Elliott Abrams

Pressure Points

Abrams gives his take on U.S. foreign policy, with special focus on the Middle East and democracy and human rights issues.

Why Did Hamas Provoke a War?

by Elliott Abrams Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The current battles between Israel and Hamas were provoked by Hamas. Why?

When increased levels of rocket fire began about a week ago, Israeli prime minister Netanyahu responded with restraint. He sent clear messages to Hamas in public statements, and via Turkey, Jordan, and Egypt, that he wanted no war, and no incursion into Gaza; if the rocket attacks ended, this confrontation would be over. Read more »

Israel: BDS in the West, Integration in the Middle East?

by Elliott Abrams Monday, July 7, 2014

Efforts continue in Europe and the United States to boycott Israel or at least Israeli goods “tainted” by their production in settlements in the West Bank, and to disinvest in Israeli companies or in U.S. firms doing business there. Most recently, the Presbyterian Church USA joined in, voting that it would divest its shares in Caterpillar Inc., Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions because of their sales in Israel. Read more »

Will Hamas Choose War?

by Elliott Abrams Friday, July 4, 2014

As the United States enters the July Fourth weekend, the Hamas leadership in Gaza faces a difficult and potentially important decision.

The last couple of years have hurt Hamas. The level of support it receives from Iran has declined, so it is short of cash. The Egyptian Army has closed the smuggling tunnels between Sinai and Gaza, further hurting the Gaza economy and Hamas’s tax revenues. The kidnappings in the West Bank last month turned into a disaster for Hamas: instead of having captives to trade for Israeli prisoners, Hamas was condemned universally for the crimes and suffered severe blows to its organization in both the West Bank and Gaza. Read more »

Strange Bedfellows…on Israeli Settlement Policy

by Elliott Abrams Monday, June 23, 2014

A recent research project I initiated on Israeli settlement policy seems to have created an unholy alliance. After the findings were criticized by both Yesha Council and PLO representatives, a new voice now entered this debate: Lara Friedman, Director of Policy and Government Relations at Americans for Peace Now (APN). Here’s a generalization with which I am comfortable: whenever the PLO, Peace Now, and Yesha agree on anything, hold on to your wallet. Read more »

Assad Still Using Chemical Weapons–and the United States Does Nothing

by Elliott Abrams Thursday, June 19, 2014

Last September, 2013, after President Obama changed his mind at the last minute about attacking the Assad regime to punish it for the use of sarin gas, the United States entered into an agreement with Russia that was supposed to get all chemical weapons out of Syria and prevent a recurrence of these war crimes. Read more »

Facts on the Ground: the Israeli Settlement Slowdown

by Elliott Abrams Thursday, June 19, 2014

Criticism of construction in Israeli settlements has grown in the last five years, not least in Washington–but in this same period Israel has been focusing more and more of the construction in less and less of the West Bank. In a new article at the Foreign Affairs web site entitled “Facts on the Ground: Inside Israel’s Settlement Slowdown,” Uri Sadot and I explain the story Here are some excerpts: Read more »