Israeli-Palestinian negotiations

On Eve of Netanyahu Visit and AIPAC Conference, Obama and Bibi Appear on Same Page

05/17/2011
JTA

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Crush terrorists and then make peace.

Through quirks of timing, it's a narrative that President Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finally can agree on when they meet this week in Washington.

There remains a critical difference, however, between the two over what happens in the next chapter: Keep up the fight or step out and make peace.

The Obama administration, at least by default, seems to have embraced Netanyahu’s longtime mantra that the best way to clear the path to calm is through the elimination of terrorists.

Billionaire Adelson Defends Gingrich

Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire Las Vegas businessman and philanthropist, called me last Friday afternoon to complain about our story, “Will Gingrich Bomb With Jewish Republicans?” (May 13), saying it was “biased and prejudiced” and unfairly negative, “starting with the headline.”

He said he has known the former house speaker, who last week announced his candidacy for the Republican Presidential nomination, for close to two decades, and asserted that “no candidate is stronger” than Gingrich or more supportive of Israel.

Mitchell quitting; what took so long?

There's only one question I have about today's annoucement that U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell is calling it quits: what took so long?

With an administration that still can't decide if it wants to seriously press both sides to return to the negotiating table or offer U.S. proposals to break the stalemate and with Israeli and Palestinian leaders not much intererested in calls for a resumption of negotiations, it's not clear Mitchell had anything to do.

Barak Presents Plan for Israeli-Palestinian Agreement

05/11/2011

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak presented a plan for an agreement with the Palestinians.

The points could shed some light on the plan that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will present when he speaks to a joint session of the U.S. Congress later this month.

Israel will take "brave steps" and "make difficult decisions" for peace, Barak said Tuesday night at a reception for soldiers at the military's headquarters in Tel Aviv.

Recognizing And Responding To Real Enemies

05/10/2011
Editor And Publisher

Some people in Europe and elsewhere are deeply disturbed that the U.S. Navy Seals on their secret mission in Pakistan last week killed an unarmed Osama bin Laden. But it didn’t matter to me whether he was fighting back or not at the time he was shot.

Gary Rosenblatt

Obama Emboldened, But Old Middle East Obstacles Remain

Foreign policy victory in bin Laden killing may not lead to new peace initiatives.

05/03/2011
Washington Correspondent

The death of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden at the hands of elite U.S. forces was a boost for a president with few foreign policy achievements to his credit. But it will do little to ease the foreign policy and political conundrums his administration faces in a changing Middle East, and in some cases may add new complications.

While the Palestinian Authority supported the U.S. action, Hamas quickly condemned the killing of a “holy warrior.”

Crowds gather in Times Square Sunday night as word spread that Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces. photos Getty images

First take: Bin Laden's death, U.S. Middle East policy

The first email I received after the news terrorist mastermind Osama Bin Laden has been killed by U.S. forces asked the inevitable question: will this embolden the Obama administration and possibly lead to a new U.S. initiative on the Israeli-Palestinian front, and possibly new pressure on the Netanyahu government?

The short answer is, it's way too early to tell.

The old status quo just ain't what it used to be

What's most striking to me about recent events in the Middle East is how just about all the experts – the administration deep thinkers, their Republican critics, the academics and the foreign policy talking heads – failed to predict the seismic forces that are reshaping the region in ways we can't begin to fathom.

This isn't a matter of partisan politics. The Obama administration is clearly clueless about a region in turmoil, but I haven't heard anything resembling acumen from the Republicans, either.

Abbas: Palestinians Will Continue to Negotiate Peace

04/28/2011

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- The Palestinians will continue to negotiate peace with Israel despite a unity agreement with the terrorist Hamas organization, Mahmoud Abbas said.

Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, told reporters Thursday that the Palestine Liberation Organization that he heads will continue to be responsible for handling negotiations, Haaretz reported. Hamas is not a member of the PLO.

Abbas' comments came a day after his Fatah movement and Hamas, which controls Gaza, announced that they had reconciled, following a meeting in Cairo.

Major US initiative in the works? Don't bet on it.

Over the holiday I had several interesting calls and emails about the prospects for a major new U.S. Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative.

A friend who's left of center emailed to say that the Obama administration, seeing no alternative, is about to launch a major new peace push that will include U.S. bridging proposals, a paper outlining elements of previous negotiations and a significant amount of pressure on both sides.

That's really good news for Israel, this activist trilled.

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