Middle East

Links: the U.S.-Israel crisis intensifies

The U.S.- Israel diplomatic firestorm continues to rage, and a lot of questions remain unanswered: exactly what did Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu know about the plan to build 1600 new housing units in East Jerusalem, announced with such devastating impact when Vice President Joe Biden headed to Israel on a make-nice mission, and when did he know it? What is the Obama administration trying to do with its tough new demands on Israel and harsh rhetoric?  Where does all this lead?

Here are some interesting and very different takes on the  crisis.

The Palestinian With A Plan For Statehood

PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s determination to build transparent institutions on the West Bank has won many admirers. Can he succeed?

03/11/2010
JTA

Jerusalem — Pundits and politicians have taken recently to comparing Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to Israel’s founding father, David Ben-Gurion.

No less a figure than President Shimon Peres, one of Ben-Gurion’s foremost disciples, is the latest Israeli leader to offer the accolade.

The reason is simple: Like Ben-Gurion, Fayyad is building institutions of statehood.

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad says he is attempting to point his people toward statehood. JTA

Israel’s ‘Macho’ Move

East Jerusalem housing announcement seen marring Biden visit amid ‘proximity’ talk launch.

03/11/2010
Staff Writer

The Israeli approval Tuesday of another 1,600 new housing units in east Jerusalem — coming just hours after Vice President Joe Biden announced in Jerusalem the launching of new Israeli-Palestinian peace talks — stunned the White House but should not have been surprising, according to Middle East expert Stephen P. Cohen.

What’s Wrong With Israel’s Proposed Conversion Bill

03/11/2010
Special To the Jewish Week

Only in Israel. On the day that the U.S. vice president arrived in Israel, reportedly to thwart Israel’s bombing of Iran, and following two days of intensive talks between Israel’s prime minister and President Obama’s special envoy to the Middle East, the Israeli government almost fell ... because of a proposed bill about conversion to Judaism.

Israel’s ‘Macho’ Move

East Jerusalem housing announcement seen marring Biden visit amid ‘proximity’ talk launch.

03/10/2010
Staff Writer

The Israeli approval Tuesday of another 1,600 new housing units in east Jerusalem — coming just hours after Vice President Joe Biden announced in Jerusalem the launching of new Israeli-Palestinian peace talks — stunned the White House but should not have been surprising, according to Middle East expert Stephen P. Cohen.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, greets U.S. Vice President Joe Biden Monday.

Rantisi: No Peaceful Solution

06/13/2003
Israel Correspondent

Gaza City — Hours before narrowly escaping an assassination attempt by the Israeli military, Hamas leader Abdel Azziz Rantisi dismissed the U.S.-sponsored Middle East peace plan and claimed that most Palestinians opposed it as well.

“It’s a big mistake. You won’t find any Palestinian who will tell you otherwise,” said the Hamas hardliner in an interview with The Jewish Week Monday at his home here on the Gaza Strip.

Rice Now Wants To Be ‘Honest Broker’

03/30/2007
Israel Correspondent

Jerusalem — Before the final press event of Condoleezza Rice’s latest four-day visit in the Middle East, stride piano blues piped into the room perked up a news conference hall half-full with journalists yawning at the early hour and the U.S.’s latest attempt at high profile Arab-Israeli diplomacy. Call it the shuttling secretary stomp.

Four-Way Tug Of War

01/30/2008
Israel Correspondent

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.

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?”

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