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

Report: $60 Billion Leaves Africa Illegally Each Year

Report by joint UN and African Union panel says African countries need to take concrete measures to stop illegal money flow from continent each year More

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Some analysts say Russian Tu-95 bombers were flying near British airspace to warn Britain about an inquest into a murdered Russian spy More

Mugabe Defends Image Amid Controversy at Close of AU Summit

He rejects concerns about how the West might perceive his leadership, saying he's focused on African development 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.
Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relationsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
January 31, 2015 10:50 PM
Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Neighborhood Divided Over Conflict

People in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk districts find themselves squarely in the path of advancing Russian-backed rebels, who want to take back the territory they held at the beginning of the conflict last year. Many local residents are afraid, but others would welcome the change, even when a rebel shell lands in their neighborhood. From the Luhansk district, 15 kilometers from where the Ukrainian government marks the front line, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid