledges to annex occupied Jordan Valley, CNN, 10 September 2019: Netanyahu says Israel will annex parts of West Bank, Al Jazeera, 10 September 2019: Netanyahu announces post-election plan to annex Jordan Valley, Arab News, 10 September 2019: Israel’s Netanyahu vows to annex West Bank’s Jordan Valley if re-elected, The National, 10 September 2019: Benjamin Netanyahu says he intends to annex Jordan Valley, Haaretz, 10 September 2019: Netanyahu Says Israel Will Annex Jordan Valley if Reelected, Times of Israel, 10 September 2019: Netanyahu’s Jordan Valley vow: Harbinger of US support or indication of failure? (if you watch the film “Peace Talks – The Oslo Diaries” by Mor Loushy and Daniel Sivan, it becomes clear how Netanyahu changed Israel during his tenures to the worse), Irish Times, 10 September 2019: Netanyahu vows to annex large parts of occupied West Bank, NPR, 11 September 2019: Benjamin Netanyahu Vows To Annex Part Of West Bank If He Wins Reelection, Al Jazeera, 11 September 2019: What are areas A, B, and C of the occupied West Bank?, The Washington Post, 11 September 2019: In the Jordan Valley, Palestinians fear further displacement after Netanyahu’s annexation pledge, CNN, 11 September 2019: Netanyahu says Israel will annex parts of West Bank if he’s re-elected, Al Jazeera, 11 September 2019: Netanyahu annexation pledge denounced as ‘dangerous’ and ‘racist’, Arab News, 11 September 2019: Netanyahu’s plan to annex Jordan Valley widely opposed, Amman says peace treaty could be ‘at stake’, Gulf News, 11 September 2019: UAE denounces Netanyahu’s electoral pledge to annex occupied West Bank, The National, 11 September 2019: UAE and Saudi Arabia condemn Netanyahu’s ‘dangerous escalation’ after annexation pledge, Al Arabiya, 11 September 2019: Moscow: Netanyahu’s plans could lead to ‘sharp escalation of tensions’, The Guardian, 11 September 2019: Arab leaders denounce Netanyahu’s plan to annex Palestinian territories, Haaretz, 11 September 2019: U.S. Jewish Groups Slam Netanyahu’s Vow to Annex Jordan Valley: ‘Israelis Won’t Live in Democracy’, Times of Israel, 11 September 2019: Trump said mulling easing Iran sanctions to secure Rouhani meeting, The Guardian, 11 September 2019: The Guardian view on Netanyahu’s land grab: a prison, not a peace, Palestine Chronicle, 11 September 2019: Abbas Threatens to End All Agreements if Israel Annexes Palestinian Land, Haaretz, 11 September 2019: While Netanyahu Makes Annexation Promises, Reality (Almost) Hits Him on the Head, Haaretz, 11 September 2019: The 15-second Video That Could Kill Netanyahu’s Rock-star Election Campaign, Times of Israel, 11 September 2019: Netanyahu blasts Blue and White for celebrating after rocket forces him offstage, Haaretz, 11 September 2019: Netanyahu’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day, The Guardian, 12 September 2019: Facebook penalises Netanyahu page over hate speech violation, Politico, 12 September 2019: Israel accused of planting mysterious spy devices near the White House (well, maybe not exactly the message Netanyahu might want to send out to his voters, about a week before the upcoming Israeli elections and it’s just another big sign that the “bromance” between Netanyahu and Trump is coming to its end. It’s not even relevant if the report is true or false, as everybody is actually believing that the paranoid Israeli leader has ordered the spy action, anyway. As Netanyahu has made Israel a partisan issue (Trump and the Republicans) in the US, he has now trapped himself finally between a rock and a hard place), The Daily Beast, 12 September 2019: Trump Ignored Evidence Israel Planted Cellphone Spying Devices Near White House: Politico, Haaretz, 12 September 2019: Israel Reportedly Planted Mysterious Spy Devices Near White House; Netanyahu: Total Lie, BBC, 12 September 2019: Netanyahu denies Politico report Israel is spying on US, The Guardian, 12 September 2019: Israel accused of planting spying devices near White House, Haaretz, 12 September 2019: This Is Israel’s Last Ever Zionist Election, Times of Israel, 12 September 2019: Why the man who comes second in Israel’s election could end up prime minister, Haaretz, 12 September 2019: ‘Adelson to Netanyahu: I Keep Writing in Your Favor, I Lose $50m a Year, You Keep Shouting at Me’, Haaretz, 13 September 2019: Netanyahu’s Plan to Escape Trial, in His Own Words: ‘Time for Them to Be Frightened’, Al Jazeera, 13 September 2019: Palestinians in Israel: Netanyahu’s racism makes us want to vote, Israel Hayom, 13 September 2019: Poll predicts 62 seats for left-wing coalition with Lieberman, Politico.com, 14 September 2019: Trump touts defense treaty discussions with Netanyahu days before Israeli election (just remember what Trump thought about the insights of the US intelligence services about Russia’s interference in the US presidential elections in order to come to own conclusions about the spying action in Washington, D.C., or in other words: If you truly believe Trump’s words, than we have a bridge to sell to you (George C. Parker)), Jerusalem Post, 14 September 2019: Netanyahu: ‘Gantz’s advisor was behind White House spying leak’, Times of Israel, 14 September 2019: Iranian FM mocks US following disputed report of Israeli spying in Washington, Haaretz, 14 September 2019: Trump Says He Talked Defense Treaty With Netanyahu, to Be Discussed After Israel’s Election, The Guardian, 14 September 2019: Trump floats possible defense treaty days ahead of Israeli elections, Arab News, 14 September 2019: Trump discusses possible mutual defense treaty with Israel’s Netanyahu, Haaretz, 14 September 2019: The Only Real Question Still Looming Over Israel’s Repeat Election, Jerusalem Post, 14 September 2019: Russia prevents Israeli airstrikes in Syria, Haaretz, 14 September 2019: Three Days to Election, Master Wizard Netanyahu Ramps Up Efforts to Mesmerize Israeli Voters, Times of Israel, 14 September 2019: Prominent Bahraini royal to ToI: Netanyahu is an obstacle to better relations, Haaretz, 14 September 2019: Netanyahu’s West Bank Annexation Move Illegal, European States Say, The New York Times, 14 September 2019: Netanyahu’s Fate May Depend on Israeli Arab Voters. Will They Turn Out?, Haaretz, 15 September 2019: Two Days to Election, Netanyahu Government Green Lights Legalizing Jordan Valley Outpost, Times of Israel, 15 September 2019: A failure to inspire: How lackluster rivals let Netanyahu dominate the campaign, Times of Israel, 15 September 2019: With cameras banned, new right-wing patrol seeks to ‘prevent Arab voter fraud’, Haaretz, 15 September 2019: LISTEN: A Watershed Election for Netanyahu – and Israeli Democracy, Israel Hayom, 15 September 2019: Netanyahu: Defense treaty with US won’t compromise our freedom, Times of Israel, 16 September 2019: Netanyahu: After Jordan Valley and settlements, I’ll annex other ‘vital areas’, CNN, 15 September 2019: Netanyahu is endangering the future of a two-state solution, France24, 16 September 2019: Netanyahu, Gantz spur supporters on eve of tense Israeli polls, CNN, 16 September 2019: Trump may no longer be the gift that keeps on giving for Netanyahu, The Guardian, 16 September 2019: Israel elections: why is the country going to the polls again?, France24, 16 September 2019: Netanyahu in tight race against Benny Gantz as Israel prepares to vote in run-off, Times of Israel, 16 September 2019: Will Israel’s Arab citizens turn out to vote?, CNN, 16 September 2019: In the face of Netanyahu’s annexation plans, his centrist rivals remain silent, Al Jazeera, 16 September 2019: ‘Desperate to be re-elected’: Will Netanyahu win Israel vote?, Arab News, 16 September 2019: Israeli PM vows to annex ‘all the settlements’ in West Bank, Haaretz, 16 September 2019: Israel Election: Tell Us Which Minority You Hate, and We’ll Tell You Who to Vote For, Gulf News, 16 September 2019: Israel elections mean nothing to Palestine, The National, 16 September 2019: Israelis return to the polls with Benjamin Netanyahu’s fate still uncertain, Jerusalem Post, 16 September 2019: Netanyahu vows to annex Hebron, Kiryat Arba after election, Haaretz, 16 September 2019: On Election Day, It’s the Prince of Darkness vs. Israel’s Very Soul, Times of Israel, 16 September 2019: Gantz assails Netanyahu over reports he sought to go to war before elections, BBC, 16 September 2019: Israel election a referendum on Netanyahu, France24, 16 September 2019: Benny Gantz: the thorn in Netanyahu’s side, Haaretz, 16 September 2019: 1000, 2000, 4000: Can Netanyahu Escape the Corruption Cases Against Him?, The Guardian, 17 September 2019: For Palestinians, Israel’s elections promise nothing but defeat, France24, 17 September 2019: Israel votes with Netanyahu’s political survival at stake, BBC, 17 September 2019: Israel election: Netanyahu in tough fight in this year’s second vote, The Guardian, 17 September 2019: Israel election: voters head to the polls for second time this year, Arab News, 17 September 2019: Europe lacks the backbone to challenge Israeli annexation, Times of Israel, 17 September 2019: Netanyahu far from 61 seats, Liberman poised to be, Haaretz, 17 September 2019: In ‘Emergency’ Move, Netanyahu Repeatedly Breaks Election Laws Hours Before Polls Close, The New York Times, 17 September 2019: Updates: Israel Election Exit Polls Show Tight Race, Times of Israel, 17 September 2019: Tel Aviv beachgoers hope their ‘bubble’ big enough to burst Bibi’s chances, Haaretz, 17 September 2019: Israel Election 2019: Netanyahu Fails to Secure Ruling Majority, Gantz in the Lead, Exit Polls Show, Times of Israel, 17 September 2019: All TV exit polls see no clear election winner; Netanyahu bloc short of majority, Haaretz, 17 September 2019: Who Is Benny Gantz, the Former General Who Just Overtook Netanyahu, Times of Israel, 17 September 2019: Eyeing coalition with post-Netanyahu Likud, Blue and White says longtime PM lost, Haaretz, 17 September 2019: Exit Polls Prove Netanyahu’s Spell Has Been Broken, Palestine Chronicle, 17 September 2019: Apartheid Made Official: Deal of the Century is a Ploy and Annexation is the New Reality, Politico.com, 17 September 2019: Israel’s Netanyahu appears to suffer election setback, Haaretz, 18 September 2019: In Defeat, Netanyahu Looks to Iran and Trump for Salvation, Times of Israel, 18 September 2019: Gantz, in morning-after comments, wishes Israel a ‘good unity government’, Haaretz, 18 September 2019: ‘Netanyahu Failed, We Succeeded’: Gantz Says Talks Underway to Form Unity Government, France24, 18 September 2019: Netanyahu neck-and-neck with rival Gantz in Israeli election, exit polls show, BBC, 18 September 2019: Israel election: Netanyahu and rival Gantz headed for deadlock, CNN, 18 September 2019: Netanyahu faces uncertain future as he trails in Israeli election re-run, The Guardian, 18 September 2019: Netanyahu and Gantz both vow to form next government, The New York Times, 18 September 2019: Netanyahu Is in Trouble, and Other Takeaways From the Israeli Election, The Washington Post, 18 September 2019: Israel’s election results could be the glimmer of dawn after a nightmare, Al Jazeera, 18 September 2019: Israel election: Partial results show rivals heading for deadlock, Arab News, 18 September 2019: Israeli racism defeated as voters back Arab Joint List, Haaretz, 18 September 2019: How Arab Voters Helped Deprive Netanyahu of Victory, Times of Israel, 18 September 2019: With 95% of vote counted, Blue and White leads by one seat, deadlock persists, The National, 18 September 2019: Israelis have given their verdict: Benjamin Netanyahu could be on his way out, Politico.eu, 18 September 2019: Netanyahu alliance fails to win majority in repeat election, Haaretz, 18 September 2019: Israel Election Results: With Indictment Around the Corner, Netanyahu Is at the Mercy of the Attorney General, Times of Israel, 18 September 2019: Trump says he hasn’t spoken to Netanyahu: ‘Our relationship is with Israel’, France24, 19 September 2019: Netanyahu rival Gantz says he should take PM job in unity government (regardless of how the coalition talks might turn out, Benny Gantz and his liberal political alliance Blue and White have won the elections. By contrast, the April election outcome was tied. Israeli voters are beginning to notice, that the current Prime Minister isn’t as good for the country than he would like to persuade himself and his followers. In many ways a very gratifying development), The Guardian, 19 September 2019: Netanyahu struggles to hold on to power as Gantz claims victory, Haaretz, 19 September 2019: Israel Election Results: Netanyahu’s Loss Creates an Opening for Trump — and for American Jewry, Times of Israel, 19 September 2019: Gantz says he should lead unity government, rejects coalition led by right, CNN, 19 September 2019: Israeli leaders warn of possible third election amid political deadlock, The Washington Post, 19 September 2019: Who is Benny Gantz? The former military chief could be Israel’s next prime minister., Haaretz, 19 September 2019: From Liberals in Tel Aviv to Radical Settlers: How Israelis Voted in the Election, Times of Israel, 19 September 2019: As Netanyahu’s position weakens, liberal US Jews root for an end to his reign, Haaretz, 19 September 2019: Israel Election Results: Netanyahu Clings to Power With Bluff and Bluster – but His Days Are Numbered, France24, 20 September 2019: Israel vote count gives Gantz party slim lead, confirms deadlock, Times of Israel: 2019 Israeli elections, Haaretz: Israel election 2019, i24 News: Israel Elections 2019, Jerusalem Post: Israel Elections, BBC: Israeli elections 2019.

Right of return
Among the parties particularly controversial is the right of return for the Palestinian refugees, who lost their homes and their property in the wake of the founding of Israel and were not allowed to return. The Palestinians demand the right of return (supported by UN General Assembly resolution 194) for all former refugees (about 800,000) and Palestinians today counted as refugees (about 6 million, Palestinian claims 8.5 million). Israel denies this, referring to the Israeli Law of Return for Jews from all over the world (the Likud coalition has recently passed legal restrictions on this), as well as the Jews expelled from the Arab lands during Israel’s founding: a right of return for both Jews and Palestinians would lead to the dissolution of the state of Israel in its current conception as a Jewish dominated state (which would also apply to the counter-concept of Eretz Israel by Israeli settlers’ and other right-wing extremist, radical and nationalist terrorist organizations), a right of return or compensation for the Arab Jews is unthinkable. The Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, despite their affiliation to the Palestinian Territories, are still mostly counted as refugees by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and are in most cases stateless. The same applies to the Palestinians, who still live in refugee camps in Lebanon and Syria. Despite the difficult living conditions in the refugee camps and the areas occupied by Israel, there is a sustained increase in population, especially in the latter. From 1967 to 2002, the number of Palestinians in the areas increased from 450,000 to 3.3 million. The birth rate in the Gaza Strip has been among the highest in the world for years. About half of all inhabitants of the occupied territories and refugee camps are under 15 years old (Foreign Policy, 25 June 2018: Shadow Government: Kushner’s Peace Plan Is a Disaster Waiting to Happen, Foreign Policy, 3 August 2018: Trump and Israel Seek End to Refugee Status for Millions of Palestinians, Haaretz, 23 October 2018: Israeli Foreign Ministry Official: If Trump Delays Peace Plan, France Will Offer Alternative, The Guardian, 1 January 2019: Why Trump’s Middle East peace plan is just a sideshow and Times of Israel, 7 January 2019: Justice ministry rejects Netanyahu’s criticism of corruption probes, Times of Israel, 7 January 2019: Justice ministry rejects Netanyahu’s criticism of corruption probes, Times of Israel, 28 February 2019: High Court rejects Likud petition to prevent AG announcing Netanyahu indictment, France24, 28 February 2019: Israeli Justice Ministry confirms intention to indict Netanyahu, The New York Times, 28 February 2019: Prosecutor Moves to Indict Netanyahu on Corruption Charges, Times of Israel: Netanyahu criminal investigations – full coverage (which is why he is no longer referred to as “Prime Minister” but as “Crime Minister” in Israel), The New York Times, 28 February 2019: Trump Ordered Officials to Give Jared Kushner a Security Clearance (The Washington Post, 1 April 2019: White House whistleblower says 25 security clearance denials were reversed during Trump administration), The Washington Post, 20 March 2019: Under investigation and up for reelection, Netanyahu’s kinship with Trump has never been clearer, Haaretz, 20 March 2019: Pocket Money, Loans and Millions for Legal Advice: Has Netanyahu’s Wallet Finally Been Found?, Times of Israel vom 20.03.2019: State prosecutors said mulling criminal probe of Netanyahu in submarine case and Jerusalem Post, 22 March 2019: Trumpet recruits Netanyoohoo as 2020 running mate in US elex).

Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories
The third issue is the persistence of Israeli settlements established by Israel since 1967 in the occupied territories, where over 600,000 Israeli Jews live today and have skyrocketed in recent years. These settlements are internationally regarded as contrary to international law, whereby the military occupation as such is legitimate, since there is no peace agreement between the parties to date. The colonization of foreign territory violates international law (Geneva Conventions). The West Bank was divided into three zones (A: 18%, B: 20% and C: 62% of the territory behind the Green Line) as a result of the 1995 Interim Agreement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in which the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli military each have different powers. Jewish settlers established numerous Israeli settlements after the occupation especially in the C area, for which Palestinian land was partially confiscated. Thus, in the C area of today, there were about 1,200 Jewish-Israeli settlers in 1972, 110,000 in 1993 and 310,000 in 2010, which were settled in 124 settlements and about 100 outposts by the Israeli settlement policy. About 150,000 Palestinians live in the C areas. Israel controls the entire infrastructure and suppresses Palestinian development. This settlement policy is vehemently criticized by the Palestinians and the international community. The Israelis’ hope that the dissolution of various settlement areas, such as the complete eviction of Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip in 2005, would decisively advance the peace process (land for peace), was not fulfilled. The Gaza Strip became the center of power for Islamist Hamas, much as the Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon in the late 1980s did not bring peace, but the strengthening of the radical Islamic Hizbullah, which justified its fight against Israel with an internationally unacknowledged agreement between Syria and Lebanon over unsuccessful land transfer (Shebaa farms). At the end of January 2009, the Israeli daily Haaretz published a secret settlement database, which was held back by Defense Minister Ehud Barak because of its political explosiveness. The database shows that 75% of all settlements in the West Bank have been built to a significant extent without authorization or even against Israeli law. In more than 30 settlements, buildings and infrastructure (roads, schools, synagogues, yeshivas and police stations) were built on private property of Palestinians. Many different sources speak of “occupied Palestinian territories” when they refer to Palestine or parts of it. An interesting, ground-breaking and at the same time surprising turn experienced the problem on 23 December 2016 under the UN Resolution 2334, which declared all Israeli settlements (East Jerusalem, West Bank and Golan Heights – The Guardian, 23 December 2016: US abstention allows UN to demand end to Israeli settlements, The Guardian, 24 December 2016: Israel rejects ‘shameful’ UN resolution amid criticism of Netanyahu, The New York Times, 24 December 2016: Netanyahu Promises Retribution for ‘Biased’ U.N. Resolution, Foreign Policy Journal, 28 December 2016: The Significance of UN Resolution 2334 on Israeli Settlements, Times of Israel: UN Security Council Resolution 2334, Jerusalem Post: UN Security Council Resolution 2334, The Guardian, 16 November 2018: US to oppose UN motion condemning Israeli control of Golan Heights, The Washington Post, 16 November 2018: Syrian and Israeli diplomats clash at U.N. over Golan Heights, Reuters, 16 November 2018: U.S. opposes U.N. Golan resolution, wins Israeli praise and The Guardian, 30 December 2018: ‘It was terror’: Palestinians decry rise in attacks by Israeli settlers) as well as the Gaza Strip “non-Israeli” and thus the Jewish settlers indirectly to Palestinians or Syrians, which means that Palestine is now home to the second largest Jewish community in Western Asia, even in front of Iran. In 2017, the occupation by Israel last for 50 years (Six-Day War). During numerous demonstrations and events, this was addressed internationally and in Israel and Palestine itself and an end was demanded so that two equal, peaceful, free, socially and economically prosperous states can coexist. Meanwhile, however, both societies are deeply affected by the conflict, with all conceivable negative aspects, but also some positive side effects (common peace efforts, cultural, social and sporting projects (grassroots movements) and many more).

Water supply
The Middle East consists of 95% desert areas and has low freshwater resources. Only a few rivers carry water throughout the year, and the number of underground aquifers and aquifers is limited. Overall, only 1% of the world’s freshwater resources are available to the Greater Middle East (around 5% of the world’s population), which corresponds to a per-capita availability of 761 cubic meters / year (by comparison, the average global availability is 6895 cubic meters per capita per year). Based on estimates of the population of Israel and the occupied territories, the amount of fresh water is just over 200 cubic meters per capita per year. The situation in the Gaza Strip is particularly critical due to high population growth. This results in a water supply of only 27-38 cubic meters per capita per year. Across the Middle East, access to freshwater holds potential for conflict. Similarly, possible cooperative solutions are an important basis for the development of the entire region. The fundamental conflict, the Jordan Water Question, was solved as early as 1953 as part of the Johnston Plan, a UN compromise proposal to which the neighboring states abide. The agreement was never officially ratified at the instigation of the Arab League, as any contractual agreement was considered recognition of Israel. The water question started a very early unofficial and intensive bilateral dialogue between Jordan and Israel. In contrast, the Syrian intention to use the waters of the Jordan by diversion of rivers Banyas and Hasbani for itself exclusively, is viewed as a trigger of the Six-Day War.

Jerusalem
Another unsolved problem is the future status of Jerusalem, which both sides claims as the future capital but is actually annexed by the state of Israel. The Middle East conflict has a strong religious component for many people involved on both sides, and certainly for some observers. Jerusalem is a holy city for Christians, Jews and Muslims. The Temple Mount, on which the temple of Jerusalem stood until 70 AD, and the western boundary wall of the plateau on which the temple stood – the so-called Wailing Wall, which is the most important shrine of Judaism today – for religious reasons many Jewish Israelis don’t want give out of hand. With the return to the Holy Land and the conquest of Jerusalem in 1967, they see the fulfilling of the promises of the Torah and are waiting for the return of Messiah (surprisingly, Jerusalem isn’t even mentioned once in the Torah). The settlement of holy places like al-Khalīl/Hebron in the West Bank would not have been possible to that extent without religious motivation. The Dome of the Rock, located in East Jerusalem, is a special sanctuary for Muslims. For radical Muslims, the very existence of Israel is a problem, because an area that once belonged to the sphere of influence of Islam can’t be handed over to “non-believers” (radical Muslims call Jews “non-believers” and Christians “crusaders”. In some cases, Christians and Jews are equally named “people of the book” (the Bible)). The most important concern of the Muslim Palestinians is to make sure that Jerusalem will become the capital of their own state with the Temple Mount as the center. These claims are based on the early Homayadian tradition that, according to Sura 17, verse 1-2 of the Koran, the meeting of Muhammad with Allah in company of the Archangel Gabriel and the Ascension of Muhammad at the site of today’s Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount should have taken place (it should be noted that all religious textsBible, Quran and Torah – have significant biological, geographical and physical weak points). In the conflict area, therefore, the conflict and its possible solutions appear differently depending on the application of the principles of the right of self-determination of the population residing there today, solely on the basis of demographic circumstances or by applying historical or historical-religious considerations. Since there is not even agreement on the applicable criteria on both sides and that each side postulates the principles which serve them most in the argument, the long-lasting and tenacious conflict can be explained. It is even further fueled by constantly creating new facts on the ground. As an example, the construction of new Israeli settlements in the West Bank is often mentioned. On the other hand, fears are voiced by the Israeli side that the overall significantly higher birth rate of the Arabs would change the existing demographic situation in the long run and lead to an Arab overweight. However, this is often counteracted by the equally high birth rate in the Jewish settlements in the West Bank. These and other arguments make it difficult to find a consensus solution to build two equal states side by side (international positions on Jerusalem and United States recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel).

Interesting about the “capital dispute” is that Jerusalem has been a whole lot in its long history, but hardly ever the capital of anything, but for millennians little more than a collection of huts. It is indisputable that the place has a long history as a religious center of various faiths – long before Christians, Jews and Muslims stayed in the region (the Old City in Palestinian East Jerusalem is the historic Jerusalem). Only during the British Mandate, the British headquarters was relocated to Jerusalem, so that the place became the capital of the mandate area. In this respect, the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians about the “capital” is unnecessary because it belongs equally to both parties or neither party.

For some time now, the Jerusalem suburb Abu Dis in the West Bank has been repeatedly discussed by Israeli and US representatives as an alternative capital of Palestine, instead of East Jerusalem. The offices of the authorities and administrations of the Palestinian National Authority, which are entrusted with Jerusalem-related tasks, are already located there today. Understandably, the Palestinians categorically reject this idea.

Security
There are further concerns on the Israeli side as to whether a future Palestinian government can guarantee the security of Israel and its citizens. In the past, there were repeated attacks from the Gaza Strip, were rockets where shot that hit Israeli territory. In addition, there were Israelis killed during suicide attacks that had been prepared in the Palestinian territories. On the other hand, terrorist attacks in the West Bank by radical Israeli settlers, the so-called Hilltop Youth and other Jewish-Israeli terrorist structures, against the Palestinian population repeatedly happened and still happen. There are also increasing attacks of members of the Israeli military against the Palestinian civilian population.

Cultural identity
According to one theory, there is a threat of an impending loss of identity on both sides, that is standing in the way of a solution in the near future. In addition to the religious and territorial aspects, both population groups need each other’s enemy image for their own identity/nation building process.

Peace process
The Middle East peace process refers to diplomatic efforts to find a peaceful solution to the Middle East conflict (Arab–Israeli conflict, Road map for peace, List of Middle East peace proposals, Arab Peace Initiative), in particular the initiatives to end the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, mediated by the United States and the Middle East Quartet. However, critics often sees the term as a mere political buzzword due to the alleged insolubility of the conflict or a lack of political will to implement a peaceful solution. These people may want to have a look at the living counter-evidence Abie Nathan, whose ideas would have brought peace to the region decades ago – if in particular politicians, activists, but as well the extremists of the various camps would have listened. Ultimately, however, with the sinking of his ship “Peace” off the coast of Ashdod, he charted the path of failed Israeli (not exactly peaceful or rational) efforts to resolve the conflict and further annexations of Palestinian land under Netanyahu. In retrospect, at no time before or after the Oslo peace process (Oslo Accords), which was negotiated between Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat during Bill Clinton‘s term of office, was a peace agreement closer (The Washington Post, 12 September 2018: A Middle East mirage – Twenty-five years ago, Israelis and Palestinians reached out for peace. But it escaped them.). The efforts ended abruptly when Yitzhak Rabin was shot dead after a peace event in th ecountry’s capitol Tel Aviv by an Israeli, who was obviously encouraged by Netanyahu’s massiv hate campaign against Rabin and his peace efforts (Haaretz, 22 October 2018: Analysis: Netanyahu’s Current Politics Reopen 23-year-old Wound of Rabin’s Assassination and Hotel New York). At the time, Netanyahu’s Greater Israel Party (Likud) was rightfully equated with the Palestinian Hamas (Haaretz, 17 September 2018: Israel’s Irreconcilable Differences With U.S. Jews and the Democratic Party May Soon Lead to Final Divorce). To date, both parties have further radicalized themselves. Surprisingly, with the help of several 100 million in PR and image campaigns, Netanyahu somehow managed to persuade parts of the international public to consider only Hamas (or at least parts of it) as a terrorist organization, although the Likud has neither changed its staff nor its ideology, and that Netanyahu’s role in the assassination of Rabin is either hushed up to the present day or highly emotionally debated, but hasn’t been legally processed at any time. The Rabin Square in Tel Aviv is a reminder of this. Shortly after, Netanyahu’s first term began, which has since severely and consistently massively worsened the starting point and conditions for peace agreements and the two-state solution. His efforts go hand in hand with the consistent erosion of Israel’s democracy (The New York Times, 19 July 2018: Israel Passes Law Anchoring Itself as Nation-State of the Jewish People (which is more a law for Jewish nationalists than a national law. Those Jews who do not live permanently in Israel and continue to work for a democratic Israel will be arbitrarily prevented from entering the country. The “home of all Jews” was abandoned more than a year ago in favor of unconditional nationalism and a harsher version of the law is already on the way – The New York Times, 22 July 2018: Israel Picks Identity Over Democracy. More Nations May Follow., BBC, 19 July 2018: Jewish nation state: Israel approves controversial bill, The Guardian, 19 July 2018: EU leads criticism after Israel passes Jewish ‘nation state’ law, The Guardian, 26 July 2018: Israeli cartoonist fired over ‘Animal Farm’ Netanyahu caricature, New York Times, 26 July 2018: Did Israel Just Stop Trying to Be a Democracy?, Haaretz, 30 July 2018: The Apartheid Prime Minister, Haaretz, 30 July 2018: Israeli Druze Commander Quits Army Over Nation-state Law in Open Letter to Netanyahu, Haaretz, 5 August 2018: Why It’s Now Every American Jew’s Duty to Oppose Israel’s Government, Haaretz, 7 August 2018: Israel’s War on Democracy Is Here – and the Justice Minister’s Leading the Charge, Jewish News, 7 August 2018: Vivien Duffield: I’ll be more ‘choosy’ in backing Israel after ‘apartheid’ law, The New York Times, 13 August 2018: Israel, This Is Not Who We Are, Haaretz, 14 August 2018: Peter Beinart and the Crisis of Israel’s Illiberal Zionism, Haaretz, 17 August 2018: When Jewish Billionaires Get Buyer’s Remorse Over Israel, Haaretz, 23 August 2018: Israel’s Message to the Liberal Diaspora Jews Who Support It: Shape Up or Stay Out, Haaretz, 30 September 2018: The Right-wing Think Tank That Quietly ‘Runs the Knesset’, Huffington Post, 13 December 2018: Natalie Portman Slams Israel’s Nation-State Law As ‘Racist,’ ‘Wrong’, Wikipedia Nationality Bill, which contradicts the content and spirit of the Balfour Declaration and the Israeli Declaration of Independence – Haaretz, 29 March 2019: Annul the Nation-state Law, Jerusalem Post, 8 June 2019: Conversion. Joining a religion or joining a nation?). Astonishingly, in Israel there is talk of an “Orbánization” of the country these days, although Viktor Orbán is successfully destroying Hungary’s democratic pillars only since 2010, while Benjamin Netanyahu has been doing so in Israel since 1996. In that sense, the “Orbánization” of the Visegrád Group and Israel is actually a “Netanyahuization”.

