David Makovsky

Gaza Flotilla Crisis Fuels Blockade Controversy for Israel

Left slams ‘collective punishment,’ as right hits Israel’s critics.

06/02/2010

Tel Aviv — The botched Israeli interception of a Gaza-bound blockade-buster flotilla ignited the usual Monday-morning quarterbacking in Israel:

Had the military prepared itself sufficiently for violent resistance? 

Did Israel lose the media war in the first hours when official spokespeople were silent for hours despite reports of fatalities on the ships?

The day after the flotilla raid, pro-Israel (left) and pro-Palestinian protestors rallied here. Michael Datikash | Getty Images

Muted Optimism For Proximity Talks

Jewish leaders expect no breakthroughs from Mitchell’s shuttle diplomacy, but say they could bear modest fruit.

05/04/2010
Washington Correspondent

Rarely have peace negotiations started with such low expectations — but that doesn’t mean the indirect “proximity talks” between Israel and the Palestinians, due to begin as early as this week with new rounds of shuttle diplomacy by U.S. special envoy George Mitchell, are doomed to failure.

While suggesting that major breakthroughs are unlikely, many analysts say the talks could prove fruitful, but only if the Obama administration understands the limitations of what the parties themselves can reasonably be expected to do.

Mideast envoy George Mitchell, left, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month.

Work On Security Fence Slows

12/19/2007
Israel Correspondent

Tel Aviv — Work on Israel’s controversial separation barrier has ground to a virtual halt as the country’s attention — and budget funding — has shifted away from the threat of Palestinian suicide bombers from the West Bank, say fence advocates.

Promises, Promises: Settlements Revisited

11/28/2007
Israel Correspondent

Ariel, West Bank — On a sprawling hill top in this West Bank town Tuesday, a commitment made by Israel’s leader in distant Annapolis this week seemed likely to take one of two possible paths, with the outlines of each already apparent.

“Look up there. My son lives in that container,” gestured Arik Yeffet. “There are leaks in the winter, and the heating is insufficient. He deserves to have a spot of his own. Did we commit a crime?”

Israel Settlement Funding Vote Sparks New Debate

Reform movement leader blasts money to outlying communities.

12/16/2009
Staff Writer

The Israeli cabinet’s vote Sunday to pour money into 91 outlying West Bank settlements has touched off a fierce debate here about the propriety of funneling resources into settlements that may be abandoned in a peace treaty.

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A Chill In The D.C. Air as Obama, Netanyahu Meet

11/11/2009
Washington Correspondent

Speaking at Monday’s Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly in Washington, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sounded very much like a man who didn’t want to antagonize the president he was about to meet under visibly strained circumstances.

Several hours later the White House distributed a meeting “readout” that may have set a new record for brevity. Amid an almost total clampdown on leaks, the statement said only that the two leaders “discussed a number of issues in the U.S.-Israel bilateral relationship” and that President Barack Obama “reaffirmed our strong commitment to Israel’s security, and discussed security cooperation on a range of issues.”

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Is ‘Nixon In China’ Scenario Likely with Netanyahu-Lieberman Government?

03/11/2009
Washington Correspondent

American Jewish leaders are increasingly jittery as Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman moves closer to becoming foreign minister in a right-wing coalition under Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu.

But most analysts say the appointment is unlikely to significantly disrupt U.S.-Israel relations, despite Lieberman’s reputation as an extremist.

And a right-of-center government with Lieberman at the foreign ministry is already producing speculation about a “Nixon in China” scenario.

AIPAC Could Face First Test In Decades

 AIPAC’s relationship with the Obama administration hinges on the policies of Bibi Netanyahu

04/29/2003
Washington Correspondent

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which holds its annual policy conference in Washington next week, could face its toughest battle with an administration in more than a decade, depending on the proposals Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu brings to Washington later in May.

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