In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Editor’s Note
  • Michael Collins Dunn

This first issue of 2015 marks the beginning of the 69th volume and year of publication for The Middle East Journal. Although both the Journal and the Middle East have changed dramatically since January 1947, we continue to be committed to providing the best in current scholarship and analysis about the region. We seek to retain the integrity of our legacy even while exploring new areas of Middle East studies.

The new year begins in the midst of a period of continuing change in the region: the violence of the wars in Iraq and Syria, continued instability in Libya, yet glimmers of hope with the transition in Tunisia and the nuclear negotiations with Iran. The new year will also see new elections in Israel and the return of a parliament in Egypt.

This issue contains three articles devoted to aspects of Islamist movements in politics, both in and out of power: Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the Justice and Development Party (PJD) in Morocco, and the Islamic Action Front in Jordan. A common theme throughout all three articles might be summed up as: do Islamist movements function or govern differently from other political parties, and if so, how?

Benedetta Berti of Ben-Gurion University and Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies offers us a study of the record of governance of Hamas in Gaza, between 2007 and 2013, an unusual case of a “non-state actor” in power.

The German Institute of Global and Area Studies in Hamburg’s Miquel Pellicer and Eva Wegner offer us a study of the PJD in Morocco, looking and local politics and government in an effort to analyze how Islamist parties govern at the local level and how their behavior may differ from that of non-Islamist parties.

Hamed El-Said of Manchester Metropolitan University and University of California, San Diego’s James E. Rauch have studied the Islamic Action Front in Jordan to address the question of how educational levels relate to political participation in the case of one Islamist party.

On other topics, Ben-Gurion University’s Neve Gordon and Sharon Pardo discuss the European Union’s “rules of origin” regulations in connection with goods produced in Occupied Palestinian Territories, as an instance of using technical customs rules as an instrument of EU foreign policy.

And finally, Geraint Hughes of King’s College London revisits a little-known sidelight of the history of the 1963–76 guerrilla war in Oman’s Dhofar region: Operation Dhib, which involved cross-border raids into the newly independent South Yemen.

There are two lead Book Review Articles in this issue rather than the usual one: the US Army War College’s Larry P. Goodson on two books on Afghanistan and Pakistan; and Donna Robinson Divine of Smith College on three books dealing with Jerusalem. There is also the usual full range of other book reviews and our quarterly Chronology. I would also remind readers that between issues of the Journal they can find regular commentary on the region through The Middle East Institute website ( and through my MEI Editor’s Blog (accessible via the website or directly at

Finally, let me wish our readers a Happy New Year. [End Page 7]



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