How fragile the whole process is was made clear, after the apparently inconsiderated announcement of the 45th US President in early December 2017, to unilaterally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and relocate the US Embassy from Tel Aviv, where all international embassies are located at (United Nations Security Council Resolution 478 and Times of Israel, 17 January 2019: Embassy tactic? No more mere ‘honorary consuls’ in Jerusalem, Israel tells world), to West Jerusalem (therefore, the U.S. Consulate General in West Jerusalem will be upgraded in the middle of May 2018 to the Provisional U.S. Embassy until the new building will be completed one day (so far, not even a property corresponding to the requirements has been found. In addition, not thought-through or straight out stupid ideas usually result in high costs: CNN, 18 July 2018: US Embassy in Jerusalem to cost $20 million more than Trump’s estimate, Times of Israel, 4 March 2018: US closes Jerusalem consulate, demoting Palestinian mission and France24, 4 March 2019: US downgrades its Palestinian diplomatic mission). Most of the embassy staff will remain in Tel Aviv until the new building will be opened. Only the ambassador himself and few of his personal staff will work in the provisional embassy. The Consulate General building complex is located in the Arnona neighborhood and bisect by the City Line, which has survived to this day due to the repeatedly annulled Jerusalem Law by the UN, as part of the Green Line and thus partly in what was defined in 1949 as No Man’s LandThe New York Times, 5 December 2017: U.S. to Recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital, Trump Says, Alarming Middle East Leaders, Middle East Monitor, 13 December 2017: Palestine: What’s next after the collapse of the two-state project?). Within hours there were historically significant communications from the other governments of the international community. In rare coincidence, they made clear that they do not support the unilateral partisanship of the US administration, that they will not relocate their embassies, and that the current Israeli and US administrations (and the micro states Guatemala, Honduras, Togo, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, and Nauru extorted by Trump to join (Reuters, 16 May 2018: Guatemala opens embassy in Jerusalem, two days after U.S. move and Haaretz, 14 May 2019: Evangelicals and Empty Promises: A Year After Trump’s Embassy Move, Only One Country Has Followed U.S. to Jerusalem)) are completely isolated on this issue. Unisono, it was announced that the “status of Jerusalem is a firm and inseparable part of the future peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians (The New York Times, 27 January 2018: It’s Time for Mahmoud Abbas to Go) and must be negotiated between these parties.” Even NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini felt the need to publish statements (Haaretz, 20 March 2019: Hungarian Foreign Minister: Embassy in Israel Will Not Be Moved to Jerusalem, Times of Israel, 20 March 2019: EU reiterates opposition to diplomatic missions in Jerusalem, Jerusalem Post, 24 March 2019: Romania at AIPAC: We will move our embassy to Jerusalem and Times of Israel, 24 March 2019: Romanian president rebuffs ‘ignorant’ PM over pledge to move embassy, Times of Israel, 30 July 2019: Foreign Ministry’s NIS 50m plan aims to help nations move embassies to Jerusalem). Ultimately, the American announcement addresses the wrong parties (radicals, extremists and terrorists on the Palestinian and the Israeli side and the evangelicals in the US (Christians United for Israel and Times of Israel, 23 July 2018: Netanyahu vows ‘complete solidarity’ with Christians persecuted in Iran)) and at the same time, the current US administration unnecessarily and without necessity disqualified itself as a mediator between the parties. The peace process has thereby suffered considerable damage. At the same time, Iran, China and Russia will be able to achieve further land gains in an attempt to fill the power vacuum left by the US in Western Asia. The Arab and Muslim world is in turmoil, which will probably have a negative impact on future cooperation with the US and Israel. For the first time since 1945, the US administration opened Pandora’s box by creating a dangerous precedent under international law that opens the door to conquest campaigns, which will, e.g., facilitate the repeated violations of international law by Russian President Vladimir Putin while annexing the Ukrainian Crimea and the Georgian country parts Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and the annexation of the Northern part of Cyprus by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. In response to the unilateral recognition of West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, consisting of 57 member stats, unilaterally recognized East Jerusalem as Palestine’s capital in mid-December (Al Jazeera, 14 December 2017: OIC declares East Jerusalem as Palestinian capital). Further escalation steps are expected (The New York Times, 18 December 2017: U.S. Vetoes U.N. Resolution Condemning Move on Jerusalem, The Guardian 21 December 2017: UN votes resoundingly to reject Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as capital, The Washington Post, 14 January 2018: Palestinian leader attacks Trump, calling his peace deal the ‘slap of the century’, CNN, 16 January 2018: Palestinian leaders advise suspending recognition of Israel, The Guardian, 22 January 2018: US to open Jerusalem embassy sooner than expected, says Pence, Reuters, 22 January 2018 Abbas wins renewed EU backing for Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem, Haaretz, 31.01.2018: ‘Happy to Hear Israel Wants Two States’: German FM Meets Netanyahu 10 Months After Crisis Over Sit-down With Leftist NGOs, Hareetz, 31 January 2018: German FM After Meeting Netanyahu: Is Israel Prepared to Pay the Price of Perpetual Occupation? and The Guardian, 23 February 2018: US brings forward Jerusalem embassy opening to May). Meanwhile, some former and active members of the Israeli security structure (intelligence and military) have expressed their opposition to Trump’s decisions. The basic attitude is: “Only a two-state solution secures peace for Israel and the region, while protecting Israel from itself and continued democratic decline.” If it weren’t that tragic, one would have to laugh loudly about the recent remarks of the 45th US President on aid to the Palestinians because of the unbelievable impudence and distorted realities, after all it was he himself who had massively harmed the peace process: The Guardian, 25 January 2018: Trump threatens to cut aid to Palestinians for ‘disrespecting’ Pence, Politico, 25 January 2018: Trump on Palestinian aid: ‘The money is on the table’, The Guardian, 1 September 2018: Palestinian anger over US decision to end funding for UN agency, The Guardian, 8 September 2018: Trump axes $25m in aid for Palestinians in East Jerusalem hospitals, The Wall Street Journal, 10 September2018: Trump Administration to Close Palestine Liberation Organization Office in Washington – National security adviser John Bolton also plans to threaten sanctions against International Criminal Court, in a Monday speech, The Guardian, 10 September 2018: ICC will continue ‘undeterred’ after US threats and The Guardian, 15 Septmeber 2018: US has no plan for Middle East peace, says senior Palestinian. As long as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict isn’t settled and secured by treaties, the international community has no choice but to continue to see Tel Aviv as the capital of Israel de jure, even though the Israeli government see West Jerusalem as Israel’s de facto capital, and this status is at least tolerated by the international community. Only a sustainable, lasting peace solution between and supported by the parties to the dispute, the result can be recognized on an international level, which includes the future status of Jerusalem. International law and international agreements, regulations, resolutions and solutions always top national attempts in the legal hierarchy, whereby the hierarchy in this case (UN partition plan) has contributed to escalating the conflict in the first place. Whatever pranks Trump and Netanyahu are figuring out doesn’t matter on the international level, but has caused considerable turbulences in this case. Since there are negotiators and heads of state on both sides of the parties to the dispute, who are a lot but negotiators or statesmen, the dissolution of the conflict in the next 50 years is becoming increasingly unlikely (Jerusalem Post, 7 June 2019: AIPAC, J Street support restoring Israel-Palestine peace dialogue funding, Times of Israel, 7 June 2019: AIPAC and J Street back restoring funds to Israeli-Palestinian dialogue programs, Times of Israel, 9 July 2019: Get ready for the new wave: Young, passionately Jewish — and anti-Zionist).

The Arab states have stated for some time now, that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a whole is no longer of high priority to them (Jerusalem Post, 18 January 2019: Arab League: Palestinian issue has ‘reduced’ importance). Only the free and unhindered access to the holy places of Muslims isn’t negotiable. The result is a conceivable solution scenario, which would mean the final end of the Palestinian dream of an own state (“A state without land”). At the same time, Israel would face the final decision of either wanting to become a Jewish or a democratic state (ask your girl friend or wife what she thinks of the concept of a “little bit pregnant” – let me guess: It will become a short and loud discussion, that you will lose. However, Netanyahu has already made his choice, denouncing democracy to Israel and instead opting for a Jewish theocracy: France24, 10 March 2019: Netanyahu says Israel ‘not a state of all its citizens’, Haaretz, 10 March 2019: ‘Israel Is the Nation-state of Jews Alone’: Netanyahu Responds to TV Star Who Said Arabs Are Equal Citizens and Times of Israel, 10 March 2019: Amid Likud’s ‘Bibi or Tibi’ campaign, ADL slams ‘demonization’ of Israeli Arabs), especially since both isn’t possible at the same time. The scenario outlined here will not provide peace for another few years or decades, but rather the exact opposite, especially since the Palestinians will certainly not give up their land without fights in various forms. This has already been priced-in by the Netanyahu government, especially since Israel’s prime minister has repeatedly and plainly pledged the population in recent years to “many years of struggle”.

The bottom line is that neither Israelis nor Palestinians are willing or able to make peace. It is up to the respective US presidents to enforce peace between the parties to the dispute, but no US president has dared to take that step yet. This, of course, primarily with regard to the domestic electorate (about 26% of US-Americans are Evangelicals, who are mostly voting in favor of the Republicans. Around 2% – 3% of Americans are Jews, who are mostly voting in favor of the Democrats), which is why, in the first term of office, such a step is out of the question at all and could not be implemented until the end of the second term, because then no more elections need to be won. However, it is questionable whether the successor would or could withstand the political pressure to undo the step, which would undoubtedly be built up by the Israeli side and its lobbyists in the Senate and Congress, in conjunction with the usual unsubstantiated anti-Semitism accusations, threats of all kinds, etc.

At the end of March 2018 and in the course of the so-called “March of Return” demonstrations with 120 dead and more than 2,500 injured, Hamas in the Gaza Strip has adopted a new, technically very simple but very effective tactic to attract attention. During favorable wind directions, incendiary devices are attached to stunt kites and/or balloons, which are driven by the wind towards southern Israel. During the landings, the incendiary devices causes fires in natural parks, forests and on agricultural land. Overall, the economic damage has been limited to a small, single-digit million amount so far. There was no personal injury on the Israeli side. How many Palestinians are killed and injured by Israeli snipers and air force counter attacks isn’t clear yet (i24news.tv, 16 April 2018: Firebombs tied to kites launched from Gaza spark fires in Israel near border, The New York Times, 4 May 2018: Flaming Kites From Gaza Thwarted by Winds, Haaretz, 9 July 2018: Netanyahu: Israel to Close Commercial Gaza Crossing Over Airborne Firebombs, BBC, 20 July 2018: Israel launches Gaza strikes as soldier dies from gunshot, Haaretz, 21 July 2018: Israel, Hamas Make U-turn on the Precipice With Gaza Cease-fire, B’Tselem, 15 October 2018: In 6 months of Gaza protests, Israeli forces fatally shoot 31 Palestinian minors, The Guardian, 22 January 2019: The Guardian view on Israel’s democracy: killing with impunity, lying without consequence?, Times of Israel, 23 January 2019: Israel lambasts The Guardian for accusing it of ‘killing with impunity’, The Guardian, 28 February 2019: UN says Israel’s killings at Gaza protests may amount to war crimes, Times of Israel, 28 February 2019: UN probe accuses Israel of possible crimes against humanity in Gaza border riots, Haaretz, 28 February 2019: UN Council: Israel Intentionally Shot Children and Journalists in Gaza, Times of Israel, 22 March 2019: 23 to 9, UN rights council adopts report accusing Israel of war crimes in Gaza, Times of Israel, 14 June 2019: Gazans launch dozens of fire balloons into Israel as hundreds riot on border, Jerusalem Post, 14 June 2019: Dozens of Palestinians unjured along fence, 10 fires break out along border, Times of Israel, 26 June 2019: Gaza arson balloons spark 19 blazes in south).

After so-called “secret military operations” in the West Bank had already been heavily gone wrong in recent months, the Israelis have tried it now again in the Gaza Strip. As a result, six Palestinians were killed by the attackers and one of the attackers himself. The troop withdrawal was secured by renewed bombardment of Gaza by the Israeli Air Force. It was followed by a classic: The usual whining of the Netanyahu government about that the Palestinians are fighting back, instead of simply standing still so that they can be easily shot dead. The repeatedly and with great fervor expressed irresponsibility and simplicity of the Netanyahu government is quite remarkable. At the same time, the international community was invited to join the fantasy world of the Israelis, who in turn renounced to do so (The Washington Post, 12 November 2018: Botched Israeli army operation in Gaza triggers sharp escalation in violence and The Washington Post, 6 December 2018: Resolution condemning Hamas fails at U.N. in setback for Israel and Trump administration). After all, this has first consequences now: The right-wing extremist on duty, boss of the ultra-nationalistic Yisrael Beiteinu party and Israel’s dubious Secretary of Defense, Avigdor Lieberman (leader of the radical right-wing and national party Israel Our Home (Yisrael Beiteinu) and, at the same time, representative of Russian Israelis), has resigned from his post. As a result, Netanyahu is now Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, Health Minister, Minister of Aliyah and Integration and Defense Minister – as it is already known from Erdogan’s Turkish presidential system (Jerusalem Post, 11 December 2018: Netanyahu and his ministries, The Guardian, 14 November 2018: Israeli defence chief Avigdor Lieberman quits over Gaza truce and The Guardian, 18 November 2018: Netanyahu meets with coalition partner to stop government collapse). It was announced that the Minister of Education Naftali Bennett and the Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked, both of the right-wing religious settler party The Jewish Home (Times of Israel, 29 December 2018: Bennett, Shaked quit Jewish Home, announce formation of ‘The New Right’), will resign from their posts on Monday, 19. November 2018. These ministries will then be transferred to Netanyahu as well (Times of Israel, 18 November 2018: TV: Jewish Home’s Bennett, Shaked will resign from government on Monday). However, with 27 active ministries and 10 inactive ministries in Israel, there is still room for improvement of his collection. After all, the announced resignations did not materialize, arguing that a successor government would then seriously work on a peace agreement with the Palestinians instead of continuing the flimsy Likud theater, in order to eventually usurp Palestine and attempting to legitimize this through the international community. A second Oslo peace process would be the ultimate nightmare of all right-wing nationalist and right-wing radical Israeli, that is, all parties involved in Netanyahu’s Likud administration. The first peace process ended in fatality for then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, when an Israeli, incited, among others by Netanyahu’s hate campaigns against Rabin and the peace process, killed Rabin after a peace rally in Tel Aviv. Since then, Israel’s right-wingers became neither more peaceful nor intelligent. One can imagine, how their trigger fingers already itch at the thought of a great statesman of the format of a Yitzhak Rabin to replace the rather simple-minded nationalist Netanyahu (The Washington Post, 19 November 2018: Netanyahu keeps coalition intact, but Hamas emerges stronger).



