Ramallah, West Bank — The crisis of Rafah’s open border morphed into a four-way diplomatic power struggle this week that reinforced Hamas’ ascendance in the rivalry against President Mahmoud Abbas’ weaker Palestinian Authority.
A Palestinian Authority official said Abbas wants the Egyptians to help him deploy some 200 to 300 of his presidential guard forces along the border in order to uphold the Palestinian commitments under a U.S.-brokered agreement with Israel that’s supposed to keep the passages open.
Tel Aviv — The iconic but crumbling Bauhaus building just off the Ayalon freeway in south Tel Aviv resembles the bridge of a ship, a tribute to the Jewish immigrants who reached pre-state Israel in boats.
In the last three months, an abandoned basement pub and a construction site at the same building have become a makeshift absorption center for dozens of illegal African migrants and an embodiment of Israel’s most sensitive immigration dilemmas as the state nears its 60th anniversary.
Jerusalem — Having successfully recovered millions of dollars worth of Jewish property lost in the Holocaust, restitution experts in Israel and the U.S. are now setting their sights on the Arab world.
The Knesset Parliamentary Committee on the Restitution of Jewish Property announced plans this month to create a national center to register documents and testimony about the possibly “tens of billions of dollars” in property left behind by Jews who emigrated to Israel from Arab/Muslim countries.
Jerusalem — In the wake of this week’s agreement between the United Nations and Iraq, attention here turned to the threat posed by other countries in the Middle East with nonconventional weapons.
In addition to Iraq, “Iran, Syria, Egypt and Libya are all developing chemical and biological weapons at a rapid rate,” said Dr. Dany Shoham, a military expert at Bar-Ilan University’s Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Affairs.
Leaders of the American Jewish Committee emerged optimistic from meetings with top Egyptian officials in Cairo this week.
“There is a new recognition among Egyptian policy makers and the government establishment that the future success of Egypt is tied to Egypt’s relationship to Israel,” AJCommittee President Robert Goodkind told the Jewish Week.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit hosted the three-member delegation.
As Washington labors to make something of its upcoming Annapolis peace conference, it is worth noting one historical marker that sheds light on what it takes to break through the barriers making the Mideast conflict so intractable.
Thirty years ago this month, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat stunned the world and upended the dangerous Mideast status quo with a trip to Jerusalem and speech to the Knesset, starting the process that resulted in the 1978 Camp David accords.
As the controversy over grantees of the New Israel Fund and their alleged role in supplying information used by the Goldstone Report on the Gaza war rages here and in Israel, I can't help but wonder this: what are the critics so afraid of?
There's an irony here. Unlike its adversaries in the Middle East, Israel actually has a vigorous, outspoken and independent human rights movement willing and able to critically examine the actions of its own government. That's a good thing, right?
Mithal Al-Alusi is literally betting his life that Iraqis are ready for their country to open a positive relationship with Israel.In a phone interview from his party’s office in Baghdad, Alusi, 51, a former Iraqi government official who was indicted in October after attending a conference in Israel on charges of violating a 1969 law barring contacts with enemy states, said, “I believe in living in peace with Israel, a country with which Iraq has no conflict.“Iraq has no reason to be against Israel simply because Syria, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinians have disputes