The Ongoing Israel Crisis: Expert Insight as Hostilities Resume
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The Ongoing Israel Crisis: Expert Insight as Hostilities Resume
7th December 2023 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Following a brief operational pause marked by an exchange of some Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners, the Israel-Hamas conflict has resumed. The Israeli military’s expansive ground operation across the Gaza Strip, now widening into the south, has come with warnings by the IDF of the need for civilian evacuation, affecting approximately 20 regions within Gaza.
Senior US officials have reasserted Israel’s right to self-defence, while underscoring the paramount need to protect civilian lives. This led a government spokesman for Israel to insist that the nation’s ongoing efforts to minimize civilian casualties do uphold its obligations under international law.
As this conflict continues, the potential trajectory remains a critical concern. Our panel discussion seeks to dissect the evolving landscape of this crisis. What lies ahead in the coming days? Will the international community sustain its support for Israel, or might we witness narrative shifts if the conflict endures?
These pressing questions serve as the focal point of our emergency panel discussion. The event, hosted by The Henry Jackson Society, will convene distinguished experts to dissect and provide insights into this urgent and evolving matter.
Peter Lerner is an expert in regional affairs, media issues and Israel’s national security. He brings a passionate centrist approach to the challenges facing Israel based on his first-hand experience in the trenches with TV, the Times and Twitter.
Today Peter is continuing his professional path as a bridge between Israel and the world. In April 2019 Peter was recruited to Israel’s General Federation of Labour, the Histadrut, and was appointed as the Histadrut’s new Director General of a new International Division.
In his new role, Peter is responsible for the international outreach of the Histadrut, bringing the voice of the workers of Israel to the global arena, sharing the lessons of the Israeli labour movement with the global labour movement, and bringing the successes of the global movement to Israel.
Prior to retirement from the Military, Peter Lerner was the Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson for the foreign media. He led a staff of over 70 that communicated to the world about the IDF, across traditional and social media.
Peter’s job was especially highlighted in crisis situations. The crises are frequent, fast-paced and media attention grabbers. In the summer of 2014, Newsweek suggested that Peter has the “worst media job in the world” but is “a breath of fresh air, bringing new clarity and professionalism” to military relations with the media. The British Sunday Express called Peter “Israel’s other Iron Dome” due to his deflecting attacks on Israel during the fierce media-saturated Gaza conflict. In March 2016, the JTA ranked Peter 5th among its most influential people on ‘Jewish Twitter’ list. In November 2017, the Jewish News ranked Peter 18th on it’s “Aliyah 100” list of flag bearers who made a significant contribution to shape the State of Israel.
Yohanan Tzoreff is a Senior Researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies. His areas of research are Israeli-Palestinian relations, Palestinian society, its connection to Israel and the settlements, as well as the Palestinian inter-organizational system.
Tzoreff joined the Institute at the end of 2019 following distinguished careers in the military and civilian fields. His most recent military role was Arab Adviser to the Civil Administration in the Gaza Strip (Lt. Col. Res.) during the First Intifada, until the completion of the implementation of the Oslo Accords. Among other things, he served as Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s personal translator in many of the public meetings he held with Yasser Arafat in the first year after the implementation of the Accords on the Gaza border.
Upon his retirement, Tzoreff served as secretary general of the Netivot Shalom movement (1998-1999) and later managed educational projects at Bar-Ilan and Ben-Gurion Universities which brought together religious Israeli educators with Palestinian educators from high schools (2000-2009). Tzoreff participated in numerous meetings held with the Palestinians as part of the Track Two. He was a research fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies and the Institute for Counter-Terrorism Policy. Tzoreff returned to civil service in 2010 and, among other things, served as head of the Palestinian-Arab Division in the Ministry of Intelligence and Strategy.
Dr Helena Ivanov is an associate research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society. She recently completed a PhD in International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her research focuses on the relationship between propaganda and violence against civilians. In her thesis, Helena examined the role propaganda played during the Yugoslav Wars and produced a model for studying propaganda which details the key phases, functions, discourses, and techniques of propaganda (the model itself is applicable to other contexts). Additionally, Helena also served as a Manager at the Centre for International Studies at the LSE.
Prior to her PhD, Helena completed an MPhil in Political Theory at the University of Oxford, and holds a BA in Politics from the University of Belgrade.
The Henry Jackson Society was delighted to host Peter Lerner and Yohanan Tzoreff at the event chaired by Dr. Helena Ivanov. Peter Lerner opened his speech with a concise overview of the Israeli military’s current operational situation in Gaza. He also highlighted the challenges of conducting such a war when Hamas actively employs protected sites and humanitarian zones, making it significantly challenging to wage war without civilian casualties. Yohanan Tzoreff emphasized the significance of underscoring the public’s strong reaction to the events of October 7th and the risks associated with the conflict escalating to the broader region. He concluded his speech by stressing the importance of dismantling Hamas for stability in the post-war era. During the Q&A session, the question of which authority will govern Gaza following the conclusion of the war was raised. Peter Lerner responded by stating the need for a security regime, with Yohanan Tzoreff adding that there is a need for reform in the PA if they aspire to govern Gaza. In response to the question regarding civilian and military casualty rates, it was acknowledged that there is uncertainty due to the ongoing fog of war. Additionally, the primary goals for ending the war, the feasibility of flooding tunnels, and the effectiveness of airstrikes were discussed.
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