Article Review

Published in American Diplomacy on June 20, 2012.

Palestinian Attitudes Toward Israel
by Dr. Michael Sharnoff
Reviewed by Norvell B DeAtkine

The writer, a recent graduate of King’s College, London, writing for the Foreign Policy Research Institute, surveys Palestinian attitudes from the standpoint of the secularists, Hamas, Fatah, and the general public toward the state of Israel. In general he finds that Palestinians of all categories embrace “popular, non-violent resistance.” That attitude leads to demonstrations, hunger strikes, boycotts, and sanctions. Sharnoff posits that billionaire Munib al-Masri speaks for the secularists in advocating a peace with Israel in return for a state in the West Bank and Jerusalem as its capitol. Interviewing a respected moderate Islamist and professor at a Palestinian university, the writer was told that the ‘Arab Spring” has emboldened Islamist radicals and that American inaction in promoting moderate Islamists constituted a missed opportunity. Moreover, in spite of corruption and authoritarianism, which characterizes the Palestinian leadership, any uprising among the Palestinians will be directed at Israel, not the Palestinian leadership. Continue reading “Article Review”


Palestinian Attitudes Toward Israel

Published in the Middle East Media Monitor, an Foreign Policy Research Institute E-Note series, on May 23, 2012.

As the uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East enter into their second year, how have these unprecedented events impacted Palestinian attitudes toward Israel? Will Palestinians be emboldened to mimic these revolts and collectively decide to embark on another intifada? Will they continue to pursue unilateral efforts to declare statehood in the United Nations? Or will they use a diplomatic approach and reach a negotiated settlement with Israel?

A survey of attitudes from secularists, Hamas, Fatah and the general public suggests that Palestinians will continue to embrace what they describe as “popular, nonviolent resistance” to gain concessions. These tactics include seeking unilateral recognition at the UN, staging small protests in Arab villages near the controversial security barrier, organizing demonstrations like the Global March to Jerusalem, and utilizing boycotts, sanctions and divestiture programs as well as hunger strikes by prisoners.[1] Continue reading “Palestinian Attitudes Toward Israel”


Hamas and Fatah – What is to be Done?

My first radio appearance on The John Batchelor Show discussing Hamas and Fatah.  Fast forward to the end at 30:36.


Reflections on a New Hamas Strategy

Published in the Huffington Post on Feb. 8, 2012.

As I previously noted, a multilateral approach advocated by the Arab Peace Initiative could have the potential to prevent Palestinian unilateralism, which offer no security guarantees to Israel. On February 6, in an effort to unite rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah, Mahmoud Abbas signed a reconciliation agreement with Khaled Meshaal in Doha. The agreement stipulates that Abbas will serve as premier under an interim unity government comprised of technocrats until parliamentary and presidential elections occur in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Continue reading “Reflections on a New Hamas Strategy”

Arab Peace Initiative

Taking Advantage of the Calm Before the Storm

Published in the Huffington Post on Jan. 31, 2012.

Last week, I asserted that it was unlikely that the Israelis and Palestinians would achieve a diplomatic breakthrough by January 26. The history of failed bilateral negotiations shows that it may be time to try a novel and multilateral approach advocated by the Arab Peace Initiative. Continue reading “Taking Advantage of the Calm Before the Storm”


King Abdullah’s Talks With President Obama

Published in the Huffington Post on Jan. 17, 2012.

A key item on the agenda for Jordanian King Abdullah’s meeting with President Obama on January 17 will be the fate of Israel-Palestinian negotiations. Jordan hosted a series of direct talks between Israel and the PLO which began on January 3. Israeli and Palestinian officials have agreed to conduct a fourth round of talks on January 25 — the day before Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas demanded that Israel freeze all settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and present a framework for a two-state solution. Israel, however, rejects the January 26 ultimatum and argues it has until March to provide a response. Continue reading “King Abdullah’s Talks With President Obama”

Hamas, Israel

An Assessment of Recent Hamas Declarations

The Islamist radical movement Hamas – designated a terrorist organization by Canada, Japan, the United States, European Union and Israel – made headlines that it is in favor of “non-violent, popular resistance.”  On December 17, Fatah leader Mohammed Shtayyeh declared that Hamas has decided to renounce violence and will embrace the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Continue reading “An Assessment of Recent Hamas Declarations”