The Ongoing Israel Crisis: Expert Insight
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The Ongoing Israel Crisis: Expert Insight
26 October @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Israel is gearing up for a ground incursion into Gaza to destroy Hamas’s capabilities and to prevent it from ever reconstituting. The battle is likely to be hard, bloody, and long. The IDF must contend with hundreds of miles of tunnels, suicide bombers, booby traps, and an enemy that doesn’t wear uniforms and embeds itself in a civilian backdrop while using human shields.
Israel does not have the luxury of focusing initially on fighting the battle before considering the day after: a political vision of what will fill the void in Gaza must inform the way the war is fought. Similar to the 2007 Surge strategy in Iraq that entailed a counterinsurgency campaign to strip the Sunnis from Al Qaeda and decouple the Shia militia from Iran, fighting Hamas will have to be accompanied by reaching out to Palestinian civilians that overwhelmingly support Hamas and encourage them to reject Hamas. Humanitarian assistance will contribute to this context and serve as the basis upon which reconstruction may take place the day after.
The question remains who will be the responsible stakeholder to manage governance in Gaza? While Mahmoud Abbas, head of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, has been touted as a prospective leader, he lacks support in Gaza. His legitimacy is also questionable having promoted financial support to terrorist families. Will the US lead the West’s efforts to pay for Gaza’s reconstruction alongside Saudi Arabia and Abraham Accord States?
All the while, the US is increasing its presence in the region to deter Iran and its proxies from intervening, which risks escalating the conflict even further.
These are just a few of the critical questions that we intend to address during our emergency panel discussion. The Henry Jackson Society is honoured to assemble a panel of distinguished experts to delve into this urgent matter.
Dan Diker is a Senior Fellow and longtime Director of the Counter-Political Warfare Project at the Jerusalem Center, is former Secretary-General of the World Jewish Congress and Research Fellow of the International Institute for Counter Terrorism at Reichman University (formerly IDC, Herzliya). He has written six books exposing the “apartheid antisemitism” phenomenon in North America, and has authored studies on Iran’s race for regional supremacy and Israel’s need for defensible borders.
Dr. Dan Schueftan is the Head of the International Graduate Program in National Security at the university of Haifa, the Director of the National Security Studies Center at the University (2008-2018), a Visiting Professor (2012-2014) at the Department of Government at Georgetown University in Washington DC and a lecturer at the Israel Defense Forces National Defense College. For the last four decades he has been a consultant to Israeli decision makers and to the top echelon of Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office, Foreign Ministry, Defense Ministry, the IDF and The National Security Council.
Since the mid-1970s Dr. Schueftan has been briefing Members and staffers of the US Congress, as well as top professionals and key political appointees in the executive branch. In Europe he has been briefing ministers, parliamentarians, political leaders, senior officers, defense and intelligence officials and government advisors. He regularly lectures at leading universities, research centers and think-tanks in the United States, Europe and East Asia and is a regular source and interviewee on the Middle East for the major media in Israel, the Arab world, Europe, and North America.
Dr. Schueftan has published extensively on national security, strategic thinking and contemporary Middle Eastern history, with emphasis on Arab-Israeli relations, Inter-Arab politics and American policy in the Middle East. His books cover a wide variety of topics: A Jordanian Option – Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians (1986); Attrition: Egypt’s Post War Political Strategy 1967-1970 (1989); Disengagement – Israel and the Palestinian Entity (1999). This last book, advocating unilateral disengagement, had a considerable effect on Israeli policy makers. Palestinians in Israel – the Arab Minority and the Jewish State (2011) and The Israel-Arab Reader – A Documentary History of the Middle East Conflict (co-edited with Walter Laqueur, (2016). Dr. Schueftan’s most recent book is Israel’s National Objectives – A Comprehensive Perspective (2021).
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Margaret Hodge has been the Labour Member of Parliament for Barking and the heart of Dagenham since 1994. Margaret held several government positions in the last Labour government, holding portfolios across education, work and pensions, business, and culture. In 2010 Margaret became the first woman elected Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, serving until 2015.
Margaret is an active community campaigner and a member of the Labour Friends of Israel group, in Parliament that promotes support for a strong bilateral relationship between Britain and Israel.
Barak Seener is a Senior Research Fellow at the Henry Jackson Society and the founder of Strategic Intelligentia and the Gulf Futures Forum. Previously, Barak was a Global Intelligence Manager at HSBC and the Middle East Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) on whose behalf he has debriefed international defence and security policy makers and diplomats on matters relating to Middle East security. Barak has lectured at NATO as well as the Royal College for Defence Studies. He also staged the world’s first, and hugely successful conference in London at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) on Palestinian statehood. This examined the security Implications for the Region bringing together leading Israelis, Palestinians, US and European representatives in London 2011. Prior to joining RUSI, Barak was one of the Henry Jackson Society’s founders in Westminster and was the Henry Jackson Society’s Greater Middle East Section Director.
Barak published a book in 2018 entitled, ‘Commercial Risks Entering the Iranian Market: Why sanctions make investment in the Islamic Republic of Iran a high-risk proposition.’
Barak has published and provided analysis and expert commentary for a range of international broadcasters including Al-Jazeera, BBC, CNN, Chinese CCTV, Fox News, Sky News, Voice of America, and news outlets such as Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, the Evening Standard, Jerusalem Post and Xinhua.
Barak has published in publications including Newsweek, the National Interest, the American Interest, Jane’s Intelligence Review and Jane’s Islamic Affairs Analyst on counter-terrorism, US-China dynamics, risks to supply chains, globalization and the end of the liberal international order, transatlantic relations, universal jurisdiction, nuclear proliferation and Middle East issues including the Arab Spring, tensions in Libya, Egypt and Syria, strategic and security dynamic between Iran and the Gulf, and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
The Henry Jackson Society was pleased to host Dan Diker, Dr. Dan Schueftan, and Dame Margaret Hodge for a discussion with Barak Seener on the unfolding of events in Israel. The panel began with an interruption, as Dr. Dan Schueftan had to take shelter due to an incoming rocket attack, which exemplified the delicate situation in Israel. In the meantime, Dan Diker warned about the influence of Hamas and Hamas-backed groups in the West, including British and American institutions and universities. He also highlighted the centrality of Iran in this attack, with which Dr. Dan Schueftan agreed after returning to the panel. Dr. Schueftan also turned attention at the anti-Israeli sentiment within the Palestinian population which, he argued, precludes reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians. On this, Dame Margaret Hodge disagreed, insisting in the importance of differentiating between Hamas and the wider Palestinian population. Dame Hodge and Dr. Schueftan also disagreed on Israel’s response, where the latter argued for the need to forcefully retaliate to eradicate Hamas and send a message to Iran and Hezbollah, whereas the former warned of the potential humanitarian disaster that could ensue and defended the need to de-escalate. Barak Seener ended the panel discussion by providing a geopolitical outlook on the crisis. He mentioned the lack of forceful pushback of the Trump and Biden administrations on Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism, warned of the potential of a nuclear Iran, and argued that a limited response to the October 7th massacre could embolden China and Russia in their respective threats and attacks to Taiwan and Ukraine. The event ended with a Q&A session in which the speakers debated on issues such as the usefulness of Israeli-Palestinian grassroots organisations, the prospects of the Gaza invasion, the IDF’s immediate response to the October 7th massacre, or Israel’s settlement policies.
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