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
President Obama’s exceptional appearance at the Saban Forum amounts to an authorized interpretation of the nuclear agreement with Iran. Israeli leaders should be paying attention to the points he made. By Shemuel Meir The nuclear agreement with Iran, known as the “Joint Plan of Action,” which was signed in Geneva on November 24 between Iran and the superpowers is a great American diplomatic achievement with positive implications for Israel’s security. The agreement limits Iran’s capability to enrich uranium and begins to “roll back” those elements of Iran’s nuclear program that possess dangerous military potential. This is an agreement that has…Read More...
Israel's nearly unprecedented announcement and subsequent 'review' of plans for 24,000 new settlement units was actually a win-win situation - for everyone but the Palestinians, of course. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was outflanked from the right on Tuesday, purportedly surprised by an announcement of 24,000 – yeah, you read that right – new settlement housing units in the West Bank. Immediately following the first report of the unprecedented settlement expansion, Netanyahu announced he would block construction in E-1, one of the West's least favorite proposed settlement plans. Some eight hours later, he publicly reprimanded his housing minister, denied having…Read More... | 18 Comments
Netanyahu appears more and more confident that Iran's stated intentions are not its true intentions. Instead of making parallels to WWII, he should take some lessons from the overconfident, and ultimately catastrophic intelligence assessments that preceded the Yom Kippur War. By Shemuel Meir What can we learn from the Israeli intelligence failure, known in Hebrew as the “conceptzia,” which is generally accepted as the explanation for the Yom Kippur War’s strategic surprise? The term “conceptzia” refers to an all-encompassing preconception that determines our interpretation of reality. In the case of the Yom Kippur War, it refers to the axiomatic view which…Read More... | 5 Comments
The U.S. secretary of state's comments raise the question of whether he's convinced Netanyahu is ready to make the compromises necessary for peace - or whether he needs AIPAC's support to do so. U.S. Secretary of State Kerry seems to think that should the occasion ever arise, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu will require the support of his friends in Washington in order to sign a peace deal with the Palestinians. Kerry took time out of his busy schedule in London to send a video message to a closed AIPAC summit taking place in California wine country on Monday. Click for…Read More... | 4 Comments
To Israel's prime minister, 1.2 million of his own country's citizens do not exist. If that's not living in an alternate reality, then what is? By Amer Zahr It’s hard to describe what it felt like listening to Benjamin Netanyahu speak Tuesday at the United Nations. Many phrases came to mind: “alternative reality,” “parallel universe,” “clinical denial," and the list goes on. Then I remembered one of my favorite TV shows I used to watch as a kid: You are about to enter another dimension. A dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind. A journey into a…Read More... | 25 Comments
While the Palestinian president is renouncing the Palestinian right of return on Israeli television, Israel's prime minister is announcing new settlement construction. Instead of playing to his own political base, Netanyahu could have his Sadat moment. By Aaron Magid Meeting with a delegation of Knesset members on Thursday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced that in a final status agreement the Palestinians “would not demand to return to Jaffe, Acre or Haifa.” Among other conciliatory comments, Abbas’s statement exemplifies his commitment toward addressing legitimate Israeli concerns and ending the conflict. Unfortunately, although Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has moderated his hawkish positions,…Read More... | 4 Comments
A new initiative to market Israel to American Jews is expected to cost up to $300 million annually, three times the Birthright budget. But a cheaper project for both Americans and Israelis that could bolster Israel's image much more effectively is not on the table: Ending the occupation. The Jewish Agency is reportedly developing its priciest campaign ever to connect Jews and Israel and it's going to cost a lot of money. The budget is expected to reach $300 million per year in the next five years, The Forward reported. The massive operation is expected to launch in 2014 and…Read More... | 11 Comments
Why even if the current round of peace talks are successful, the situation won't get much better. Ready, set, go! By Rechavia “Rick” Berman The Holy Mideast Peace Process merry-go-round (the second longest running act on earth, the only one older being the occupation it pretends to be solving) is off for another spin. While the U.S. president gets to largely keep his personal distance from the mess, he's still invested to some degree. Since Kerry's prestige, or what's left of it, is definitely laid on the line here, some of the White House's is too. And while the U.S.…Read More... | 7 Comments
If Israel doesn't follow through with release of all pre-Oslo Palestinian prisoners, including citizens of Israel, 'we'll create pressure – and we'll try to stop these negotiations,' Palestinian Prisoners' Club head Qaddura Fares says, adding that after previous releases, he has little hope. By Marian Houk "No, I am not satisfied," Qaddura Fares said crisply, the morning after the Israeli Cabinet voted on Sunday to release 104 Palestinian prisoners, the vote having been delayed for hours so Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu could persuade the unconvinced. "I think there are a lot of reservations about the process, the procedure,” Fares said. The vote…Read More... | 7 Comments
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Ofir Akunis took Netanyahu's position that settlement construction is not an impediment to a negotiated solution with the Palestinians to a whole new level. According to a report in Haaretz Tuesday: ... [Akunis asserted] that past experience has shown that a halt to construction has only driven the Palestinians away from negotiating with Israel. "The Likud policy is very consistent. Our call to the Palestinians to enter into direct peace negotiations without precondition is in effect," he said. (Emphasis mine) Akunis, the same Likud lawmaker who in the last Knesset proposed a bill to limit all foreign…Read More... | 14 Comments
Obama wants to speak to the Israeli people, but has nothing to tell them. He wants to speak to the PA, but will discover his appeasement of the Israeli Right has nearly killed it. By Yacov Ben Efrat In March, after Bibi Netanyahu forms Israel’s new government, U.S. President Barack Obama intends to arrive for a first historic visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Obama wants to talk with the Israeli people, but has nothing of note to tell them. First on the American president’s crowded agenda will be Iran, and then Syria. Last will be the Palestinian issue, concerning…Read More... | 24 Comments
A survey conducted in Gaza this September showed that a majority of its residents would prefer Fatah to Hamas if elections were held. Early this month President Mahmoud Abbas spoke again of a two state solution and even hinted at compromising on the right of return. What could Israel do in light of this but start a war? Israel can't deal with peace. It has become a war machine, and I'm not referring only to its over-militant decision makers and those who take their orders. Decades of media bias and dogmatic education managed to turn its citizens into a blinded…Read More... | 34 Comments
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