The appointment of Senator John Kerry as the next U.S. Secretary of State could represent a new opportunity for Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. But for efforts to be successful, the U.S. will have to reconsider its message that settlement construction is a matter of negotiation. By Lorenzo Kamel The day after the UN voted to recognize Palestine as a non-member observer state, the Israeli government approved construction of approximately 3,000 new residential units in the occupied territories, a decision that was met with strong opposition by various European leaders. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, on the contrary, delivered a speech at the…Read More... | 66 Comments
In a highly critical meeting between Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington on Tuesday, the two discussed, among other things (Iran, Iran and Iran), the weather. In this first face-to-face meeting between the two in over a year, Lieberman and Clinton talked about snow. This awkward photo-op says a lot about relations between the two officials, which former State Dept Middle East negotiator Aaron David Miller characterized as "clearing the inbox" as far as Clinton is concerned. On the other hand, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair, Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ross Lehtinen -…Read More... | 5 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
Likud MK Ophir Akunis defends his aggressive anti-democratic legislation in Channel 10 interview: "Joe McCarthy was right about everything" It's amazing how just a few words of criticism from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who voiced fear for Israel's democracy and women's rights yesterday, can really make some people show their true face, as you'll see below. Likud MK Ophir Akunis was interviewed today on Channel 10's "London and Kirshenbaum." If it were up to Akunis, who helped propose the law to limit funding for NGOs and is a very close ally of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, an Israeli McCarthy…Read More... | 9 Comments
This video has to be the epitome of embarrassment. I was squirming in my chair when I watched the AP reporter grill this poor woman, sent out into the cold by her boss Hillary Clinton, in an attempt to defend the impossible: withholding U.S. funds to UNESCO. I mean, come on, let’s face it. When it came to crunch time, when the U.S. had to decide whose interests are more important - it chose Israel over itself. For example, as M.J. Rosenberg points out, Californians might want to make sure they live on higher ground: As Wirth explains, UNESCO "leads…Read More... | 15 Comments
The end of the Gaddafi regime in Libya proved that U.S. President Barack Obama’s doctrine of “leading from behind” was a success. But the Obama Doctrine is not only a new approach to war - it extends to foreign policy on the whole, and therefore has already begun to affect the Israeli-Palestinian conflict When U.S. President Barack Obama decided to let other nations take a leading role during the war in Libya, the criticism was quick to come from every corner. They claimed he was doing too little, that he didn’t consult, that he was scared of using the air…Read More... | 12 Comments
Dahlia Shaham: "Two states may be the right format for a sustainable political arrangement… But to think that this separation is like a divorce is to live in a world that doesn’t exist. No political border can separate people that way" Dahlia Shaham is a professional over-achiever. She grew up in Haifa and served in a legendary, slightly secretive IDF unit. She completed a law degree (LLB) at Hebrew University, worked as an analyst and team leader on social and economic affairs at the Reut Institute, a policy think-tank, and then did a Master of Law and Diplomacy in international political economics at…Read More... | 29 Comments
Call it a delicate balance of diplomacy, or a dance between two apparently opposing sides. The Obama Shuffle involves first a sway to the left then a sway to the right, one step forward, then one step back. And hop, hop, hop hop hop. And stop. (Now you try!) The past 72 hours have shown that the US President is not afraid of engaging in some verbal warfare, depending on who is listening. While condemning the Nakba Day’s pedestrian infiltration of Israel, he promoted (as Israel views it) a retreat to “indefensible” borders. While calling for a return to negotiations…Read More... | 2 Comments
Netanyahu’s habit of being economical with the truth was never more evident than in the building-freeze “deal”. Binyamin Netanyahu has a, shall we say, complex relationship with reality. For starters, he is given to bouts of often embarrassing fantasy, trying to attach himself to famous events. In the past, speaking to supporters of the assassinated racist Rehav’am Zeevi, he said Zeevi was one of the most important ministers of his cabinet, who used to give him private advice; problem was, Zeevi never served in Netanyahu’s cabinet. In a bizarre outburst in 2005, he claimed that Italy’s prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi,…Read More... | 2 Comments
With the new deal, the US might have given up all leverage over Jerusalem for the next two years, agreed to construction in Jerusalem (and ultimately, the rest of the West Bank), and seems to get nothing in return Like that women in a townhall meeting before the midterms, I am exhausted of defending President Barack Obama. As if the last year wasn't bad enough, the new deal Netanyahu was offered in exchange for a limited-Jerusalem-excluded-90-days-only moratorium, seems like the administration's worst move ever. Netanyahu apparently reached an understanding with Washington that the building freeze would not apply to Jerusalem,…Read More... | 3 Comments
(Part I, Part II, Part III) Ethan Bronner of the NYTimes gives a nice big shove to the Wild Card, only to get a slap in the face from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton the next day. Bronner says that: The Palestinian leadership, near despair about attaining a negotiated agreement with Israel on a two-state solution, is increasingly focusing on how to get international bodies and courts to declare a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. The idea, being discussed in both formal and informal forums across the West Bank, is to appeal to the United…Read More... | 1 Comment
Bill Clinton is known to pretty much say whatever he wants to, whenever he wants to. He's not a Joe Biden, but he's out there. Today he allowed himself to show off his expert knowledge of Israeli demographics and voting habits and claimed that the Russian sector was an obstacle to peace. As reported on Foreign Policy: "An increasing number of the young people in the IDF are the children of Russians and settlers, the hardest-core people against a division of the land. This presents a staggering problem," Clinton said. "It's a different Israel. 16 percent of Israelis speak Russian."…Read More... | 2 Comments
(To fully enjoy, read the first episode of Tribe One and Tribe Two here) Our first interlude - I remember, I do! Concluded with hope for Tribe One and Tribe Two The two showed that when they are willing, They’re able To even approach the negotiating table But Oy! Look what happened! (Hold on to your socks) They failed! They trashed those proximity talks! Wow, no one saw that come! How could they? Who knew? I really had high hopes for those, Didn’t you? You smile and you sneer You make light of this chasm? How dare you? What nerve,…Read More... | 1 Comment
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