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10 - Between Engagement and Unilateralism

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 December 2020

Amnon Aran
Affiliation:
City University London
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Summary

Chapter 10 explores the foreign policy of Israel towards the Middle East in the wake of the collapse of the Israeli-Syrian peace process, focusing on its relations with Iran, Lebanon, and the Palestinians. The chapter provides the first account of Israel’s foreign policy towards Iran, arguing that, by 2000, it had matured around four principles - deterrence, defence, interception, and support for multilateral efforts to curb Iran’s nuclear program. In addition, it is the first analysis to demonstrate how and why the demise of Israel’s foreign policy of engagement gave rise to its unilateralism foreign policy posture. The analysis shows that, despite nine years of negotiations, rigid historical, national and religious narratives, political opposition, and hostile public opinion, were still preventing a land-for-peace exchange to end Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians. Israeli-Lebanon relations were free of these shackles, which is why Ehud Barak was able to order the IDF to withdraw unilaterally from Lebanon. Barak’s foreign policy style, which was based on untying Gordian knots swiftly and decisively, was a clear advantage in this context, as domestic political conditions were ripe and international legitimacy was forthcoming.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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