Unlike previous efforts, the current Palestinian reconciliation agreement appears to have been cemented from within; and it might just offer a lifeline to Gaza. By Samer Badawi Just as word emerged early Wednesday of an imminent unity accord between rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seized upon the news to issue his Palestinian counterpart an ultimatum: Make peace with Hamas, and you can forget about peace with Israel. In lockstep, Netanyahu’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman immediately dubbed any intra-Palestinian reconciliation a veritable “termination of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.” If that was a…Read More... | 5 Comments
By Nir Baram The following is an updated list of Israeli demands from Mahmoud Abbas: Don’t resign. Fight terrorism. Speak about the Holocaust in a sad tone. Don’t speak about the Nakba. Don’t speak about 1948. Don’t support one state and “the destruction of Israel as a Jewish State.” Recognize Israel. Recognize Israel as a Jewish State. Seek the two-state solution. Join negotiations that lead nowhere. Support the two-state solution. Don’t promote a Palestinian state. Don’t start an intifada. Don’t turn to the international community on behalf of the two-state solution. Fight terror. Denounce terror. Don’t get offended when we…Read More... | 14 Comments
If the Grey Lady is calling for Washington to reconsider its role as enabler of the occupation, then it is indeed a new approach -- perhaps even a revolutionary one. A couple of days ago, a New York Times editorial called on the Obama administration to divert its attention away from the Israeli-Palestinian diplomatic process, which is failing to bring results, and onto other global issues. While congratulating Secretary Kerry and President Obama for the energy and time they have put into the process, the Times concludes that “after nine months, it is apparent that the two sides are still unwilling…Read More... | 36 Comments
If Netanyahu was serious about talks, he would have used the first opportunity to rid the government of the settlers, before moving on to isolate the radicals in his own party. Until we see such a change, the peace process will remain mostly fake. Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth's released a poll on Passover evening examining the option that former Likud Minister Moshe Kahlon run on his own ticket in the coming elections. According to the poll results, Kahlon could win up to 10 seats, most of them from voters of Yesh Atid and Likud. This is the second election poll published…Read More... | 3 Comments
New feature: A selection of Larry Derfner’s sociopolitical outbursts on Facebook for the week ending Saturday, April 12. THE GREAT COLBERT As he moves into the mainstream of the mainstream (taking over the David Letterman show), a reminder of Stephen Colbert’s unforgettable roast of George W. Bush (and the press) at the 2006 White House Correspondents Dinner (FB status, April 12): This is to the Bush years what Edward R. Murrow's famous TV takedown was to the McCarthy era. In 2006 it was finally sinking in on America that Bush and his wars were a disaster, and that the press had…Read More...
The Palestinian leadership changed, the political circumstances shifted, administrations came and went, but every round of talks involving Netanyahu follows the same dynamic, and ends the same way. When talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators resumed last summer, a couple of pollsters asked Israelis whether they think Prime Minister Netanyahu actually supports the two-state solution – which, at least in theory, was the agreed-upon goal of the process. The results didn’t receive enough attention at the time: one poll, published on Channel 2’s website, found that 50 percent of the public didn’t think Netanyahu genuinely adopted the two-state solution, as…Read More... | 34 Comments
New feature: A selection of Larry Derfner's sociopolitical outbursts on Facebook (and one email) for the week ending Saturday, April 5. WHAT HAVE THEY DONE FOR US LATELY? FB reaction to commenter who asks, “What have the Palestinians done to advance peace recently?" (Sunday, March 30): Close, daily security cooperation with the IDF and Shin Bet for 10 full years. They've arrested thousands of Hamasniks. It's a key reason why terror is so low, and the only reason why you don't see massive anti-Israeli demonstrations. Palestinian forces are policing the Palestinian population areas - the cities, the villages, the…Read More... | 46 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
Abbas stopped a few steps short of 'going back to the UN,' which he committed to not doing. So where does that leave Kerry's peace talks? The peace process is dead; long live the peace process. That was the mood Tuesday night among journalists covering the Middle East as news broke that PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was signing onto 15 international treaties – an act which he sort of said he wouldn’t do until next month. Much of the media immediately assumed that Abbas was “going back to the UN,” or joining UN institutions, or doing something big. That he…Read More... | 37 Comments
The American-led peace process appears to be on the verge of collapse. The American-led peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians may not be extended after all. Following Israel's refusal to, or delay in releasing the remaining 26 Palestinian prisoners due to be freed during the negotiation period, PA President Mahmoud Abbas announced in a speech in Ramallah Tuesday that he would renew the Palestinian effort to join 15 international organizations and treaties. Secretary of State Kerry, who was due to return to the region on Wednesday in order to finalize a deal to extend talks through the end of the…Read More... | 20 Comments
The 'conflict of narratives' hoax wins the day. You've got to hand it to Bibi – he is the master of micro-politics. What he lacks in vision he makes up for with details. He is also becoming very good at setting the media's agenda, something he wasn’t able to do in either his first term or the first couple of years of his second term. The “Jewish State” demand has effectively cornered Abbas into a familiar position: the Palestinians will reject a generous Israeli offer, without actually being offered anything. This has turned out to be the most incredible turn of…Read More... | 76 Comments
Since entering negotiations with Palestinians last July, Israeli policies have only led to a deeper entrenchment of the occupation. Now, Abbas must listen to left-wing Palestinian parties and put an end to peace talks. By Uri Weltmann Dancing the tango with a cactus is a bad idea. Not only are you dancing by yourself, you're also going to be pricked by the thorns. But this is exactly what Mahmoud Abbas has been doing since last July, when he agreed that peace negotiations between the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Israeli government would be mediated by the U.S. government, knowing…Read More... | 23 Comments
The president's high-profile interview with Jeffrey Goldberg will make it extremely hard for the administration to blame the Palestinians for the expected failure of Kerry's peace initiative. Obama’s interview with the Bloomberg news agency on Sunday, in which he basically blamed Netanyahu and exonerated Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas for the intractability of the occupation, is a very important event, and very good news. With Netanyahu and Abbas jockeying to avoid the blame for the likely impending failure of Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace initiative, the Obama interview with Jeffrey Goldberg will make it very hard for the administration…Read More... | 49 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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