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... | 13 Comments
From accepting a state on 22 percent of Mandate Palestine to Israel's facts-on-the-ground in the West bank and the loss of rights for refugees, Palestinians have already made significant, historic compromises. By Willem Aldershoff and Jaap Hamburger Despite the U.S.’s optimism, recent comments and statements coming from Israel and Palestine indicate that the U.S.-led Israeli-Palestinian negotiations are not progressing well. This is not only due to the relative complexity of the subject matter at hand, but first and foremost, due to the fact that the Palestinians and Israel differ greatly in power and position: one being the occupied, the other…Read More... | 198 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 fact that Israeli and American right-wingers are attacking Secretary Kerry should not make him immune to criticism from within the peace camp. Troubling reports have been coming out of the Israeli-American-Palestinian negotiations in recent weeks. According to Israeli and Palestinian media, Secretary of State Kerry’s initiative appears to be growing less ambitious with each passing day. The goal to get the two parties to agree on an outline for a final status agreement was abandoned long ago. Now, the Israelis and Palestinians are waiting on an American peace offer, which also seems to have been gradually demoted. What at…Read More... | 14 Comments
It’s time to put a stop to the immoral and impractical attempts to rid ourselves of the Arab citizens of Israel, and start thinking in terms of securing their bond to Israel secure - making them true partners in Israeli society. By Yaniv Sagee Those who thought there could not be serious peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians were mistaken. The talks are on and the Israeli right-wing is feeling the pressure. The context of peace talks is also the pretext for Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman’s latest proposal to transfer territory and populations to a future Palestinian state in…Read More... | 31 Comments
Twenty-six Palestinian prisoners from Gaza, Jerusalem and the West Bank were released early Tuesday morning in the third stage of a prisoner release deal secured by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to facilitate peace talks. A total of 104 Palestinian prisoners, all jailed before the start of the Oslo peace talks 20 years ago, are slated to be released during the course of the talks, which are scheduled to continue through mid-2014. By: Oren Ziv, Yotam Ronen, Tali Mayer, Ahmad Al-Bazz / Activestills.org Related: The real problem with the prisoner release PHOTOS: Right-wing Israelis protest Palestinian prisoner release…Read More...
It’s pretty difficult to pinpoint anything resembling a starting point for the latest violence; prior to last week, Israeli forces killed 19 Palestinians since July, compared to four Israelis who were killed. The violence is neither unilateral nor arbitrary. The latest escalation between Israel and the Palestinians has taken lives on both sides over the last week. The Israeli media is now describing the violence as a new “wave of Palestinian terror.” Commentators have said that it’s not clear yet whether this is a third Intifada, indicating an organized uprising, since the attacks appear to have been perpetrated by individuals.…Read More... | 13 Comments
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
That one must be a pro-Israeli Zionist in order to be eligible for the State Department's Israel-Palestine team is indicative of the problem with U.S. policy in the region. You’ll never see an analyst from a PLO-affiliated advocacy organization or Palestinian think-tank become a senior member of the U.S. Mideast peace team. Middle East analyst David Makovsky joined U.S. envoy Martyn Indyk’s peace team this week, Laura Rozen reported Monday. Makovsky, A Zionist Jew, former editor of the right-leaning Jerusalem Post, was until now a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. AIPAC and Indyk – then a researcher for the…Read More... | 13 Comments
The man in charge of Israeli security provides his expert opinion that violence against Israelis is a direct result of negotiations with Palestinians and thus anathema to Israeli security. Can't the same be argued regarding Israeli violence against Palestinians? Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon blamed the recent murder of Israelis in the West Bank on the peace process. By doing so, he instantaneously undermined the government's involvement in U.S.-brokered diplomacy with the Palestinians, and made it clear that he opposes negotiations. Speaking at a conference Sunday night, and reported thus far in Ma'ariv (Hebrew) and settler-outfit Arutz Sheva in English, Ya'alon added that the…Read More... | 4 Comments
A few days ago, Haaretz’s West Bank correspondence Chaim Levinson used his Facebook page to ask about the reasons for Prime Minister Netanyahu’s success. Here is an excerpt from Levinson's post: What is in this man that Israelis cannot imagine life without him? […] In my opinion, [Netanyahu] does nothing. A coward pretending to be a leader […] he isn’t even trying to turn Israel into a better place. He doesn’t want to change a thing. He is the middle class of politics: trying to survive, day by day. If we can divide leaders into activists and those who refrain from action,…Read More... | 14 Comments
This post has been updated to add John Kerry's statements. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is claiming that the Palestinian leadership agreed to new settlement construction in exchange for release of Palestinian prisoners during the current bilateral peace negotiations. There have been reports of such an understanding in the Israeli media, but no official confirmation so far. In an interview to the Israeli news channel i24, Netanyahu said: "If they can't even stand up to, or stand behind the agreements that we had that we would release prisoners while we continue building, then how can I assume that they'll actually…Read More... | 1 Comment
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On the challenges facing a growing population of asylum seekers and refugees in Israel.
Kerry's peace process
Full coverage, commentary and analysis of the latest round of peace talks.
Plan to displace Bedouin
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