The article examines Israel’s successes and failures during the Second Intifada. It argues that Israel’s advances came from an effective counterterrorism campaign involving a mix of military operations, defensive measures, and in particular improved intelligence gathering. Domestic resilience also proved strong in the face of a brutal terrorism campaign. Yet long-term victory remains elusive for Israel. Deterrence, always difficult against terrorist groups, is growing harder for Israel. Hamas’s control of Gaza, and the mistrust and hatred sown during the Second Intifada, have hindered a political deal between Israel and moderate Palestinians. Much of what went into successful counterterrorism, notably the security barrier and the aggressive campaign of raids and arrests, does not jibe with most visions of what peace would look like and makes a deal harder to achieve. To make a peace deal work, Israeli counterterrorism must change, with measures including relocating parts of the security barrier, bolstering moderate Palestinian politicians, and working with, as opposed to undermining, Palestinian security forces in the West Bank.
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[The resignation of assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs Wess Mitchell] is surprising news, which seems to have caught everyone off guard. He doesn’t appear to have shared this news with his ambassadors, who were in Washington last week for a global chiefs of mission conference. His deputy is also slated to retire soon, which raises question of near term leadership on European policy at a time of challenges there.
[Wess] Mitchell was a strong supporter of NATO, particularly in Eastern Europe where he will be sorely missed. His departure comes follows the resignation of senior Pentagon officials – Robert Karem and Tom Goffus – working on NATO along with Secretary Mattis. Without this pro-alliance caucus, NATO is now more vulnerable than at any time since the beginning of the Trump administration.