Gaza: the current situation and future challenges

For a number of years, BICOM and Fathom have focused on the numerous challenges Gaza poses to all the stakeholders interested in an end to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

Interpreting recent events in Gaza 

In May 2019, BICOM’s Senior Visiting Fellow, Michael Herzog, provided analysis on the latest round of hostilities in Gaza and Southern Israel. Unlike previous violent escalations, this one was not initiated by Hamas but by Palestinian Islamic Jihad which is funded by and close to Iran. His conclusion from this round  is that Hamas may not possess a monopoly of control over  matters in the Gaza Strip, as many have assumed until now.

Between stabilisation and violence

In December 2018, BICOM’s Senior Visiting Fellow Michael Herzog published an analysis of the most recent escalation between the sides in November and argued that the potential for escalation remains high despite neither side wanting another war.

Gaza – what can be done?

During July, the BICOM research team asked six experts to give their views on whether a war between Hamas and Israel is inevitable, what can be done to break the cycle of violence witnessed over the last few months along the Gaza border, and whether a “grand deal” or a long-term truce between Israel and Hamas is possible. Voices include: Ilan Goldenberg, Kobi Michael, Yaakov Lappin, Ely Karmon, Celine Touboul and Michael Koplow.

BICOM’s Senior Visiting Fellow Brig. Gen. (res.) Michael Herzog co-authored a policy note with Ghaith Al-Omari on the situation in Gaza for the Washington Institute.

In the Hadiyun Podcast, James Sorene interviews Gershon Baskin the founder of IPCRI, the Israel Palestine Center for Research and Information, and the man who negotiated the secret back channel with Hamas for the release of Gilad Shalit in 2012; and Richard Pater and Calev Ben Dor were joined by special guest Celine Touboul, Deputy Director General and Senior Researcher of the Economic Cooperation Foundation, to discuss the recent wave of violence between Israel and Hamas on the Gaza border.

The strategic Gaza challenge – policy dilemmas

BICOM has also published a number of strategic assessments which map out the different challenges in Gaza.

  • Analysis of the current temporary ceasefire in Gaza, the impact of the most recent rounds of violence and the potential for humanitarian aid delivery. (May 2018)
  • Risk evaluation report on the heightened risk of conflict in Gaza, following the emergency meeting in Brussels to discuss Gaza and the two-state solution (January 2018)
  • Briefing described the potential for a new crisis, as well as giving a number of recommendations for what the UK and international community could do to alleviate the situation and prevent violence (June 2017)
  • Overview by former head of the National Security Council Giora Eiland of the situation in the Strip and called for a strategic Israeli response (May 2017)
  • The ideology of Hamas as a movement was analysed by Calev Ben-Dor following the organisation’s new “document of general policy principles”. (May 2017)
  • Fathom interview with former senior official in COGAT (Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories) Grisha Yakubovich suggesting an outline for a potential “grand bargain” involving Hamas in Gaza. (December 2016)
  • Assessment by Michael Herzog identifying the challenges hampering the reconstruction effort, and the next steps to improve the conditions for the territory’s population manifest for how the next war could be prevented. (August 2016)

Riots along the Gaza border

Analysis and opinion pieces on the protests/riots in Gaza between March-May 2018:

  • BICOM’s Senior Visiting Fellow Brig. Gen. (res.) Michael Herzog explained the background to the violence, Hamas’s strategy, and Israel’s dilemmas.
  • Lt Col Jonathan Conricus, International Spokesman and Head of Social Media for the IDF, described the IDF strategy and rules of engagement.
  • The BICOM research team published an analysis on Hamas’s objectives and Israel’s response.
  • Israel Director Richard Pater explains that the protests at the border allow Hamas to redirect anger from its abject failure of ruling and administering Gaza.
  • Director of Research Calev Ben-Dor argued that amidst the blame game over the deaths, Gaza’s failing infrastructure remains unresolved.

Reconstruction for demilitarisation?

Furthermore, following the Operation Protective Edge between Israel and Hamas in 2014, Fathom asked a number of experts to share their thoughts on the principle of reconstruction of Gaza in return for demilitarisation of Hamas. These included:


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