Trump’s “Deal of the Century”
Trump’s peace plan/Deal of the Century: Haaretz, 20 November 2008: Netanyahu: Economics, Not Politics, Is the Key to Peace, Times of Israel: Trump Peace Plan, The New York Times, 14 May 2015: Confederation Is the Key to Mideast Peace, Jerusalem Post, 15 September 2018: Former minister Yossi Beilin: Oslo peace process was not a failure (look, there are still some sober minds in Israel. The idea of a confederation is most likely the best of all ideas. Sure, the extremists and terrorists on both sides will still fight it (what they will do anyways, as long as they don’t get their ways: All of the land is becoming the State of Israel or the State of Palestine, and if so, then there will be terrorism to the end of all times from the respective other side), but that would be an acceptable price to pay), Al Jazeera, 13 February 2019: Palestine’s other open-air prison, Times of Israel, 25 Febuary 2019: Abbas urges Europeans to play greater role in peace process, recognize Palestine, Foreign Policy, 10 April 2019: Trump Must Not Let Jared Kushner’s Peace Plan See the Light of Day, Reuters, 3 May 2019: Kushner hopes Israel will look at peace plan before any West Bank moves, The Washington Institute, 10 May 2019: Jared Kushner’s Peace Plan Would Be a Disaster, BBC, 17 May 2019: US Israel-Palestinian peace plan ‘a surrender act’ – Palestinian FM, Times of Israel, 19 May 2019: US will push economic side of peace plan at late June ‘workshop’ in Bahrain, Haaretz, 19 May 2019: Trump Peace Plan Economic Component to Be Revealed in June in Bahrain, CNN, 19 May 2019: First on CNN: White House to focus on investment in Middle East as part of peace proposal, Haaretz, 19 May 2019: The Deadly Consequences of a Dead-on-arrival Trump Mideast Peace Plan, The New York Times, 19 May 2019: Trump to Open Middle East Peace Drive With Economic Incentives, The Guardian, 19 May 2019: US to hold Bahrain economic conference to launch Middle East peace plan, The Washington Post, 19 May 2019: Trump administration to release part of its Middle East peace plan in June, Times of Israel, 19 May 2019: US will push economic side of peace plan at late June ‘workshop’ in Bahrain, Jerusalem Post, 20 May 2019: Part of’Deal of the Century’ to be released on June 25 in Bahrain, Haaretz, 20 May 2019: Palestinians Say ‘Plan Won’t Lead to Peace’ After U.S. Announces Bahrain Conference, Jerusalem Post, 20 May 2019: Palestinian PM: We weren’t consulted about U.S.-led economic conference, The Guardian, 20 May 2019: Donald Trump’s peace conference will fail, Palestinians say, Times of Israel, 20 May 2019: Bahrain vows support for Palestinians after economic ‘workshop’ announced, Times of Israel, 20 May 2019: Palestinians reject US economic peace summit in Bahrain, say they won’t attend, Times of Israel, 20 May 2019: (Economic) peace is coming! 7 things to know for May 20, Jerusalem Post, 20 May 2019: Bahrain economic parley signals adjustments to US peace plan – analysis, Washington Post, 20 May 2019: Palestinian leaders say U.S. “Peace to Prosperity” summit slights them, Times of Israel, 20 May 2019: US invites Israel to Bahrain confab on Palestinians – report, Times of Israel, 21 May 2019: Failure to launch? Economic workshop signals little appetite for US peace plan, Times of Israel, 21 May 2019: Drop the cynicism. The Bahrain economic confab is a big step forward, Times of Israel, 21 May 2019: Hebron businessman with ties to settlers may be lone Palestinian at Bahrain meet, Times of Israel, 22 May 2019: UAE, Saudi Arabia to attend US economic peace confab in Bahrain, Jerusalem Post, 22 May 2019: Arab states pressuring Palestinians to attend Bahrain workshop, Haaretz, 30 May 2019: Kushner’s Awful Timing: Netanyahu’s Political Crisis Could Kill Trump’s Peace Plan, The Guardian, 30 May 2019: Political chaos in Israel deals blow to Jared Kushner’s peace plan, Haaretz, 30 May 2019: Kushner’s Awful Timing: Netanyahu’s Political Crisis Could Kill Trump’s Peace Plan, Jerusalem Post, 31 May 2019: Peace proponent Susie Gelman warns Israel against Trump plan, The Washington Post, 2 June 2019: Exclusive: Pompeo delivers unfiltered view of Trump’s Middle East peace plan in off-the-record meeting, Times of Israel, 2 June 2019: In recording, skeptical Pompeo says Trump peace plan could be ‘unexecutable’, Jerusalem Post, 3 June 2019: Trump lowers expectations on Mideast peace plan, Times of Israel, 4 June 2019: Kushner heads to Brussels to brief EU officials on peace plan, CNN, 4 June 2019: Jared Kushner is profoundly clueless, Times of Israel, 6 June 2019: Israel said trying to block bipartisan Senate two-state resolution, Times of Israel, 9 June 2019: French FM: Trump peace plan ‘cannot grant serenity,’ won’t satisfy both sides, Times of Israel, 9 June 2019: Germany, Jordan say two states ‘only solution’ to Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Times of Israel, 10 June 2019: ‘Jordan, Egypt yet to reply, Israel yet to get invite, for June 25 Bahrain meet’, The Guardian, 10 June 2019: Company part-owned by Jared Kushner got $90m from unknown offshore investors since 2017, Times of Israel, 11 June 2019: US says Jordan, Egypt and Morocco to attend economic workshop in Bahrain, Palestine Cronicle, 13 June 2019: The Race to Fail Palestine: the Two-State Compromise and Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’, Times of Israel, 17 June 2019: White House confirms Israeli officials not invited to Bahrain workshop, Al Jazeera, 18 June 2019: Palestine: The Arab ‘deal of the century’, Times of Israel, 19 June 2019: EU ‘ready to work’ with US on peace plan, as long as it aims at two states, Times of Israel, 19 June 2019: The path between the Trump peace plan and applying Israeli law to settlements, Times of Israel, 19 June 2019: A who’s who of next week’s peace summit in Bahrain, Politico.com, 20 June 2019: Iran crisis steals attention from Trump’s Israel-Palestinian peace plans, Palestine Cronicle, 21 June 2019: Forget Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’: Israel Was always on Course to Annexation, Jerusalem Post, 22 June 2019: Abbas: Trump’s plan won’t pass, Al Jazeera, 22 June 2019: US ambassador to Israel: Bahrain workshop will create momentum, Jerusalem Post, 22 June 2019: Saudi official says ‘Deal of the Century’ leads to full Palestinian statehood, Politico.com, 22 June 2019: White House unveils ‘economic vision’ for Palestinians in first part of peace plan, Reuters, 22 June 2019: White House’s Kushner unveils economic portion of Middle East peace plan, Times of Israel, 22 June 2019: Kushner reveals peace plan to inject $50 billion into Middle East economies, Arab News, 22 June 2019: White House’s Jared Kushner unveils economic portion of upcoming Middle East peace plan, Times of Israel, 23 June 2019: Thousands in Morocco protest US peace confab, burn Israeli flags, Haaretz, 23 June 2019: Economic Side of ‘Deal of the Century’ Holds Some Surprises, but It’s More Vision Than Blueprint, Times of Israel, 23 June 2019: Netanyahu ally rejects US-proposed West Bank-Gaza travel corridor, Palestine Cronicle, 23 June 2019: Former Mossad Chief: ‘Israel Does Not Want Peace’, Haaretz, 23 June 2019: The Billion-dollar Question in Trump’s Peace Plan, Times of Israel, 23 June 2019: A look at some of the details of the economic aspect of the Trump peace plan, The National, 23 June 2019: As Donald Trump’s peace plan teeters, the Palestinians are set for a rare boost, Times of Israel, 23 June 2019: Lebanon slams US plan, says won’t be ‘tempted’ by cash at Palestinians’ expense, Jerusalem Post, 23 June 2019: Palestinian Authority: U.S. economic plan is a new Balfour Declaration, Times of Israel, 23 June 2019: Commentators in Arab world reject US economic plan for Palestinians, Al Jazeera, 23 June 2019: Palestinians reject economic part of US peace plan, France24, 23 June 2019: Jared Kushner’s $50bn economic plan for Middle East criticised as a ‘non-starter’, Times of Israel, 23 June 2019: After aid cuts, US economic plan for Palestinians dismissed as detached, Jerusalem Post, 23 June 2019: Saudi minister: Whatever Palestinians accept, everyone else will accept, Politico.com, 23 June 2019: ‘Snow job’: Palestinians reject economic portion of White House peace plan, Jerusalem Post, 23 June 2019: Abbas: We are ready to return to the negotiating table, Haaretz, 23 June 2019: Trump’s Peace Plan: As Deep as a Beauty Pageant Speech and Twice as Vain, Jerusalem Post, 24 June 2019: Palestinians launch three-day protests against Bahrain workshop, CNN, 24 June 2019: Jared Kushner, US peace team face credibility test in Bahrain, Al Jazeera, 24 June 2019: ‘Slightly illusory’: Low expectations for US-led Bahrain workshop, Politico.com, 24 June 2019: Trump’s Peace Plan Is Immoral, Impractical—and Could Blow Up the Middle East, The Guardian, 25 June 2019: Jared Kushner’s economic blueprint for Palestinians faces boycott and derision, Haaretz, 25 June 2019: Bahrain Debacle Marks Crash of Trump Team’s Campaign to Diss Palestinians Into Submission, France24, 25 June 2019: Low expectations as US launches Trump Middle East peace plan, Haaretz, 25 June 2019: It Won’t Bring Peace, but the Bahrain Conference Is Still Important, Times of Israel, 25 June 2019: US plan will not follow lines of Arab Peace Initiative, Kushner says, Times of Israel, 25 June 2019: Opening Bahrain workshop, Kushner says economic progress a precondition to peace, Times of Israel, 25 June 2019: As US holds economic confab, UN chief seeks funds for Palestinian refugees, Times of Israel, 25 June 2019: Marking 40 years of peace with Egypt, Rivlin urges pact with Palestinians, Times of Israel, 25 June 2019: Bahrain remains committed to Palestinians, rabbi with ties to king says, France24, 25 June 2019: Palestinians ‘not willing to give up their misery’, Israeli historian says, Washington Post, 25 June 2019: Kushner presents vision of a Middle East at peace but no details how to get there, Palestine Chronicle, 25 June 2019: Deal of the Century or Eon of Disasters?, France24, 25 June 2019: Palestinians must sign on to investment programme if they want peace, Kushner says, Al Jazeera, 26 June 2019: Kushner says economic plan is a necessary precondition to peace, Arab News, 26 June 2019: Oman to open embassy in Palestinian territories’ West Bank: foreign ministry, Al Jazeera, 26 June 2019: US-led Bahrain meeting on Palestine: All the latest updates, France24, 26 June 2019: Donors pledge $110 million for UN Palestinian agency shunned by US, Arab New, 26 June 2019: Why the Palestinian economy urgently needs a stimulus, Al Jazeera, 26 June 2019: US pushes Bahrain economic plan in absence of Palestinians, Times of Israel, 26 June 2019: Investors at Bahrain workshop say peace is the missing piece in US Mideast plan, Haaretz, 26 June 2019: In Bahrain, Air of Israeli-Arab Normalization and a Message to Iran, Arab New, 26 June 2019: Kushner: Trump wants fair deal for Palestinians, Jerusalem Post, 26 June 2019: Lebanese Prime Minister: We oppose U.S. plan for Mideast, Times of Israel, 26 June 2019: Bahrain FM to Times of Israel: Israel is here to stay, and we want peace with it, Reuters, 26 June 2019: IMF’s Lagarde says West Bank, Gaza growth must be focused on jobs, Haaretz, 26 June 2019: Bahrain Day 2: Kushner Says Palestinians Have No Reason Not to Trust Trump, Times of Israel, 26 June 2019: Wrapping up Bahrain summit, Kushner says door still open to Palestinians on plan, The Guardian, 26 June 2019: Jared Kushner’s ‘deal of the century’ fails to materialise in Bahrain, Al Jazeera, 26 June 2019: ‘Divorced from reality’: Palestinians reject US economic plan, CNBC, 25 June 2019: ‘Waste of time’: Jared Kushner’s Bahrain summit met with skepticism, CNN, 26 June 2019: Palestinian snub of Kushner’s conference highlights failure of admin’s outreach effort, The New York Times, 26 June 2019: In Bahrain, Gaza Is Pitched as a ‘Hot I.P.O.’ Many Palestinians Aren’t Buying It., Times of Israel, 27 June 2019: Palestinians remain unsold on US peace ‘bribe’ after Bahrain meeting, Haaretz, 26 June 2019: In Bahrain, Air of Israeli-Arab Normalization and a Message to Iran, Haaretz, 26 June 2019: While U.S. Talks, Europe Pays: EU Following Bahrain Gathering With Dose of Suspicion, Palestine Chronicle, 27 June 2019: Arab-Israeli Normalization: A Desperate Attempt at Isolating Iran, Haaretz, 27 June 2019: While Jews and Arabs Mingled in Bahrain, Israelis and Palestinians Met a Thousand Miles Away, The New York Times, 28 June 2019: Jared Kushner’s Middle East Development Project, Palestine Chronicle, 28 June 2019: International Consensus Has Stripped Palestinians of Their Legitimate Rights, Times of Israel, 29 June 2019: Gulf states, Israel are closer after Bahrain meet, but full ties still unlikely, Palestine Chronicle, 28 June 2019: Kushner Declines to Support Palestinian Statehood, The New York Times, 29 June 2019: Palestinian Who Attended Trump-Backed Bahrain Conference Is Arrested, Al Jazeera, 30 June 2019: Palestinian businessman freed by PA after Bahrain meeting arrest, Times of Israel: 30 June 2019: Bahrain’s Khalifa says interviews to Israelis ‘nowhere near normalization’, Jerusalem Post, 1 July 2019: Ex-Mossad chief: No peace for region on the horizon, Al Jazeera, 1 July 2019: Israel settlements funded by US Duty Free tycoons, Haaretz, 30 June 2019: U.S. Envoys Break Open Tunnel Running Under Palestinian Village in East Jerusalem, Jerusalem Post, 1 July 2019: Palestinians on pilgrimage road inauguration: Israel falsifying history, Palestine Chronicle, 2 July 2019: Trump’s Peace Plan Has Been Designed to Fail – Exactly Like Its Predecessors, Haaretz, 3 July 2019: A Saudi’s Advice for Kushner: How Your Peace Plan Can Still Avoid Catastrophic Failure, Times of Israel, 3 July 2019: Kushner hints Palestinian refugees won’t return, says, Haaretz, 4 July 2019: Jared Kushner’s Plan for Palestine Is Even Crazier Than You Thought, Times of Israel, 5 July 2019: As Bahrain showed, even Trump’s Arab allies see two-state solution as essential, The National, 6 July 2019: Even if Benjamin Netanyahu is dethroned, the alternative is just as bleak for Palestinians, Die Zeit, 8 July 2019: Gaza Strip: Dreams Live On Behind the Fence (more than 50% of the inhabitants of Palestine (West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem) depend on the help of UNRWA, although according to international law that would be the task of the occupying power Israel. Not to mention the situation in the Gaza Strip, which is changing from a humanitarian crisis in the foreseeable future to a humanitarian catastrophe. Again, the Netanyahu government has failed completely for decades), The National, 8 July 2019: Charity connects children in blockaded Gaza with outside world, Arab News, 8 July 2019: Palestinians must be the authors of their own liberation, Al Jazeera, 9 July 2019: Israel’s separation wall endures, 15 years after ICJ ruling, Times of Israel, 11 July 2019: Move over, Bahrain? Iraq signals interest in better ties with Israel, Times of Israel, 15 July 2019: Calling for two-state solution, Biden says ‘the occupation is a real problem’. How far the Trump administration has itself removed from all realities, is shown in an interview with Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s “Special Representative for International Negotiations”: PBS, 17 July 2019: Why Trump thinks this is the moment to resolve Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Times of Israel, 18 July 2019: Israel is the victim in conflict with Palestinians, says US peace envoy (it is becoming more clear by the day, that the Trump administration is completely out of touch with reality), Haaretz, 21 July 2019: Kushner, Other Senior U.S. Officials to Visit Mideast Next Week for Talks on Economic Chapter of Peace Plan, Arab News, 21 July 2019: Israeli goodwill crucial if US peace plan is to succeed, Times of Israel, 22 July 2019: Senior US team to visit Middle East for talks on Washington’s peace plan, Palestine Chronicle, 21 July 2019: Hamas: Greenblatt’s Comments Shameful and Hostile, Jerusalem Post, 22 July 2019: Palestinians call for ‘blacklisting’ Arab journalists for visiting Israel, Times of Israel, 22 July 2019: Saudi blogger visiting Israel attacked by Palestinians at Temple Mount, Haaretz, 23 July 2019: U.S. Mideast Envoy: Trump Hasn’t Decided When to Release Political Part of Peace Plan, Hope He Decides Soon, Times of Israel, 23 July 2019: US peace plan won’t be based on international consensus, says envoy, Times of Israel, 23 July 2019: Greenblatt: Peace plan won’t be based on ‘fictions of international consensus’ (the international community should continue to be unimpressed by this behaviour and instead let Netanyahu and Trump run against a concrete wall), Jerusalem Post, 24 July 2019: Jared Kushner could be coming for nothing, Times of Israel, 24 July 2019: Bitter arguments in Gulf media over harassment of Saudi blogger in Jerusalem, Arab News, 24 July 2019: Israeli violence against Palestinians largely ignored in US, Palestine Chronicle, 24 July 2019: Greenblatt: Palestinian Capital in Jerusalem Is ‘Aspiration Not a Right’, Palestine News Network, 24 July 2019: Trump’s Mideast envoy under fire at UNSC for attacking intl. law on Palestine issue, Palestine Chronicle, 24 July 2019: Killing Tariq: Why We Must Rethink the Roots of Jewish Settlers Violence, Times of Israel, 25 July 2019: Abbas says Palestinians will stop implementing agreements with Israel, Haaretz, 26 July 2019: Palestinian President Declares End to All Agreements, Security Coordination With Israel, Arab News, 25 July 2019: US blocks UN rebuke of Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes, France24, 26 July 2019: Palestinians will halt all agreements with Israel, says Abbas, BBC, 26 July 2019: Abbas: Palestinians to halt agreements with Israel, The National, 26 July 2019: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to end agreements with Israel, Al Jazeera, 26 July 2019: PA’s Mahmoud Abbas declares suspension of all deals with Israel, Arab News, 27 July 2019: Palestinians ‘suspend’ agreements in response to Israeli violations, France24, 28 July 2019: US peace plan rings alarm bells in Jordan: analysts, Al Jazeera, 28 July 2019: Israel, the US, and the PA succession conundrum, Haaretz, 30 July 2019: Israel Approves Permits for 715 Palestinian Homes in West Bank Towns, Haaretz, 31 July 2019: Kushner to Land in Israel After Meeting Jordan’s King to Discuss Mideast Peace Plan, BBC, 31 July 2019: Israel backs West Bank homes for settlers and Palestinians, Times of Israel, 31 July 2019: Meeting Kushner, Jordan king says peace plan must include Palestinian state, Times of Israel, 31 July 2019: US ambassador to Israel: Trump peace plan will encourage Palestinian ‘autonomy’, Haaretz, 31 July 2019: Trump Envoy Greenblatt: Israeli-Palestinian Peace ‘Iran’s Worst Nightmare’, Times of Israel, 31 July 2019: US peace envoy: Israeli-Palestinian peace is Iran’s worst nightmare (what is not mentioned here is that it would also be a nightmare for the Netanyahu government, especially since Netanyahu himself has already made it clear several times that during his reign he will absolutely not make peace with Palestine), Times of Israel, 31 July 2019: After okaying Palestinian homes, Netanyahu vows Jewish settlements are ‘forever’, Al Jazeera, 31 July 2019: Israel approves 6,000 new homes for Israeli settlers in West Bank, Haaretz, 31 July 2019: Palestinians Don’t Need Israeli Approval to Build in West Bank, Says Abbas Spokesman, Jerusalem Post, 31 July 2019: Netanyahu pledged to secure U.S. support not to evacuate settlements, Times of Israel, 31 July 2019: White House denies plans for summit with Arab leaders to roll out peace plan, Arab News, 31 July 2019: Jared Kushner meets with Jordan’s King Abdullah for talks on Middle East peace plan, Times of Israel, 31 July 2019: US planning to roll out peace plan at meeting with Arab leaders – report, Bloomberg, 31 July 2019: Trump to Soon Present Peace Plan to Arab Leaders, Yediot Says, Times of Israel, 1 August 2019: Former Shin Bet head warns of ‘bloodshed’ that West Bank annexation would cause, Arab News, 1 August 2019: Egypt calls for Palestinian state during Kushner visit, Palestine Chronicle, 1 August 2019: Netanyahu: Jewish Settlements to Stay Forever, Al Jazeera, 2 August 2019: When the ‘squad’ goes to occupied Palestine, Times of Israel, 3 August 2019: Palestinians prefer ‘wait-and-see’ approach to Trump peace plan — poll, Haaretz, 4 August 2019: Weapons and Ideology: Files Reveal How China Armed and Trained the Palestinians, Times of Israel, 4 August 2019: Goodbye withdrawal, hello sovereignty: The triumph of the settlers, The National, 4 August 2019: Kushner’s real purpose has little to do with a peace plan and everything to do with US domestic politics​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​, Palestine Chronicle, 5 August 2019: New Trend in Israel: Military-Themed Summer Camps for Kids, Jerusalem Post, 6 August 2019: Iran increases Hamas funding in exchange for intel on Israel missiles, The National, 7 August 2019: The new US approach to the Middle East raises more questions than answers, Arab News 7 August 2019: As Palestinians become more desperate, so does their cause, Jerusalem Post, 7 August 2019: EU slams West Bank settler buildings, IDF advances plans for 2,304 homes, Times of Israel, 7 August 2019: EU pans new settlement expansion, says move harms chances for peace, Jerusalem Post, 7 August 2019: Two-State Index drops as tensions rise over demolitions, Times of Israel, 7 August 2019: Abbas meets with Omani delegation on opening West Bank diplomatic mission, Xinhua, 7 August 2019: Palestinian president reiterates anti-U.S. position during meeting with U.S. delegation, Times of Israel, 7 August 2019: In Ramallah, Abbas tells Congress members he won’t accept US ‘dictates’, Israel Hayom, 7 August 2019: Jews and Arabs together against the Nazis, Jerusalem Post, 7 August 2019: U.S. Democrats stand and clap for Netanyahu, The National, 8 August 2019: UN and EU condemn Israel’s ‘effective annexation’ after 2,300 settlements homes approved, Haaretz, 8 August 2019: Stressing They’re Not All in the ‘AOC Camp,’ Democrats Reaffirm Support During Israel Visit, Jerusalem Post, 9 August 2019: Greenblatt hits back at Germany: UN resolutions are not way to make peace, Haaretz, 9 August 2019: The Ignorance of Trump Envoy Greenblatt Is Just the Tip of the Iceberg, Israel Hayom, 9 August 2019: Time to negotiate Israel’s eastern border, Times of Israel: 10 August 2019: US peace envoy: There’s ‘no international consensus’ on Mideast conflict, Israel Hayom: 11 August 2019: Iran: ‘Deal of the century’ a crime against humanity (what is still interesting is, that the Iranian leadership is obviously far more antisemitic than the population itself (up to 50% of Iranians hold anti semitic or anti-Israel sentiments), while the Saudi Arabian leadership is less antisemitic, but over 70% of the Saudi population hold anti-semitic or anti-Israel sentiments), Times of Israel, 12 August 2019: Before elections, PM wants Trump to back Israeli sovereignty over settlements, The National, 12 August 2019: Israeli legislators urge US counterparts to oppose two-state solution, Times of Israel, 22 August 2019: As Saudi bloggers reach out to Israel, some see signals of a regional shift, Jerusalem Post, 25 August 2019: PA slams U.S. for removing Palestinians from list of countries, Xinhua, 25 August 2019: Palestine slams U.S. for deleting its name from list of countries, Times of Israel, 26 August 2019: US State Department drops Palestinian territories listing from website, Times of Israel, 27 August 2019: Trump may reveal peace plan before Israeli elections, thinks deal ‘will happen’, The National, 4 September 2019: Israel’s Netanyahu says Trump peace plan will be released after election, Saudi Gazette, 5 September 2019: Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian peace plan architect quits, The National, 5 September 2019: Donald Trump’s Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt to leave administration, Jerusalem Post, 5 September 2019: Greenblatt’s departure and the fate of the U.S. peace plan – analysis, Times of Israel, 7 September 2019: Who is the longtime Kushner aide set to replace Trump envoy Jason Greeblatt?, Politico.com, 7 September 2019: Can Jared’s millennial ‘mini-me’ bring peace to the Middle East?, Arab News, 7 September 2019: Palestinians rejoice as US envoy quits, Times of Israel, 7 September 2019: No confidence in his own plan? The bizarre timing of Greenblatt’s departure, Palestine Chronicle, 8 September 2019: Pompeo: US Will Present ‘Peace Plan’ in Weeks, Al Jazeera, 9 September 2019: No hope for peace between Palestinians, Israel in ‘near future’, The Guardian, 10 September 2019: Netanyahu vows to annex large parts of occupied West Bank, BBC, 10 September 2019: Netanyahu pledges to annex occupied Jordan Valley, CNN, 10 September 2019: Netanyahu says Israel will annex parts of West Bank, Al Jazeera, 10 September 2019: Netanyahu announces post-election plan to annex Jordan Valley, Arab News, 10 September 2019: Israel’s Netanyahu vows to annex West Bank’s Jordan Valley if re-elected, The National, 10 September 2019: Benjamin Netanyahu says he intends to annex Jordan Valley, Haaretz, 10 September 2019: Netanyahu Says Israel Will Annex Jordan Valley if Reelected, Times of Israel, 10 September 2019: Netanyahu’s Jordan Valley vow: Harbinger of US support or indication of failure?, Arab News, 10 September 2019: Middle East peace cannot be imposed by outsiders (if you watch the film “Peace Talks – The Oslo Diaries” by Mor Loushy and Daniel Sivan, it becomes clear how Netanyahu changed Israel during his tenures to the worse), Irish Times, 10 September 2019: Netanyahu vows to annex large parts of occupied West Bank, NPR, 11 September 2019: Benjamin Netanyahu Vows To Annex Part Of West Bank If He Wins Reelection, Al Jazeera, 11 September 2019: What are areas A, B, and C of the occupied West Bank?, The Washington Post, 11 September 2019: In the Jordan Valley, Palestinians fear further displacement after Netanyahu’s annexation pledge, CNN, 11 September 2019: Netanyahu says Israel will annex parts of West Bank if he’s re-elected, Al Jazeera, 11 September 2019: Netanyahu annexation pledge denounced as ‘dangerous’ and ‘racist’, Arab News, 11 September 2019: Netanyahu’s plan to annex Jordan Valley widely opposed, Amman says peace treaty could be ‘at stake’, Gulf News, 11 September 2019: UAE denounces Netanyahu’s electoral pledge to annex occupied West Bank, The National, 11 September 2019: UAE and Saudi Arabia condemn Netanyahu’s ‘dangerous escalation’ after annexation pledge, Al Arabiya, 11 September 2019: Moscow: Netanyahu’s plans could lead to ‘sharp escalation of tensions’, The Guardian, 11 September 2019: Arab leaders denounce Netanyahu’s plan to annex Palestinian territories, Haaretz, 11 September 2019: U.S. Jewish Groups Slam Netanyahu’s Vow to Annex Jordan Valley: ‘Israelis Won’t Live in Democracy’, Times of Israel, 11 September 2019: Trump said mulling easing Iran sanctions to secure Rouhani meeting, The Guardian, 11 September 2019: The Guardian view on Netanyahu’s land grab: a prison, not a peace, Palestine Chronicle, 11 September 2019: Abbas Threatens to End All Agreements if Israel Annexes Palestinian Land, Haaretz, 12 September 2019: ‘Adelson to Netanyahu: I Keep Writing in Your Favor, I Lose $50m a Year, You Keep Shouting at Me’, Haaretz, 13 September 2019: Netanyahu’s Plan to Escape Trial, in His Own Words: ‘Time for Them to Be Frightened’, Jerusalem Post, 14 September 2019: U.N. agency: PA economy on brink of collapse, Haaretz, 14 September 2019: Netanyahu’s West Bank Annexation Move Illegal, European States Say, The New York Times, 14 September 2019: Netanyahu’s Fate May Depend on Israeli Arab Voters. Will They Turn Out?, Haaretz, 15 September 2019: Two Days to Election, Netanyahu Government Green Lights Legalizing Jordan Valley Outpost, Times of Israel, 16 September 2019: Netanyahu: After Jordan Valley and settlements, I’ll annex other ‘vital areas’, CNN, 15 September 2019: Netanyahu is endangering the future of a two-state solution, Arab News, 16 September 2019: Israeli PM vows to annex ‘all the settlements’ in West Bank, Jerusalem Post, 16 September 2019: Netanyahu vows to annex Hebron, Kiryat Arba after election, Arab News, 17 September 2019: Europe lacks the backbone to challenge Israeli annexation, Palestine Chronicle, 17 September 2019: Apartheid Made Official: Deal of the Century is a Ploy and Annexation is the New Reality.

20190622_11AM-long-deck_WEB



Iran Deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action)
However, in the medium and long term, the events can have a positive effect for Israel, especially since the Gulf States, especially Saudi Arabia (Sunni Islam), and their regional allies are currently seeking for more allies against Iran (Shia crescent – predecessors in parts of the region were, among others, the Assassins). Israel, not much beloved and esteemed in the Arab world, would be eligible, according to the motto “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” (Iran–Saudi Arabia relations and Iran–Israel relations). Conversely, Israel need every ally in the region that the country can find and can’t be picky. Benjamin Netanyahu will enjoy this, especially as he can continue his personal vendetta (Yonatan Netanyahu), which has now been going on for almost 40 years, with all the means at his disposal against Arab states in the Levant, Iran and in particular against Palestinians. Among other things, he succeeded to trick George W. Bush in a war with Iraq under false pretenses (Iraq allegedly has an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, which turned out to be a blatant lie – French President Nicolas Sarkozy and American President Barack Obama about Netanyahu’s personality: The Guardian, 8 November 2011 Sarkozy: Netanyahu’s a ‘liar’). Netanyahu was against the Iran deal, which was arduously negotiated between the P5+1 and Iran over the years, from the beginning, especially since the agreement has clearly fenced Iran in this point and by doing so is no longer suitable as an “enemy”. Of course, this needs to be changed immediately from Netanyahu’s point of view. Netanjahu is currently trying his for intelligence-minded people easy to understand game (Iran would allegedly violate the Iran deal and continue to build a nuclear bomb (The Guardian, 30 April 2018: Nuclear deal: Netanyahu accuses Iran of cheating on agreement, National Review, 28 August 2017: How to Get Out of the Iran Nuclear Deal), but according to his own words this should be crowned with success already tomorrow for the past 30 years) to push the intellectually overwhelmed Trump (whose “work” and “accomplishments” are characterized by being unable to develop own successful strategies and, due to this considerable deficit, thus it is limited to wiping out the nationally and internationally acclaimed achievements by his outstanding predecessor, US President Barack Obama. If the situation weren’t that serious, one would have to laugh about the duo Netanyahu and Trump (The New York Times, 9 July 2019: Who Is a Bigger Threat to His Democracy: Bibi or Trump?), which inevitably reminds of Pinky and the Brain – The Guardian, 9 March 2018: Meet Donald Trump’s twin: Benjamin Netanyahu) into an altercation with Iran (Iran–United States relations). Certainly, no one does need to place bets on it if this will work or not. The intellectual resources of the current US president aren’t big enough to see through the game. After Netanyahu’s theatrical performance, followed by big applause from (at the moment) US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a similar statement from Washington was declared (BBC, 1 May 2018: Israel’s Iran documents show nuclear deal ‘was built on lies’, Haaretz, 30 April 2018: Trump: Netanyahu’s Speech on Iran Deal Proves That I Was 100% Right on Iran Deal, The Guardian, 1 May 2018: Europeans cast doubt on Israel’s claims about Iran nuclear breaches, DW, 1 May 2018: Netanyahu slideshow reinforces need for Iran nuclear deal, says EU, BBC, 1 May 2018 Iran nuclear row: Tehran says Israel’s Netanyahu lied, Reuters, 6 May 2018: Macron warns of risk of war if Trump withdraws from Iran deal, Haaretz, 6 May 2018: Netanyahu: Iran Must Be Stopped, Even if It Means Conflict – and Better Sooner Than Later, The Guardian, 6 May 2018: Fate of Iran nuclear deal at stake as UK foreign secretary heads to Washington, and New York Times, 15 May 2018: Allies at Cross-Purposes: Trump Puts Europe Into Damage-Control Mode). The whole of the theatrical spectacle organized by the US President and Netanyahu in favor of the dissolution of the Iranian agreement, that Iran fully complies to, overshadows two major aspects due to the volume of the two aforementioned show master: First, the entire Israeli security architecture (intelligence services and the IDF leadership) is backing the Iran deal in full (“It’s much better to have this deal than none!”). Secondly, neither the US President nor Netanyahu provide viable alternatives to the existing agreement, so that the opposition against it turns out to be pure and dangerous nonsense that threatens the security of Europe and would damage the credibility of treaties with the US for decades. An agreement similar to the Iran deal with North Korea would off the table as well (at the end of May 2018 happened what was already expected: The “great dealmaker” Trump failed during at the negotiations with North Korea as well – The New York Times, 24 May 2018: Trump’s Relationship With North Korea Just Got More Dangerous. Apparently, it doesn’t stop North Korea and South Korea in its negotiations. Who would have thought that one day a North Korean dictator would act smarter than a US president? Xinhua News Agency, 26 May 2018: Moon, Kim hold second summit in Panmunjom. If you look at the overall situation with humor, then a quote from the US sitcom Last Man Standing come to mind: “Why are there so many designer diseases like ADHD and allergies in the US? In the days back, we used to have measles and mumps and we just ignored everything else. Today, the North Koreans don’t even need a nuclear bomb because they could kill half of the US population with a single glass of peanut butter!”). It is certainly true that additional agreements on the ballistic missile programs with Iran would be desirable, but the amateur spectacle delivered by the US President and Netanyahu isn’t only not purposeful but extremely counterproductive. In addition to the foreign policy aspects obviously domestic policy aspects play a major role here. The US president tries to distract from the numerous affairs before (Trump / Russia – A definitive History by Seth Hettena, BBC, 3 May 2018: Why the Stormy Daniels-Donald Trump story matters, The Guardian, 6 May 2018: ‘Trump’s going to be forced to resign’: Stormy Daniels’ lawyer predicts a fall, Bloomberg, 26. August 2018: The Prosecutors Who Have Declared War on the President and France24, 27 February 2019: ‘Conman’ Trump broke law in office, Cohen tells Congress in explosive testimony) and during his first term to reach a second term. His voters forgive him all of his disastrous missteps anyway. Netanyahu in turn tries to distract him from the numerous corruption and fraud allegations (New York Times, 2 March 2018: Benjamin Netanyahu Is Questioned in 3rd Corruption Case in Israel, CNN, 2 December 2018: Israeli police say there’s enough evidence to indict Benjamin Netanyahu in a third corruption case, Haaretz, 2 December 2018: Police: Charge Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu With Bribery in Telecom Case, France24, 2 December 2018: Israeli police recommand indicting Netanyahu in graft probe, The Guardian, 2 December 2018: Police recommend indicting Benjamin Netanyahu on bribery charges, The New York Times, 2 December 2018: The Corruption Cases Against Netanyahu, The New York Times, 3 December 2018: Netanyahu’s Obsession With Image Could Be His Downfall, NBC News, 3 December 2018: Israel police recommend Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu be charged with bribery, Haaretz, 3 December 2018: Almost Half of All Israelis Fear ‘Grave Danger’ to Democracy in Their Country, The New York Times, 5 December 2018: Suspected of Crimes, Netanyahu Is Also Suspected of Fear-Mongering and Times of Israel, 6 January 2019: Ex-Supreme Court justice likens Netanyahu’s rhetoric to crime boss threats) against him (his wife Sara Netanyahu make a start here: The Washington Post, 21 June 2018: Sara Netanyahu not first leader’s wife accused of corruption, Haaretz, 7 October 2018: Judge in Sara Netanyahu Fraud Trial Gives Sides One Additional Month to Reach Deal, Washington Post, 7 October 2018: Lifestyle of Israeli prime minister’s wife under scrutiny as she goes on trial in Jerusalem, BBC, 16 June 2019: Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife Sara admits misusing public funds, Times of Israel, 16 June 2019: Sara Netanyahu convicted of misusing state funds, says she’s ‘suffered enough’, The Guardian, 16 June 2019: Israeli court convicts Sara Netanyahu for misusing state funds, France24, 16 June 2019: Israeli court convicts, fines Netanyahu’s wife for misusing public funds and “Like father, like son”: The Guardian, 17 December 2018: Netanyahu’s son banned from Facebook over hate speech – Times of Israel, 13 September 2017: The troll of Balfour Street, Times of Israel, 21 August 2019: Losing bite, friendlier state watchdog is accused of being Netanyahu’s poodle). Apparently, it has become a “good habit” among Israeli leading politicians of the past years to take appropriate prison sentences after the end of their terms. In addition, after losing his immunity status, Netanyahu willrarely leave Israel, especially since numerous international arrest warrants are waiting for him, including two from Spain. Nevertheless, it happened as expected: On May 8, 2018, Trump announced, expressly based on Netanyahu’s fairy tales (not to say lies), the withdrawal from the Iran deal and renewed the sanctions (and the addition of further sanctions) against Iran, which were stopped under the fantastic President Barack Obama on the basis of the Iran deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action). The US is responding to Netanyahu’s expressed desire to allow Iran to build/obtain nuclear weapons (The Guardian, 8 May 2018: Iran deal: Trump breaks with European allies over ‘horrible, one-sided’ nuclear agreement). Netanyahu is delighted to welcome the expected economic deterioration and the resulting unrest in Iran, especially since a destabilizing effect would be very accommodating to his plans of attack, for which again US soldiers will be sacrificed (as in the case of Iraq when Netanyahu tricked Bush Junior into the Iraq war), instead of Israeli soldiers. Not a good day for peace in the Middle East and the security of Europe – above all, it will be remembered who is responsible for it, namely Benjamin Netanyahu and then the duped by him Donald Trump (and his masterminds and stooges Leo Strauss (The Claremont Institue, and the The Heritage Foundation – The Guardian, 8 May 2018: Obama condemns ‘misguided’ violation of Iran deal as Republicans cheer move, Washington Post, 8 May 2018: Trump’s Iran decision just brought us closer to war, USA TODAY, 8 May 2018: Obama: Trump withdrawing from Iran deal is ‘serious mistake,’ turns our back on U.S. allies, New York Times, 8 May 2018: Trump Vandalizes the Iran Deal, Times of Israel, 17 July 2018: In recording, Netanyahu boasts Israel convinced Trump to quit Iran nuclear deal, The Guardian, 10 May 2018 :Israel has hit nearly all Iranian infrastructure in Syria, military claims, The New York Times, 23 May 2018: Deep in the Desert, Iran Quietly Advances Missile Technology, Jerusalem Post, 6 February 2019: Ambassador urges Germany to change anti-Israel stance at U.N., Times of Israel, 12 May 2019: Germany vows to back Israel at UN, in apparent break from past record (while in the real world, Germany isn’t voting against Israel, instead in very own and EU interests, which is, of course, the N° 1 priority of all German governments. Then and only then, the interests of foreign countries are taken into account. On the other hand, Israel sees itself as a possible EU member country and should ask itself, why its state interests are so fundamentally different to those of EU States and at the same time make a EU membership widely impossible – Auswärtiges Amt, 11 May 2019: Foreign Minister Maas on Israel in the United Nations)). After Israel’s renewed and massive air strikes on Syria during the night of 9th to 10th May 2018, it became finally clear that Netanyahu wants to force a war with Iran now, because he doesn’t know if he and his right-wing Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman will ever get another chance to do so (and to trick a US president into a war in the Middle East). The current scenario is very similar to the Suez Crisis 1956 and the Six-Day War, in the preparation of which the Israeli government had asserted Egypt or Syria would in turn prepare for war against Israel. In retrospect, it turned out that these were complete lies of the Israeli leadership in order to begin wars of aggression against the unprepared Egypt and Syria – the only reason why israel was able to win theses selfmade wars. Netanyahu apparently wants to continue this tradition. The perception of the Golan Heights from the international and Israeli point of view is interesting as well: In fact, the Golan Heights are part of the Syrian state territory, although annexed by Israel, this annexation has never ever been recognized by the international community. Assuming that the Syrian government (or its coalition partners) had actually done rocket-firing exercises in the Golan Heights, they would have every rights in the world to do so, especially because they can of course carry out as many military maneuvers and exercises as they want on their own soil. That is also why United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has rejected Israel’s request to hold a special session of the UN Security Council (at the end of July 2018, Israel shot down a Syrian fighter plane over Syrian territory: The New York Times, 24 July 2018: Israel Downs Syrian Fighter Jet Over Golan Heights). Over the past few days, newspaper reports have come to the fore that the Israeli government is now Trump, after the unilateral and internationally ineffectual recognition of (West) Jerusalem as Israel’s capital (at international level, it is de jure still Tel Aviv), to declare the Golan Heights Israeli unilaterally and thus again international ineffective (Times of Israel, 6 January 2019: Hosting top Trump aide, PM asks US to recognize Israeli sovereignty over Golan, Jerusalem Post, 11 March 2019: Is Netanyahu angling for a Golan gift from Trump before election? and Times of Israel, 11 March 2019: Trump ally Graham says he’ll lobby White House for Golan recognition). It is interesting, that the judicious Obama administration has voted against it under the effective United Nations Resolution 2334 in December 2017 (both in terms of East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights), so that it doesn’t matter what the dream dancers Netanyahu and Trump are coming up with: The international community will not play along (Haaretz, 29 August 2018: Israel Will Pay for Its Too-tight Embrace of Donald Trump). Netanyahu starts his European tour on 04 June 2018 to try to convince the governments in Berlin, Paris and London of his anti-Iran course, which is unlikely to succeed (The Guardian, 4 June 2018: Israel’s Netanyahu tours Europe to lobby leaders against Iran). With his sabotage of the Iran deal he endangers the security of Europe and that can’t be tolerated. His theater performances might impress Trump (for whom breach of agreements and contracts is everyday business), but certainly not European leaders. His first talks leads him to Berlin. Once again very bad timing, because on this day Joachim Loew will finally announce the formation of the German team for the World Cup in Russia. Neighborhood disputes in the Levant are at best secondary on such a day. Netanyahu spent the next day in Paris: France24, 5 May 2018: French President Emmanuel Macron warned of the risk of an “escalation” in the Iranian nuclear standoff on Tuesday following talks in Paris with Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu. How far the whole thing got out of hand becomes clear when one discovers with a mixture of disbelief, speechlessness and horror that one has to agree to remarks of Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: Reuters, 21 July 2018: U.S. launches campaign to erode support for Iran’s leaders and Reuters, 21 July 2018: Iran supreme leader says ‘obvious mistake’ to negotiate with U.S.: website. And the show went on: The New York Times, 22 July 2018: Trump Threatens Iran on Twitter, Warning Rouhani of Dire ‘Consequences’, The Washington Post, 22 July 2018: Middle East: After Trump slams Iran’s president, Iranian officials accuse him of ‘psychological warfare’, The Guardian, 23 July 2018: John Bolton backs Trump’s Iran threat: ‘They will pay a price’, The Washington Post, 23 July 2018: Ignore Trump’s clueless bluster on Iran, The Guardian, 23 July 2018: Trump says Iran will ‘suffer consequences’ after speech by President Rouhani, The Guardian, 23 July 2018: Trump’s tweet to Iran cannot bully the west away from making peace and The Guardian, 24 July 2018: It’s not Trump Iranians are worried about – it’s their homegrown crises. At the UN General Assembly in New York in September 2018, Netanyahu has revealed his latest discovery: There are even warehouses in a village called Turquzabad in Iran 😲, presumably to store the CDs and ring binders from Netanyahu’s previous “sensational findings” (The Washington Post, 27 September 2018: Israel accuses Iran of harboring ‘secret atomic warehouse’, France 24, 22 February 2019: Iran is holding up its end of nuclear deal, shows IAEA report and Times of Israel, 22 February 2019: UN nuclear watchdog say Iran staying within limits of 2015 deal). The international response to Netanyahu’s “sensational findings” was mixed but overwhelmingly amused, especially as understandably pretty much nobody believed him.

