Shaul Arieli, born in Ashkelon (1959), is a leading reasercher of the Israeli-Palestinian political process, was highly involved in it, and is one of Israel’s leading experts on the demarcation of the future Israeli-Palestinian border and the route of the Separation Barrier. During his military service, he served in the paratroopers in various command positions and was wounded twice. Arieli served as commander of a brigade in the Gaza Strip as part of his military service and was responsible for the preparation of the official negotiations with the Palestinians, as head of the Interim Agreement Administration under the Rabin government, and head of the Peace Administration in the Barak Government. Since retiring from the IDF in 2001, Arieli has dedicated himself to advancing an Israeli-Palestinian permanent status agreement. He is currently a teaching fellow at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center, and at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Research Fellow at the Truman Institute for Peace and the American Jewish Organization ISRAEL POLICY FORUM, a senior researcher at the Economic Cooperation Foundation, one of the initiators and leaders of the Geneva Agreement, and a member of the Steering Committee of ‘Commanders for Israel’s Security’.
Arieli often holds courses, lectures and tours for various sectors of Israeli society, including members of the public, academia and the media. In recent years, Arieli has been conducting a variety of activities to renew the political process. In a series of petitions to the High Court against the separation fence, he appeared as a “friend of the court” (Amicus curiae) Arieli was able as a representative and member of the board of the Council for Peace and Security, to convince the court to oblige the defense establishment to change the route in a way that provides the security required for Israelis, while preserving the lives of the forces operating along it, minimally harming the Palestinian population and maintaining an opening for the renewal of the political process.
Arieli undertook his academic studies at Tel Aviv University, including a BA in Political Science and an MA in Management Studies. He completed both degrees with distinction. He completed his doctorate at the University of Haifa in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies on the Borders of Israel.
Arieli published a number of academic articles in Hebrew and English, in the field the political process and its management , and many opinion articles in the press. In 1996, he published a collection of management articles entitled “Quality and Excellence from Theory to Practice,” an analysis of events implemented in IDF field units. In 2004, together with Ron Pundak, he published the book “The Territorial Aspect of Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations on Permanent Settlement” published by the Peres Center for Peace. In March 2006, together with Dovi Schwartz and Hadas Tagri, he published the book “Misdemeanor and Folly” which deals with the proposal to transfer Arab settlements from Israel to the Palestinian state, published by the Florsheimer Institute (translated into English, Arabic and Russian). In June 2006 his prose book “Solo’s Journey” was published by Saar Books, in September 2006 his book was published by Carmel Books – “Going for all, Leaving with Nothing”, dealing with various approaches in the struggle for the borders of Israel. In March 2008, together with Michael Sephard, he published the book “The Wall and Folly” which deals with the security fence and various issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, published by Yedioth Books. From February 2010 until today, he has published five collections of articles on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Hebrew – “People & Borders”. In January 2013, his book, “A Border Between Us and You: The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and the Ways to its Resolution,” was published by the Yedioth Booksa, which describes, explains and assess the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the Balfour Declaration to the present day. The book won the 2013 Israel Security Research Chechek Award. In 2016, the study ‘A Stable Border’ was published, in English and Hebrew, a proposal for an optimal border between Israel and Palestine (Commanders for Israel’s Security). In 2017, the study – Messianism on the Rock of Reality, the Israeli Settlement Project in the West Bank, 1967-2016 (conomic Cooperation Foundation), was published, as well as articles in various books marking the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War. In 2018, a study was published on the ‘consequences of annexation’ (Commanders for Israel’s Security). The book, “All of Israel’s Borders”, was published in 2018 by Yedioth Books. In 2020, the study “Understanding the Trump Plan”, published in English and Hebrew, compared the Trump initiative to a two-state solution (I.P.F). In 2021, the sixth collection of articles was published, ‘The writing on the wall’, in Hebrew, English and Arabic (Economic CooperationFoundation), ‘Atlas Institute for the Jewish-Arab Conflict’, in Hebrew, English, Arabic, Russian, French and German (Truman Institute for Peace, Hebrew University), The book, ‘Is That How It Happened? 12 Israeli myths about the Jewish-Arab conflict, Yedioth books publication, of attic books and that were included in the bestseller list, and the book A BORDER BETWEEN US, Yedioth books publication was published.
During his military service he held various command positions in the Paratroopers Brigade, including as a company commander in the First Lebanon War, Commander of the Northern Brigade in Gaza, with the rank of Colonel, and was responsible for its evacuation and transfer to the Palestinians in 1994. He served as Deputy Secretary of Defense to the Minister of Defense and to the Prime Minister, and headed the Directorate of the West Bank Interim Agreement and the Director General of the Permanent Settlement.
Shaul was the seventh and youngest child to his parents who emigrated to Israel from Iran. He is married to Or, and is father to Lehet, Eshed and Ofek, who all live in Reut. Shaul is a man of the written word, and “swallows” books. He is also an amateur tour guide, and is highly familiar with the various scenic routes and spots of the country, which he enjoys traversing both on foot and by bicycle, and learning about through study of the history of the land of Israel. In his youth Shaul served as the director of the municipal student council and played handball in the Israel youth team and in the national league.