Obama administration

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.

U.S. Military Aid to Israel Delayed

12/27/2010

(JTA) -- United States military aid to Israel for fiscal year 2011 has been delayed for three months.

The more than $3 million in military aid, among the largest amount Israel has ever received, includes grants to upgrade the Iron Dome and Arrow anti-ballistic missile systems.

The delay follows the Obama's administration's difficulty in passing the annual 2011 budget, which forced the president to sign a presidential order extending the current budget through March. Funding for the budget will be disbursed on a month-to-month basis until then.

Richard Holbrooke, Veteran Diplomat, Dies

12/14/2010

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Richard Holbrooke, the legendary U.S. diplomat who brokered a Balkan peace and who enjoyed talking about his Jewish roots, has died.

Holbrooke, who was the Obama administration's envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan when he died, suffered a torn aorta on Friday and was hospitalized. The State Department announced his death on Monday. He was 69.

U.S. Pulls The Plug

12/07/2010
Editorial

It’s hardly surprising that U.S. efforts to coax Israel into extending its West Bank settlement freeze seem to have derailed. What was unclear from the initial reports: does the Obama administration have a Plan B, or does this represent the effective end of its efforts to find a route to peace for Israel and the Palestinians?

From the beginning, it never made much sense to us to invest U.S. prestige in an unbecoming effort to lure Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu back to the peace table with a rich package of incentives that included F-35 warplanes.

Administration dropping settlement moratorium haggling: some early reactions

Reading the early reports about the apparent U.S. decision to give up on its efforts to win a renewed Israeli settlement freeze in return for a big package of incentives, I can't help but wonder if what we're seeing here is simply an administration with absolutely no sense of direction.

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