The consequences of the re-enforced and additional sanctions imposed by Trump on Iran for European companies can’t be determined clearly yet. The essential aspect is how banks react to it. Without loans and payments, there will be no international business in Iran. Banks, operating in the US, will refrain from doing business with Iran in the near future, in order to avoid of being on the Trump’s sanction/play list and thus risking the US business or the entire US dollar-based business. Companies, which aren’t active in the US business, but would like to do business in Iran, therefore, have to be very creative, especially with regard to the selected bank and the currency (the European Investment Bank would be eligible if the European Union accidentally came to an agreement. The 1996 Helms-Burton Blocking Statute of the European Union, in order to fend off sanctions of the former Clinton administration, would be eligible (New York Times, 16 May 2018: E.U. Official Takes Donald Trump to Task: ‘With Friends Like That’ …, The Guardian, 17 May 2018: EU sets course for US clash with law blocking Iran sanctions, Reuters, 17 May 2018: EU to start Iran sanctions blocking law process on Friday, Der Spiegel, 22 May 2018: Interview with Joschka Fischer: ‘The U.S. President Is Destroying the American World Order’, The New York Times, 6 May 2018: Europe Asks U.S. for an Exemption From Sanctions on Iran, The New York Times, 6 August 2018: U.S. to Restore Sanctions on Iran, Deepening Divide With Europe, USA Today, 6 August 2018: Donald Trump reimposes economic sanctions on Iran, BBC, 7 August 2018: Iran sanctions: Trump warns trading partners, Reuters, 7 August 2018: Trump says firms doing business in Iran to be barred from U.S. as sanctions hit, The Guardian, 7 August 2018: The Guardian view on Iran and sanctions: the EU stands firm, Reuters, 11 December 2018: German exports to Iran soar ahead of U.S. sanctions, Reuters, 21 August 2018: Germany urges EU payment system without U.S. to save Iran deal, Reuters, 27 August 2018: World Court hears Iran lawsuit to have U.S. sanctions lifted, France24, 9 January 2019: EU sanctions Iran over assassination plots, The Washington Post, 9 January 2019: Iran supreme leader calls US officials ‘first-class idiots’, Politico.eu, 18 January 2019: Trump seeks to split EU as fight intensifies over Iran nuclear deal, Jerusalem Post, 18 January 2019: Are European countries moving closer to Trump on Iran?, Handelsblatt, 21 January 2019: Mahan Air: Berlin bans Iranian airline after EU slaps sanctions on Tehran, Bloomberg, 24 January 2019: EU Says Preparations for Iran SPV Are at ‘Advanced Stage’, The Washington Post, 28 January 2019: Germany says EU soon to launch Iran funding scheme, Times of Israel, 28 January 2019: Trump warns Europeans not to try to evade Iran sanctions, The New York Times, 29 January 2019: On North Korea and Iran, Intelligence Chiefs Contradict Trump, Times of Israel, 30 January 2019: Rouhani: Iran facing ‘greatest pressure and economic sanctions’ in 40 years, The Guardian, 31 January 2019: Europe sets up scheme to get round US sanctions on Iran, Bloomberg, 31 January 2019: Europe Protects Itself From Trump’s Caprice, Instex (AP News, 8 August 2019: Designated Head of Europe-Iran Trade Entity Won’t Take Job, Jerusalem Post, 8 August 2019: German Ambassador se to run EU-Iran trade resigns, linked to Holocaust denier, Haaretz, 9 August 2019: German Diplomat Designated to Head Iran Trade Vehicle Pulls Out at Last Minute (Barter)), The New York Times, 31 January 2019: 3 European Nations Create Firm to Trade With Iran, but Will Anyone Use It?, European Comission: Iran, Foreign Policy, 13 February 2019: Iran’s Economy Is Crumbling, but Collapse Is a Long Way Off, Reuters, 25 February 2019: Iran’s Foreign Minister Zarif, architect of nuclear deal, resigns, The Guardian, 25 February 2019: Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif announces resignation, The New York Times, 25 February 2019: Iran’s Foreign Minister, Architect of Nuclear Deal, Says He Is Resigning, The Washington Post, 25 February 2019: Iran’s foreign minister, who became the face of his country, tenders his resignation, Iran–European Union relations, France24, 27 February 2019: Iran’s Rouhani rejects Foreign Minister Zarif’s resignation, Times of Israel, 27 February 2019: Iranian president rejects Foreign Minister Zarif’s resignation, Washington Post, 27 February 2019: Iran’s Rouhani rejects chief diplomat’s resignation, calling it ‘against national interests’, Hawala, Remittance, Economy of Iran, Germany–Iran relations and Iran–European Union relations). Today, and in the face of an obviously unstable US president, it would probably involve the risk of triggering a full-blown US-EU trade war through countermeasures from Washington – of course, despite the current transatlantic moods, the US remains the EU’s main and most important (trading) partner, because there aren’t any real alternatives given. People who think of Moscow or Beijing here, obviously didn’t deal enough with the basic data and the opposing social/society models (the democracy in the EU stands in clear and obvious opposition to the so-called “controlled democracy” in Russia under President Vladimir Putin, which in fact corresponds to an autocracy, and in the People’s Republic of China under President Xi Jinping, according to its constitution “under the democratic dictatorship of the people”, but is governed since 1949 authoritarian by the Chinese Communist Party)). Sometimes the mostly rightfully scolded, anonymized tax havens sometimes seems to be good for something. As a cherry on Trump’s absurdity cake, at the same time the current US Secretary of State (who knows how long he will stay or whether he will survive the next tweet) Mike Pompeo chats happily with Trump’s new buddy, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, about possible help from the US to build up the country (The Guardian, 13 May 2018: Pompeo: US firms could invest in North Korea and Kim may get ‘security assurances’).

In the dispute over the Iran deal, the EU has now come a step further to protect small and medium-sized EU companies that are not active in the US business but want to do business in Iran – and there are surprisingly many. The European Commission has created a protection mechanism against US sanctions and has authorized the European Investment Bank to carry out payment transactions. By contrast, large companies and corporations can not benefit from the protection mechanism.

