Will the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Impede the War on Terrorism? Strategic Insights: v.1, issue 1 (March 2002)
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The current round of hostilities between Israel and the Palestinians has the potential to greatly complicate -- and perhaps thwart entirely -- the War on Terrorism. A spillover of the Palestinian conflict into the larger region would threaten the stability of Pro-American regimes and would play right into the hands of regimes and groups hostile to American interests in the region. How did we get to this point? The newest Israeli-Palestinian fighting began in September 2000 when then-opposition leader (now prime minister) Ariel Sharon made a provocative visit with 1,000 Israeli police to the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem -- a site considered holy by Muslims around the world. Sharon's stated goal was to assert permanent Israeli sovereignty over the entirety of Jerusalem, including over Muslim areas and shrines. Sharon's ulterior motive appears to have been to undermine then-prime minister Ehud Barak's peace proposals (which included allowing for some Palestinian control in Muslim parts of Jerusalem), and to thrust himself and his Likud party into power. Sharon's gambit worked, but not without a heavy price.
This article appeared in Strategic Insights (March 2002), v.1 no.1
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