Netanyahu has probably spent his Passover vacation trying to reach a deal that would enable the settlers to save face and stay in the government while peace talks continue. The Right is launching campaigns to convince right-wing politicians to vote 'no.' With a little more than a week left until the formal deadline for the Israeli-American-Palestinian talks, efforts to extend the negotiations still haven't produced a breakthrough. Nevertheless, a last-minute deal shouldn't be ruled out either; often times, the most productive political maneuvering takes place when no news is reported. On the Israeli side, the best indicators – as always – come from…Read More... | 2 Comments
The current round of peace talks can only continue if the U.S. changes its approach, a senior Fatah official says. The PLO will seek membership in an additional 48 international organizations, treaties and conventions if peace talks are not salvaged by the end of this month, Ma’an news agency quoted senior Palestinian official and Fatah Executive Committee member Nabil Shaath as saying on Monday. PLO Chairman -- and PA President -- Mahmoud Abbas began the process of acceding to 15 international treaties and conventions last week after Israel failed to follow through with the release of a fourth group of…Read More... | 30 Comments
Statements by Israel's prime minister give insight into the -- problematic -- way he views peace talks with the Palestinians. And Naftali Bennett's emptiest threat yet. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday reiterated one of the most problematic views that he and his government hold -- that any future Palestinian state, if there ever is one, will be a painful, albeit generous gift from him to the Palestinian people. Responding to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s intent to accede to 15 international treaties and conventions, Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting: “[The Palestinians] will achieve a…Read More... | 22 Comments
Politically, this is a moment of opportunity, but it carries a painful human price. The Palestinians have “won” the Kerry peace initiative: the Obama administration is blaming both sides for its likely failure, not just the Palestinian side, which is the most they could have expected. The New York Times editorial goes one better: it points the finger pretty squarely at Netanyahu, which is radical for a Times editorial. So the Palestinians, having the clear sympathy of Europe and the rest of the world as the aggrieved party, can go to the UN after the talks run out on April…Read More... | 64 Comments
Kerry's team has been so sensitive to Netanyahu's political needs that it kept handing the Israeli prime minister political achievements without getting anything in return. This dynamic has been put on hold now, and Kerry should probably thank Abbas for that. A sense of chaos has engulfed the diplomatic process after the Palestinians decided to submit a formal request to join 15 international treaties and conventions, among them the Fourth Geneva Convention. (See the full list below.) When the talks resumed last summer, the Palestinians agreed to refrain from joining international institutions, and Israel was to release 104 prisoners who had…Read More... | 1 Comment
From accepting a state on 22 percent of Mandate Palestine to Israel's facts-on-the-ground in the West bank and the loss of rights for refugees, Palestinians have already made significant, historic compromises. By Willem Aldershoff and Jaap Hamburger Despite the U.S.’s optimism, recent comments and statements coming from Israel and Palestine indicate that the U.S.-led Israeli-Palestinian negotiations are not progressing well. This is not only due to the relative complexity of the subject matter at hand, but first and foremost, due to the fact that the Palestinians and Israel differ greatly in power and position: one being the occupied, the other…Read More... | 210 Comments
Trying to satisfy Netanyahu’s political needs might result in the Americans 'missing the moment of opportunity,' says a former Israeli official. The diplomatic process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority is at a crossroads as the American team, led by Secretary of State John Kerry, is said to be preparing an outline for a final-status agreement. President Obama will meet Prime Minister Netanyahu and PA President Abbas in the coming weeks and later in the month, the American proposal will probably be made public. However, there is no official publication date and it is not clear what would such a…Read More... | 40 Comments
Israeli media reports that Kerry's peace framework is being watered down. The White House pushes back. In its Sunday evening news broadcast, Israel's Channel 10 reported on one reason for the diminishing ambitiousness of an American final-status framework proposal, which Washington expects to present to Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the coming weeks. According to senior reported Raviv Druker, President Obama decided not to let Kerry confront Jerusalem, thus forcing his secretary of state to present a vague paper that both parties can live with, and to even allow them to submit their reservations to the American proposal. "The [Kerry]…Read More... | 15 Comments
Once again, Prime Minister Netanyahu is allowed to avoid Israel's moment of truth. When the new round of direct talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators began, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced a solid framework for the process: nine months of dialogue, by the end of which the parties will need to sign a final status agreement -- or at least a framework for one. Since the Israeli government refused to accept the terms of reference agreed upon in previous rounds of negotiations, the time limit was necessary in order to prevent "talks for the sake of talks," i.e.,…Read More... | 9 Comments
Finally recognizing the pressure over the Palestinian issue, Netanyahu seems to be negotiating for 'an agreement with the world.' What does Bibi want? I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that question. With so many attempts to decipher him – in interviews with his proxies, accounts by former employees and analyses by pundits - speculation over the Israeli prime minister’s true intentions should have been recognized as an Olympic sport by now. TIME magazine had no problem twice posing the exact same question -- will Netanyahu make peace – on its cover, 16 years apart. The answer is hidden…Read More... | 10 Comments
With his attacks on Kerry, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon is positioning himself as the new leader of the Israeli right. I basically agree with those claiming that there is no daylight between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on the issues, only on style and timing. Netanyahu has surrounded himself with opponents of the two-state solution: his political circles are full of settlers, national-religious and other hawks -- and not only in the cabinet, but in his own bureau. As veteran political correspondent Shalom Yerushalmi noted in Maariv on Wednesday, for weeks these people have been running around saying…Read More... | 11 Comments
This post has been updated to add John Kerry's statements. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is claiming that the Palestinian leadership agreed to new settlement construction in exchange for release of Palestinian prisoners during the current bilateral peace negotiations. There have been reports of such an understanding in the Israeli media, but no official confirmation so far. In an interview to the Israeli news channel i24, Netanyahu said: "If they can't even stand up to, or stand behind the agreements that we had that we would release prisoners while we continue building, then how can I assume that they'll actually…Read More... | 1 Comment
A new best-selling novel by Nir Baram takes aim at the Israeli 'peace industry,' globalization and the sense of betrayal a generation of left wing and progressive operatives is leaving behind. I've wanted to write about Nir Baram’s new novel, World Shadow (The book is alternatively titled, "The World is a Rumor" in English), for several weeks. It’s a story of power, the battle for and against it, and the inevitable corruption of all causes in the late-capitalist world. The theme is common to many works of fiction these days, but the context is unique, and especially the novel’s criticism of…Read More... | 25 Comments
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A look into the daily life of African refugees living in an 'open' detention center.
Kerry's peace process
Full coverage, commentary and analysis of the latest round of peace talks.
Plan to displace Bedouin
Will tens of thousands of Israeli citizens be evicted from their homes?
A series of striking infographics.
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Palestinian administrative detainees said to start hunger strike http://t.co/d4A7v1dw9S by @MikeOmerMan
New PA gov’t - incld Hamas - will recognize Israel, renounce violence, Abbas reportedly says http://t.co/6jti0zHFtI via @TimesofIsrael
WATCH: IDF to jail ultra-Orthodox Jew for refusing to serve the occupation http://t.co/aUeLrDcxPV
RT @MikeOmerMan: Israel suspends talks, and Washington’s hypocrisy on Hamas http://t.co/Ifk5loCxEt via @972mag
RT @MikeOmerMan: 100+ Palestinian administrative detainees have launched a hunger strike in Israeli prisons, according to @Addameer http://…