The next bomb exploded on June 27, 2018, when it became known that the blackmail duo Benjamin Netanyahu and Donald Trump will once again try to take the global economy hostage for their crude plans. Starting on November 4, 2018, those companies and countries (China is the largest buyer of Iranian oil, followed by the EU), which continue to import oil from Iran, will face US sanctions. Apart from the fact that the US will shoot itself in the foot, the step will certainly not increase the sympathy values for and the willingness to foreign investment in Israel and the United States. Should the economic situations of both countries change in the near future, which can be assumed, they can not only hope for appropriately amused reactions from the Arab world. As with the first round of US sanctions on Iran, following the unilateral termination of the Iran deal by Trump, the second round now means for the EU to seek again for banks that this time can handle the oil business with Iran. A prerequisite for the selection is to do little or no business in the US and therefore be able to laugh about possible sanctions. As with the first round, the EU will not be able to cope with the risk of default of large companies and corporations, especially since their international business usually includes considerable US business volumes. At the same time, countermeasures against the US must again be planned (e.g., complete suspension of liquefied gas and oil trade), and measures against Israel’s Trump whisperers should be considered as well. The current attempt is the 1:1 takeover of a confused Netanyahu plan to initially destabilize Iran economically and then attack the country militarily. Here is another aspect: The affair surrounding the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which is making big waves internationally, is shaking Trump’s entire “Middle East policy” (if it exists at all), as it is build on Saudi Arabia’s important role as a regional power player and policymaker, especially with regard to Iran. After the evidence against Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman intensify, Democrats and influential Republicans are increasingly calling for the US to move away from Saudi Arabia and impose sanctions on the country. For Trump, but especially for Benjamin Netanyahu, that would be a bitter defeat. In particular, the latter hope for a major breakthrough in the Middle East conflict from the recent rapprochements between Saudi Arabia and Israel, especially as the appeal of Saudi Arabia to the Muslim world has considerable weight. Against the background, it is understandable why Trump and Netanyahu are desperately looking for ways out of the crisis (for the Saudi crown prince). Before Trump, this would’t have been possible (Haaretz, 20 November 2018: Trump: U.S. to Remain Steadfast Partner to Saudi Arabia to Ensure Israeli Interests, The Guardian, 20 November 2018: Trump ‘stands with’ Saudi Arabia and defends crown prince over Khashoggi, The New York Times, 20 November 2018: In Extraordinary Statement, Trump Stands With Saudis Despite Khashoggi Killing, Times of Israel, 14 January 2019: Pompeo: US wants accountability for Khashoggi murder, and Saudis agree, Haaretz, 31 May 2018: Ex-Mossad Chief Says He Questioned Legality of Netanyahu’s Order to Prepare Iran Strike, Times of Israel, 6 April 2019: US said set to declare Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as terrorist group, France24, 8 April 2019: US designates Iran’s Revolutionary Guards a ‘terrorist organisation’, The New York Times, 8 April 2019: Trump Designates Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a Foreign Terrorist Group, Jerusalem Post, 8 April 2019: Netanyahu praises Trump for putting Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on terror list, Times of Israel, 8 April 2019: Netanyahu says Trump designated Iran Guards a terror group at his request, The New York Times, 22 April 2019: U.S. Moves to Stop All Nations From Buying Iranian Oil, BBC, 22 April 2019: Iran oil: US to end sanctions exemptions for major importers, Reuters, 22 April 2019: U.S. to end all waivers on Iran oil imports, crude price jumps, Jerusalem Post, 22 April 2019: Netanyahu lauds Trump decision to eleminate Iran oil waivers, Times of Israel, 22 April 2019: Iran threatens to close Strait of Hormuz after US ends sanction waivers, France24, 23 April 2019: US sanctions over Iran oil will ‘intensify Mideast turmoil’: China, Times of Israel, 24 April 2019: Iran threatens ‘consequences’ if US takes ‘crazy measure’ of blocking oil sales, Times of Israel, 25 April 2019: Zarif accuses Netanyahu and Saudis of trying to provoke US into war with Iran, The Guardian, 24 April 2019: Iran will continue to defy US oil sanctions, says Tehran, Al Jazeera, 29 April 2019: Can Iran close the Strait of Hormuz? (Netanyahu and Trump obviously want to drive Iran to self-defense actions and then, of course, once again, mendacious and hypocritical as both are, cry into the cameras that Iran would have to take full responsibility for it. Netanyahu and Trump apparently assume that the rest of the world is just as limited in their ability to think as they are themselves. At any rate, they are closer to their goal of imposing war on Iran than ever before (2020 United States presidential election, Rally ’round the flag effect, United States sanctions against Iran, The Guardian, 6 May 2019: US deploys aircraft carrier and bombers after ‘troubling indications’ from Iran, gunboat diplomacy, psychological warfare, BBC, 6 May 2019: US sends aircraft carrier and bomber task force to ‘warn Iran’, France24, 8 May 2019: Iran nuclear deal: what happens now?, The Guardian, 8 May 2019: Trump’s antics over Iran have endangered us all. The stakes are now lethally high, The Guardian, 8 May 2019: Iran announces partial withdrawal from nuclear deal, BBC, 8 May 2019: Iran nuclear deal: Tehran urged to honour commitments, The New York Times, 8 May 2019: U.S. Threatens New Sanctions as Iran Plans to End Compliance With Parts of Nuclear Deal, Washington Post, 8 May 2019: Why Russia is the big winner of the Iran deal fallout, The National, 8 May 2019: European pressure on Tehran is needed, Washington Post, 8 May 2019: Iran announces it will stop complying with parts of landmark nuclear deal, Times of Israel, 8 May 2019: Democrats warn Trump is leading US toward war with Iran, France24, 8 May 2019: Trump tightens Iran sanctions as France warns against ‘escalation’, The Guardian, 9 May 2019: EU rejects Iran’s two-month ultimatum on nuclear deal, France24, 9 May 2019: Europe rejects Iran’s ‘ultimatum’ but stands by nuclear deal, The Guardian, 10 May 2019: Trump’s foolish Iran policy only makes war more likely, The Washington Post, 11 May 2019: Why the U.S.-Iran Conflict Is Now Coming to a Head, i24 News, 12 May 2019: Analysis: Will escalation between US, Iran revive Netanyahu’s decade-old strike plans?, Times of Israel, 12 May 2019: Amid US-Iran tension, Israeli minister fears Tehran ‘may fire rockets at Israel’, The Guardian, 12 May 2019: US war against Iran is impossible, claims Iranian general, The Guardian, 13 May 2019: Iran-US tensions are reaching new heights – and neither is likely to blink, The Guardian, 13 May 2019: Europe urges Mike Pompeo and US to show restraint towards Iran, The New York Times, 13 May 2019: White House Reviews Military Plans Against Iran, in Echoes of Iraq War, The National, 13 May 2019: Mike Pompeo delays Russia visit to lobby against Iran deal in Brussels, Al Jazeera, 13 May 2019: ‘Maximum restraint’: Europe allies reject US escalation with Iran, The National, 13 May 2019: The US and Europe must unite over Iran, The Washington Post, 13 May 2019: Pompeo crashes Brussels meeting of E.U. diplomats but changes few minds on Iran, The Times, 14 May 2019: US could stumble into a war with Iran, allies tell Mike Pompeo, The New York Times, 14 May 2019: It’s Time for the Leaders of Saudi Arabia and Iran to Talk, The Washington Post, 14 May 2019: It’s up to Israelis to stop Iran’s nuclear program. Here’s how they did it before., Times of Israel, 15 May 2019: Allies split with US over Iranian threat as war worries mount, The New York Times, 14 May 2019: Skeptical U.S. Allies Resist Trump’s New Claims of Threats From Iran, Haaretz, 15 May 2019: Iran Vows to Defeat ‘American-Zionist Alliance’ as Putin Warns Against U.S. Pressure, BBC, 15 May 2019: US pulls ‘non-emergency staff’ from Iraq as Iran tensions mount, Times of Israel, 15 May 2019: Iran’s defense minister: ‘We will defeat the American-Zionist front’, Arab News, 16 May 2019: Iran must not go unpunished, Haaretz, 16 May 2019: If the U.S. Goes to War With Iran, Netanyahu Will Be the Prime Suspect, Arab News, 18 May 2019: Gulf nations ‘approve US request to deploy troops in the Gulf’, Times of Israel, 18 May 2019: Saudi newspaper calls on Washington to launch strikes on Iran, Jerusalem Post, 19 May 2019: Saudi Arabia says it seeks to avert war, ball in Iran’s court, Times of Israel, 20 May 2019: Trump warns if Tehran attacks, it will be ‘official end of Iran’, Haaretz, 20 May 2019: Trump: ‘If Iran Wants to Fight, That Will Be the Official End of Iran’, The Guardian, 20 May 2019: Iran hits back at Trump for tweeting ‘genocidal taunts’, Jerusalem Post, 20 May 2019: Iranian commander: We are ready to confront the enemy, Times of Israel, 20 May 2019: Hitting back at Trump, Zarif says ‘genocidal taunts won’t end Iran’ (the whole extent of Trump’s stupidity shows again: Only those who are members of a club can change its rules. On the other hand, anyone who leaves the club and roars around from the fence just looks like a ridiculous idiot. With Benjamin Netanyahu’s forced unilateral termination of the Iran deal, the US president has reached exactly this position. An emperor without clothes), Times of Israel, 20 May 2019: Iran quadruples low-enriched uranium production, Times of Israel, 21 May 2019: Rouhani: In current situation, Iran chooses path of ‘resistance only’, The New York Times, 23 May 2019: Trump Officials Prepare to Bypass Congress to Sell Weapons to Gulf Nations, Politico.com, 23 May 2019: Dianne Feinstein’s dinner with the foreign minister of Iran, Times of Israel, 24 May 2019: Trump to invoke emergency to sell arms to Saudis, citing Iran threat, CNN, 24 May 2019: Trump declares emergency to expedite arms sales to Saudi Arabia and UAE, Jerusalem Post, 24 May 2019: Controvery in Iran amid reports Zarif met U.S. senator, Times of Israel, 29 May 2019: Netanyahu uncommonly quiet as US-Iran crisis escalates, Jerusalem Post, 29 May 2019: German intel: Iran wants to expand to weapons of mass destruction, Haaretz, 30 May 2019: Israel’s False Messiah of Religious Freedom Just Brought Down Netanyahu. It’s Hilarious, France24, 31 May 2019: Saudi king demands firm action against ‘criminal’ Iran at Arab summit, Al Jazeera, 31 May 2019: Iran rejects Saudi Arabia’s ‘baseless’ allegations at Arab summit, Times of Israel, 31 May 2019: Iran accuses Saudi Arabia of ‘sowing division’ to Israel’s benefit, Times of Israel, 1 June 2019: Saudi king says will reject US measures that ‘prejudice’ Jerusalem, Jerusalem Post, 1 June 2019: Handshakes, Jerusalem and Iran: The politics of the Saudi summits, Times of Israel, 1 June 2019: Iran president says Islamic Republic won’t be ‘bullied’ into US talks, Times of Israel, 1 June 2019: Khomeini’s legacy looms over Iran, 30 years after his death, Times of Israel, 6 June 2019: Saudi missile program expanded with help from China, US intel said to show, Iran Press, 6 June 2019: German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas to visit Iran next week, Times of Israel, 6 June 2019: Trump signals readiness for negotiations with Iran, Jerusalem Post, 7 June 2019: Iran rejects French call for wider talks beyond nuclear deal – state TV, The New York Times, 7 June 2019: Trump Allows High-Tech U.S. Bomb Parts to Be Built in Saudi Arabia, France24, 7 June 2019: Iran rejects France’s call for wider talks beyond nuclear deal, Times of Israel, 8 June 2019: Iran said accelerating uranium centrifuge production, anticipating deal collapse, Times of Israel, 8 June 2019: US hits Iran with new sanctions targeting petrochemicals, Times of Israel, 8 June 2019: Iran says new US sanctions show offer for talks is ‘hollow’, France24, 8 June 2019: Iran says selling oil through ‘unconventional’ means, Jerusalem Post, 8 June 2019: Understanding the Saudi, UAE arms deals and Iran, The Guardian, 10 June 2019: Iran’s foreign minister warns US ‘cannot expect to stay safe’, Jerusalem Post, 10 June 2019: Iran welcomes German FM to pressure Europe on nuke deal, France24, 10 June 2019: Germany urges Iran to stick to nuclear deal, Times of Israel, 10 June 2019: Iran’s top envoy: Netanyahu wants to destroy us, and we will respond, Jerusalem Post, 10 June 2019: Iran foreign minister slams Netanyahu and Trumo ‘deal’, Times of Israel, 10 June 2019: UN nuclear watchdog: Iran uranium production up, can’t confirm compliance, Times of Israel, 12 June 2019: Japan premier hopes to ease US-Iran tensions in Tehran visit, Times of Israel, 13 June 2019: Khamenei: Iran doesn’t want nuclear bomb, but US couldn’t stop us if we did, The Guardian, 13 June 2019: Two oil tankers struck in suspected attacks in Gulf of Oman, USS Liberty, France24, 13 June 2019: US blames Iran for attacks on oil tankers in Gulf of Oman, The Guardian, 14 June 2019: US says video shows Iranian military removing mine from tanker, France24, 14 June 2019: US releases video accusing Iran of tanker attack, Tehran blasts ‘Iranophobic campaign’, The Guardian, 14 June 2019: Trump blames Iran for oil tanker attacks and calls country a ‘nation of terror’, The New York Times, 14 June 2019: Distrusting Both Iran and U.S., Europe Urges ‘Maximum Restraint’, Al Jazeera, 14 June 2019: ‘Ridiculous, dangerous’: Iran denies US claims over Gulf tankers, The New York Times, 14 June 2019: Was Iran Behind the Oman Tanker Attacks? A Look at the Evidence, The New York Times, 14 June 2019: Iran and the U.S. Are on a Collision Course, France24, 14 June 2019: Trump accuses Iran of tanker attacks but flags need for talks, The Guardian, 15 June 2019: Iran-US dispute grows over attacks on oil tankers in Gulf of Oman, Times of Israel, 15 June 2019: Israel said to blame Iran’s Revolutionary Guard for attacks on oil tankers, Times of Israel, 16 June 2019: Saudi prince blames Iran for tanker attacks, says won’t hesitate on ‘threats’, The New York Times, 16 June 2019: In Face-Off With Iran, Escalation May Depend on Who Prevails Inside Washington and Tehran, The New York Times, 17 June 2019: Iran Threatens to Violate Nuclear Deal’s Limits on Uranium Enrichment, The Guardian, 17.06.2019: Iran to break uranium stockpile limit set by nuclear deal, Times of Israel, 17 June 2019: After enrichment threat, US accuses Iran of ‘nuclear extortion’, Times of Israel, 17 June 2019: Germany, UK warn Iran over enrichment threat; EU takes wait-and-see approach, Jerusalem Post, 17 June 2019: U.N. officials: U.S. planning a ‘tactical assault’ in Iran, Times of Israel, 18 June 2019: US deploying 1,000 more troops to Middle East as Iran tensions soar, France24, 18 June 2019: US deploys 1000 more troops to Middle East, citing ‘hostile behaviour’ from Iran, The Guardian, 18 June 2019: US to send 1,000 more troops to Middle East, citing ‘hostile behavior’ by Iran, The Guardian, 18 June 2019: The Trump administration’s dangerous fever dream about Iran, The Guardian, 19 June 2019: UK, France and Germany in last-ditch effort to save Iran deal, The Guardian, 19 June 2019: A US war with Iran looms. Don’t for one second think that it is justified, Times of Israel, 18 June 2019: , The Guardian, 18 June 2019: The Iran crisis was created in Washington. The US must be talked down, Jerusalem Post, 19 June 2019: Kremlin says Russia-Us_Israel meeting ‘very important’, CNN, 20 June 2019: Iran shoots down US drone aircraft, The Guardian, 20 June 2019: Iran shoots down US drone, The New York Times, 20 June 2019: Attacking Iran Is Congress’s Call, Times of Israel, 20 June 2019: US official confirms Iran shot down drone, says it was in international airspace, The Guardian, 20 June 2019: Iran shoots down US ‘spy’ drone, Times of Israel, 20 June 2019: Moscow to look out for Iranian interests in upcoming Jerusalem meet, The Guardian, 20 June 2019: US joins four rogue countries seen as likely forces for bad, poll finds, The Guardian, 21 June 2019: Donald Trump ‘cancelled Iran strikes with planes in the air’, France24, 21 June 2019: US approved, then scrapped Iran strikes after drone shooting, US media say, CNN, 21 June 2019: Military operation against Iran was set before Trump called it off, CNN, 21 June 2019: How Donald Trump created one hell of a mess with Iran, The New York Times, 21 June 2019: Trump Stopped Strike on Iran Because It Was ‘Not Proportionate’, Al Jazeera, 18 June 2019: ‘Brink of war’: World leaders push for Iran-US restraint, Al Jazeera, 20 June 2019: The Saudi-UAE axis has destabilising plans beyond the Gulf, The National, 21 June 2019: Prince Khalid bin Salman: Saudi Arabia supports ‘maximum pressure’ on Iran, The Guardian, 21 June 2019: The Guardian view on Iran and Trump: the risks remain, The National, 21 June 2019: Donald Trump confirms reversing order for strikes on Iran, Arab News, 21 June 2019: Trump warned Iran via Oman that US attack was imminent, called for talks, Reuters, 21 June 2019: Trump’s half-cocked and loaded tweet draws barrage of reaction, Arab News, 21 June 2019: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman speaks with Donald Trump on Iran, The New York Times, 21 June 2019: Urged to Launch an Attack, Trump Listened to the Skeptics Who Said It Would Be a Costly Mistake, The Guardian, 22 June 2019: Foreign Office minister to visit Iran to call for ‘urgent de-escalation’, Al Jazeera, 22 June 2019: Iran-US standoff: A timeline of key events, France24, 23 June 2019: US launched cyber attack on Iranian computer systems, The National, 23 June 2019: US-Iran tensions remain high as UAE calls for de-escalation, The Guardian, 23 June 2019: Trump says ‘absolutely broken’ Iran will face major new sanctions, France24, 23 June 2019: Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs: ‘Iran’s policies are not acceptable and have to change’ (Netanyahu has been trying to engage Iran in war for decades, first with the help of the Bush II administration, now with the help of the Trump administration, and the Iranian leadership simply does not fall for his tricks – how mean of them. It remains to be seen what the simpletons Netanyahu and Trump will come up next with to reach their goal in any case. Again, it is obvious that Iran is playing “3D chess“, while Netanyahu and Trump are just able to play “Mensch ärgere Dich nicht“. On the other hand, it should also be clear to Iran that the support of Hezbollah, Hamas, the Islamic Jihad in Palestine and the Houthis does not contribute to deepening international friendships or building confidence in international relations. Even if the Trump administration is understandably unsuitable as a negotiating partner, it should have spread to Teheran that the other signatories to the Iran deal were not only concerned with the continuation and observance of the treaty, but want to include the Irian ballistic missile programs as well. In the knowledge of the connections, it should not be difficult for Iran to offer the remaining contractual partners from the Iran deal corresponding additional contract formulations. Thus, the contract would be in tact and would have lasting existence, at the same time all sanction reasons would be omitted and as a cherry on the cake, the US would be permanently barred by pressure from Netanyahu from the Iran deal. That would sell well even with the Iranian hardliners and inflict enormous political damage on Trump. That would be the first part. In order to turn the tables completely against Netanyahu and Trump, who apparently want to see the Middle East burn, and to put a crown on top, it would also be smart to start a Peace and Neighborhood Initiative with the Arab Gulf States very soon, in order to conclude a non-aggression pact and in the course start the pacification process in Yemen, while making sure that Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates come out of it by keeping their faces. This would lead to an groundbreaking agreement for the region, based on its own initiative. That would be a precedent for the whole region and could be the start of much broader regional cooperation for a prosperous future. For the West in particular, it has never been comprehensible why Muslims have been fighting each other for decades for essentially vain reasons. Because, to be honest, wars about the interpretation of Islam (Tafsir, Sunnis and Shias) are about as meaningful as the war between Coca-Cola and Pepsi Cola, or about whose imaginary friend is cooler. It would be a signal of reason and strength to put an end on this kind of action, based on a regional initiative. In view of the fact that even Muslims in the region are less and less religious, the time for an inner-Muslim peace initiative would be absolutely right (The Guardian, 24 June 2019: Arab world turns its back on religion – and its ire on the US, BBC, 24 June 2019: The Arab world in seven charts: Are Arabs turning their backs on religion?). There will certainly come the objection “Yes, that’s a good thing, but the Muslim countries have been waging unnecessary wars against each other for centuries, and they’re not going to stop that!” Given the current situation, which can easily lead to the entire Arabian Peninsula, Iran and the countries of the Levant being plunged into a firestorm, such a peace initiative would be one of the few emergency exits and solutions to cool the overall situation down a bit, prevent widespread war, but at the same time send very positive signals for future developments), The New York Times, 23 June 2019: Trump’s Iran Reversal Raises Allies’ Doubts Over His Tactics, and U.S. Power, CNN, 23 June 2019: Why Trump can’t fill the gaping holes in his government, France24, 24 June 2019: USA’s Pompeo seeks global coalition against Iran as fresh sanctions due to be announced, The Guardian, 24 June 2019: Donald Trump orders fresh sanctions against Iran’s Ali Khamenei, Times of Israel, 24 June 2019: Europe cool on Iran coalition talk, seeks deescalation, Haaretz, 24 June 2019: Trump on Iran: Will Talk Without ‘Preconditions’ — Warns Bolton Would Go to War With the World, Times of Israel, 24 June 2019: Zarif: Netanyahu, Bolton, Gulf leaders ‘thirst for war’ between Iran, US, The National, 24 June 2019: Pompeo visits UAE and Saudi as Trump puts new sanctions on Iran, Jerusalem Post, 24 June 2019: Putin adviser: Israel’s security important, Russian “countrymen” are here, Haaretz, 24 June 2019: As Winds of War Blow in Gulf, Trump Will Try to Workshop Mideast Peace, Arab News, 24 June 2019: King Salman meets Pompeo amid US-Iran tensions, Times of Israel, 25 June 2019: Pompeo pushes Gulf allies on chipping in to counter Iran, USA Today, 25 June 2019: Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani calls new US sanctions ‘outrageous and idiotic’, The Guardian, 25 June 2019: Iran says it will never build a nuclear weapon, France24, 25 June 2019: Iran says new US sanctions mean ‘permanent closure’ of diplomacy, Times of Israel, 25 June 2019: Rouhani says US ‘lying’ about talks offer, suffers from ‘mental retardation’, The New York Times, 25 June 2019: Trump Threatens ‘Obliteration’ of Iran, as Sanctions Dispute Escalates, Haaretz, 25 June 2019: Contradicting Trump, Top Putin Adviser Says U.S. Drone Downed in Iranian Airspace, Times of Israel, 25 June 2019: In trilateral Jerusalem summit, Russia sides with Iran, against Israel and US, The Guardian, 25 June 2019: Trump threatens ‘obliteration’ after Iran suggests he has a ‘mental disorder’, France24, 25 June 2019: Iran says new US sanctions mean ‘permanent closure’ of diplomacy, CNN, 25 June 2019: Iranian president says White House is ‘suffering mental disability’ over sanctions, The New York Times, 25 June 2019: Trump Takes On China and Persia at Once. What’s to Worry About?, The Guardian, 26 June 2019: Iran’s ultimatum on breaching nuclear deal puts EU3 on the spot, France24, 26 June 2019: Iraq must not be dragged into another regional war: president, The National, 26 June 2019: Iraq president vows country will not be used as platform of Middle East instability, CNN, 26 June 2019: The US isn’t interested in dialogue with Iran, France says, Al Jazeera, 26 June 2019: Iran-US tensions: All the latest updates, The National, 26 June 2019: Averting conflict with Iran is the right move, but Trump’s margins for manoeuvre are limited, CNN, 26 June 2019: US is ‘not in a position to obliterate Iran,’ Iranian foreign minister says, Al Jazeera, 25 June 2019: Has the door closed on diplomacy between Iran and US?, The Guardian, 26 June 2019: EU makes last-ditch effort to keep Iran from leaving nuclear deal, The New York Times, 26 June 2019: This Isn’t About Iran. It’s About China., Times of Israel, 27 June 2019: Iran tells UN it cannot uphold nuclear deal ‘alone’, Times of Israel, 27 June 2019: Iran said to be short of uranium limit but expected to reach it by weekend, The Guardian, 27 June 2019: Iran holds back on threat to breach nuclear deal, The Guardian, 27 June 2019: UK and other powers to hold crunch talks with Iran over nuclear deal, Times of Israel, 28 June 2019: Iran, nuclear deal partners to meet as accord under threat, Haaretz, 28 June 2019: U.S.-Iran Tensions: What the Key Players Around Trump Are Pushing For, Al Jazeera, 28 June 2019: Nuclear talks progress ‘not enough’ for Iran to change course, The National, 29 June 2019: Iran says progress at last-ditch nuclear deal talks ‘not enough’, Palestine Chronicle, 29 June 2019: An Honorable Course in Iran: End Sanctions, Resume Dialogue, France24, 29 June 2019: UAE scales down troops in Yemen as Iran-Gulf tensions mount, Times of Israel, 29 June 2019: Senate fails to limit Trump war powers amid Iran tensions, Haaretz, 29 June 2019: Why Trump May End Up Calling Rohani ‘Dear Friend’ After All, Arab News, 30 June 2019: The rise and fall of the Iran nuclear deal (the recent episode between the US and North Korea already shows clearly that Iran would be well advised to promptly acquire nuclear weapons from North Korea, China, Russia or India to be able to respond to any military aggression with the strongest possible power. The easiest way would be a deal between North Korea and Iran (oil against nuclear warheads), especially since both countries are under maximum US sanctions and therefore couldn’t care less about what Trumps USA and its few remaining allies think about it. Of course, Iran would not use the nuclear warheads, because following the proverb “jumped as a lion and landed as a bedside rug” the US would then immediately withdraw. Netanyahu’s aggressions against Iran would certainly end soon, too). The next escalation stage should not be long in coming, especially since Iran is unable to transport abroad enriched heavy water and the amount exceeding the limit of 300 kg of slightly enriched material due to US sanctions. So Iran will again not be at fault here, even when the “Fake News” experts Netanyahu and Trump will of course try to make it look the other way round), The New York Times, 30 June 2019: Trump’s Iran Strategy Will Fail. Here’s Why., The Guardian, 1 July 2019: Iran breaks nuclear deal and puts pressure on EU over sanctions, France24, 1 July 2019: Iran has broken stockpile limit set by nuclear deal, FM Zarif says, BBC, 1 July 2019: Iran nuclear deal: Enriched uranium limit breached, IAEA confirms, CNN, 1 July 2019: Iran exceeds uranium caps set by nuclear deal, foreign minister says, Al Jazeera, 1 July 2019: Iran nuclear deal: Tehran exceeds enriched uranium limit, The New York Times, 1 July 2019: Iran Passes Critical Nuclear Fuel Limit Under 2015 Pact, State Media Reports, The Washington Post, 1 July 2019: U.N. watchdog confirms Iran has breached nuclear deal stockpile limit, Al Jazeera, 1 July 2019: INSTEX: Doubts linger over Europe’s Iran sanctions workaround, Arab News, 1 July 2019: IAEA confirms Iran’s enriched uranium stockpile exceeds nuclear deal limit, The National, 1 July 2019: Iran tensions set to mount as Tehran breaches uranium enrichment limit, The Guardian, 1 July 2019: EU powers resist calls for Iran sanctions after breach of nuclear deal, BBC, 1 July 2019: Iran’s nuclear deal is on life support. Can it be saved?, The New York Times, 1 July 2019: Iran Passed Its Uranium Limit. What Happens Next?, Al Jazeera, 2 July 2019: ‘Seriously?’: Zarif mocks US, insists Iran has not violated deal, Saudi Gazette, 2 July 2019: Macron calls on Iran to ‘immediately’ reduce enriched uranium reserves, The National, 2 July 2019: European Union urges Iran to comply with nuclear deal, Palestine Chronicle, 2 July 2019: Iran is Not Iraq: American Warmongers Must Be Stopped, The National, 2 July 2019: Iran seeks influence over Europe by tampering with nuclear deal, Arab News, 3 July 2019: Regional realities see Germany focus on Gulf over Iran, The National, 3 July 2019: Renegotiate or Iran will breach more nuclear deal commitments, Hassan Rouhani tells EU, Arab News, 3 July 2019: Iran warns it will increase nuclear enrichment within days, France24, 4 July 2019: Iran condemns, US applauds Britain’s seizure of Iranian oil tanker at Gibraltar, BBC, 4 July 2019: Iran summons UK ambassador in tanker seizure row, CNN, 5 July 2019: Gibraltar seizes Iranian oil tanker bound for Syria, The Guardian, 5 July 2019: Iran fury as Royal Marines seize tanker suspected of carrying oil to Syria, Al Jazeera, 5 July 2019: Iran demands UK release of oil tanker held in Gibraltar, Times of Israel, 5 July 2019: US: Detention of tanker loaded with Iranian crude is ‘excellent news’, BBC, 5 July 2019: Iranian official threatens to seize British oil tanker, Times of Israel, 5 July 2019: UN nuclear watchdog to hold emergency meeting on Iran next week, The Guardian, 6 July 2019: Iran says it is ready to enrich uranium beyond nuclear deal levels, The National, 6 July 2019: Iran planning to boost uranium enrichment level, official says, Arab News, 6 July 2019: Iran hints it could enrich uranium to 5% for ‘peaceful’ means, Al Arabiya, 6 July 2019: Iran to announce more reductions to nuclear deal commitments, Al Jazeera, 6 July 2019: The economic impact of US sanctions on Iran’s streets, The Guardian, 6 July 2019: Iran breaks nuclear deal enrichment targets for second time (Iran would then have gone into the obvious trap set by Netanyahu and Trump), The New York Times, 7 July 2019: Why This Narrow Strait Next to Iran: Is So Critical to the World’s Oil Supply, Arab News, 7 July 2019: Iran to exceed 2015 nuclear deal uranium enrichment cap, Gulf News 7 July 2019: Iran ramping up uranium enrichment beyond 2015 deal limits, France24, 7 July 2019: Iran announces it will exceed uranium enrichment cap in latest breach of nuclear deal, Al Jazeera, 7 July 2019: Iran plays diplomatic hardball ahead of enrichment deadline, Arab News, 7 July 2019: US sent message to Iran after drone downing, warning of limited strike: Iranian official, The National, 7 July 2019: Iran uranium enrichment: why do the nuclear deal limits matter?, BBC, 7 July 2019: Iran nuclear deal: Government announces enrichment breach, Al Jazeera, 7 July 2019: A beginner’s guide to enriching uranium, Arab News, 7 July 2019: Europe should pull the plug on Iran nuclear deal, CNN, 7 July 2019: Iran to breach uranium enrichment limits set by landmark nuclear deal, Saudi Gazette, 7 July 2019: Macron condemns Iranian violation of 2015 nuclear commitments, Haaretz, 7 July 2019: Iran Set to Breach Enriched Uranium Level Allowed by Nuke Deal, Al Jazeera, 7 July 2019: Iran set to exceed uranium enrichment limit in 2015 nuclear deal, The New York Times, 7 July 2019: Iran Announces New Breach of Nuclear Deal Limits, and Threatens Further Violations, The National, 7 July 2019: Iran, France seek conditions to resume nuclear talks by mid-July, Times of Israel, 7 July 2019: Netanyahu likens Iran’s enrichment breach to Nazis’ 1936 occupation of Rhineland (this simpleton and main responsible for the warmongering against Iran need to be replaced urgently. One can only hope for Israel and the entire region that Netanyahu will lose the election in September 2019 and then get a well-deserved and long-term prison sentence), Haaretz, 7 July 2019: After Iran Nuke Deal Breach, Netanyahu Calls on World Powers to Impose ‘Snapback Sanctions’, Saudi Gazette, 7 July 2019: Britain, Germany tell Iran to stop, reverse nuclear activities, Haaretz, 7 July 2019: Bibi and Trump’s Iran Dilemma: Wage War or Win an Election, Times of Israel, 7 July 2019: European powers call on Iran to halt nuke deal breach, but balk at sanctions Jerusalem Post, 7 July 2019: When Netanyahu talks about Iran, chances slim of anyone shooting – analysis, CNN, 7 July 2019: Iran’s slow-burn nuclear strategy: Wait out Trump and get new deal from his successor, Haaretz, 7 July 2019: Netanyahu Is Leading Trump Into Disaster With Iran, Guardian, 7 July 2019: Iran’s uranium enrichment programme: the science explained, Al Arabiya, 8 July 2019: Iran: Enriching uranium to 20 pct an option in next steps to reduce commitments, Haaretz, 8 July 2019: Iran Still Has Room to Maneuver, but Trump Is Running Out of Diplomatic Options, Al Jazeera, 8 July 2019: Iran passes new nuclear deal limit as China blames US for crisis, Politico.com, 8 July 2019: The U.S. and Qatar: A critical relationship: Al Udeid: Home to 11,000 U.S. troops and critical to winning the War on Terror, Arab News, 9 July 2019: Europeans take first step to punish Iran over nuclear pact breaches, Saudi Gazette, 9 July 2019: Europeans take first step to punish Iran over nuclear pact breaches, Haaretz, 9 July 2019: European Foreign Ministers Call for ‘Urgent’ Meeting Over Iran Nuke Deal Breach, Times of Israel, 9 July 2019: Netanyahu warns Iran that Israel’s F-35s can reach ‘anywhere in the Middle East’, France24, 9 July 2019: Macron seeks leading EU role in Iran crisis, Times of Israel, 9 July 2019: Iran’s Zarif hints US, Israeli demands for zero enrichment will backfire, Jerusalem Post, 9 July 2019: Secret meetings between U.S., Iran officials in Iraq – report, The Guardian, 10 July 2019: Iran refuses to end breach of nuclear deal until it gets ‘full rights’, BBC, 10 July 2019: US to enlist military allies in Gulf and Yemen waters, BBC, 11 July 2019: Threat level raised to ‘critical’ for UK ships in Iranian waters (after the British downgraded themselves to lapdogs of the USA with the help of the Brexit, they have no choice but to play a role in Netanyahu’s and Trump’s dirty game. The British consumers, and especially their agriculture, will certainly be even more pleased to note that they “will be allowed” to import vast quantities of US agricultural products in the future to minimise the fallout of Trump’s trade war with China), France24, 11 July 2019: UK says it prevented Iranian Revolutionary Guard from intercepting oil tanker, CNN, 11 July 2109: Iranian boats attempted to seize a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, Jerusalem Post, 11 July 2019: Iran’s hard-to-attack underground nuke facility part of increasing threat, CNN, 12 July 2019: UK raises threat level and sends second warship to Persian Gulf as Iran tensions simmer, The Guardian, 12 July 2019: UK to step up its military presence in Gulf amid crisis with Iran, Haaretz, 12 July 2019: As Iran Tensions Flare, Israel Suspects Trump Aims for ‘Nuclear Deal 2.0’, Times of Israel, 13 July 2019: Nasrallah warns Israel could be ‘wiped out’ in war between US and Iran, Jerusalem Post, 13 July 2019: Iranian foreign minister heading to New York for U.N. conference – IRNA, Mail on Sunday, 13 July 2019: Trump axed Iran deal to spite Obama: How the British ambassador called the President’s actions ‘diplomatic vandalism’ fueled by ‘personality reasons’ – as revealed in more explosive cables that have sparked a free speech row while Iran tensions mount, BBC, 14 July 2019: New leak claims Trump scrapped Iran nuclear deal ‘to spite Obama’, CNN, 14 July 2019: Daily Mail: Leaked cables show British ambassador saying Trump abandoned Iran deal in act of ‘diplomatic vandalism’ to spite Obama, Arab News, 14 July 2019: European powers ‘deeply troubled’ by shipping attacks, warn nuclear deal could collapse, France24, 14 July 2019: Trump axed Iran deal to spite Obama, says leaked diplomatic cable, Times of Israel, 14 July 2019: Rouhani says Iran prepared to talk to US if it rejoins nuclear deal, The Guardian, 14 July 2019: Failure of Iran deal could pose ‘existential threat’, says Hunt, Arab News, 15 July 2019: France sees risk of stumbling into US-Iranian conflict, The National, 15 July 2019: UK warns Iran nuclear bomb a year away as foreign ministers seek to save 2015 deal, Times of Israel, 15 July 2019: EU seeks to deescalate Persian Gulf tensions, BBC, 15 July 2019: Iran nuclear deal: Jeremy Hunt aims to ease tensions, Reuters, 15 July 2019: Nuclear deal parties not ready to trigger dispute mechanism against Iran – EU’s Mogherini, Haaretz, 15 July 2019: Iran Nuclear Deal Parties Not Ready to Trigger Dispute Mechanism, EU Says, The Guardian, 15 July 2019: It’s folly for Jeremy Hunt to think Britain can solve the Iran crisis without the EU, Al Jazeera, 15 July 2019: European powers urge unity to save Iran nuclear deal, Reuters, 15 July 2019: Britain sees ‘small window’ to salvage nuclear deal, Iran urges Europe to act, France24, 15 July 2019: Iran nuclear deal ‘not in good health, but still alive,’ says EU top diplomat, The New York Times, 15 July 2019: E.U. Ministers, Scrambling to Save Iran Nuclear Deal, Play Down Breaches, Jerusalem Post, 16 July 2019: What the EU reaction tells us about the Iran nuke deal – analysis, BBC, 16 July 2019: Netanyahu: ‘Europe might ignore Iran threat until nuclear missiles hit’ (fortunately, the simpleton Netanyahu isn’t a contract partner in the Iran deal, so that he can continue to tell as much nonsense as he wants without having any influence on the negotiations whatsoever), Al Arabiya, 16 July 2019: Trump says US wants to help and work with Iran, not looking for regime change, The National, 16 July 2019: US official concerned Iran has seized UAE-based tanker, Arab News, 16 July 2019: Donald Trump tells Iran to ‘get out of Yemen’, Al Jazeera, 16 July 2019: Iran hits back at US demand on ballistic missiles, Haaretz, 16 July 2019: Trump Says Progress Made With Iran, as Tehran Threatens Further Nuke Deal Breaches, Haaretz, 16 July 2019: In First, Top Iranian Diplomat Says Talks on Ballistic Missiles Possible, Times of ISrael, 16 July 2019: Iran denies it’s willing to negotiate with US over ballistic missile program, Jerusalem Post, 16 July 2019: Trump, Pompeo hint at US-Iran talks, Gulf News, 16 July 2019: UAE says missing oil tanker not Emirati owned or operated, Saudi Gazette, 16 July 2019: Iran says its missile program is not negotiable, Reuters, 16 July 2019: Iran says it came to help of disabled foreign oil tanker in the Gulf, Times of Israel, 17 July 2019: At summit with Russia, Israel and US demanded Iran leave Lebanon, Iraq — report, The National, 17 July 2019: Vanished Strait of Hormuz tanker ‘towed to Iran for repairs’, says Tehran, Times of Israel, 17 July 2019: Russia says it can have good ties with both Israel and Iran, Palestine Chronicle, 17 July 2019: Hamas Delegation Meets Russia Officials in Moscow, Al Jazeera, 17 July 2019: Iran accuses US of ‘deliberately targeting civilians’, CNN, 18 July 2019: Iran seizes foreign oil tanker with 12 crew, state media says, The National, 18 July 2019: Steven Mnuchin warns EU leaders to respect US sanctions when trading with Iran, Saudi Gazette, 18 July 2019: US amphibious group patrols Arabian Sea as Iran tensions simmer, Arab News, 18 July 2019: Iran state TV: Iranian forces seize foreign oil tanker, crew, Al Jazeera, 18 July 2019: Defying Trump, US House votes to block Saudi arms sales, NPR, 18 July 2019: Rules of Engagement, France24, 18 July 2019: Iraq: On the fault line of rising US-Iran tensions, NPR, 18 July 2019: Trump Administration Turns To South America For Help With Anti-Iran Coalition, Al Arabiya, 15 July 2019: US sanctions on Hezbollah officials are a call to action for the Lebanese state, CNN, 17 July 2019: Iran’s foreign minister says Tehran ‘will never start a war,’ but will defend itself, CNN, 18 July 2019: US preparing to send hundreds of troops to Saudi Arabia amid Iran tensions, BBC, 18 July 2019: US shot down Iranian drone in Strait of Hormuz, says Trump, Saudi Gazette, 18 July 2019: US places sanctions on international network involved in Iran nuclear program, CNN, 18 July 2019: US Navy ship ‘destroyed’ an Iranian drone, Trump says, Gulf News, 19 July 2019: Trump says US Navy ship shot down Iranian drone, The Guardian, 18 July 2019: Iran makes ‘substantial’ nuclear offer in return for US lifting sanctions, The New York Times, 19 July 2019: As Conflict With U.S. Grows, Some Iran Hard-liners Suggest Talking to Trump, Times of Israel, 19 July 2019: In US, Zarif offers permanent scrutiny of nuclear sites for sanctions relief, Al Jazeera, 19 July 2019: Sanctions, threats and oil: How close is Iran deal to collapsing?, Arab News, 19 July 2019: Why the Islamic Republic is so unpopular with Iranians, France24, 19 July 2019: Tehran suggests US downed its own drone ‘by mistake’ in Strait of Hormuz, BBC, 19 July 2019: Iran seizes two UK tankers in Strait of Hormuz, The National, 19 July 2019: Iran seizes British-flagged tanker Stena Impero in new Gulf escalation, CNN, 19 July 2019: Iran announces capture of British oil tanker; US officials say two have been seized, Gulf News, 19 July 2019: Iran says it seized UK tanker Stena Impero in Strait of Hormuz; owners confirm lost contact, France24, 19 July 2019: Iran seizes British tanker in Strait of Hormuz as tensions mount, CNN, 20 July 2019: Iran’s gamble on a tanker seizure will end its credit — even among friends, BBC, 20 July 2019: Tanker seizure: Jeremy Hunt warns Iran against choosing ‘dangerous path’, Al Jazeera, 20 July 2019: US to deploy troops to Saudi Arabia as Gulf tensions soar, CNN, 20 July 2019: Tensions soar after Iran seizes tanker, Politico, 20 July 2019: US to send troops to Saudi Arabia amid Iran tensions, Saudi Gazette, 20 July 2019: European powers urge Iran to release British-flagged tanker, Arab News, 20 July 2019: Iran on ‘dangerous path’: UK warns British ships to avoid Strait of Hormuz, Al Jazeera, 20 July 2019: UK says tanker seizure shows Iran choosing ‘dangerous path’, Times of Israel, 20 July 2019: As sanctions choke Iran, Hezbollah said deploying for war on Israel’s border, Al Arabiya, 20 July 2019: Saudi King Salman approves hosting US troops to enhance security in region, The Guardian, 20 July 2019: Iran’s top diplomat in UK summoned over seizure of Stena Impero tanker, The Guardian, 20 July 2019: How Trump’s arch-hawk lured Britain into a dangerous trap to punish Iran, The New York Times, 19 July 2019: Trump and Ahmadinejad Are Right, The Guardian, 20 July 2019: Boris Johnson warned: focus on Iran crisis or risk war, France24, 21 July 2019: Britain mulls sanctions in response to Iran tanker seizure, report says, The Guardian, 21 July 2019: UK defence minister rebuffs criticism over tanker seized in Gulf, BBC, 21 July 2019: Iran tanker seizure: UK ‘didn’t take eye off ball’, Hammond says, CNN, 21 July 2019: ‘Alter your course,’ Iranians warned before seizing UK-flagged ship, Al Jazeera, 21 July 2019: Iran says tanker crew safe, warns UK against rising tensions, Arab News, 21 July 2019: UK mulls sanctions as Iran admits seizing British ship as a ‘reciprocal’ move, Gulf News, 21 July 2019: Oman urges Iran to release seized tanker, Haaretz, 21 July 2019: U.S.-Iran Escalation on Verge of Turning Into Real Slugfest, The Guardian, 21 July 2019: The Guardian view on Iran’s seizure of a British tanker: dangerous waters ahead, CNN, 21 July 2019: Trump and the Ayatollah: The odd couple, France24, 22 July 2019: Iran announces breakup of ‘CIA spy ring’, some sentenced to death, The Guardian, 22 July 2019: By punishing Iran, Trump risks a full-scale war between our two countries, BBC, 22 July 2019: Iran says it arrested CIA spies and sentenced some to death, France24, 22 July 2019: Britain blasts Iran seizure of tanker as act of ‘state piracy’, The Guardian, 22 July 2019: UK to seek European maritime mission to counter Iran’s ‘ illegal acts of piracy’ (Irony of history: Wanting to leave the “patronizing” EU sooner than later, but begging for help at the slightest headwind. So much for “take back control”), Al Jazeera, 22 July 2019: Iran says it arrested 17 CIA spies, sentenced some to death, Arab News, 22 July 2019: British intelligence fears Gulf crisis could lead to attacks on UK by Iranian terror cells, The National, 22 July 2019: Iran to face European naval protection force in the Gulf after tanker seizure, Saudi Gazette, 22 July 2019: UK calls for European naval mission to counter Iran’s ‘piracy’, Times of Israel, 22 July 2019: Britain says it is planning European-led protection force in Persian Gulf, France24, 22 July 2019: Trump blasts Iran, says hard to deal with top ‘terror’ state, Arab News, 22 July 2019: Gulf confrontation a battle of nerves, France24, 22 July 2019: On Iran, Donald Trump is running out of options, Haaretz, 23 July 2019: Excluding the U.S., Remaining Countries in Iran Nuclear Deal to Meet in Vienna on Sunday, Al Jazeera, 23 July 2019: Remaining Iran nuclear deal signatories to meet in Vienna, The Guardian, 23 July 2019: Iran rejects UK’s proposal for European-led maritime force, Haaretz, 23 July 2019: Between ‘Ending Iran’ and ‘No More Endless Wars’: The Unraveling of Trump’s Incoherent Iran Strategy, Arab News, 23 July 2019: Iran to meet nuclear deal parties on Sunday, Times of Israel, 23 July 2019: Israel: Iran smuggling dual-use items for Hezbollah weaponry via Beirut port (Israel is once again playing children’s theater at the UN, and at the same time is still assuming that there would be poeple who actually believe this nonsense :-D ), Politico, 23 July 2019: Iran’s Threats Are an Attempt to Negotiate, Arab News, 24 July 2019: What is Iran hoping to achieve with Gulf confrontations?, Al Jazeera, 24 July 2019: Iran warns against international naval coalition in the Gulf, Arab News, 25 July 2019: Germany remains uncertain over Hormuz naval mission with UK and France (the German participation in the EU mission for the safe passage of European merchant ships through the Strait of Hormuz should be implemented, while clearly communicating to Iran that the EU mission will not participate in the aggressive actions of the Netanyahu and Trump administrations), Al Jazeera, 25 July 2019: British navy to escort all UK vessels in Strait of Hormuz, Times of Israel, 25 July 2019: Israel, Bahrain foreign ministers talk Iran in groundbreaking public meet, The National, 25 July 2019: UK warships to escort British-flagged vessels through Strait of Hormuz, Arab News, 25 July 2019: Iran tensions give new UK PM Johnson an early test, Times of Israel, 25 July 2019: Iran poses loyalty test for ‘British Trump’ Johnson, Jerusalem Post, 25 July 2019: Iran offers to return to nuclear deal even if U.S. doesn’t, Al Arabiya, 26 July 2019: Iran test-fires medium-range ballistic missile: CNN, Arab News, 26 July 2019: Pompeo says he’d go to Iran if needed as he asks US allies to join maritime force, Al Arabiya, 22 July 2019: Washington should wake up to the fact that Hezbollah runs Lebanon, CNN, 26 July 2019: With Iran, Trump speaks loudly but (fortunately) carries a small stick, Al Jazeera, 27. July 2019: Oman’s top diplomat in Iran for talks amid mounting Gulf tensions, Times of Israel, 27 July 2019: Trump’s ‘maximum pressure’ campaign against Iran comes to critical crossroads, Al Jazeera, 28 July 2019: Iran calls European fleet in the Gulf ‘hostile’ and ‘provocative’, The National, 28 July 2019: Second British warship arrives to assist vessels through Strait of Hormuz, Arab News,28 July 2019: Oman not mediating, but in contact with ‘all parties’ over navigation in Hormuz, Haaretz, 29 July 2019: On Iran, Trump Is Shoving Israel Out Into the Cold, Arab News, 29 July 2019: Talks with Iran must be genuinely joint and comprehensive, DW, 29 July 2019: German government divided over joining Strait of Hormuz naval mission, Politico.eu, 30 July 2019: US asks Germany to join security mission in Persian Gulf, Politico.com, 30 July 2019: Trump to disappoint Iran hawks with more nuclear waivers, The Guardian, 30 July 2019: UK calls meeting with US and France to discuss Hormuz plan, Haaretz, 30 July 2019: Rivals Iran and UAE to Hold Maritime Security Talks, Al Jazeera, 30 July 2019: Iran, the US, and the ‘English job’, Politico.eu, 31 July 2019: German vice chancellor ‘very skeptical’ about joining US military mission in Gulf, Haaretz, 31 July 2019: In Major Shift, Israel Twice Struck Iranian Targets in Iraq ‘Using F-35’, Al Jazeera, 31 July 2019: How will Boris Johnson handle the tanker row with Iran?, Jerusalem Post, 31 July 2019: Zarif: Iran to reduce nuclear deal commitments unless Europe protects it, Haaretz, 31 July 2019: Iran Presence in Iraq Threatens Israel, Security Officials Say, Jerusalem Post, 31 July 2019: UK commander: Iran testing British Navy, but remains professional, The National, 31 July 2019: UK frigate had 85 interactions with Iranian forces in a month, Al Jazeera, 31 July 2019: Iran threatens to reduce nuclear deal commitments further, Times of Israel, 31 July 2019: Report: Israel believes Hamas, Iran agreed on Gaza front in case of northern war, Arab News, 31 July 2019: Iran to reduce nuclear deal commitments more unless Europe protects it, Al Arabiya, 31 July 2019: Zarif: Iran will cut nuclear deal commitments further unless Europe acts, The National, 31 July 2019: Germany rebuffs US demand to join maritime mission in Strait of Hormuz, Arab News, 31 July 2019: Europe far from united when it comes to Iran, Saud Gazette, 31 July 2019: Britain must back US in tougher stance against Iranian destabilization of Middle East, Times of Israel, 31 July 2019: US imposes financial sanctions on Iran’s foreign minister, France24, 31 July 2019: US imposes sanctions on Iran’s foreign secretary Zarif, BBC, 31 July 2019: US sanctions Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Times of Israel, 31 July 2019: US says it has asked Germany to ‘help secure’ Strait of Hormuz, Haaretz, 31 July 2019: Germany Says It Won’t Join U.S.-led Mission in Strait of Hormuz, Reuters, 31 July 2019: Germany: European naval mission in Strait of Hormuz worth considering, Defense News, 31 July 2019: Germany punts on Hormuz Strait mission with US involvement, Reuters, 31 July 2019: Germany will not join U.S.-led mission in Strait of Hormuz: Maas, Bloomberg, 31 July 2019: The Hormuz Crisis Shows U.S. Alliances Are Weak, DW, 31 July 2019: Opinion: Strait of Hormuz crisis a political dead-end for Germany, Israel Hayom, 31 July 2019: In game of cat and mouse, Iran changes tactics, CNN, 31 July 2019: US sanctions Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif, Times of Israel, 1 August 2019: Rouhani slams US for ‘childish’ sanctions on Iran’s foreign minister, Arab News, 1 August 2019: Iran’s leaders to blame for country’s financial crisis, Al Jazeera, 1 August 2019: Germany refuses to join US-led naval mission in Strait of Hormuz, Israel Hayom, 1 August 2019: Iran isn’t giving up on regional domination just yet, Foreign Policy, 1 August 2019: Iran Owns the Persian Gulf Now, Times of Israel, 1 August 2019: EU to work with top Iran diplomat despite US sanctions, Arab News, 1 August 2019: US envoy slams Germany after reluctance on Hormuz mission (it’s not Germany’s obligation to fulfil U.S. duties in the Gulf and the Straight of Hormuz. As the saying goes: “You break it, you own it!” Fix the problems, caused by yourself, on your own.” Germany will be part of a possible EU mission (France, Italy, Germany, Denmark and maybe the United Kingdom, if Bojo should come to his senses. In addition, the German Navy is already part of the Operation Atalanta near the Strait of Hormuz, so that a combined mission, supported by aerial reconnaissance, would be conceivable as well), the escort of merchant ships in the Strait of Hormuz. At the same time, it would be a signal of solidarity to the Arab Gulf States and Israel. Germany, the EU and the rest of the world are already making major contributions to the detriment of their own economies because they have been collectively taken hostage for the completely nonsensical Trump sanctions on Iran), Politico.eu, 2 August 2019: Trump’s coalition of one, Arab News, 2 August 2019: Gargash: UAE is redeploying forces in Yemen with the agreement of Saudi Arabia, The National, 2 August 2019: Anwar Gargash debunks rumours of UAE-Saudi split as a ‘desperate attempt’ by Qatar, The New Yorker, 2 August 2019: Iran’s Foreign Minister was invited to meet Trump in the Oval Office, The Guardian, 3 AUgust 2019: Iran to further reduce compliance with nuclear deal, Al Jazeera, 3 August 2019: Robert Malley: ‘Trump is on a collision course with himself’, Gulf News, 3 August 2019: What Iran will do next, and how to stop it, The National, 3 August 2019: Tehran could push Europe closer to the US if it continues its provocation, Jerusalem Post, 3 August 2019: Netanyahu to Boris Johnson: Stand tough against Iran, Arab News, 3 August 2019: Iran will take ‘third step’ to reduce commitments to nuclear deal: Iranian FM, Times of Israel, 3 August 2019: Iran’s Zarif was invited to meet Trump at White House last month — report, The New York Times, 3 August 2019: Despite U.S. sanctions, China and other countries are receiving oil from Iranian tankers, a Times investigation found., France24, 4 August 2019: Iran seizes Iraqi oil tanker in Persian Gulf, Israel Hayom, 4 August 2019: Danger ahead: A US-Iran ‘deal of the century’, CNN, 4 August 2019: Iran says it seized foreign oil tanker in Gulf for smuggling fuel, Times of Israel, 4 August 2019: US struggles to build willing coalition amid Strait of Hormuz tensions, Haaretz, 4 August 2019: Inside Hezbollah’s American Sleeper Cells: Waiting for Iran’s Signal to Strike U.S. and Israeli Targets, Al Jazeera, 4 August 2019: Iran has two nuclear options, Arab News, 4 August 2019: Why the Mullahs fear the Iranian diaspora, Jerusalem Post, 5 August 2019: Senior Iranian commander: The Islamic Republic is on Israel’s borders, Al Jazeera, 5 August 2019: Iran: Zarif says US sanctions against him ‘failure’ for diplomacy, Haaretz, 5 August 2019: Faced With U.S. Threats, Iran Warms Up to Arab Neighbors – Even Riyadh, Jerusalem Post, 5 August 2019: Would China sanction Iran to stop an Israeli attack? – analysis, DW, 5 August 2019: UK joins US in Strait of Hormuz naval mission, Jerusalem Post, 5 August 2019: UK to join US-led maritime security mission in Gulf, Jerusalem Post, 5 August 2019: Iran says will not tolerate ‘maritime offenses” in Gulf, Times of Israel, 5 August 2019: Iran said increasing Hamas funding to $30m per month, wants intel on Israel, Politico.com, 5 August 2019: U.S.-led Gulf maritime coalition ‘rebranded’ to attract more countries, Times of Israel, 5 August 2019: UK joins US in Gulf mission after Iran taunts American allies, Al Jazeera, 6 August 2019: Iran wants more Chinese tourists – a whole lot more, Times of Israel, 6 August 2019: Israel involved in US-led naval mission in Strait of Hormuz — foreign minister, The National, 7 August 2019: The new US approach to the Middle East raises more questions than answers, Al Jazeera, 7 August 2019: Iran’s Rouhani to Trump: Lift sanctions first, Saudi Gazette, 7 August 2019: KSA, US concerned over threat to maritime traffic, Israel Hayom, 7 August 2019: Israeli supremacy in Gulf’s shadow war, Huffington Post, 7 August 2019: The White House Is Split On Iran, With One Side Thirsty For Conflict, Der Spiegel, 7 August 2019: Middle East Expert Vali Nasr: ‘The U.S. Has To Get a Sense of Iran’s Security Interests’, Times of Israel, 8 August 2019: Iran says Israeli involvement in Gulf naval mission would be ‘disastrous’, Arab News, 8 August 2019: Saudi crown prince, Pompeo discuss maritime security, Iran, Gulf News, 8 August 2019: Gulf shipping told to notify US and UK navies of planned course, France24, 9 August 2019: Trump accuses Macron of sending ‘mixed signals’ to Iran, Al Jazeera, 9 August 2019: Canadians seek cancellation of major arms deal with Saudi Arabia, Al Jazeera, 9 August 2019: Iran warns Israel against aiding US mission in Strait of Hormuz, Haaretz, 10 August 2019: The White House Once Labeled Them Terrorists. Now It Calls Them Iran’s Next Government, Jerusalem Post, 10 August 2019: Iran unveils ‘upgraded missile defense system’, Al Arabiya, 11 July 2019: US ambassador to Saudi Arabia: Iran uses various militias to ‘fight their fight’, Arab News, 11 August 2019: How water can oil the wheels in dealing with Iran, Politico.eu, 12 August 2019: To fix Iran crisis, Trump must change course, Al Jazeera, 12 August 2019: Zarif: US arms sales make Gulf into ‘tinderbox ready to blow up’, Jerusalem Post, 12 August 2019: German exports to Iran drop by half in first 6 months due to U.S. sanctions, Arab News, 12 August 2019: Iran’s racist revisionism must be challenged, The National, 12 August 2019: Britain sends navy warship to join US-led maritime coalition in the Gulf, Times of Israel, 12 AUgust 2019: At the southern tip of the Red Sea, Iran poses a direct threat to Israel, CNN, 15 August 2019: US moves to block release of Iranian tanker detained in Gibraltar, BBC, 15 August 2019: Iran tanker row: US requests detention of Grace 1 in Gibraltar, The Guardian, 15 August 2019: US moves to block release of Iranian vessel in Gibraltar, BBC, 15 August 2019: Iran oil tanker: Gibraltar orders release of Grace 1, Al Jazeera, 15 August 2019: Gibraltar Supreme Court says Iranian tanker is free to sail, CNN, 15 August 2019: Gibraltar defies US and releases seized Iranian tanker Grace 1, France24, 15 August 2019: Gibraltar allows Iranian tanker Grace 1 to leave despite US detention request (in fact, little Gibraltar is rescuing the United Kingdom face-saving from an unpleasant situation, while at the same time partially defusing the crisis in the Strait of Hormuz, while Trump’s advisers Bolton and Pompeo are on the verge of heart attacks – a classic win-win situation), The Guardian, 15 August 2019: Gibraltar to release oil tanker at centre of Iran row pending challenge, Al Jazeera, 15 August 2019: Trump is laying the ground for a nuclear arms race in the Gulf, Arab News, 15 August 2019: Gibraltar allows Iranian tanker Grace 1 to leave despite US detention request, The National, 15 August 2019: Gibraltar orders release of Iranian tanker, Times of Israel, 15 August 2019: Syria says ‘hostile target’ shot down near Iran-linked base, The Guardian, 17 August 2019: US unveils warrant to seize Iranian oil tanker in Gibraltar dispute (next, the Iranians may grab a US tanker and confiscate it with the same reasoning. It’s called “tit for tat”), France24, 17 August 2019: Iranian tanker in limbo off Gibraltar as US issues warrant for its seizure, CNN, 17 August 2019: US makes last-ditch attempt to stop Iranian supertanker setting sail, Arab News, 17 August 2019: US issues warrant to seize Iranian tanker off Gibraltar, Al Jazeera, 17 August 2019: US issues warrant to seize Iranian oil tanker Grace 1, Al Arabiya, 17 August 2019: Iranian-American US Navy captain may head carrier in Arabian Gulf amid tensions, France24, 17 August 2019: Iranian tanker in limbo off Gibraltar as US issues warrant for its seizure, Arab News 18 August 2019: Gibraltar rejects US request to seize Iranian tanker now called ‘Adrian Darya-1’, BBC, 18 August 2019: Iran tanker row: Gibraltar rejects US request to detain ship, Al Arabiya, 18 August 2019: Iranian ambassador says oil tanker expected to leave Gibraltar tonight, Al Jazeera, 18 August 2019: Gibraltar refuses US request to seize Iranian tanker, France24, 19 August 2019: Iranian tanker departs after Gibraltar rejects US demand, Al Jazeera, 19 August 2019: Iranian oil tanker departs Gibraltar after US request rebuffed, Haaretz, 19 August 2019: Iranian Tanker Sought by U.S. Departs Gibraltar for Greece, The National, 19 August 2019: US conveys its ‘strong position’ to Greece over freed Iranian tanker, Times of Israel, 20.08.2019: Netanyahu hints Israel behind strikes on Iraq, says Iran not immune anywhere, Haaretz, 21 August 2019: On Trump and Iran, the UAE Shifts Strategy — and Israel Should Take Heed, Saudi Gazette, 21 August 2019: Israel, Iran endanger regional security: Saudi Arabia, CNN, 22 August 2019: Cracks are appearing in the Mideast’s most important alliance. That’s bad news for Trump, The National, 22 August 2019: France makes proposal to bring Iran to negotiating table, Reuters, 22 August 2019: Iran displays domestically built mobile missile defense system, Times of Israel, 22 August 2019: Unveiling missile defense system, Iran’s president says talks with US ‘useless’, Al Jazeera, 23 August 2019: Iran unveils new missile defence system, calls US talks ‘useless’, Haaretz, 22 August 2019: Fed Up With Trump, Fed Up With Israel, Times of Israel, 23 August 2019: Ex-Iraqi PM warns Israel of ‘strong response’ if it proves to be behind strikes, Times of Israel, 23 August 2019: Netanyahu hints again that Israel attacked Iran-backed militias in Iraq, Israel Hayom, 23 August 2019: Regional tensions and Israeli elections, Haaretz, 23 August 2019: Israel Struck Iran Targets in Iraq, U.S. Officials Tell New York Times, Times of Israel, 23 August 2019: US officials say Israel behind bombing of Iranian militias in Iraq, Haaretz, 23 August 2019: Netanyahu’s Silence on Trump’s ‘Disloyal Jews,’ and What It Means for the Fight Against Iran, Saudi Gazette, 24 August 2019: Iranian tanker switches destination, heads to Turkey, Reuters, 24 August 2019: Britain sends another warship to boost presence in the Gulf, NPR, 24 August 2019: Iran Under Sanctions: A Scramble For Cancer Care And Blame To Go Around, Haaretz, 24 August 2019: Unhappy With Iraq Strikes, U.S. Outs Israel, Times of Israel, 24 August 2019: Israeli jets strike in Syria to thwart attack by Iranian ‘killer drones’, Times of Israel, 25 August 2019: Hezbollah says Israeli drones crash into Beirut stronghold, France24, 25 August 2019: Lebanese PM condemns Israeli ‘aggression’ after drones crash in Beirut, The Guardian, 25 August 2019: G7 summit: Iran foreign minister makes surprise Biarritz appearance, The Guardian, 25 August 2019: Netanyahu hails Israel strikes against Syria to foil Iran ‘killer drone attack’, CNN, 25 August 2019: Israel claims responsibility for airstrikes near Damascus, saying it foiled ‘large-scale attack’ by Iran, Israel Hayom, 25 August 2019: Time for the UK to join the US on Iran, France24, 25 August 2019: Macron backtracks on ‘G7 mandate for Iran’ after Trump denial, Al Jazeera, 25 August 2019: Iran’s Zarif arrives for surprise G7 talks, no plan to meet US, Israel Hayom, 25 August 2019: Iranian FM Zarif talking to French counterpart at G-7 summit, Jerusalem Poast, 25 August 2019: Trump caught off guard as iran’s Zarif lands in G7 summit town, France24, 25 August 2019: Iranian foreign minister leaves Biarritz after surprise G7 nuclear talks, The New York Times, 25 August 2019: Iran’s foreign minister made a surprise appearance at the summit meeting., Jerusalem Post, 25 August 2019: The drone arms race and Israel’s enemies – analysis, Haaretz, 25 August 2019: Why Iran Is Risking a Major Escalation With Israel, Times of Israel, 26 August 2019: Israel said to strike Palestinian terror group base deep inside Lebanon, Al Arabiya, 26 August 2019: Iran’s Zarif leaves G7 talks, unclear if progress made to ease tensions, The Guardian, 26 August 2019: Israel accused of targeting Iran allies in Lebanon bombing, Haaretz, 26 August 2019: Israel Broke the Rules of the Game With Hezbollah, and Now the Ball Is in Nasrallah’s Court, Times of Israel, 26 August 2019: Trump says open to meeting Iran’s Rouhani, a ‘great negotiator,’ in coming weeks, Times of Israel, 26 August 2019: Israel said to strike base of Palestinian terror group deep inside Lebanon, France24, 26 June 2019: ‘We’re already at war economically,’ Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif tells FRANCE 24, Times of Israel, 26 August 2019: UN urges restraint as Lebanon set to file complaint alleging Israeli violations, The Guardian, 27 August 2019: Iran president steps back from possible Trump talks, Israel Hayom, 27 August 2019: Trump, Rouhani talk of possible meeting to solve nuclear impasse, Arab News, 27 August 2019: Iran’s Rouhani says no talks with US unless sanctions lifted, Al Jazeera, 27 August 2019: Iran’s Rouhani tells US: No talks until sanctions lifted, Arab News, 27 August 2019: Lebanon vows to defend itself ‘by any means’ after Israeli drone incident, The National, 27 August 2019: Iraqi Prime Minister Abdul Mahdi: we will respond to air strikes using ‘all means’, Israel Hayom, 27 August 2019: Iran sentences 2 men on charges of spying for Mossad, The National, 27 August 2019: Suspected Israeli attacks on Lebanese soil raise spectre of new war, Times of Israel, 28 August 2019: As US-Iran tensions escalate, American Jews are warned they could be targeted, EN24 News, 29 August 2019: America begins the military mission in the Strait of Hormuz, The National, 28 August 2019: Lebanese troops fire at Israeli drone in south Lebanon as tension rises, Politico.eu, 29 August 2019: EU tests maritime security pact after Iran tanker fight, Arab News, 29 August 2019: Israel accuses Iran of pushing Hezbollah missile plants in Lebanon, Saudi Gazette, 29 August 2019: EU backs US-Iran talks but says nuclear deal must stay, The National, 29 August 2019: Europe optimistic after French push for direct Iran-US talks, Arab News, 29 August 2019: Israel empowered as Iran weakens, Jerusalem Post, 29 August 2019: What does Trump-Rouhani meeting mean for Israel? – analysis, Haaretz, 29 August 2019: Netanyahu and Nasrallah — the Middle East’s Longest and Most Stable Enmity, Israel Hayom, 29 August 2019: Iran’s Rouhani calls for unity to overcome US ‘economic war’, Times of Israel, 29 August 2019: As tensions spike in north, IDF cancels leave for combat brigades, Jerusalem Post, 29 August 2019: Netanyahu tried to scuttle a potential Trump-Zarif meeting – report, Arab News, 1 September 2019: Why Iran must cool its rhetoric, France24, 2 September 2019: Iran threatens ‘strong step’ away from nuclear deal if no new terms, The Guardian, 2 September 2019: Iran voices optimism over nuclear deal after talks with France, Al Jazeera, 3 September 2019: Iran’s Rouhani rules out bilateral talks with US, France24, 3 September 2019: US imposes sanctions on Iran space program, The National, 3 September 2019: France sees progress in $15bn credit line for Iran, Times of Israel, 3 September 2019: France seeks $15b letter of credit for Iran to keep nuclear deal alive, The Guardian, 4 September 2019: US dismisses French plan to ease Iran tension and piles on economic pressure, Al Jazeera, 4 September 2019: Iran vows ‘extraordinarily significant’ nuclear move coming, Arab News, 4 September 2019: Europe stepping out of America’s shadow in Middle East, Saudi Gazette, 4 September 2019: US won’t waive sanctions to allow French-proposed Iran credit line, The New York Times, 4 September 2019: The Secret History of the Push to Strike Iran, Haaretz, 4 September 2019: ‘Bibi-sitting’ and Drones Out of Azerbaijan: Report Reveals How Close Israel Came to Striking Iran, The National, 5 September 2019: US piles sanctions on Iran as Rouhani threatens new step back from nuclear commitments, Haaretz, 4 September 2019: Iran Announces Development of Centrifuges in Latest Breach of Nuclear Deal, Israel Hayom, 4 September 2019: France to Iran: No trade until anti-terrorism laws passed, Times of Israel, 4 September 2019: Israel said again mulling raid on Iran; thinks Trump, unlike Obama, won’t oppose, Politico.eu, 4 September 2019: France explores a credit line for Iran, but needs Trump’s buy-in, France24, 5 September 2019: Iran nuclear deal: Tehran plans new centrifuges for faster uranium enrichment, Times of Israel, 5 September 2019: Now is not the time to talk to Iran, Netanyahu says en route to London, Al Jazeera, 5 September 2019: Iran lifts more limits on nuclear programme as deal unravels, Saudi Gazette, 5 September 2019: EU urges Iran to ‘reverse’ scale-back from N-deal, The National, 5 September 2019: EU demands Iran returns to commitments in nuclear deal, Jerusalem Post, 5 September 2019: The US thinks cash can break Iran, Tehran prepares to ride out the storm, Die Zeit, 6 September 2019: “If Someone Rises Up To Kill You, Kill Him First”, Al Arabiya, 6 September 2019: Hezbollah and Israel’s face-off in Lebanon is a sideshow to Syria, CNN, 6 September 2019: Former Israeli ambassador: Why we have to prepare for war and peace, France24, 7 September 2019: Iran violates nuclear deal with advanced centrifuges, Al Jazeera, 7 September 2019: Iran activates advanced centrifuges in latest nuclear move, Arab News, 7 September 2019: Iran warns ‘not much time left’ to save nuclear deal, The Guardian, 7 September 2019: Iran puts pressure on Europe to save nuclear deal within 60-day deadline, Al Jazeera, 8 September 2019: Iran: European Union has failed to fulfil 2015 deal, Arab News, 8 September 2019: Iranian tanker near Syria sells oil at ‘final destination’, Al Jazeera, 8 September 2019: Adrian Darya 1 tanker unloaded crude on Mediterranean coast: Iran, Arab News, 8 September 2019: France should be confronting, not appeasing, Iranian regime, Haaretz, 8 September 2019: Trump-Rohani Summit Is a Done Deal, Israeli Defense Officials Believe, Gulf Times, 8 September 2019: US will sanction whoever purchases Iran’s oil- official, Haaretz, 8 September 2019: Netanyahu Braces for a Warming of Ties Between Trump and Tehran, Arab News, 9 September 2019: UN atomic watchdog confirms Iran installing new centrifuges, Al Jazeera, 9 September 2019: Saudi Arabia wants to enrich uranium but the US may not like that, Arab News, 9 September 2019: Saudi Arabia wants to enrich uranium for nuclear power: Energy minister, The National, 9 September 2019: Saudi Arabia looks to enrich domestic uranium for nuclear programme, Arab News, 9 September 2019: Saudi Arabia wants to enrich uranium for nuclear power — Prince Abdulaziz, Gulf Times, 9 September 2019: IAEA confirms that Iran upped number of advanced uranium centrifuges, Times of Israel, 9 September 2019: Iran blames Europe as it rolls back nuclear commitments, Arab News, 10 September 2019: US running out of options as sanctions fail to subdue Iran, Al Arabiya, 10 September 2019: Iran supplies oil to Syria’s al-Assad in return for influence: Cut the supply line, Arab News, 10 September 2019: US must keep punishing Iran for its indiscretions, The National, 10 September 2019: Britain summons Iranian ambassador over sale of Grace 1 tanker oil to Syria, Times of Israel, 10 September 2019: Trump fires Iran hawk John Bolton as national security adviser, France24, 11 September 2019: World leaders react to John Bolton’s sudden departure, Al Jazeera, 11 September 2019: US should avoid ‘warmongers’, says Iran on John Bolton’s sacking, Arab News, 11 September 2019: Saudi Arabia calls for ‘deterrent measures’ against Iran’s nuclear violations, Saudi Gazette, 11 September 2019: ‘We’ll see what happens,’ Trump says about possible easing of Iran sanctions, The National, 11 September 2019: Iranian targeting of shipping in the Arabian Gulf ‘changes the game’ by raising risks to new levels, Haaretz, 11 September 2019: Trump Decided to Fire Bolton After He Opposed Easing Iran Sanctions, Report Says, The Guardian, 11 September 2019: Bolton exit followed bust-up over mooted Trump-Rouhani meeting, Al Arabiya, 12 September 2019: New sanctions could extend to allies of Hezbollah in Lebanon: US envoy, The National, 14 September 2019: Despite John Bolton exit, don’t expect thaw in US-Iran relations, Jerusalem Post, 14 September 2019: Russia prevents Israeli airstrikes in Syria, The National, 14 September 2019: Donald Trump and the West’s overtures to Iran are rooted in delusion, The Guardian, 14 September 2019: Major Saudi Arabia oil facilities hit by Houthi drone strikes, CNN, 14 September 2019: Drone strikes knock out half of Saudi oil capacity, 5 million barrels a day, BBC, 14 September 2019: Saudi Arabia oil production reduced by drone strikes, Reuters, 14 September 2019: Houthi drones attack Saudi oil heartland, sources say crude flows hit, France24, 14 September 2019: Yemen Houthi drones hit major Saudi oil sites, sources say supplies disrupted, Al Jazeera, 14 September 2019: Houthi drone attacks on 2 Saudi Aramco oil facilities spark fires, Gulf News, 14 September 2019: UAE condemns terrorist attacks on 2 Aramco factories in Abqaiq and Khurais provinces, Al Arabiya, 14 September 2019: Trump tells Saudi Crown Prince US ready to help protect Kingdom’s security, Gulf Times, 14 September 2019: Houthi drones hit two Aramco plants, Saudis say fires contained, Saudi Gazette, 14 September 2019: Drone strikes on Aramco facilities spark regional, international condemnation, The National, 14 September 2019: UAE condemns Houthi drone attacks on two Saudi Aramco facilities, Arab News, 14 September 2019: Trump calls Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after drones attack Saudi Aramco plants, The New York Times, 14 September 2019: Two Major Saudi Oil Installations Hit by Drone Strike, and U.S. Blames Iran, The Washington Post, 14 September 2019: Saudi Arabia oil output takes major hit after apparent drone attacks claimed by Yemen rebels, France24, 15 September 2019: https://www.france24.com/en/20190915-drone-attacks-saudi-aramco-sites-disrupt-oil-supplies-us-blames-iran (“The first casualty, when war comes, is truth” – US senator a href=”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiram_Johnson” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>Hiram Johnson, The Washington Post, Iran denies carrying out crippling attacks on Saudi oil facilities (all in all, the drone attack has created some sort of a win-win situation, except for the Houthis, who are now threatened with further air strikes by the Saudi Arabian-led alliance. With regard to the drone attacks, Saudi Arabia is now able to make press the US for more concession to the country’s defense, but also to advance the already announced development of nuclear weapons. The US can tighten its rhetoric on Iran, and Iran in turn can extend its support for the Houthis. But the problem with the “blame game” in the Middle East is that rarely anything is as it seems at first sight. There are possibly groups, that committed the terrorist attack in question, which have not yet appeared on the radar at all), France24, 15 September 2019: Drone attacks on Saudi oil sites disrupt supplies, CNN, 15 September 2019: Attack on Saudi oil field a game-changer in Gulf confrontation, The Guardian, 16 September 2019: Everything you need to know about the Saudi Arabia oil attacks, CNN, 15 September 2019: What a successful Trump strategy on Iran must include, BBC, 16 September 2019: ‘Drone’ attack on Saudis destabilises an already volatile region, CNN, 16 September 2019: The White House would like you to abandon all common sense on ‘locked and loaded’, Al Jazeera, 16 September 2019: How drone attacks on Saudi Aramco might blow up US-Iran tensions, The Guardian, 16 September 2019: The world ignored the warning signs – and now the Middle East is on the brink, CNN, 16 September 2019: Fact check: Trump blasts media for reporting he’d meet with Iran with no pre-conditions — but he said that, publicly, Al Jazeera, 16 September 2019: Putin proposes Russian missile defence for Saudi after oil attack, Gulf News, 16 September 2019: Aramco attack: Who is responsible, global reactions, The National, 16 September 2019: Donald Trump to send Mike Pompeo to Saudi after Aramco attacks, Al Arabiya, 16 September 2019: NATO chief ‘extremely concerned’ after attacks on Saudi Arabia, Foreign Policy, 16 September 2019: What You Need to Know About the Attacks on Saudi Oil Facilities, Reuters, 16 September 2019: Saudi Arabia to invite U.N. experts to investigate oil attack: statement, CNN, 16 September 2019: Trump gets amnesia on Iran, The Telegraph, 17 September 2019: Saudi king urges international response after oil field attacks blamed on Iran (DW, 28 March 2019: Germany extends ban on arms sales to Saudi Arabia – it might be that political Berlin is satisfied with the “moral world championship”. However, this has very little to do with realpolitik and securing self-interests. Obviously, there has to be a large-scale escalation in the Middle East, before Berlin will wake up and then has to bring twice the commitment to compensate for the omissions of the past. Apparently it seems as if Berlin and Brussels is waiting for another large influx of war refugees to Europe, instead of becoming proactive. It is understandable, of course, that NATO will stay out of the action, to prevent the Middle East conflict from spreading to Europe. Especially against the background of the rapprochement between the Gulf monarchies and Israel, however, it is incomprehensible, why equipment for self-defense is provided one-sided only. It would be much more useful to equip the Gulf monarchies very well, because then not only military conflicts will be more unlikely, but also prevent Saudi Arabia from developing their own nuclear weapons), The National, 17 September 2019: King Salman: Saudi Arabia capable of responding to cowardly attacks, The Guardian, 17 September 2019: Iran’s supreme leader rules out any talks with US officials, Arab News, 17 September 2019: Merkel urges return to Iran nuclear deal to defuse Middle East tensions, Jerusalem Post, 17 September 2019: US Embassy says pro-Iran business event funds terrorism in Berlin (to give an appropriate response to the permanent interference in German affairs and the fundamentally abysmal anti-German attitude of the US ambassador, it will be a special pleasure to participate in the event for the attendees. The event is about preserving the Iran deal and how payments can be made despite US sanctions. Netanyahu and Trump will not succeed in pulling Europe into their largely failed game as an accomplice), France24, 18 September 2019: Trump orders ‘substantial increase’ in Iran sanctions over Saudi oil field attack, CNN, 18 September 2019: Trump says he’s ordering new sanctions on Iran after Saudi oil facility attack, The Guardian, 18 September 2019: The latest Iran-Saudi flare-up exposes Trump’s bankrupt Middle East policy, The New York Times, 18 September 2019: Pompeo Calls Attacks on Saudi Arabia ‘Act of War’ as Trump Tightens Iran Sanctions, Al Jazeera, 18 September 2019: Oil attacks ‘unquestionably sponsored by Iran’: Saudi Arabia, Arab News, 18 September 2019: Saudi Arabia joins International Maritime Security Construct, The National, 18 September 2019: Saudi displays drones and missiles that ‘point to Iran’ in attack, The Irish Times, 18 September 2019: Trump announces new economic sanctions on Iran, Arab News, 18 September 2019: Mike Pompeo lands in Jeddah for talks with Saudi officials on Aramco attacks, Politico.eu, 18 September 2019: Germany extends Saudi arms export ban into 2020, CNN, 19 September 2019: Exclusive: Zarif threatens ‘all-out war’ in case of military strike on Iran, The Guardian, 19 September 2019: Saudi oil attack shines light on geopolitical truth and lies, Politico, 19 September 2019: Iran’s foreign minister threatens ‘all-out war’ in response to potential military strike, Jerusalem Post, 19 September 2019: Tillerson accuses Netanyahu of haing ‘played’ Trump, Haaretz, 19 September 2019: Netanyahu ‘Played Trump Using Misinformation’ Several Times, Says Tillerson, The New York Times, 19 September 2019: Iran’s Foreign Minister Vows ‘All-Out War’ if U.S. or Saudis Strike, Jerusalem Post, 19 September 2019: Saudis, Israel attack pro-Iran militias on Syria-Iraq border – report, The New York Times, 19 September 2019: The End of Saudi Arabia’s Illusion, The New York Times, 19 September 2019: Attacks Expose Flaws in Saudi Arabia’s Expensive Military, The New York Times, 19 September 2019: Attack on Saudis Tests U.S. Guarantee to Defend Gulf, CNN, 20 September 2019: China depends on foreign oil. The Saudi attack is a wake-up call. It appears to be time to take countermeasures against Netanyahu’s Israel and Trump’s US to get compensation for the damage caused by the two countries in the EU, and of course to make it clear that the EU will not allow the two hasardeurs Netanyahu and Trump to endager the EU’s very own interests and security. If Netanyahu had actually assumed that the EU would allow to be drawn into his shabby game, then he has once again made a serious mistake. At the same time, it is becoming increasingly clear that Israel’s membership in the EU is ruled out, since the goals are completely opposite and there remains very little common basis of values, especially as the already fragile Israeli democracy collapses further and further through measures taken by the Likud. Israel, however, adapting more and more to the customs in neighboring countries, which of course is an unequivocal statement itself. It will be interesting to see how this renewed escapade of the two protagonists will additionally negatively affect foreign direct investment in the USA and Israel.), Hawala, Remittance, Economy of Iran, Germany–Iran relations and Iran–European Union relations).

