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Israel’s Powder Keg: Hamas in Gaza

Are Israel and Hamas doomed to face each other every few years? Three experts weigh in.

Members of the Hamas terror group's military wing parade in Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip on May 27, 2021, as Hamas claims victory following an 11-day conflict with Israel.(SAID KHATIB / AFP)
Members of the Hamas terror group's military wing parade in Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip on May 27, 2021, as Hamas claims victory following an 11-day conflict with Israel.(SAID KHATIB / AFP)

In May, after tensions escalated in Jerusalem, Hamas and Israel broke a two-year ceasefire and were drawn into war. The crisis reminded the world that the ideological differences between the sides are vast. Are Israel and Hamas doomed to face each other every few years? How much of a game-changer was this round of fighting for them, the UN, and key regional players? What are some of the difficult options ahead?

In this episode, David Makovsky hosts three expert guests on Israeli-Palestinian affairs.

Nickolay Mladenov served as the UN secretary-general’s special coordinator for the Middle East peace process between 2015 and 2020 as well as Bulgaria’s minister of defense and foreign affairs.

Michael Herzog, a retired brigadier general in the Israel Defense Forces, is the Milton Fine International Fellow with The Washington Institute. Over the past decade, he has held senior positions in the office of the minister of defense under Ehud Barak, Amir Peretz, Shaul Mofaz, and Binyamin Ben-Eliezer.

Karim Haggag, a career Egyptian diplomat with over twenty-five years of service, currently works as a professor of practice in the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the American University in Cairo.

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“Decision Points” is a Washington Institute podcast on key moments in Israel’s history and present. The first season focused on the history of U.S. Israel relations and the second season focused on key Israeli and Arab leaders. The third season focuses on Israel’s toughest contemporary policy dilemmas.

The host, David Makovsky, is the Ziegler Distinguished Fellow in The Washington Institute’s Irwin Levy Family Program on the U.S.-Israel Strategic Relationship and director of the Koret Project on Arab-Israel Relations. He is a former senior advisor to the U.S. Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations, as well as a sought-after expert in U.S.-Israel diplomatic relations and territorial solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Guests include Michael Oren, former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S.; Natan Sharansky, a human rights activist and former Israeli government minister; David Petraeus, former CIA Director; and Tzipi Livni, former Israeli Foreign Minister.

The podcast is both a history lesson and an exploration of contemporary policy decisions impacting Israel, the United States, and the Middle East at large.

Subscribe to “Decision Points” on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or wherever you listen.

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