Israel Policy Forum

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The Israel Policy Forum (IPF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that supports a strong US-Israel relationship, in which the US will take strong diplomatic actions to resolve the Israel-Palestine and Arab-Israeli Conflicts. It is committed to a two-state solution with respect to Palestine. It also does not support the harder-line Israeli policies.

Formed in 1993, it was endorsed by the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. It has not been supportive of Likud positions. In The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, Mearsheimer and Walt called it moderate.

As described in a December 2009 letter, IPF joined with the Center for American Progress in the Middle East Progress (MEP) project, "to form a strong base of American support for a comprehensive Middle East peace, including a two-state solution." [1]

Israel-Palestine Conflict

IPF holds that as part of the two-state solution, the settlement issue must be addressed. In March 2009, a conference call, with Ambassador Colette Avital Knesset member (Labor Party (Israel)) and Brig. Gen (Ret.) Israela Oron, addressed aid to Gaza: [2]

  • Avital: "Channeling aid through Abbas could also help reempower him as president.
  • Oron: "A plan for rebuilding Gaza is critical. It will not be effective, however, without a wider plan for dealing with Hamas. .... You can have Abbas deliver money to banks, but you can't build infrastructure or rebuild businesses without Hamas."
  • Avital: "Iran is the number one issue on everyone's mind in Israel. If and when there is a U.S.-Iran dialogue, Israel's security should be considered.... A regional plan could reassure Israelis that America's first concern is that Iran will stop arming Hamas and Hezbollah. In other words, that there are "carrots" to make Israel feel that its basic security concerns are being addressed.

IPF hopes that meetings between Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and U.S. Special Envoy George Mitchell can "assuage the tension between Israel and the United States and reach a compromise on a settlement freeze." Nevertheless, it observed that six Israeli ministers were opposed to a temporary freeze, and believed it should be considered only in a "broader" context. IPF observes that Israel may be waiting for Saudi action, but the Saudis made it clear to Obama kingdom was not prepared to offer anything in advance of Israel living up to commitments it made not once, but several times. "Waiting for the Saudis is waiting for Godot. They are not coming-at least not until they see Israel take the steps it promised to take. The conflict is between Israelis and Palestinians. If Israel, or the United States, wants Saudi involvement, they can simply accept the Saudi-sponsored Arab Peace Initiative and bring them in. Otherwise, the role of the United States should be to broker between Israelis and Palestinians and leave extraneous issues for later."[3]

Syria

IPF favors engagement between Israel and Syria. It approves of the brokering now being done by Turkey, and the dispatch of Fred Hof, the Syria specialist of Obama Administration Middle East envoy George Mitchell, to talk separately with Israeli and Syrian officials. [4]

Iran

With respect to Iran, the group says engagement is not appeasement. IPF considers it unrealistic that state will abandon uranium enrichment outside the context of negotiations, but it had considered a negotiated approach to nonproliferation critical. Iran's contested elections, however, raise concern that a nuclear program will accelerate. "...as was the case with the first Iraq war, Israel's direct involvement does not contribute to the solution. Israel, because of its history, is the last country that can solve this problem. Many, and not just in the Muslim world, view Israel's stance toward Iran as heavily influenced by its fear that a nuclear Iran by definition would make it impossible for Israel to do whatever it feels like doing in the region."[5]

References

  1. Israel Policy Forum Announces Its Next Chapter with Middle East Progress, Israel Policy Forum, 19 January 2010
  2. Colette Avital And Israela Oron: U.S. Leadership In The Middle East—Israel’s New Government, Hamas, and Beyond, Israel Policy Forum
  3. Julian Brody (1 July 2009), "The Settlement Pot Simmers", Israel Policy Forum
  4. Julian Brody (15 July 2009), "The United States' Attention Turns to Syria", Israel Policy Forum
  5. MJ Rosenberg (10 July 2009), "Madmen", Israel Policy Forum