It should as well be kept in mind that the first nuclear enrichment plant in Israel in Dimona was a Franco-German joint project (supplied by France, paid by Germany). This is in line, e.g., with the nuclear first-strike weapon systems (Dolphin-class submarines) giftet (several times it was objected, that Israel had “bought” the submarines. In the official language, this is true, but on the other hand, there is not a single position in the federal budget stating that Israel has ever paid for the weapon systems handed over to it during the past decades) to Israel by Germany. In retrospect, it emerged that the Israeli government isn’t even able to finance the operation and maintenance of the weapon systems on its own. Actually, this shouldn’t be news, especially since the Israeli state budget is notoriously underfunded, so that in addition to official funds also unofficial funds from the German state budget (including through the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the detour via Brussels) are partially funding the Israeli state budget, making Germany the second largest donor nation to Israel after the US since decades. Recently, the Federal Ministry of Defence has become creative by concluding a billion-dollar leasing agreement about drones from Israel, their operation and maintenance. The Heron drones (which are European drone anyways, because without European advanced technology they would never have been started once), their operation and maintenance actually cost only a part of the agreed sum, so that the excess amount can be used, e.g., for the maintenance and operation of the gifted submarines. To donate these submarines has had negative impacts on the German economy, as e.g. Australia wanted to buy theses vessels, but stepped back from the deal after finding out, that Germany is gifting them away (DW, 11 February 2019: Australia signs major submarine deal with France).



