The Pulse Trends: Israel, Palestine, Turkey, Lebanon

Article Summary
The first week of Pulse coverage revealed how, more than ever, Al-Monitor uncovers trends while covering the news. Here are five trends we have been following in our pulses.   

The first week of Pulse coverage revealed how, more than ever, Al-Monitor uncovers trends while covering the news.  Here are five trends we have been following in our pulses. 

Israel: Liberman ‘Like a Fox

Ben Caspit reported the real story behind Avigdor Liberman’s resignation as Foreign Minister, and how Liberman foresees being in an even stronger position after the Israeli elections.  Liberman, Caspit wrote, is “a politician with a caveat, a future finance minister who comes with a warning label.”  

Akiva Eldar explored Liberman’s controversial appointment of Ze'ev Ben Aryeh as ambassador to Latvia, reportedly as a reward for leaking information beneficial to Liberman’s case, and what it means for Liberman’s plans to wrap up the case before the Israeli elections on Jan. 22, 2013.

Israel/Palestine: New Settlements Dooms Peace

Akiva Eldar writes that plans for a settlement in the Givat HaMatos neighborhood, the first in East Jerusalem in 15 years, and more advanced than the plan for the establishment of a Jewish neighborhood in the E1 area, has doomed the prospects for a territorial compromise.

In an interview with Shlomi Eldar, Yehudit Oppenheimer, executive director of Ir Amim, an NGO devoted to a future for Jerusalem acceptable to Israelis and Palestinians, expressed her concern that Israel has already reached the point of no return in approving construction plans east of Jerusalem and erasing any hope for a future agreement with the Palestinians.

Palestine:  Hamas-Fatah Reconciliation Doubtful

Despite the Hamas anniversary celebration in the West Bank and some public good will gestures, both Daoud Kuttab and Dalia Hatuqa observed that the prospects for unity remain slim to none, as the political chasms are too deep.

The breakdown in what was known as the ‘peace process’ is already fueling a potential ‘third intifada,’ according to Shlomi Eldar, but it is only on paper, because  of the tensions between Hamas and Fatah.

Daoud Kuttab noted that the deterioration in both security and the economy make more violent opposition possible in the months ahead.  Linah Alsaafin reported how sweepingarrests of both Hamas and democracy activists by the Palestinian Authority reveal the reaction of the Fatah leadership to any challenge to rule. Alsaafin and Sadia Ahsanuddin argued that the end of a two-state solution means Palestinians should focus on civil rights within Israel, rather than another bid for statehood.

In Gaza, Rana Baker analyzed the challenges to Hamas rule coming from a youth movement that is disenchanted with Hamas and does not see Fatah as a viable alternative.

Within this gloomy climate, Daoud Kuttab pointed out that Palestinian-Jordanian confederation is being discussed again as a potential outcome.

Turkey: Border Problems Worsen

Kadri Gursel wrote this week that if Turkey is to pursue a ‘zero problems’ policy it should begin with Turkey’s own Kurdish issue, as it is central to Turkey’s politics, and with Iraq and Syria.

Cengiz Candar observed that while Turkey may be eager for the end of the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad, it is in danger of adding a Syrian Kurdish problem to its own Kurdish problem, as well as the chance of an Iraqi civil war.

Tulin Daloglu reported on the refugee crisis on the Turkish-Syria border, and that Turkey will require international assistance to prevent the crisis from widening.

Also on Turkey’s borders, Semih Idiz analyzed the deterioration in Turkey-Iran relations over Syria, and Guven Sak explained how gas from the Kurdistan Region of Iraq may come at too high a price as Ankara if the cost is relations with the rest of Iraq.

Tulin Daloglu reported on how the Jewish community in Turkey is now reportedly under surveillance by Turkish intelligence services.  Foreign policy, the economy, and AK Party politics may lead to a potential rivalry between President Gul and Prime Minister Erdogan in Turkish politics, according to Kadri Gursel.

Lebanon: Center of Regional Pulse

The Lebanon Pulse, introduced by “The Ambassador’s Channel” of Clovis Maksoud, highlighted the connections among Lebanese politics, Syria, and the Palestinian issue.

Jean Aziz wrote on how the parliamentary elections may be only a feint toward democracy, as they have in the past, and revealed how Lebanese are interpreting the decision to label former Lebanese Minister and Member of Parliament Michael Samaha as a global terrorist.

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