Posts Tagged ‘Hamas’

Can Gaza Ever Be Pacified?

August 8, 2014

Marc Ginsberg (Ambassador to Morocco, 1994-1998)

Cross-posted from Ambassador Ginsberg’s August 7, 2014 special to the Huffington Post.

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The Gaza Strip will never fit neatly into a future Palestinian state jigsaw puzzle. Even in a utopian final two-state settlement it will always be separated from the West Bank across 30 Israeli desert miles. The best minds have tried to figure this one out… an elevated highway linking Gaza and the West Bank, a highway tunnel gouged under Israel, even a light rail system. Yet Gaza’s ill-fated geography is what it is no matter what Hamas may seek (and will always fail) to change.

The simplistic narratives spinning around the war about Gaza only make things worse for its victimized citizenry. For Israelis and for those truly interested in a positive future for Gaza, it is essential to understand that Hamas and the Palestinians who live there are not one and the same.

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Ambassador Stephenson on his Trip to Israel

October 22, 2013

Thomas Stephenson (Ambassador to Portugal, 2007-2009)

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As I write, I am flying back from four days in Israel during which time I participated in a series of meetings with current, and several former, senior military, intelligence, and government leaders. None of the meetings were for attribution, but I thought it would be interesting to address the questions posed (How does the government shutdown impact US foreign policy and US credibility abroad? How significant is the recent shift in US-Iran relations? What do you expect will result from the recent agreement between Secretary Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, and the Assad regime regarding the disarmament of Syria’s chemical weapons?) in the context of Israel’s precarious position with regard to most of the issues raised, and the gist of what we heard and observed regarding these issues while there.

There was concern expressed about the impact on Israel and our other trading partners of our government shutdown and potential debt default (fortunately, an agreement to kick the can down the road a few months was reached the day after our meetings concluded). Several of the people with whom we met expressed concern about the potential impact of shutdown and sequestration on our military capabilities, the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, and the extent to which world financial markets and international trade have been roiled by our failure to find a solution. There is no doubt relief in many corners of the world that we have at least an interim solution.

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