Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009
I was intrigued by Jimmy Carter’s Chanukah message to the Jewish community, delivered via JTA, which provided a real insight into what makes him a decent human being – and made him a wretched failure as a president and Middle East policy analyst, which he fancies himself to be.
In most countries, a new highway is just a stretch of asphalt. In Israel, a new highway is a source of national debate.
Israel is building a unique four-lane highway through the West Bank, east of Jerusalem — two lanes are for Israelis, two for Palestinians.
Separated by a tall wall of concrete that looks like Jerusalem stone, the nearly completed road will keep the nationalities separate from each other, allowing Palestinians to travel through Israeli-held land with few exits along the way.
Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009
There’s been a lot of hype written about the Obama administration’s Middle East plans – everything from the claim the president is planning to impose a full-blown plan on the reluctant Israelis and Palestinians to the idea he’s been totally outfoxed by an Israeli Prime Minister much too sly for him.
Local Jewish leaders returned from a 37-hour solidarity trip to Israel this week strengthened in their resolve that, as UJA-Federation executive vice president John Ruskay put it, "We're all in this together."
He added that Israelis seemed committed to "stand firm, particularly after the prime minister had made such an offer for peace" this summer at Camp David. But Ruskay also sensed "an undercurrent of despondency. The choices are difficult and limited, and that's what makes this a crisis."
Our little bungalow in the Catskills isn’t much. A scarce one-bedroom dwelling with a shared porch, a single air-conditioner that only serves its purpose when the temperature is below 90, a circa-70s kitchen that doubles as the second bedroom and a bathroom that is probably better left undescribed. It seems to be a highly recommended tourist destination for flies and ants.
It may seem churlish, in the wake of President Obama’s lofty speech to the Muslim world yesterday, to note that despite his references to “Palestine,” there is no such entity.
There is the Palestinian Authority, of course, whose president is Mahmoud Abbas, and there is the belief, shared by many, that its goal is the creation of a Palestinian state, though its actions in recent years indicate otherwise.
Does the resumption this week of rocket fire from Gaza into Israel, in violation of the fragile and unofficial truce between Hamas and Jerusalem, signal a Hamas endorsement of Bibi Netanyahu for Israeli prime minister?
That’s the likely effect of renewed attacks on Israel on the eve of next Tuesday’s national elections. The rockets underscore that despite the beating Hamas took last month, the terror group still rules Gaza and can still make life miserable for Israelis, especially those living in the south.
Friday, January 9th, 2009
James Besser in Washington
Now that the incoming Barack Obama administration is fleshing out its ranks, talk is hot and heavy about who will handle key Middle East portfolios. And the results are certain to be controversial in a pro-Israel community that is more divided than ever on the best route to peace in the region.
Tel Aviv — Judging from the views of Israeli academics at a panel Thursday afternoon, Israel has much to worry about if Barack Obama is elected president this fall.
Barry Rubin, a well-known and respected Mideast expert and academic, told an audience today at a conference at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA) at Bar-Ilan University here that an Obama victory would precipitate “the most dangerous crisis facing the world.”