Instead of using the talks as a replacement for progress, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators would do well to define guiding values that should be the basis of both process and solutions. One of the problems with the flagging Kerry negotiations is that they are heavy on ‘process,’ and not much about ‘peace.’ That could be due to the fairly accurate cliché that the outlines of the two-state solution are “largely known.” Negotiations and civil initiatives from 2000 onwards – Camp David to the Arab Peace Initiative – overlap on the core issues, with differences of details. On the other hand,…Read More...
The ultimate tale of a missed opportunity, now staged by the Bolshoi on Tel Aviv's opera stage, resonates strongly in an Israeli heart that still recalls an old hope. It does not end like an opera. No diva is sprawled on the stage, a dagger in her heart and a high D♭emerging emerging from her throat. I remember stepping out of "Eugene Onegin" stunned. Could there really be an opera that dealt with real life, rather then the melodramatic opera universe? Did Pushkin and Tchaikovsky both just send me off with the message: "life sucks, deal with it?" It was…Read More... | 5 Comments
Israelis are more willing to discuss and accept their country's role in the Palestinian Nakba - until the historical events are portrayed as the story of the founding of a rival nation, and acknowledging those facts means legitimizing the other side's fundamental beliefs. In 2008, a fascinating, little-known study asked 500 Israeli Jews about Israel's behavior throughout the history of the conflict. The study was conducted by Rafi Nets-Zehngut, at the Teachers College of Columbia University and Daniel Bar-Tal of Tel Aviv University's School of Education. Bar-Tal is an internationally regarded expert in political psychology. Some of the findings were…Read More... | 35 Comments
The defense minister symbolizes the 21st-century failure of the Israeli 'warrior for peace.' Ehud Barak, who announced his retirement from politics today, said a couple of very brave things in his political career. "If I were a Palestinian at the right age, I would have joined one of the terrorist organizations at a certain stage," he said early on. A couple of years ago he said: "If, and as long as between the Jordan and the sea, there is only one political entity, named Israel, it will end up being either non-Jewish or non-democratic... If the Palestinians vote in elections,…Read More... | 4 Comments
The Camp David Accords, the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty brokered by President Jimmy Carter, survived 30 years under ousted president Hosni Mubarak. But the treaty was never popular amongst the people. Will it survive in the post-Mubarak era? By Nervana Mahmoud When Anwar Sadat signed the Camp David Peace Treaty in 1979, he probably did not foresee that he had only two years left to rule Egypt and that his successor Mubarak would rule the country for thirty long years after. It is probably also safe to say that the Arab Spring would never have entered his wildest imagination. To his…Read More... | 13 Comments
We are all familiar with the frequent criticisms lodged at Washington for helping to fund (via billions of dollars in aid) the Israeli military's occupation of the Palestinian territories. But where are the cries against the billions of dollars given to Egypt's military, a military now engaged in one of the most shocking crackdowns on public protest? One might expect that the Arab governments who make such criticisms when it comes to Israel would remain silent on Egypt, fearing their own destabilization. But what about the "enlightened" West? The top diplomats from the UN, the EU and the US have…Read More... | 1 Comment
By Maath Musleh The leaders of the industrialized states are still confused by the revolutions in the Arab world. Many of them have given public recognition to the historic changes taking place, but few are investing significantly in preparing for the new era. Instead, the leaders of the major world powers are trying to influence changes. They are trying to set new rules for the game, rather than play by the new rules set by the people. The US administration was late in announcing its support for the people's revolutions. It was easier for them to decide to invade and…Read More... | 5 Comments
The following was originally posted on The Magnes Zionist. A very good example of what is fundamentally wrong about how Americans view the Israel/Palestinian Conflict is provided by Barbara Slavin here. In a contrarian spirit of being a teeny bit upbeat about the next round in Israeli Arab peace talks (going on for around sixty plus years, but in its present Israeli-Palestinian format, for almost twenty years), she lists five reasons for optimism, before turning to reasons for pessimism. Since I am a pessimist I will focus on her first five reasons. Here they are with my comments. "1. The outlines of a…Read More...
Last week, the Arab League authorized Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to engage in direct negotiations with Israel. Abbas is still refusing the talks, but estimates are it's only a matter of weeks before negotiations will be launched. So it seems that the US administration finally got its first achievement: Palestinians and Israelis will be talking again. In recent months, the US administration abandoned its initial policy, of applying pressure on the Israeli government, and instead put the heat on the Palestinians. Whether the change of course was taken due to the political price the president was paying at home for…Read More...
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