The irony of Rawabi is that everyone, in both Israel and Palestine, seems to want it to happen. Nevertheless, Palestine's first planned city still lacks a stable water connection, its continued cash flow is threatened and despite their best intentions, interested parties the globe-over cannot bring the project any farther forward. Officials involved in the project say a political power play -- part of Netanyahu's bid to undermine the Palestinian unity government -- is the only thing stopping the water from flowing. By Corey Sherman “Rawabi,” Amir Dejani says, “is about the future.” The deputy managing director of Rawabi, Dejani sits behind…Read More... | 16 Comments
Ron Pundak, one of the architects of the Oslo Accord, died Friday at the age of 59. In 1993, Pundak, an expert on Middle East history, was working under Yossi Beilin, who was then the Israeli deputy foreign minister. At the time, Israel was holding formal negotiations in Washington with a Palestinian team, but the talks were heading nowhere and the promise of the Rabin government seemed to be fading away. Along with Yair Hirschfeld, Pundak initiated a secret back channel between Israeli and PLO officials (contact with PLO members was still illegal when Rabin took office), first in London…Read More... | 10 Comments
Erstwhile negotiator and former Minister Yossi Beilin, in a New York Times op ed, has an idea for breaking the impasse on negotiations for a two-state solution. He suggests that Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state in order to cement the consciousness of each side as the proper home for its people. Then Israel would undertake incentives for settlers to go back behind the Green Line, but those who stay in the West Bank would form the numerical basis for the number of Palestinian refugees who can return to Israel proper. Each side has incentive to keep the other…Read More... | 53 Comments
Netanyahu didn't invent the E-1 dealbreaker that's got the world so mad at him; it goes back to Rabin and reflects overwhelming Israeli opinion. Except for right wingers, people look at the outrage over Bibi's revival of the E-1 plan, which would connect Jerusalem and the eastward Ma'aleh Adumim settlement with thousands of new homes, and say: Well, that's Bibi for you, picking fights for no good reason. Who needs more settlement construction? But if you ask them - "them" meaning all but the left-wing fringe among Israeli Jews and the country's supporters abroad - whether they're willing to give…Read More... | 39 Comments
Yossi Beilin, one of the architects of the Oslo Accords, calls on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to put an end to the 'fig leaf' that is the Palestinian Authority. This is as big as an op-ed gets: Yossi Beilin, the Israeli architect of the Oslo process, has published a letter to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, urging him to shut down the Palestinian Authority and let Prime Minister Netanyahu bear direct responsibility for the fate of the Palestinians under Israeli control. Do not hesitate for a moment! Do not accept the request of President Obama, who merely wants to be left…Read More... | 25 Comments
Signs that the ultra-Orthodox Shas party might return to its dovishness of the 1990s could mean a moderate partner in a right-wing coalition. A left-wing coalition is possible only if Arab parties are finally brought in. By Daniel Easterman A few weeks ago, listeners of the popular Kol Rega radio station heard the startling revelation that Shas Knesset Member and Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, Yitzhak Vaknin, would support a peace agreement based on the 2003 Geneva Accords. Can this be? After all, the non-official Geneva Accords, signed nine years ago by Yossi Beilin and his Palestinian counterpart, Yasser Abed-Rabbo,…Read More... | 9 Comments
America's war on the world continues: After threatening to cut funds from the United Nations if the organization promotes the Palestinian delegation's status, the State Department decided to freeze its support for the Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization of the United Nation (UNESCO) because the latter defied Washington's order and accepted Palestine as a member state. Israel has added a threat of its own – to completely withdraw from UNESCO. In recent years Israel took pride in the fact that UNESCO recognized World Heritage Sites within its borders – Tel Aviv's white city being one of the latest additions –…Read More... | 24 Comments
Nothing the Palestinians do or say during the upcoming negotiations is of any real importance. The only question that matters is whether Israel is ready to acccept the risks and make the necessary concessions The Obama administration finally got what it wanted, and the Palestinians were dragged into direct peace negotiations that would probably lead to nowhere. Even Yossi Beilin, maybe the single most committed politician to the idea of direct talks and the two-states solution, is pretty sure that no agreement will come out of this, not to mention every member of the Israeli seven-minister cabinet, the top decision-making…Read More...
Haaretz published my report on the growing support for what seems like a one-state solution in the Israeli Right. “The prospects of the negotiations with Mahmoud Abbas do not look promising. President Obama undoubtedly thinks otherwise, but if Abbas speaks for anyone, it’s barely half the Palestinians. The chances of anything good coming of this are not great. Another possibility is Jordan. If Jordan were ready to absorb both more territories and more people, things would be much easier and more natural. But Jordan does not agree to this. Therefore, I say that we can look at another option: for…Read More...
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