In an interview with the 'New York Times,' Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid rejects the idea of a settlement freeze or compromise on Jerusalem, instead offering an updated version of the Oslo Accord as an interim solution. Yair Lapid, the surprising star of the last elections and Israel's current finance minister, gave an interview to the The New York Times in which he left only “a little daylight” between himself to Prime Minister Netanyahu on the Palestinian issue, as the Times’s Jodi Rudoren put it. That was clearly an understatement. Except for paying lip service to the need to…Read More... | 26 Comments
Achieving genuine conflict resolution requires a dedicated approach that incorporates building trust and relationships between communities from opposing sides of a deeply divided society. Lessons for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process from Northern Ireland. Israeli and Palestinian flags are frequently seen flying in Northern Ireland, often in Loyalist and Republican areas respectively. This is symbolic of how even in a place that is 15 years into its peace process, divisions still exist to the extent that some communities take sides in a different conflict as a continuation of their own. Be wary when comparing "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland to the…Read More... | 12 Comments
Israel's opposition leader and the head of Labor party claimed this weekend that ignoring the Palestinian diplomatic issue in her election campaign cost her party four Knesset seats. Yachimovich ran her campaign mostly on economical issues, in hopes of capitalizing on the social protests. She ended up with a disappointing 15 seats - a couple more than Ehud Barak got as the head of Labor but still fewer than what polls gave her. Maariv obtained a recording of a meeting between Yachimovich and some of her supporters, in which she said: It turns out that what Yair Lapid was able to do - not to…Read More... | 12 Comments
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry estimates that the two-state solution will be "over" in a year and a half. Kerry spoke at the House Foreign Affair Committee hearing on U.S. interests abroad. While many analysts have been discussing the closing of a window of opportunity for the two-state solution for several years, setting such a short time frame by the secretary of state is unprecedented. Hannah Allam of the McClatchy Newspapers tweeted: The window for a 2-state solution is shutting, we have a year, year and a half before it's over [...] For Israel, for us, for world, not to strengthen the Palestinian Authority amounts…Read More... | 8 Comments
The resignation of the Palestinian Authority's relatively popular but unsupported Prime Minister Salam Fayyad ends a story of frustration, progress and hope. Who killed the prime minister of Palestine? Well, no one killed Salam Fayyad, of course. But the idea of a prime minister of Palestine, the political leader of a someday-democratic state-coming-into being who would lead with cosmopolitan pragmatism, international credibility, and state-building savvy, seems now officially dead. After warnings and false starts, Fayyad has turned in his resignation and it has apparently been accepted by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas – according to reports. The resignation was precipitated…Read More... | 14 Comments
Veteran Israeli negotiator Shaul Arieli discusses the failure of the Oslo Accords, various Israeli prime ministers' commitment (or lack thereof) to ending the occupation, and the only solution he believes both sides could live with, however unsatisfied they might be with it. Shaul Arieli is a man on a dual mission: educating Israelis about the conflict and diplomatic process with the Palestinians, and making the point that the two-state solution is both possible and necessary. His latest publication in Hebrew, A Border between Us and You (Yeditoth Ahronoth Books 2013), is a 500-page handbook to the history of the conflict, with an emphasis on…Read More... | 32 Comments
It doesn't seem like the president's visit to Israel is generating much excitement, but even if it did – political changes are unlikely to follow. It’s anyone’s guess why President Obama arrived on an official visit to Israel with no important event attached to it, no major meetings and no issues that require his presence. Obama, Netanyahu and President Abbas could have met anywhere in the world, and since no negotiations are taking place, there is not much for the three leaders to discuss. The same probably goes for the coordination on the Iranian and Syrian issues – those take place on…Read More... | 4 Comments
With Israel and Palestine no closer to a peaceful two-state resolution 20 years after the start of Oslo, the burden of proof is on its believers, not its detractors, settler leader Dany Dayan says. Even the woman set to be in charge of any future peace process, Tzipi Livni, is speaking about the need to formulate backup plans. Tzipi Livni, the only person in the soon-to-be-formed Israeli government who genuinely believes in the importance of the two-state peace process, splashed cold water on the prospect of it ever happening Tuesday. It’s time to start looking at alternative plans in case…Read More... | 26 Comments
Dennis Ross presents a framework for renewing the peace process, which he apparently lifted directly from the Israeli PM's hard disk - including de facto recognition of permanent Israeli control over eight percent of the West Bank. Veteran U.S. diplomat Dennis Ross had a full page op-ed in The New York Times this weekend, in which he presents a 14-step program that is supposed to establish a framework for renewing the diplomatic process. The piece includes a lot of talk about peace, but the action items are lifted from Netanyahu’s policy book, demonstrating again why the Palestinians were right when they refused to meet Ross –…Read More... | 44 Comments
The current wave of protests in the OPT is portrayed in the Israeli and international media as an “escalation.” Again, the Israeli point of view of the occupation dominates the narrative of the conflict. Palestinian resistance to the occupation could be labelled as an escalation in violence, but these events aren’t: the confiscation of land; a checkpoint in the entrance to a village; a search of someone’s house; the arrest of a political activist; restriction of movement between towns; administrative arrests, and so on. This is how the Palestinians are always made to look like violent lawbreakers, while Israel seeks…Read More... | 3 Comments
With Tzipi Livni joining Netanyahu’s government and President Obama heading to the region, we might be in for another round of a pseudo-'peace process,' which has become a code name for an attempt to impose 'a deal' on a Palestinian pseudo-leadership. Hatnuah – Tzipi Livni’s new party that won six seats in the last Israeli elections – was the first Knesset party to sign a coalition agreement with Binyamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu needs another 24 Knesset members to have the minimum majority for a ruling coalition. It is very unlikely that he will fail to get them. Livni was appointed as…Read More... | 23 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
The U.S. president’s decision to visit Israel and the Palestinian territories in the spring is an unexpected political gift to the Israeli prime minister. Yet without confronting Netanyahu on the issues of the settlements and the '67 borders, we could end up with another diplomatic failure and even a renewal of violence in the region. The White House’s confirmation regarding the planned visit by President Barack Obama to Israel and the Palestinian Authority came just at the right time for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been facing some difficulties in putting together his next coalition. As was the case…Read More... | 40 Comments
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Children under occupation
The effects of occupation on minors.
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