Iran and Israel
Both Iran and Israel claim supremacy in the Middle East, even when both countries are only regional powers whose governments has apparently succumbed to megalomania. Iran is self-financing due to large natural resources (China is the largest buyer of Iranian oil), while Israel would be hopelessly inferior in the Middle East conflict without the US’s protective and guarantee power (which is why the Iranian leadership speaks of the “small (Israel) and big (USA) devel”). How a “leadership claim” can derive from these starting points remains the secret of the two governments. In any case, the basic requirements for this aren’t given on any side when considered objectively (The New York Times, 4 September 2019: The Secret History of the Push to Strike Iran, Haaretz, 4 September 2019: ‘Bibi-sitting’ and Drones Out of Azerbaijan: Report Reveals How Close Israel Came to Striking Iran, Die Zeit, 06 September 2019: “If Someone Rises Up To Kill You, Kill Him First”).

The relationship between what was then Persia and Israel was good at the time of the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, but has dramatically deteriorated after the Iranian Revolution (Iran-Israel relations). Basically, the current dispute between Iran and Israel stands out from the usual Middle East conflicts because Iranians are Persians and not Arabs. Currently, the governments of the two countries agree on in their clamorous, mutual extermination fantasies, with Iran actually having greater chances of survival here due to the size of the country, than it would be the case for Israel. In addition, with 82 million inhabitants Iran has 10 times the population of Israel (and is home to the third-largest Jewish community in Western Asia, after Israel and Palestine, due to UN Resolution 2334) and 2.5 times as much inhabitants as Saudi Arabia with around 34 Millionen inhabitants. Israel is (still) far superior to Iran in terms of nuclear armament. In view of the successful attempt by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to sabotage and destroy the Iran Deal and thus allow Iran access to the atomic bomb, it can’t be ruled out that Iran will change the basis in its favor. From a military point of view, there is another aspect given: Iran doesn’t need fully-fledged nuclear weapons in order to be able to do equivalent damage to Israel in relation to what fully functioning Israeli nuclear warheads could do to Iran. Due to the size or smallness of Israel, dirty bombs would suffice. However, as Israel has the US Iron Dome, David’s Sling, Arrow missiles, and Arrow 3 from a strategic point of view, it would need larger, multi-stage missile attack waves. Since the Iranian air force can at best be described as “undersized”, this would be the only conceivable strategy with relatively good chances of success. Chances of success, which would follow the motto “whoever shoots first, dies second!” – both countries would have to pay too high a price for this option to be considered by rational strategists. Unfortunately, both sides aren’t always rational. It is rational that both countries deal militarily in Syria, especially as neither the Iranian nor the Israeli territory is included in this way. However, it is still questionable whether this will suffice for the governments of both countries or that the conflict shall be escalated – although, of course, both sides emphasize that they are not interested in the latter. Actons speaks louder than words and in this case in a very different and much clearer language.

Of course, with all the commotion, one has to take into account the fact that the people in the region are exposed to extensive sunshine, which apparently doesn’t lead to party mood of all participants, but rather the very opposite outbursts of emotion. For the governments of both countries obviously the latter applies. The theater is somehow entertaining, thrilling and fascinating (at least for the local audience), especially for the international audience it isn’t, especially since both countries can’t be interested in a military episode anyway. In addition to the expected substantial civilian casualties, it would mean the beginning of a regime change for the Iranian government. It is impossible to predict the consequences of a war for Israel. As the country is small, major war damage in Tel Aviv (the economical, cultural and social center) and/or Jerusalem (the religious and administrative center) would involve severe economic and political setbacks if not full destruction (Jerusalem Post, 11 April 2019: How Iran can solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict). Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is closer to his great and decades-old dream and desire to finally be at open war with Iran than ever before. It is unlikely that he will allow this possibility, which he sees as an “opportunity”, to pass: Newsweek, 31 May 2018: Israel planned to attack Iran and start a war, former spy chief says, Geopolitical Futures, 8 May 2018: Israel and Iran Prepare for Conflict, Bloomberg, 3 May 2018: Israel and Iran on Path to War as Mideast Tinderbox Awaits Spark, Times of Israel, 23 July 2018: Israel rejects Russian offer to keep Iran 100 km from Syrian border, Jerusalem Post, 23 July 2018: Russia working to move Iranians 100 km from Israel’s Golan Heights border and Haaretz, 7 January 2019: Does Iran Really Want to Destroy Israel?. More than 120 air strikes on Iranian posts in Syria speak a very clear language. With regard to the topic of “time of colonization”, there is a highly emotional as well as often fact-free discussion. Among other things, refers to a King David, for whose existence there is not a single scientifically viable proof, but shall serve as a proof that Jews/Israelites would have ostensible lived for thousands of years in the region. Based on this non-factual claims, modern Israelis shall be entitled to live in all of what was once called the Holy Land/Palestine. In real life and reality, this only counts for a very, very small part of the land area and a nomadic-like tribe, which then lets the emotions boil up even more. If one would take this argumentation seriously, Europe, Canada, the USA and parts of the Levant would have to be renamed “Viking Land“, because unlike the above mentioned, the migratory movements of the Vikings can be scientifically proven very well).

The Iranian religious leader Ali Khamenei recently brought up the in general very interesting idea of a Middle East referendum to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However, the matter has a considerable snag: The referendum should only be open to those Christians, Jews and Muslims whose ancestors have demonstrably been living in the region for at least 100 years. Most of today’s Israelis would thus be excluded from the referendum, because the major waves of immigration from Europe began in the late 1920s. Regardless of that, it would of course be interesting to know how people in the Levant and the Gulf States actually think about the conflict and where they see solutions (the region’s loudspeakers and extremists aren’t the only ones who have views and opinions). If a referendum would be held in Israel at the same time and afterwards the results would be combined, it would certainly bring a few surprises to light. It would also be interesting to find out first which questions shall be asked, especially since such a complex topic can not be met with few “yes/no” questions without risking new conflicts (i24NEWS, 11 June 2018: Iran’s Khamenei wants referendum to solve Israeli-Palestinian conflict).

Due to the seemingly endless sanctions against Iran, the country has such a high demand that the resulting growth potential in both Saudi Arabia and Israel triggers fears. Assuming that all sanctions would be eliminated, the country would be able to become the most powerful economic nation in the region within a few years. This is another reason why Saudi Arabia and Israel are pushing for permanent sanctions to be maintained, especially since foreign direct investment sums would otherwise flow into Iran, which in turn would lead to reduced capital flows to Saudi Arabia and Israel – what both countries can’t afford permanently.

In addition to the numerous emotional-irrational-hysterical aspects (every year on the last Friday of the month of Ramadan (in the West mostly on the following Saturday), demonstrations on the International Quds Day take place in many countries. In Iran it is even a public holiday) on both sides, there is also a rational aspect: The Shia Crescent (Iran calls itself a “Muslim power” rather than “Shiite power” (which is why it is called “Islamic Republic” and “Islamic Revolution” – Al Jazeera, 1 February 2019: 40 years on: Khomeini’s return from exile and the Iran revolution and Times of Israel, 1 February 2018: Crowds chant ‘death to Israel’ as Iran marks 40 years since Islamic Revolution. On the occasion of the festivities, Minister of State Niels Annen of course visited the embassy of Iran in Berlin (Jerusalem Post, 13 February 2019: German Foreign Ministy celebrates Iran’s Islamic Revolution in Berlin). Federal President and former Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has sent a congratulatory telegram in accordance with diplomatic practices between states (Times of Israel, 25 February 2019: German president under fire after congratulating Iran on revolution anniversary). In the face of Netanyahu’s heightened desire to finally wage war against Iran and the US President’s supportive measures, the expectable reactions came from these directions (even from the Central Council of Jews), which can be noted with a shrug, especially since the actual background of these reactions are already known. It is particularly surprising that the BILD newspaper, the medium for the underclass and the precariat, was consistently selected to launch the critiques, in order to try to influence the public opinion and therefore discredit themselves altogether) to gain influence in the region.), which scares not only Israel, but the Gulf States as well, especially Saudi Arabia. The countries are currently forming a very unusual coalition, which can have a very favorable effect on all those involved, but at the end of the day could also include the topic “War on Iran on several fronts”. Iran could only lose, which in turn would mean the continuation of seemingly endless terrorism in the region. Iran has great influence in the region. The country supports Hezbollah in Lebanon (which is part of the government there) and Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Harakat Sabireen in the Gaza Strip. By participating in the civil war in Syria on the side of President Bashar al-Assad, the already large influence in Syria is still growing, making the Shia Crescent between the Caspian Sea, the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea a reality (Haaretz, 29 August 2018: Iran, Russia Prepare to Battle Each Other Over Control of Post-war Syria, Times of Israel, 30 November 2018: Iran, facing off against Israel in Syria, now sending arms directly to Lebanon, Haaretz, 2 December 2018: Battle Between Israel and Iran Shifting From Syria to Lebanon, Reuters, 2 December 2018: Iran says it will continue missile tests after U.S. allegation, The Guardian, 4 December 2018: Israel begins operation to expose Hezbollah ‘attack tunnels’ on Lebanon border, The New York Times, 4 December 2018: Israel Begins Anti-Tunnel Effort Along Its Border With Lebanon and Times of Israel, 19 December 2018: Trump pullout from Syria leaves Israel alone to battle Iran’s likely resurgence). After Netanyahu had managed to persuade the US president of the completely senseless and unilateral termination of the Iran deal, he now once again faces the shambles of his actions. By putting everything on the Trump card, he again maneuvered himself offside. Of course one can take note of this with great malicious joy, after all, he has been warned beforehand from all sides. It will be a problem at the point where it will now be possible for Iran (after the successful political and in parts economical implementation of the Shia Crescent – at least in the northern part. The southern part, the encirclement of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, will not succeed soon) to get the chance to accomplish the military implementation of the Shia Crescent (Washington Post, 8 December 2004: Iraq, Jordan See Threat To Election From Iran, Al Jazeera, 10 April 2006: Mubarak’s Shia remarks stir anger, The Guardian, 26 January 2007: Fear of a Shia full moon, Haaretz, 13 June 2008: The Myth of the Shia Crescent, openDemocracy, 3 April 2015: Shia crescent: self-fulfilling prophecy, The National, 17 March 2015: Yemen talks underscore Iran’s ‘Shia crescent’ plan, The Wall Street Journal, 29 September 2016: After Islamic State, Fears of a ‘Shiite Crescent’ in Mideast, Foreign Policy Blogs, 31 January 2017: The ‘Shia Crescent’ and Middle East Geopolitics, Jerusalem Post, 8 April 2017: Is an increasingly powerful Iran trying to make Northern Iraq part of its ‘Shi’a Crescent’?, The Daily Beast, 14 April 2017: The Age-Old Sunni-Shia War Is Sucking America In, The New Yorker, 9 June 2017: Iran Extends Its Reach in Syria, Jewish Policy Center, 27 June 2017: Looking the Wrong Way on Iran, The Economist, 16 September 2017: Trump’s Muddle East: America’s strategy for countering Iran makes no sense, Times of Israel, 18 September 2017: Hezbollah fighters filmed near Israeli border raring for battle, The Wshington Institute, 13 January 2018: Middle East FAQs Volume 1: What is the Shia Crescent?, Independent, 21 November 2018: Blaming Saudi Arabia for the war in Yemen is doing nothing to achieve peace – we need to understand Iran’s key role in the conflict, Middle East Eye, 1 April 2019: Asked about Trump’s Golan decision, top US lawmaker cites ‘Shia crescent’) and thus to attack Israel directly from both Syria and Lebanon. It will take some time before it actually can happen, but the signs are unmistakable.

In order to get a basic understanding of Iranian security needs, one need to understand the outcome of the Iraq-Iran War, during which Iraq used chemical weapons and ended with more than 500,000 dead on the Iranian side. From this time results the still valid and understandable slogan “Never again!” (what the Israelis should actually understand very well, especially with regards to the unconditional right of self-defense. There are further aspects: Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Mohammad Mossadegh, 1953 Iranian coup d’état and Iran–Contra affair). Since then, the Iranian leaders have been supporting any group that ensures that Iranian territory can only be attacked with great difficulty by setting up buffer zones and securing them militarily (in Iran, this is called “forward defense”. For the Israelis, the Gaza Strip and its further border (desert and bare mountains) with Egypt to Taba on the Gulf of Aqaba on the one hand and the illegal Jewish settlements in Palestine and the Syrian Golan Heights, as well as the border with Jordan (desert and bare mountains), on the other (1967 borders), are buffer zones as well, allowing IDF sufficient time to mobilize if the national territory were to be attacked. There is no such buffer in the direction of Lebanon, so that Southern Lebanon and Northern Israel (as far as the NahariyaSafed line) are potential focal battlefields, even though Israel (or at least Netanyahu, according to his multiple announcements in recent years) prefers attacking the million-strong metropolis of Beirut for maximum civilian casualties and destruction). The fight against the Sunni terrorist organization ISIL in Syria and Iraq, Shiite Iran understood and still understands as an existential fight for survival. On that basis, the missile program, that is very important for Iran, can be seen, because the country doesn’t have a significant air force. Rockets are therefore the only solution to defend national borders and, if possible, to ward off attacks on the territory in one of the buffer zones. This is, of course, more than understandable. It becomes problematic when the security interests of other states in the region (especially Saudi Arabia and Israel) are endangered. This is currently the case. Added to this are domestic political challenges. The current government seems to like the expansion policy in the region well, while the people expect and demand to improve the situation in the country itself at first. This poses some threats to the stability of the country and thus to the entire region.

Recently, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has announced that the already given reach of 2,000 km of the Khorramshahr medium-range ballistic missile, which can be launched from mobile launch ramps, could technically be expanded far beyond the actual reach, but that this step isn’t planned yet. As of today, all destinations between Iran and the Levantine Sea as well as large parts of Romania, Bulgaria and Greece can be reached. This are good news for the largest part of the European Union, but also make clear why Romania, Bulgaria and Greece insist on participating in the US Missile Defense project (Ground-Based Midcourse Defense) as the threat emanating from the Iranian missiles, unlike the Kreml want to make believe (who, incidentally, has repeatedly been invited to participate in the project but has refused), is a real threat. At the same time, the Revolutionary Guards make it clear where they see their “red line” in terms of military self-protection and self-defense by medium-range missiles, namely right at this point. A result and knowledge gain with which one can live and work (The New York Times, 12 May 2003: Khatami Arrives in Lebanon to Crowds, Chants and Cheers, Der Spiegel, 2 June 2003: “We are supposed to be the scapegoat”, Der Spiegel, 10 November 2003: Fresh Blood in the Theocracy, Haaretz, 31 May 2018: Ex-Mossad Chief Says He Questioned Legality of Netanyahu’s Order to Prepare Iran Strike, The Times of Israel, 27 August 2018: Defense Ministry inks deal with Israeli firm for new precision rockets and Jericho missile).

A replacement for the unilateral cancellation of the Iran deal by Trump, forced by Benjamin Netanyahu, is still not in sight. This will only be negotiated when in Israel and Washington, D.C. trustworthy, law- and contract-abiding heads of state will sit. Until that happens, it can take many more years to come. On the other hand, Benjamin Netanyahu went “all in” for years to sabotage and destroy the Iran deal. The result is now obvious: He has lost and achieved the exact opposite of what he purportedly wanted to achieve, because Iran can now enrich uranium and build atomic bombs at will (and write on self-developed nuclear warheads in large letters “♥ ⚘ SPONSORED BY BENJAMIN NETANYAHU AND DONALD TRUMP ♥ ⚘”, framed by numerous hearts and flowers), even explicitly referring to the outrageous stupidity of Netanyahu and Trump, both too naive to even suggest or bargain for alternative solutions and now facing the shambles of their own incompetence. So, if the two in the future once again complain about the allegedly “evil and terrorist Iran”, you can laugh at them or to use a modified quote of the unique Sarah Palin, who argues on the same intellectual level as Netanjahu and Trump: “How’s that Iran deal destroying thing working out for ya?” Another aspect is that Netanyahu has apparently assumed that if he destroys the Iran deal, and weakening Europe’s security by doing so, Europeans would surely support his “shitshow” towards Iran. Assumptions that can not be surpassed in naivety, misjudgments, or both, especially since Europeans, of course, will not work against their very own fundamental (security) interests.

In the course of the reinstatement and tightening of US sanctions, especially with regard to the for Iran vital oil and gas exports, war rhetoric on both sides is intensifying. As a countermeasure, Iran, for its part, now threatens to seal off the Bab-el-Mandeb strait, effectively closing the world’s most important strait for the transport of oil. The country wouldn’t even need to set naval units permanently into action. It would be sufficient to mine the straits at various depths to block the passage for over- and underwater vehicles (Reuters, 1 August 2018: Israel warns Iran of military response if it closed key Red Sea strait and Bloomberg, 11 August 2018: U.S.-Iran Sanctions Give China Lead in World’s Biggest Gas Field).

Above all, something else is quite interesting. While Iran is portrayed by Israel and the US as an “enemy of Israel” and an “anti-Semitic regime”, with just over 50%, Iran has by far the lowest percentage of anti-Semitic residents in the Middle East, while “America’s allies among the Gulf States” account for 70% or more.

At present, Iran’s support for rebel and terrorist groups in the Levant remains as a concrete starting point for upcoming negotiations (especially Hamas (Al-Qassam Brigades), Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Harakat Sabireen, Hezbollah and others – Note: From the Jewish underground and terrorist organizations Irgun, Hagana and others later emerged the Israeli army, which pride itself as the “most moral army in the world” (which can at least be doubted). Under what circumstances shouldn’t Hamas and the Islamic Jihad be in the position to establish another “most moral army” in the region after signing a peace treaty and the recognition of the state of Palestine by Israel and the West, as they are already much better equipped and trained than their Jewish counterparts were? This apart from the fact that the fighters need an adequate task anyway after a peace agreement will be given) as this behavior is unacceptable, especially as it can’t be justified as self-protection or military self-defense.



Lebanon
Before the Lebanese Civil War (1975–1990), the country experienced a period of relative calm and renowned prosperity, driven by tourism, agriculture, commerce, and banking. Because of its financial power and diversity in its heyday, Lebanon was referred to as the “Switzerland of the East” during the 1960s, and its capital, Beirut, attracted so many tourists that it was known as “the Paris of the Middle East“. At the end of the war, there were extensive efforts to revive the economy and rebuild national infrastructure. In spite of these troubles, Lebanon has the highest Human Development Index and GDP per capita in the Arab world, to the exclusion of the oil-rich economies of the Persian Gulf.

In 1920, following WWI, the area of the Mutasarrifate, plus some surrounding areas which were predominantly Shia and Sunni, became a part of the state of Greater Lebanon under the French Mandate of Syria and Lebanon. Around 100,000 people in Beirut and Mount Lebanon died of starvation during World War I. In the first half of 1920, Lebanese territory was claimed as part of the Arab Kingdom of Syria, but shortly the Franco-Syrian War resulted in Arab defeat and capitulation of the Hashemites. On 1 September 1920, France reestablished Greater Lebanon after the Moutasarrifiya rule removed several regions belonging to the Principality of Lebanon and gave them to Syria. Lebanon was a largely Christian country (mainly Maronite territory with some Greek Orthodox enclaves) but it also included areas containing many Muslims and Druze. On 1 September 1926, France formed the Lebanese Republic. A constitution was adopted on 25 May 1926 establishing a democratic republic with a parliamentary system of government.

Lebanon gained a measure of independence while France was occupied by Germany. General Henri Dentz, the Vichy High Commissioner for Syria and Lebanon, played a major role in the independence of the nation. The Vichy authorities in 1941 allowed Germany to move aircraft and supplies through Syria to Iraq where they were used against British forces. The United Kingdom, fearing that Nazi Germany would gain full control of Lebanon and Syria by pressure on the weak Vichy government, sent its army into Syria and Lebanon. After the fighting ended in Lebanon, General Charles de Gaulle visited the area. Under political pressure from both inside and outside Lebanon, de Gaulle recognized the independence of Lebanon. On 26 November 1941 General Georges Catroux announced that Lebanon would become independent under the authority of the Free French government. Elections were held in 1943 and on 8 November 1943 the new Lebanese government unilaterally abolished the mandate. The French reacted by imprisoning the new government. In the face of international pressure, the French released the government officials on 22 November 1943. The allies occupied the region until the end of World War II. Following the end of World War II in Europe the French mandate may be said to have been terminated without any formal action on the part of the League of Nations or its successor the United Nations. The mandate was ended by the declaration of the mandatory power, and of the new states themselves, of their independence, followed by a process of piecemeal unconditional recognition by other powers, culminating in formal admission to the United Nations. Article 78 of the UN Charter ended the status of tutelage for any member state: “The trusteeship system shall not apply to territories which have become Members of the United Nations, relationship among which shall be based on respect for the principle of sovereign equality.” So when the UN officially came into existence on 24 October 1945, after ratification of the United Nations Charter by the five permanent members, as both Syria and Lebanon were founding member states, the French mandate for both was legally terminated on that date and full independence attained. The last French troops withdrew in December 1946. Lebanon’s unwritten National Pact of 1943 required that its president be Maronite Christian, its speaker of the parliament to be a Shiite Muslim, its prime minister be Sunni Muslim, and the Deputy Speaker of Parliament and the Deputy Prime Minister be Greek Orthodox. Lebanon’s history since independence has been marked by alternating periods of political stability and turmoil interspersed with prosperity built on Beirut‘s position as a regional center for finance and trade. In May 1948, Lebanon supported neighbouring Arab countries in a war against Israel. While some irregular forces crossed the border and carried out minor skirmishes against Israel, it was without the support of the Lebanese government, and Lebanese troops did not officially invade. Lebanon agreed to support the forces with covering artillery fire, armored cars, volunteers and logistical support. On 5–6 June 1948, the Lebanese army – led by the then Minister of National Defence, Emir Majid Arslan – captured Al-Malkiyya. This was Lebanon’s only success in the war. 100,000 Palestinians fled to Lebanon because of the war. Israel did not permit their return after the cease-fire. Today, more than 400,000 refugees remain in Lebanon, about half in camps. In 1958, during the last months of President Camille Chamoun‘s term, an insurrection broke out, instigated by Lebanese Muslims who wanted to make Lebanon a member of the United Arab Republic. Chamoun requested assistance, and 5,000 United States Marines were briefly dispatched to Beirut on 15 July. After the crisis, a new government was formed, led by the popular former general Fuad Chehab. With the defeat of the PLO in Jordan, many Palestinian militants relocated to Lebanon, increasing their armed campaign against Israel. The relocation of Palestinian bases also led to increasing sectarian tensions between Palestinians versus the Maronites and other Lebanese factions.

In 1975, following increasing sectarian tensions, a full-scale civil war broke out in Lebanon. The Lebanese Civil War pitted a coalition of Christian groups against the joint forces of the PLO, left-wing Druze and Muslim militias. In June 1976 Lebanese President Elias Sarkis asked for the Syrian Army to intervene on the side of the Christians and help restore peace. In October 1976 the Arab League agreed to establish a predominantly Syrian Arab Deterrent Force, which was charged with restoring calm. In 1982, the PLO attacks from Lebanon on Israel led to an Israeli invasion. A multinational force of American, French and Italian contingents (joined in 1983 by a British contingent) were deployed in Beirut after the Israeli siege of the city, to supervise the evacuation of the PLO. It returned in September 1982 after the assassination of Bashir Gemayel and subsequent fighting. During this time a number of massacres occurred, such as in Sabra and Shatila, and in several refugee camps. The multinational force was withdrawn in the spring of 1984, following a devastating bombing attack during the previous year. In September 1988, the Parliament failed to elect a successor to President Gemayel as a result of differences between the Christians, Muslims, and Syrians. The Arab League Summit of May 1989 led to the formation of a Saudi-Moroccan-Algerian committee to solve the crisis. On 16 September 1989 the committee issued a peace plan which was accepted by all. A ceasefire was established, the ports and airports were re-opened and refugees began to return. In the same month, the Lebanese Parliament agreed to the Taif Agreement, which included an outline timetable for Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon and a formula for the de-confessionalisation of the Lebanese political system. The war ended at the end of 1990 after sixteen years, resulting in massive loss of human life and property, while devastating the country’s economy. It is estimated that 150,000 people were killed and another 200,000 wounded. Nearly a million civilians were displaced by the war, and some never returned. Parts of Lebanon were left in ruins. The Taif Agreement has still not been implemented in full and Lebanon’s political system continues to be divided along sectarian lines.

