The U.S. and Israel want to limit Palestinian sovereignty, to demilitarize their state, to prevent a Palestinian return and to implement any agreement in stages. But in order for the two-state solution to have a chance at working, they need to do the exact opposite. The deadlock in the peace talks has generated another American diplomatic push, one that seems like the first stage in the administration’s proposal for a final status agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (or, more accurately, the Ramallah-based half of the Palestinian Authority). According to reports, the American team led by Secretary of State John Kerry…Read More... | 16 Comments
I wish there was a kinder, gentler way than acts of ostracism to get Israel to end the occupation, but those ways have failed terribly. I would not join a BDS protest; I'm a "two-stater" who believes Israel should remain a Jewish state because the alternatives would be worse, who believes Israel's "original sin" is the occupation, not Zionism, and so I don't think I'd really feel at home at your average BDS demonstration. There seems to be way too much loathing for everything about Israel in the movement - which is not to say everyone in the movement…Read More... | 54 Comments
Given the likely options, I'm glad Obama is coming here tomorrow to do nothing rather than to try to revive the peace process. Today, reviving the peace process, Obama-style, would mean coercing Mahmoud Abbas to enter negotiations with Netanyahu in return for nothing, or next to nothing, such as a token prisoner release, some musical chairs with a few checkpoints and a vague statement of good intentions. And for that, Netanyahu would get what he very much wants: "peace negotiations" with no end, which would provide diplomatic cover for his terribly right-wing, settlement-crazy new government. At the same time, Abbas…Read More... | 23 Comments
The unequal dynamic in the negotiating room guarantees that neither peace nor justice will come out of direct talks between Israelis and Palestinians Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said this week that without a complete settlement freeze, talks with Israel will not resume. In response, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that "Abbas has turned his back on peace with Israel." Both statements, it seemed, were directed at international listeners, those who still repeat every now and then the mantra that "direct negotiations are the key to resolution of the conflict." In fact, right now, direct negotiations are the exact recipe…Read More... | 35 Comments
In defending their hold on the West Bank, the Israeli government and public often present arguments relating to its purported religious significance or to security considerations. A historical and pragmatic analysis of those arguments prove they fail to stand the test of reason. By Lorenzo Kamel Ramallah -- With settlements in the West Bank expanding continuously, any vision for a feasible agreement in the region is fading. The solution of the settlement issue would not automatically bring about a full-fledged peace, but it is a necessary step in that direction. And even though no state recognizes Israel beyond the 1967 “lines,”…Read More... | 43 Comments
Dennis Ross was the architect of a policy that centered on shielding the Israeli government from pressure while hoping that it would decide to end the occupation on their own. The result was an epic, two-decade long failure Dennis Ross, president Obama's top adviser on Israel-Palestine, is leaving the White House by December. Ross, a veteran diplomat who took part in the negotiations through the 90's and until the failed talks between PM Barak and Arafat at the beginning of the previous decade, has let his decision be known in a lunch with Jewish leaders. This is not surprising: Ross…Read More... | 5 Comments
An assertive Palestinian diplomatic strategy exposes the obsolete nature of America’s foreign policy with relation to the Middle East. Eyal Clyne argues that the US is increasingly isolated and faces worse if it fails to provide more support to the future Palestinian state. By Eyal Clyne The anticipated American veto of the vote to admit Palestine as a full member of the UN is not surprising. Since 1972, the US has vetoed 80 resolutions of the Security Council; almost 54% of those vetoes have been in defence of Israeli interests (mostly countering resolutions condemning settlements, and investigations of Israel’s violations…Read More... | 23 Comments
Hours after UNESCO votes to grant membership to Palestinians, the US moves to cut its funding of the UN organization. The Obama Administration demonstrated this evening that even the pettiest grudge by Israel outweighs in its eyes the cultural, scientific and educational needs of all its other allies combined, as it moved to withdraw its share - $70 million - from the UNESCO budget. The administration is legally bound to commit this folly, true; but rather than stress that the incredibly disproportionate move reflects US law but not US policy, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland chose to attack UNESCO itself.…Read More... | 37 Comments
The Palestinian Authority's statehood bid is portrayed as a crucial step on the way to the two state solution, yet an independent Palestinian state appears to as distant as ever. Watch below as Gershom Gorenberg and I engage in a Bloggingheads diavlog to discuss whether it's time to begin considering other options. One sneaky note - you'll notice I'm having considerable issue with Gershom's portrayal of the one-state approach: He argues that this is akin to being on a sinking ship (the status quo) with the shore (the two state solution) too far to swim to, and suggesting we flap…Read More... | 182 Comments
The United States Congress is set to withhold upwards of 200 million USD from the Palestinian Authority according to The Independent. On the surface this sounds like a blow to the Palestinian Authority but it will be the Palestinian people which suffer the most. It is unlikely that the Palestinian Authority will not be fully cut off from US and Israeli aid in the foreseeable future. The Independent is reporting that the United States Congress is going to withhold 200 million dollars in aid money earmarked for the Palestinian Authority (PA). The move is a response to the unilateral PA…Read More... | 18 Comments
Young, Jewish and Proud, a grassroots organization based in the United States, has released a video manifesto calling upon the Jewish community to recognize their call for a just resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The video was released to coincide with the Palestinian bid for independent statehood at the UN, and with the Jewish High Holy Days, which begin Wednesday night with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. In the video, 40 Jewish-American youth aged 18-36 face the camera to testify to their diversity - from rabbis and students to punks and freedom fighters - before declaring their manifesto, which…Read More... | 23 Comments
On the eve of Rosh Hashana, it may seem strange to choose a Palestinian nationalist of the Muslim faith as Person of the (Jewish) Year 5771, so I’ll try to explain. I understand that Mahmoud Abbas, or Abu Mazen, is not a righteous gentile. He doesn’t have the welfare of Israel or the Jewish people uppermost in his mind. In fact, he holds great resentment against this country. And as far as his attitude toward Jews goes, he wrote a disgusting revisionist history of the Holocaust for his doctoral thesis in 1982 - but I’ll give him the benefit of…Read More... | 28 Comments
For a Palestinian state to survive - and the two-state solution along with it - the division of Palestinian government must be rectified, and the aspirations beyond the Green Line of Palestinians and Israelis must be accommodated. Both are possible. As the Palestinians push ever closer to a state of their own, the rendering of what the state will look like, how its government will function, and how it will meet the demands of its people have become increasingly important to discern. By almost all accounts, including the World Bank and IMF, the Palestinians are prepared for when that day…Read More... | 2 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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