Obama administration

U.S. Reportedly Proposing U.N. ‘Statement’ on Settlements

02/17/2011

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The United States reportedly is backing a United Nations Security Council statement that would slam Israel on settlements but would stop short of a resolution.

Post-Mubarak, Obama Embraces Middle East Reform

02/16/2011
JTA

WASHINGTON (JTA) – A combination of calculation, luck and principles are steering the Obama administration to emphasize democracy and human rights in the Middle East in the post-Mubarak era.

On Tuesday, President Obama laid out a revamped strategy that takes into account U.S. strategic interests in the region while also emphasizing the need to accommodate uprisings that have swept away governments in Egypt and Tunisia, as well as protests nipping at U.S. allies in Barhain, Jordan and Yemen.

White House Official: U.S. Will Not Interfere in Egypt Transition

02/03/2011
JTA

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- A senior White House official told Jewish leaders that the United States does not deal with the Muslim Brotherhood but would not interfere in the Egyptian transition process.

Dan Shapiro, the senior National Security Council official dealing with Israel and its neighbors, briefed Jewish leaders on Wednesday evening, as forces loyal to Hosni Mubarak unleashed violence against protesters seeking to unseat his 30-year autocracy.

Needed: Cool Heads On Egypt

02/01/2011
Editorial

 It is understandable that Israeli leaders and citizens alike are watching the fast-moving events in Egypt — and possible reverberations in Jordan — with great trepidation.

Peace with Egypt, formalized in 1979, has been anything but warm, but it has been real and enduring, and it has allowed Israel to focus its defenses on other threats, including Hamas and Hezbollah terrorism and the terrifying prospect of a nuclear Iran.

New UN Settlements Fight Rages; J Street Rapped

As dovish groups urge no U.S. veto, Rep. Ackerman severs ties with J Street.

01/25/2011
Washington Correspondent

A United Nations resolution condemning Israeli settlement building in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem as illegal is putting the Obama administration in an awkward squeeze — and thrusting two major pro-peace process groups into the tumultuous epicenter of the Middle East debate.

The Obama administration, which is expected to veto the resolution, nevertheless is caught between its own longstanding stance on settlements and political realities at home.

Queens Rep. Ackerman says UN resolution puts blame for Mideast impasse on Israel.

Settlements: not a non-issue, not the only issue

I've been pretty critical of the Obama administration's approach to Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts, but I also have a lot of sympathy; they can't walk away and maintain international credibility, but every option for breaking the negotiating deadlock is fraught with risk of a backlash in Israel – and with political risk here.

What brought this into focus was a conversation I had yesterday with a longtime pro-Israel activist who generally favors an active peace process.

Barak's bombshell: bad news for the Obama administration?

This being a holiday, we're not hearing much from the Obama administration about today's Jerusalem bombshell – the announcement Defense Minister Ehud Barak is leaving the Labor Party and forming his own.

But I don't imagine they're busy writing congratulatory messages to Barak, a man they once regarded as the most responsive, responsible member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cabinet but who, according to numerous reports in the Israeli press, has fallen from grace.

New Middle East task forces, familiar faces, same old problems

 Over at Politico. Laura Rozen is reporting that the Obama administration has created two task forces to seek new ideas about how to get beyond the current stalemate in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

The Israel-Syria track: opportunity or distraction?

 I had a call today from a pro-peace process activist who expressed cautious excitement about what he termed “new hope for progress” on the Israeli-Syrian front (see this week's Jewish Week editorial here).

Netanyahu: Israel Was Ready to Extend Freeze

01/03/2011

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Israel was prepared to extend a West Bank construction freeze, but the United States withdrew the idea, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

"The United States asked us to consider extending the freeze by three months, and the truth is that we were prepared to do so," Netanyahu reportedly told the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Monday.

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