The internal political situation in Lebanon significantly changed in the early 2000s. After the Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon and the death of Hafez Al-Assad in 2000, the Syrian military presence faced criticism and resistance from the Lebanese population. On 14 February 2005, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was assassinated in a car bomb explosion. Leaders of the March 14 Alliance accused Syria of the attack, while the March 8 Alliance and Syrian officials claimed that the Mossad was behind the assassination. The Hariri assassination marked the beginning of a series of assassinations that resulted in the death of many prominent Lebanese figures. The assassination triggered the Cedar Revolution, a series of demonstrations which demanded the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon and the establishment of an international commission to investigate the assassination. Under pressure from the West, Syria began withdrawing, and by 26 April 2005 all Syrian soldiers had returned to Syria. The UNSC Resolution 1595 called for an investigation into the assassination. The UN International Independent Investigation Commission published its preliminary findings on 20 October 2005 in the Mehlis report, which cited indications that the assassination was organized by Syrian and Lebanese intelligence services. On 12 July 2006, Hezbollah launched a series of rocket attacks and raids into Israeli territory, where they killed three Israeli soldiers and captured a further two. Israel responded with airstrikes and artillery fire on targets in Lebanon, and a ground invasion of southern Lebanon, resulting in the 2006 Lebanon War. The conflict was officially ended by the UNSC Resolution 1701 on 14 August 2006, which ordered a ceasefire (Times of Israel, 26 April 2019: Report: UNIFIL instructed to boost, expand patrols in south Lebanon, Times of Israel, 23 April 2019: Lebanon ‘ready’ to demarcate maritime border with Israel under UN supervision, The National, 16 August 2019: Lebanon’s Hariri : We are open to move to a ceasefire with Israel). Some 1,191 Lebanese and 160 Israelis were killed in the conflict. Beirut’s southern suburb was heavily damaged by Israeli airstrikes. In 2007, the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp became the center of the 2007 Lebanon conflict between the Lebanese Army and Fatah al-Islam. At least 169 soldiers, 287 insurgents and 47 civilians were killed in the battle. Funds for the reconstruction of the area have been slow to materialize. Between 2006 and 2008, a series of protests led by groups opposed to the pro-Western Prime Minister Fouad Siniora demanded the creation of a national unity government, over which the mostly Shia opposition groups would have veto power. When Émile Lahoud‘s presidential term ended in October 2007, the opposition refused to vote for a successor unless a power-sharing deal was reached, leaving Lebanon without a president. On 9 May 2008, Hezbollah and Amal forces, sparked by a government declaration that Hezbollah‘s communications network was illegal, seized western Beirut, leading to the 2008 conflict in Lebanon. The Lebanese government denounced the violence as a coup attempt. At least 62 people died in the resulting clashes between pro-government and opposition militias. On 21 May 2008, the signing of the Doha Agreement ended the fighting. As part of the accord, which ended 18 months of political paralysis, Michel Suleiman became president and a national unity government was established, granting a veto to the opposition. The agreement was a victory for opposition forces, as the government caved in to all their main demands. In early January 2011, the national unity government collapsed due to growing tensions stemming from the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, which was expected to indict Hezbollah members for the Hariri assassination. The parliament elected Najib Mikati, the candidate for the Hezbollah-led March 8 Alliance, Prime Minister of Lebanon, making him responsible for forming a new government. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah insists that Israel was responsible for the assassination of Hariri. A report leaked by the Al-Akhbar newspaper in November 2010 stated that Hezbollah has drafted plans for a takeover of the country in the event that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon issues an indictment against its members. In 2012, the Syrian civil war threatened to spill over in Lebanon, causing more incidents of sectarian violence and armed clashes between Sunnis and Alawites in Tripoli. As of 6 August 2013, more than 677,702 Syrian refugees are in Lebanon. As the number of Syrian refugees increases, the Lebanese Forces Party, the Kataeb Party, and the Free Patriotic Movement fear the country’s sectarian based political system is being undermined. More recently, for very practical reasons, there have been rapprochements between the two governments, which have notorious budget problems (additionally, Lebanon has taken in a large number of Syrian war refugees), and want to tackle the problem by exploiting off-shore gas fields. Since both countries have been at war since Israel was founded, there are no recognized borders on land or in the water. Before gas production can begin, this point needs to be clarified, which is why both sides have started negotiations. In addition, the Lebanese Prime Minister has brought a ceasefire agreement as a preliminary stage for a peace agreement into the conversation. The latter, however, not quite unselfish, because two ministers of the Lebanese government are members of Hezbollah. The US has begun to sanction Hezbollah members. Apparently, Beirut is now afraid that the sanctions could be extended to the entire government or even the entire country, which would have serious economic consequences, especially with regard to much-needed foreign aid (Times of Israel, 10 February 2019: Iran foreign minister visits Lebanon, offers support for new government, Times of Israel, 22 March 2019: Pompeo in Lebanon to talk Hezbollah amid Golan condemnation, France24, 22 March 2019: Pressure on Iran, Hezbollah is working, Pompeo says on visit to Lebanon, Reuters, 27 May 2019: Israel open to U.S.-mediated talks with Lebanon on sea border, Al Jazeera, 31 May 2019: Lebanon agrees to talks with Israel over maritime dispute, The Times, 10 June 2019: Gas deal opens door to Israeli talks with Lebanon, Times of Israel, 15 June 2019: Israel and Lebanon expected to open maritime border talks in July — report, Times of Israel, 15 June 2019: Lebanon says Russia, Europe eye investment in oil and gas, Tamar gas field, The National, 8 July 2019: Lebanon’s lost allure in the Gulf, Al Arabiya, 24 August 2019: Credit ratings underscore need for Lebanon reforms: Finance minister, Gulf Times, 16 September 2019: Qatar, Lebanon vow to strengthen business relations, Leviathan gas field, Israeli–Lebanese conflict and Israel–Lebanon relations).



Israel and Syria
In 1516, the Ottoman Empire invaded the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt, conquering Syria, and incorporating it into its empire. The Ottoman system was not burdensome to Syrians because the Turks respected Arabic as the language of the Quran, and accepted the mantle of defenders of the faith. Damascus was made the major entrepot for Mecca, and as such it acquired a holy character to Muslims, because of the beneficial results of the countless pilgrims who passed through on the hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca. Ottoman administration followed a system that led to peaceful coexistence. Each ethno-religious minority – Arab Shia Muslim, Arab Sunni Muslim, ArameanSyriac Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Maronite Christians, Assyrian Christians, Armenians, Kurds and Jews – constituted a millet. The religious heads of each community administered all personal status laws and performed certain civil functions as well. In 1831, Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt renounced his loyalty to the Empire and overran Ottoman Syria, capturing Damascus. His short-term rule over the domain attempted to change the demographics and social structure of the region: he brought thousands of Egyptian villagers to populate the plains of Southern Syria, rebuilt Jaffa and settled it with veteran Egyptian soldiers aiming to turn it into a regional capital, and he crushed peasant and Druze rebellions and deported non-loyal tribesmen. By 1840, however, he had to surrender the area back to the Ottomans. From 1864, Tanzimat reforms were applied on Ottoman Syria, carving out the provinces (vilayets) of Aleppo, Zor, Beirut and Damascus Vilayet; Mutasarrifate of Mount Lebanon was created, as well, and soon after the Mutasarrifate of Jerusalem was given a separate status. During World War I, the Ottoman Empire entered the conflict on the side of Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It ultimately suffered defeat and loss of control of the entire Near East to the British Empire and French Empire. During the conflict, genocide against indigenous Christian peoples was carried out by the Ottomans and their allies in the form of the Armenian Genocide and Assyrian Genocide, of which Deir ez-Zor, in Ottoman Syria, was the final destination of these death marches. In the midst of World War I, two Allied diplomats (Frenchman François Georges-Picot and Briton Mark Sykes) secretly agreed on the post-war division of the Ottoman Empire into respective zones of influence in the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916. Initially, the two territories were separated by a border that ran in an almost straight line from Jordan to Iran. However, the discovery of oil in the region of Mosul just before the end of the war led to yet another negotiation with France in 1918 to cede this region to ‘Zone B’, or the British zone of influence. This border was later recognized internationally when Syria became a League of Nations mandate in 1920 and has not changed to date.

In 1920, a short-lived independent Kingdom of Syria was established under Faisal I of the Hashemite family. However, his rule over Syria ended after only a few months, following the Battle of Maysalun. French troops occupied Syria later that year after the San Remo conference proposed that the League of Nations put Syria under a French mandate. General Gouraud had according to his secretary de Caix two options: “Either build a Syrian nation that does not exist… by smoothing the rifts which still divide it” or “cultivate and maintain all the phenomena, which require our abitration that these divisions give”. De Caix added “I must say only the second option interests me”. This is what Gouraud did. In 1925, Sultan al-Atrash led a revolt that broke out in the Druze Mountain and spread to engulf the whole of Syria and parts of Lebanon. Al-Atrash won several battles against the French, notably the Battle of al-Kafr on 21 July 1925, the Battle of al-Mazraa on 2–3 August 1925, and the battles of Salkhad, al-Musayfirah and Suwayda. France sent thousands of troops from Morocco and Senegal, leading the French to regain many cities, although resistance lasted until the spring of 1927. The French sentenced Sultan al-Atrash to death, but he had escaped with the rebels to Transjordan and was eventually pardoned. He returned to Syria in 1937 after the signing of the Syrian-French Treaty. Syria and France negotiated a treaty of independence in September 1936, and Hashim al-Atassi was the first president to be elected under the first incarnation of the modern republic of Syria. However, the treaty never came into force because the French Legislature refused to ratify it. With the fall of France in 1940 during World War II, Syria came under the control of Vichy France until the British and Free French occupied the country in the Syria-Lebanon campaign in July 1941. Continuing pressure from Syrian nationalists and the British forced the French to evacuate their troops in April 1946, leaving the country in the hands of a republican government that had been formed during the mandate (French Mandate for Syria and Lebanon and Mandatory Syrian Republic).

Upheaval dominated Syrian politics from independence through the late 1960s. In May 1948, Syrian forces invaded Palestine, together with other Arab states, and immediately attacked Jewish settlements. Their president Shukri al-Quwwatli instructed his troops in the front, “to destroy the Zionists”. The Invasion purpose was prevention of the establishment of the State of Israel. Defeat in this war was one of several trigger factors for the March 1949 Syrian coup d’état by Col. Husni al-Za’im, described as the first military overthrow of the Arab World since the start of the Second World War. This was soon followed by another overthrow, by Col. Sami al-Hinnawi, who was himself quickly deposed by Col. Adib Shishakli, all within the same year. Shishakli eventually abolished multipartyism altogether, but was himself overthrown in a 1954 coup and the parliamentary system was restored. However, by this time, power was increasingly concentrated in the military and security establishment. The weakness of Parliamentary institutions and the mismanagement of the economy led to unrest and the influence of Nasserism and other ideologies. There was fertile ground for various Arab nationalist, Syrian nationalist, and socialist movements, which represented disaffected elements of society. Notably included were religious minorities, who demanded radical reform. In November 1956, as a direct result of the Suez Crisis, Syria signed a pact with the Soviet Union. This gave a foothold for Communist influence within the government in exchange for military equipment. Turkey then became worried about this increase in the strength of Syrian military technology, as it seemed feasible that Syria might attempt to retake İskenderun. Only heated debates in the United Nations lessened the threat of war. On 1 February 1958, Syrian President Shukri al-Quwatli and Egypt’s Nasser announced the merging of Egypt and Syria, creating the United Arab Republic, and all Syrian political parties, as well as the communists therein, ceased overt activities. Meanwhile, a group of Syrian Ba’athist officers, alarmed by the party’s poor position and the increasing fragility of the union, decided to form a secret Military Committee; its initial members were Lieutenant-Colonel Muhammad Umran, Major Salah Jadid and Captain Hafez al-Assad. Syria seceded from the union with Egypt on 28 September 1961, after a coup (Syrian Republic (1946–63), United Arab Republic, and 1963 Syrian coup d’état).

The ensuing instability, following the 1961 coup culminated in the 8 March 1963 Ba’athist coup. The takeover was engineered by members of the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party, led by Michel Aflaq and Salah al-Din al-Bitar. The new Syrian cabinet was dominated by Ba’ath members. On 23 February 1966, the Military Committee carried out an intra-party overthrow, imprisoned President Amin Hafiz and designated a regionalist, civilian Ba’ath government on 1 March. Although Nureddin al-Atassi became the formal head of state, Salah Jadid was Syria’s effective ruler from 1966 until November 1970, when he was deposed by Hafez al-Assad, who at the time was Minister of Defense. The coup led to a split within the original pan-Arab Ba’ath Party: one Iraqi-led ba’ath movement (ruled Iraq from 1968 to 2003) and one Syrian-led ba’ath movement was established. In the first half of 1967, a low-key state of war existed between Syria and Israel. Conflict over Israeli cultivation of land in the Demilitarized Zone led to 7 April pre-war aerial clashes between Israel and Syria. When the Six-Day War broke out between Egypt and Israel, Syria joined the war and attacked Israel as well. In the final days of the war, Israel turned its attention to Syria, capturing two-thirds of the Golan Heights in under 48 hours. The defeat caused a split between Jadid and Assad over what steps to take next. Disagreement developed between Jadid, who controlled the party apparatus, and Assad, who controlled the military. The 1970 retreat of Syrian forces sent to aid the PLO during the “Black September” hostilities with Jordan reflected this disagreement. The power struggle culminated in the November 1970 Syrian Corrective Revolution, a bloodless military overthrow that installed Hafez al-Assad as the strongman of the government. On 6 October 1973, Syria and Egypt initiated the Yom Kippur War against Israel. The Israel Defense Forces reversed the initial Syrian gains and pushed deeper into Syrian territory. In early 1976, Syria entered Lebanon, beginning the thirty-year Syrian military occupation. Over the following 15 years of civil war, Syria fought for control over Lebanon. Syria then remained in Lebanon until 2005. In the late 1970s, an Islamist uprising by the Muslim Brotherhood was aimed against the government. Islamists attacked civilians and off-duty military personnel, leading security forces to also kill civilians in retaliatory strikes. The uprising had reached its climax in the 1982 Hama massacre, when some 10,000 – 40,000 people were killed by regular Syrian Army troops. In a major shift in relations with both other Arab states and the Western world, Syria participated in the US-led Gulf War against Saddam Hussein. Syria participated in the multilateral Madrid Conference of 1991, and during the 1990s engaged in negotiations with Israel. These negotiations failed, and there have been no further direct Syrian-Israeli talks since President Hafez al-Assad‘s meeting with then President Bill Clinton in Geneva in March 2000. Hafez al-Assad died on 10 June 2000. His son, Bashar al-Assad, was elected President in an election in which he ran unopposed. His election saw the birth of the Damascus Spring and hopes of reform, but by autumn 2001, the authorities had suppressed the movement, imprisoning some of its leading intellectuals. Instead, reforms have been limited to some market reforms. On 5 October 2003, Israel bombed a site near Damascus, claiming it was a terrorist training facility for members of Islamic Jihad. In March 2004, Syrian Kurds and Arabs clashed in the northeastern city of al-Qamishli. Signs of rioting were seen in the cities of Qamishli and Hasakeh. In 2005, Syria ended its occupation of Lebanon. On 6 September 2007, foreign jet fighters, suspected as Israeli, reportedly carried out Operation Orchard against a suspected nuclear reactor under construction by North Korean technicians.

The ongoing Syrian Civil War was inspired by the Arab Spring revolutions. It began in 2011 as a chain of peaceful protests, followed by a crackdown by the Syrian Army. In July 2011, Army defectors declared the formation of the Free Syrian Army and began forming fighting units. The opposition is dominated by Sunni Muslims, whereas the leading government figures are generally associated with Alawites. According to various sources, including the United Nations, up to 100,000 people had been killed by June 2013, including 11,000 children. To escape the violence, 4.9 million Syrian refugees have fled to neighboring countries of Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Turkey. An estimated 450,000 Syrian Christians have fled their homes. By October 2017, an estimated 400,000 people had been killed in the war according to the UN (The Guardian, 23 March 2019: Isis defeated, US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces announce, The New York Times, 23 March 2019: Last ISIS Village in Syria Falls, and a Caliphate Crumbles, and The Washington Post, 23 March 2019: The Islamic State’s caliphate has been defeated, U.S.-backed forces say ).

Since the beginning of the civil war, the Israeli government has ordered more than 300 air and missile strikes against targets in Syria (France24, 21 January 2019: Israel says strikes launched against Iranian targets in Syria, The Guardian, 21 January 2019: Israeli military strikes Iranian targets inside Syria, Times of Israel, 23 January 2019: Russia says Israel must halt its ‘arbitrary’ airstrikes in Syria, Times of Israel, 23 January 2019: Netanyahu threatens Gaza, Iran after flareups on two fronts, Haaretz, 24 July 2019: Israel Strikes Strategic Targets in Southern Syria, Report Says, Times of Israel, 24 July 2019: Syrian media says Israel carried out airstrikes in country’s south), but at the same time claims to be totally uninvolved in the fightings (in other parts of the world, such a statement would lead to the diagnosis “schizophrenia“). Since 1948, Israel and Syria have been more or less in a state of war. There has never been a peace treaty between the two countries, but several half-hearted attempts: Israel–Syria relations and Iran–Israel proxy conflict. One of the linchpins is the Israeli occupation of the Syrian Golan Heights, which at no time has been legitimized by the international community, and the illegal Israeli settlements spreading there. Interesting is the reporting about it. The Israeli government and the Israeli media are presenting the status as if the Syrian Golan Heights would belong to Israel, which of course is not the case. All attempts by Syria to liberate the Golan Heights from the Israeli occupation are portrayed as attacks on Israel. In real life, it’s the other way round. Syria is perfectly legitimate against continued Israeli aggression (illegal land grabbing, construction of illegal settlements, etc.). Both, Trump’s recognition of West Jerusalem as an Israeli capital forced by Netanyahu and the recognition of the Syrian Golan Heights as belonging to Israel, have only one consequence, namely that the entire international community has developed the exact opposite point of view, after Netanyahu had forced the member states of the international community to clearly define their own points of view on the two topics. By doing so, Netanyahu ensures the further isolation of Israel. After Netanyahu has already gotten a black eye in the total misjudgment that Trump’s announcement to recognize West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and thus sets the world community on the same course, he will also succeed in doing so with regard to the Syrian Golan Heights: Haaretz, 21 March 2019: Trump: Time for U.S. to Recognize Israel’s Sovereignty Over Golan Heights, Times of Israel, 21 March 2019: Trump says time has come for US to ‘recognize Israel’s sovereignty’ over Golan, The New York Times, 21 March 2019: Trump Wants U.S. to Recognize Israeli Sovereignty Over the Golan Heights, The Washington Post, 21 March 2019: Trump endorses Israeli control of the disputed Golan Heights, France24, 21 March 2019: Trump says US recognises Israeli sovereignty over Golan Heights, The Guardian, 22 March 2019: Trump provokes global anger by recognising Israel’s claim to Golan Heights, Times of Israel, 22 March 2019: Trump tweet does little for Golan, but much for Netanyahu, critics charge, Reuters, 22 March 2019: EU holds position on Golan Heights despite Trump: Tusk, France24, 22 March 2019: France says Israeli sovereignty over Golan breaks international law, Jerusalem Post, 22 March 2019: UNHRC voted 26-16 against Israel’s ‘occupation’ of the Golan Heights, Times of Israel, 22 March 2019: EU says it will not follow Trump in recognizing Israeli sovereignty over Golan, France24, 24 March 2019: Netanyahu in Washington with Golan Heights recognition on tap, France24, 25 March 2019: Trump signs US recognition of Israeli sovereignty over Golan Heights, Times of Israel, 25 March 2019: Alongside PM, Trump signs proclamation recognizing Israeli sovereignty on Golan, France, 26 March 2019: Trump’s Golan move unites Gulf States and Iran in condemnation, The New York Times, 26 March 2019: Golan Heights Recognition by U.S. Sets Precedent for Annexation, Netanyahu Says, Times of Israel, 26 March 2019: Israel says US Golan recognition helps pave way for keeping other captured lands, The Hill, 26 March 2019: Trump’s Golan Heights announcement will backfire for Netanyahu — and US, The Guardian, 27 March 2019: Trump’s Golan Heights proclamation is a cynical, dangerous move, Times of Israel, 27 March 2019: All EU countries say no to recognition of Israeli Golan Heights, Times of Israel, 27 March 2019: European envoys said sent to White House, State Department to protest Golan move, Jerusalem Post, 27 March 2019: All 28 EU member states reject Israeli souvereignty over Golan, Haaretz, 27 March 2019: Two-state Solution: U.S. Jews Won’t Budge. Will It Cost Them Their Relationship With Israel?, Haaretz, 27 March 2019: Why Golan Recognition Can’t Pave Way for Israel to Annex West Bank, Haaretz, 27 March 2019: EU States Unanimously Announce: We Do Not Recognize Israeli Sovereignty Over Golan Heights, Times of Israel, 28 March 2019: US slammed at UN Security Council for recognizing Golan as Israeli (At least United Nations Disengagement Observer Force could finally be ended), Times of Israel, 29 March 2019: Iran to ‘resist’ Trump decision on Golan Heights, (United States Deputy Secretary of Energy, Dan Brouillette, has said, that the decisions to recognize West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the Golan Heights as part of Israel were made, because the US itself is producing so much oil and natural gas that its dependency (United States energy independence) on the Gulf States is no longer given. Of course, one can try to talk nicely about breaking international law), Times of Israel, 27 March 2019: Israel and Hamas prepare to square off on anniversary of ‘March of Return’, Times of Israel, 28 March 2019: Hamas and Israel risk another Gaza war in deadly game of chicken, France24, 29 March 2019: Gaza, Israel brace for mass border demos, The Washington Post, 29 March 2019: Gazans have paid in blood for a year of protests. Now many wonder what it was for., The Guardian, 30 March 2019: Border protests: Palestinian killed by Israeli fire, officials say, The Washington Post, 30 March 2019: Clashes erupt as Gazans mark anniversary of bloody border protests, Haaretz, 30 March 2019: Tens of Thousands of Palestinians Gather in Gaza for March of Return Anniversary, Haaretz, 30 March 2019: Israel-Egypt Treaty, 40 Years Later: When Israel Made Peace a Priority, The Guardian, 30 March 2019: Israeli fire kills three Palestinians, says Gaza health ministry.



Israel and Turkey
Israel–Turkey relations were formalized in March 1949. Turkey was the first Muslim majority country to recognize the State of Israel. Military, strategic, and diplomatic cooperation between Turkey and Israel were accorded high priority by both countries, which shared concerns with respect to the regional instabilities in the Middle East. According to a New York Times report in 1999, the strategic partnership between the two countries had the potential to alter Middle East politics: Trade and tourism were booming, the Israel Air Force practiced maneuvers in Turkish airspace and Israeli technicians were modernizing Turkish combat jets. There were also plans for high-tech cooperation and water sharing.

Relations between Israel and Turkey took a downturn during the term of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as Turkish Prime Minister. Though Erdoğan had paid an official visit to Israel in 2005 and initially had maintained business-as-usual relations, his perceived anti-Israeli rhetoric is considered to have symbolized an intentional shift of Turkish interests in the Middle East and realignment from secular Israeli-oriented to Islamist pro-Arab stance of Turkish Republic. Most notably, the relations deteriorated after the 2008–09 Gaza War and the 2010 Gaza flotilla raid. In March 2013, Israel apologized for the raid, opening path for normalized relations. However, despite US-mediation, no progress has been achieved in reconciliation through 2013. With the scandal over alleged Turkish involvement in exposure of special agents of Israel in Iran in October 2013, the relations between Israel and Turkey hit a new low. However, in December 2015, Turkey and Israel began to negotiate on restoring diplomatic relations by holding a secret meeting, in the aftermath of the 2015 Russian Sukhoi Su-24 shootdown by Turkey the previous month, and the subsequent crisis with Russia and the increasing isolation of Turkey. The two countries reached an agreement on 27 June 2016 to start the process of normalization of ties. In December 2017 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan threatened to break off diplomatic ties with Israel if the United States formally recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital (Israel–Turkey relations). However, Israel, Jordan and Turkey are still be seen as stability anchors in the region (while Egypt, Syria and Iraq are out of the race until further notice). At the end of June 2018, early elections are held in Turkey. Even if the result is still seemingly completely open, the outcome can probably be predicted as “regardless of whether Erdoğan will be elected or not, he definitely remains to be president of Turkey”. In this respect, it can be assumed that the political and economic situation in Turkey will continue to worsen, that Turkey will continue to move away from the EU, while moving closer to Russia and Iran. It won’t have a positive effect on the Turkey-Israel relationship as well (The Washington Post, 10 August 2018: Trump takes aim at Turkey, announcing doubling of steel and aluminum tariffs in effort to punish country, The Guardian, 10 August 2018: Turkey’s economic crisis deepens as Trump doubles tariffs, The New York Times, 10 August 2018: Turkey Emerges as Economic Flash Point as Tensions With U.S. Soar and The Washington Post, 10 August 2018: How a Trump tweet and an Erdogan speech shook Turkey’s economy).



Israel and Ukraine
Both countries recognized each other de facto on 11 May 1949 as the Ukrainian SSR (Soviet Union) and established de jure diplomatic relations on December 26, 1991 as an independent state (Ukraine). Israel has an embassy in Kiev. Ukraine has an embassy in Tel Aviv and a consulate-general in Haifa. In July 2010 the foreign ministers of both countries signed an agreement of non visa traffic between Israel and Ukraine. This came into effect on February 9, 2011 and since then Ukrainians and Israelis may enter territory, travel through it or stay in Ukraine/Israel without having to obtain visas for 90 days within a period of 180 days. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko stated in September 2016 that this visa-free regime had increased tourist flow between both countries tenfold. In November 2014, Oleg Vyshniakov, entrepreneur and a Ukrainian public figure, was appointed to the Israel’s honorary consul in western Ukraine. In May 2015 the honorary consulate of Israel was inaugurated in Lviv. In January 2019 both countries closed a free trade agreement (Jerusalem Post, 21 January 2019: Ukraine and Israel sign massie free trade agreement and Times of Israel, 22 January 2019: Israel and Ukraine sign agreement for free trade. As Ukraine is rich with Jewish history, it plays a major part in Israeli education for young generation of Jews. In addition, Ukraine is also rich in religious history and contains the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Breslev, which is a pilgrimage site to many religious Jews. As Israel and the West Bank contain rich Christian history, Ukrainians come to Israel and Palestine as religious pilgrims. This is especially true regarding East and West Jerusalem, with its Orthodox Christian holy sites. For Jews worldwide, Ukraine also holds many memories regarding the Holocaust, as the site of Babi Yar is in its territory. As Ukraine is a newly independent state, this serves to create a common sense of identity of Ukraine and Israel as nations who gained their independence in the 20th century. A special tourisms programs for Jews and Israelis, developed in cooperation with the Lviv Municipality and the District Administration, which includes visits to Jewish memorial sites and architecture, operated by Hebrew speaking tourist guides. In May 2015 a direct flight Lviv-Tel Aviv-Lviv was launched and is operated by the airline “UIA” (Ukraine International Airlines), on regular flights twice a week. Ukraine has one of the world’s largest Jewish communities. At the same time, Ukrainian Jews make up a significant proportion of Israel’s population.

The Israeli government claims that their failure to vote in support of Ukraine against Russian aggression on Crimea and in Eathern Ukraine was due to a public workers strike (Israel–Ukraine relations).



Gulf States and Israel
Since the founding of Israel in 1948 and the immediate beginning of the Middle East conflict (or its consistent continuation, depending on the perspective), there is a tense relationship between the Gulf States on the Arabian Peninsula on the Arabian Gulf (2017–19 Qatar diplomatic crisis: Saudi Arabia has opened a “side-war” venue here, which is not aimed at Qatar at all, but against Iran, a long-term adversary, but has gone down the drain as a result. Saudi Arabia and its allies (United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain) say that Qatar is cooperating too closely with Iran (both countries jointly exploit the world’s largest natural gas resource so close cooperation is a means to, but both support also the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and other terror organizations and individuals). Saudi Arabia then drew up 13 demands that Qatar shall meet to resume diplomatic relations and open borders. Qatar’s only land connection is to Saudi Arabia. However, Sheikh Abdullah ibn Nasser ibn Chalifa Al Thani, who is relatively young for a leader in the region, apparently has no desire to respond to the demands and, instead, has found other ways of ensuring the supply of the country. For this purpose, at first air bridges and ship connections were strengthened, at the same time the agricultural productions were considerably, so that the self-supply through own production increased very strongly. In that sense, the boycott has been pretty useful for the Qatari economy. With both Britain and the US maintaining military bases in Qatar, a military episode between Saudi Arabia and Qatar is likely to be ruled out) and Israel, resulting from solidarity of the Gulf States with the Arab states in the Middle East (Israel–Saudi Arabia relations, Israel–United Arab Emirates relations, Israel–Oman relations (NPR, 9 July 2019: How Oman Has Become A Key Diplomatic Player In The Middle East), Israel–Qatar relations (Arab News, 17 July 2019: Gulf politics 101: The Qatar boycott for dummies), Bahrain–Israel relations, Israel–Kuwait relations, Israel–Yemen relations, Iraq–Israel relations, and Foreign relations of Israel). No state in the region recognized Israel at that time. Neither was any significant bilateral treaty with Israel be concluded, nor are there official diplomatic relations. This follows the logic that you can’t conclude treaties or maintain diplomatic relations with a state that doesn̵