Successive Israeli governments have argued for years that settlements are not an obstacle to peace. The data tells a different story. Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics revealed earlier this week that 2013 was a record year in settlement construction, while 2014 has seen the beginning of construction of 2,534 housing projects - a rise of 123 percent from 2013. Settlement construction took place all over the West Bank – in the so-called settlement blocs, which could be annexed to Israel in a two-state framework; in isolated settlements that are slated to be evacuated under such an agreement; on the western side of Israel’s…Read More... | 14 Comments
The two-state solution, imperfect as a final-status agreement, could still be a crucial stepping stone toward achieving a more comprehensive formula for equality and just peace that everyone can live with. It has been a long time since I’ve heard someone make an optimistic case for the current round of peace talks. Insiders, observers and outliers on every which side of the political spectrum in both Israeli and Palestinian society have every reason to smell failure in the air. History alone makes the strongest case for why the current American-led peace process is doomed. Add the on-the-ground reality into the…Read More... | 11 Comments
The diplomatic correspondent for IBA (Israeli public radio), Chico Menashe, stood next to Secretary of State John Kerry during the public part of the Obama-Netanyahu meeting at the White House on Monday. Check out his tweet: Obama in WH: "Kerry had productive meetings with BB". Kerry, standing in the back, told Biden : "Productive!?״ pic.twitter.com/w9bWCvUYH7 — chico menashe (@chicomenashe) March 3, 2014 Click here for +972 Magazine's full coverage of the diplomatic processRead More... | 4 Comments
Trying to satisfy Netanyahu’s political needs might result in the Americans 'missing the moment of opportunity,' says a former Israeli official. The diplomatic process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority is at a crossroads as the American team, led by Secretary of State John Kerry, is said to be preparing an outline for a final-status agreement. President Obama will meet Prime Minister Netanyahu and PA President Abbas in the coming weeks and later in the month, the American proposal will probably be made public. However, there is no official publication date and it is not clear what would such a…Read More... | 40 Comments
After 20 years of a failed and fictitious peace process, there is no more room for 'processes' that serve as substitutes for peace. There is nothing left to clarify between the two sides. The only possible compromise for a peace agreement is well known. By Rona Moran and Hana Amouri (Translated from Hebrew by Itamar Haritan) The ongoing “peace” negotiations are headed for failure. Everyone knows it. Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu know it, as do the leaders of the Palestinian Authority, who are participating in the negotiations under heavy American pressure. The U.S. knows it too…Read More... | 81 Comments
Israel’s doves may have a Palestinian partner, but they lack a locomotive to pull the peace train to its destination. Read part one: What does the future hold for Israel’s military politicians? By Thomas G. Mitchell From the 1960s until the outbreak of the al-Aqsa Intifada in late 2000, which led to the collapse of the Labor Party and an end to it as an alternative to the Likud in heading coalitions, there have been six major military politicians who had an influence on Israeli policy toward the Palestinians and Israel’s neighbors. These six were: Yigal Allon, Moshe Dayan, Ezer Weizman, Yitzhak…Read More... | 5 Comments
In a rare, united political front, Palestinian protesters try to reach Hebron's segregated Shuhada Street but are confronted by Israeli army and police. Five are arrested and a B'Tselem researcher is hit in the head with a rubber-coated bullet. [This post has been updated] About 1,000 Palestinians from all political parties, joined by Israeli and international activists, marched through the streets of Hebron Friday afternoon demanding to reopen the city's formerly central commercial street. Shuhada Street has been closed to Palestinians movement for the better part of 20 years since the Cave of the Patriarchs/Ibrahimi Mosque Massacre. The procession started at the central…Read More... | 45 Comments
Israeli media reports that Kerry's peace framework is being watered down. The White House pushes back. In its Sunday evening news broadcast, Israel's Channel 10 reported on one reason for the diminishing ambitiousness of an American final-status framework proposal, which Washington expects to present to Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the coming weeks. According to senior reported Raviv Druker, President Obama decided not to let Kerry confront Jerusalem, thus forcing his secretary of state to present a vague paper that both parties can live with, and to even allow them to submit their reservations to the American proposal. "The [Kerry]…Read More... | 15 Comments
Once again, Prime Minister Netanyahu is allowed to avoid Israel's moment of truth. When the new round of direct talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators began, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced a solid framework for the process: nine months of dialogue, by the end of which the parties will need to sign a final status agreement -- or at least a framework for one. Since the Israeli government refused to accept the terms of reference agreed upon in previous rounds of negotiations, the time limit was necessary in order to prevent "talks for the sake of talks," i.e.,…Read More... | 9 Comments
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
The Israeli debate over the Kerry initiative has an unpleasant top-down feeling to it. By Tal Schneider Is it only me who feels that the debate regarding a possible peace agreement with the Palestinians exists mostly among PR companies (from both sides), copywriters and graphic designers? I feel that there is zero grassroots activity and a maximum amount of billboards. The fight between different advertisers was featured prominently on the front page of Haaretz on Wednesday, January 29th. On the upper left corner one can see the new campaign by Breaking the Impasse, under the title “A strong state signs a…Read More... | 20 Comments
Tom Friedman writes from Tel Aviv: The “Kerry Plan,” likely to be unveiled soon, is expected to call for an end to the conflict and all claims, following a phased Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank (based on the 1967 lines), with unprecedented security arrangements in the strategic Jordan Valley. The Israeli withdrawal will not include certain settlement blocs, but Israel will compensate the Palestinians for them with Israeli territory. It will call for the Palestinians to have a capital in Arab East Jerusalem and for Palestinians to recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. It will…Read More... | 12 Comments
Prime Minister Netanyahu is fanning the flames of a confrontation with Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett. For now the public rift serves both sides. Concern is growing among the settlers over Kerry's peace initiative. I heard a person close to the Yesha Council – the settlers' main advocacy and lobbying organization – say that at the council’s most recent general assembly, people used terms that haven't been heard since Oslo days. Naftali Bennett, head of the Jewish Home party (formally the National Religious party) attacked Prime Minister Netanyahu earlier this week for floating the idea that Israeli settlers would remain…Read More... | 9 Comments
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