Once again, the Obama administration hangs Abbas and the Palestinian Authority out to dry. Halfway through the scheduled nine-month Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, there's been a break in the action, or rather the inaction: the Obama administration, once again, has sought to end the deadlock by backing Netanyahu's illegitimate demands and hanging the Palestinians out to dry. Last Friday the Americans presented a "security plan" ("security" in the American lexicon means security for Israelis, not Palestinians) that calls for Israeli troops to remain in the Jordan Valley - in the West Bank, in a future Palestine, on the Palestinian side of their…Read More... | 12 Comments
“We have a real problem. There is no physical separation and the level of hostility is very high.” This is what a Jewish Israeli member of the board of the French Hill Community Council told Haaretz's Nir Hasson, referring to tensions between his Jewish neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem, and the adjacent Palestinian neighborhood of Issawiya. Such tensions led the Jerusalem Municipality to dig a ditch this week between the two. Issawiya is at the foot of French Hill, down the road from the Hebrew University just east of the Green Line, with a population of about 17,000. French Hill was…Read More... | 3 Comments
Building thousands more settlement units all over the West Bank and East Jerusalem is in no way comparable or proportionate to the release of Palestinian prisoners. The construction of more settlements is equivalent to the annihilation of a two-state solution and the preemption of any kind of faith-building measures. The announcement Sunday that Israel's housing minister has approved construction of 1,200 new settlement units in the West Bank and East Jerusalem should be no surprise. It comes just a few days after the Civil Administration announced 878 new housing units in the West Bank. In fact, Israel's approval of new settlement…Read More... | 80 Comments
If Netanyahu doesn't agree to negotiate on the basis of the 1967 border, the Palestinians' consent to negotiate with him will amount to surrender - which, until he proves differently, is what Bibi wants. The consensus seems to be that any Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are better than none, so Kerry is being congratulated for getting the two sides to agree to meet in Washington to see if they can then agree on a starting point for negotiations. A big step in the right direction, goes the mainstream view. And it will be just that - if Netanyahu agrees to…Read More... | 31 Comments
Just over a year ago I started filming for a web series produced by National Geographic. My goal was to highlight the conflicting narratives and the different points of view while inspiring hope. As Obama is visiting the region, I no longer believe that he or other leaders will bring an end to this conflict. It must be people who lead the leaders. However, I have found that the majority of Israelis and Palestinians are indifferent and ineffective. Indifference is the greatest enemy to peace and justice. In this series, I try to understand why this conflict is still going on.…Read More... | 29 Comments
One simple answer to the question of why elections matter is that I feel part of something when I vote in Israel. Being away for four months, living deep inside the world of other peoples’ conflicts, provided a few more answers. For the first time since moving to Israel 15 years ago, I was not in the county on election day yesterday. Since Israel has no absentee voting for regular citizens, I was not able to participate. Given the wild demonization of the Left over the last few years, some people probably wonder why I even care. My colleagues at…Read More... | 7 Comments
It’s easy to disagree with Israelis about many things. But two new polls show that on key current issues, the public is at least thinking rationally and seeing clearly: *On Gaza, the majority know that Israel is no better off after the war in Gaza, and that the ceasefire won’t hold. *On the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the majority supports negotiations, supports the basic outlines of the Arab peace initiative and knows that the Palestinians cannot simply be beaten. *The majority acknowledges discrimination against Arabs in Israel, and a strong majority believes democracy is either more important than Jewishness of the state,…Read More... | 20 Comments
In the video below, Mitt Romney implies that the two-state solution is dead, and after essentially stating that all Muslims in the Middle East are a threat to Israel, sums up his foreign policy strategy with "hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it." Oh, and he also thinks the West Bank borders Syria. In a covert video from a May fundraiser for Mitt Romney published by Mother Jones on Monday, the Republican presidential candidate articulated that "there is just no way" for there to be a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and rendered any efforts at negotiations basically…Read More... | 16 Comments
A response to Dahlia Scheindlin's piece about Mahmoud Abbas' comments on ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem. I am going to have to totally disagree with my colleague Dahlia Scheindlin on her piece, Response to Abbas: we’ll be together in Jerusalem forever. Although I am also ignorant of the speech Abu Mazen gave in Qatar, except for what I read in the papers, Abbas was saying that Israel is instituting a policy of ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem, which the Israeli media framed as an attempt to deny ANY Jewish connection to the holy city. Dahlia’s contention is that Israelis and Palestinians are…Read More... | 59 Comments
If men and women can't share a field in a simple soccer game, it's no surprise that compromise in the conflict remains elusive. By Liv Halperin It all started on a local soccer field, in a neighborhood of south Tel Aviv. My amateur girls’ team – motivated women in their 20s and 30s - had not trained for weeks. But a tournament was coming up, so it had been decided that for lack of a better place, we would play on a concrete lot on Wednesday at 8:30pm. When I arrived, only one of my teammates was there, waiting on…Read More... | 6 Comments
Yair Lapid, the celebrity-cum-politician du jour, has generated a sort of nervous excitement within the center-left that Lapid will somehow be the key to returning a center-left coalition to power, as if that coalition is the magical key to conflict transformation. But Lapid doesn’t seem to offer anything by way of a breakthrough. Haaretz reported earlier this week that in a Facebook exchange, Lapid wrote that “Jerusalem belongs to the people of Israel and not to anyone else.” In an interview in the Jewish Chronicle, Lapid expressed attitudes of a grim, Sharon-esque variety, saying: I think both big ideologies ruling…Read More... | 6 Comments
2011 is drawing to a close and it has been a year full of expectation and suspense regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I admit that I thought it was a year in which significant things might change. But after a weekend trip to some of the hottest spots in the hot spot, I reflected that a few things may always remain stable. Both sides have dreams that will probably not be fulfilled. Both sides have elements - people - who seek a maximalist position. The dreams of those extremes are ultimately likely to be foiled by reality. Despite the asymmetry of…Read More... | 5 Comments
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