News / Middle East

Middle East Turmoil Sparks Unease in Israel

Mideast Turmoil Sparks Unease in Israeli
X
December 24, 2013 4:37 PM
The year 2013 saw more upheaval in the Middle East as the effects continued from popular uprisings in a half-dozen countries. For Israel this brought a mixed reaction of reassurance and uncertainty. VOA's Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Scott Bobb
The year 2013 saw more upheaval in the Middle East as the effects continued from popular uprisings in a half-dozen countries. For Israel this brought a mixed reaction of reassurance and uncertainty.

The effort to end Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program caused Israeli leaders their greatest worry. Few believe Iran is serious about abandoning its program, whose existence it denies.  Ephraim Kam is at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv.

"They [the Iranians] have not invested so many efforts and money just to stop it now even if they are in economic trouble. So what they are trying to do is to maneuver, to give something, to get much more than they give and when the time is appropriate to continue with their nuclear program," said Kam.

Israeli leaders are also watching the war in Syria. They like that the fighting is distracting the attention and absorbing the resources of Syria's government and its allies, Iran and Hezbollah. But the situation must be watched, said Ely Karmon of The International Institute for Counter-Terrorism.  "Who will control the vast territory which now is under the control of dozens, dozens of small organizations," he questioned. "Jihadists, Salafists, some of them local warlords?"

The Syrian conflict has aggravated tensions between the Sunni and Shi'ite branches of Islam across the region. Ephraim Kam said this, too, is benefiting Israel, though the arrival of so many fighters is worrisome.

"Our concern is that at a certain point, when the struggle will decline, we are going to find these guys trying to challenge us. This is a problem. Not now. Not immediately. What we have immediately, it's relatively small incidents but sometime in future it can change," Kam said.

Egypt's military coup was a relief to Israeli officials. The new government in Cairo has cracked down on terrorist activity in the Sinai near Israel and wants to weaken the anti-Israel Hamas movement that rules Gaza.

The revival of peace talks with the Palestinians after a three-year freeze brought some hope but most observers are not optimistic.

Ely Karmon said each side is constrained by its hardliners. "So I think that we need an interim agreement which will give symbolic territorial gains to the Palestinians over the very short term, much more freedom of movement and economic incentives and a very general framework which will speak about a final agreement," he said.

The Palestinians are pessimistic. They don't believe Israel is ready to make concessions, like freezing West Bank settlement, said Hadi Abdul Mahdi of East Jerusalem's PASSIA research institute. "We are contained and will continue to be contained in an autonomy-minus situation, governed militarily by Israelis, controlled by the powers of the West and keeping mediocre people in offices like municipality arrangements," he added.

Israeli leaders said they are ready to make concessions but need security guarantees. But given the rising number of incidents in the past year, this appears less and less likely.

You May Like

Elusive Deal With Iran Could Yield Foreign Policy Legacy for Obama

A new Iranian leader -- and a strategic shift by the United States -- opens narrow window for nuclear agreement with Tehran More

Column: Saudi-Iran Meeting Could Boost Fight Against Islamic State

The fact that Iranians and Saudis are talking again does not guarantee a breakthrough, but it could make it easier to build a broad coalition against IS More

Thai Ruler Gives Top Cabinet Posts to Junta Inner Circle

Thailand's army chief has kept an iron grip on power as he extends the government, hand-picking an interim parliament that subsequently nominated him prime minister More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Abel Ogah from: Oju Benue state Nigeria
December 31, 2013 9:34 AM
What are the Historical Facts about Jerusalem in Islam and the Quran?


by: Godwin from: Nigeria
December 25, 2013 12:25 PM
The truth is Israel will not give up Jerusalem. The term "peace with Palestinians" is a misplaced identity - there is no peace between Israel and Palestine, nor will there be - not now, not in the foreseeable future. But of the negotiations for Israel to allow Palestine in its own state living side by side with Israel, having both Gaza and West Bank stride Israel is a dangerous one. There seems no solution with that present arrangement or formula; Palestine should be one - either in Gaza or West Bank so Israel can control their outbursts as they are wont to erupting.

Another very intricate, near intractable issue again is the position of a shared Jerusalem. Right now the Palestinians see it as a non-negotiable factor, even celebrating Jerusalem Day in diaspora, including those who use it in their quest for regional power quest, like Iran and Turkey. But the land is even more intimately and affectionately regarded in Israel. Consider the bible recording on Jerusalem in Isaiah 62.
"For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.

And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name.

Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.

Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate... I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence,

And give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth. The Lord hath sworn by his right hand, and by the arm of his strength, Surely I will no more give thy corn to be meat for thine enemies; and the sons of the stranger shall not drink thy wine, for the which thou hast labored".

So it is not just a matter between Israel and Palestine, it concerns a wider enclosure of the Christian world, being their only Holy Land of pilgrimage. It also concerns the muslims who claim some attachment to its ancient sites, tombs and temples. Can they have both Mecca-Medina and Jerusalem at the same time? But if a site will be reserved for them in Jerusalem, a Christian control will be more considerate and accommodating than a fundamentalist islamist regime which a possible Arab Spring can effect in a volatile, predictable muslim Arab people

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid