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Traditional Conflicts and the Role of State Actors in the MENA Region. By Christina Zygakis -International Relations Scholar -Youth Sector, Greek Association for Atlantic & European Cooperation. A Focus on the Palestine Question. Latest Developments. Violence.

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Traditional Conflicts and the Role of State Actors in the MENA Region


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    1. Traditional Conflicts and the Role of State Actors in the MENA Region By Christina Zygakis -International Relations Scholar -Youth Sector, Greek Association for Atlantic & European Cooperation A Focus on the Palestine Question

    2. Latest Developments

    3. Violence • 1 June 2012: Gunfight on Gaza border Death of 1 Palestinian militant • 18 June 2012: Cross-border attack from Egypt to S. Israel by militants Deaths: 1 Israeli civilian + 3 militants Israeli airstrike against Gaza Rocket launch by Palestinian militant groups into Israel Injury of several Israelis Truce brokered by Egypt

    4. Violence • 28 June 2012: Assassination of Hamas operative in Damascus • 19 July 2012: Suicide bombing against Israeli tourist bus in Bulgaria 6 killed

    5. Political Developments • 6 June 2012: Order for the construction of 851 new homes in West Bank • 8 June 2012: Abbas: Expression of willingness to accept UN non-member state status for Palestine • 13 June 2012: Criticism against Netanyahu by Israeli State Comptroller upon the 2010 flotilla incident • 21 June 2012: Report backed by UK government finds Israeli treatment towards Palestinian children in breach of Geneva Convention and the UN Convention on Child Rights

    6. Political Developments • 25 June 2012: Launch of Putin’s visit to Israel and the West Bank • Early July 2012: Al-Jazeera documentary evidencing poisoning of Arafat • 10 July 2012: Release of Palestinian footballer Al-Sarsak • mid-July 2012: Israeli order to demolish 8 W-B villages to create IDF zone • 19 July 2012: Release of PLC Speaker Dweik

    7. Political Developments • Egyptian Presidency’s moves towards Palestinians • 18 July 2012: Mursi – Abbas talks • 19 July 2012: Mursi- Meshaal talks • 25 July 2012: Mursi-Hamas PM talks

    8. STATE ACTORS IN THE PALESTINIAN QUESTION

    9. State Actors in the Palestinian Question • Contemporary Palestine Question The epicenter of the general Arab-Israeli conflict Numerous states involved

    10. Turkey • Events that shaped Turkey’s contemporary Middle East approach: • The end of the Cold War • 1990-1991 Gulf War • Escalation of the Kurdish issue • Erbakan’ s 1996 election as the first Islamist Prime Minister in Turkey’s history Turkey-Arab world & Turkey-Israel relations flourished

    11. Turkey • November 2002: AKP in power Changes in Turkish grand strategy in the Middle East Basis: -No need for a strategy aligned with the US / EU -Soft Power -”Zero problems with neighbours”

    12. Turkey • AKP decision not to align with EU / US in the Middle East Constant deterioration of Turkish-Israeli relations since 2002 Palestine Question at the centre

    13. Turkey • Good relations with Hamas

    14. Turkey • Events - 2006: Turkey’s invitation to Hamas & Fatah for talks in Ankara Further complication of the Palestine Question - 2006: War in Lebanon Turkish criticism upon Israel’s “brutal operations”, systematic use of aggressive rhetoric by Turkish politicians, wide coverage of civilian targets on the media. Absolute anti-Israeli position throughout the crisis. Anti-Semitism in Turkey against Israel

    15. Turkey • 2007: Turkey brokers Syria-Israel negotiations Failure to reach agreement upon the Golan Heights Question - Israel-Turkey relations too deteriorated already Israeli doubts upon Turkey’s impartiality • 2009: Davos World Economic Forum: warm episode between Erdogan-Peres

    16. Turkey • 2009: Turkish popular TV show shows Israeli soldiers shooting children • 2009: Exclusion of Israel from Turkish joint military aerial exercise • 2010: Danny Ayalon’s televised humiliation towards the Turkish Ambassador to Israel

    17. Turkey • 2010: Flotilla attack • Withdrawal of Turkish Ambassador • Demand for apology by Erdogan vs. Refusal by Israel • Denial of access to the Turkish airspace to Israeli military aircraft • AKP very popular at home • Elevation of Turkey’s image in the Arab World

    18. Turkey

    19. Turkey • Rise of Turkish nationalism against Israel • Voices of nationalist groups for embargo on all Israeli products • Decline of Israel-Turkey trade

    20. Turkey

    21. Turkey Doubt upon Turkey’s suitability as mediator for the Middle East

    22. Egypt • Active participation in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war and 1967 Six Day War • 1979: Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel. Agreements: -“Framework for Peace in the Middle East” -“Framework for the Conclusion of a Peace Treaty between Egypt and Israel”

    23. Egypt “Framework for Peace in the Middle East”

    24. Egypt • Part 1: “West Bank and Gaza” • Full autonomy for the Gaza strip and the West Bank within 5 years • Withdrawal of Israeli forces from the autonomous territories

    25. Egypt • Part 2: “Egypt-Israel” • Peaceful settlement of bilateral disputes & in accordance with Article 33 of the UN Charter • In-good-faith negotiation of a peace treaty within 3 months within the “Framework” terms – Invitation to other states to similar acts simultaneously for general regional peace

    26. Egypt • Part 3: “Associated Principles” • Full recognition • Abolishment of economic boycotts • Guarantee of protection by the law for each other’s citizens - UNSC supervision of the peace treaties

    27. Egypt “Framework for the Conclusion of a Peace Treaty between Egypt and Israel”

    28. Egypt • Mostly about the future of Sinai peninsula • Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from Sinai and evacuation of the Israeli 4,500 civilian inhabitants • Return of Sinai to Egyptian sovereignty for normal diplomatic relations • Return to Egypt of the Abu-Rudeis oil fields • Egyptian guarantee for free passage through Suez Canal and other waterways

    29. Egypt • Establishment of UN forces in Sinai and Sharm el-Sheikh • Restrictions on Israeli and Egyptian armed forces • Construction of Sinai-Jordan highway with free passage through Egypt

    30. Egypt • Successful mediator and trustful for both Israel and the Palestinians Vs. • Consideration of Israel as enemy by Egypt unofficially

    31. Egypt • Arab Spring -Islamists in power Signs of grand strategy swift towards Palestinian territories - Request for review of Peace Treaty - Israeli concern (due to the ideological proximity with Hamas)

    32. Egypt

    33. Egypt • Interesting developments and prospects in Egypt’s grand strategy in the Middle East • A catalytic role for Egypt maybe?

    34. Lebanon • 1970: PLO’s expulsion from Jordan & abolishment of Palestinian organizations’ autonomy Violence Dramatic number of dead (mostly Palestinians)

    35. Lebanon

    36. Lebanon • Armed conflict Expulsion of PLO and Palestinian fighters to Lebanon

    37. Lebanon • 1981: Settlement of missiles in Lebanese territory by Syria & PLO Resettlement of PLO to Lebanon and PLO raids into Israel from S. Lebanon • 1982: Israeli invasion into Lebanon PLO withdrawal

    38. Lebanon • 1983: Israel-Lebanon ceasefire agreement Vs. • 1984: Syrian sabotage against it

    39. Lebanon • 1985: Withdrawal of Israeli forces to 15km inside S. Lebanon Continuance of clashes in a lower scale Fewer casualties

    40. Lebanon • 1996: Israeli attack against Hezbollah in Lebanon Israel-Lebanon-Syria agreement through US mediation

    41. Lebanon The 2006 War in Lebanon

    42. Lebanon • 2006: Hezbollah cross-border ride against Israel Ceasefire agreement • Establishment of buffer zone in S. Lebanon • Deployment of Lebanese armed forces up to Litani river • Withdrawal of Hezbollah fighters from the borders • Return of the occupied Lebanese areas to the UN peacekeepers by Israel

    43. Lebanon • Nowadays • Almost no relations between Israel-Lebanon • Syria’s domination over Lebanon’s politics is blamed by Israel

    44. Syria • Also part of the general offensive against Israel – Participation in attacks • Dispute upon Golan Heights • Enemy relations until today • Characterized by Israel as “part of the axis of evil” • Accused of supporting terrorism

    45. Syria Conciliation efforts

    46. Syria • Always mediated by the US • After Madrid Conference: Launch of negotiations in Washington on the basis of the Madrid formula. Focus on Security arrangements • December 1994 & June 1995: Meeting of Israeli & Syrian Chiefs-of-Staff in Washington

    47. Syria • 1995: Syrian willingness for negotiations resume without preconditions • December 1995 & January 1996: 2 rounds of negotiations

    48. Syria • 1999: Assad, Mubarak & Clinton express initiative for resumption of 1996 negotiations • 2000: Resumption of negotiations in the US

    49. Iraq • Enemies since 1948 • Participation in 1948 war, 1967 Six Day War & 1973 Yom Kippur War along with Egypt and Syria • 1981: Israeli attack against the Iraqi nuclear reactor • 1991: Gulf War: Iraqi missile launch into Israel vs. no response by Israel • Today: Low presence on the scenes of the Arab-Israeli conflict/Palestinian Question, more focus on domestic reforms and civil strife

    50. Jordan • In the framework of the general Arab-Israeli conflict • 1993: “Israeli-Jordanian Common Agenda”