Israeli-Palestinian negotiations

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

04/27/2011 - 20:00

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.

The UN Statehood Dead End

04/20/2011 - 20:00
Editorial

You don’t have to work for a Middle East think tank or have a doctorate in international relations to understand that a Palestinian state created through unilateral action can never be anything resembling a real state — even if it is endorsed by the United Nations.

Americans Oppose Unilateral Palestinian Statehood, Poll Finds

04/12/2011 - 20:00

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- A majority of Americans oppose a declaration of Palestinian statehood absent a peace agreement with Israel, a new poll finds.

The poll released this week by the Israel Project showed 51 percent of registered U.S. voters oppose a proposal that the Palestinian Authority "unilaterally declare an independent Palestinian state WITHOUT a signed peace treaty with Israel," while 31 percent support it.

APN calls for new U.S. peace push; is anybody listening?

Today Americans for Peace Now launched a campaign urging the Obama administration to “re-focus on achieving Israeli-Palestinian peace.” (See the group's "Action Plan for President Obama" here.)

New 'Israel Peace Initiative' by former defense, intel chiefs: just talk?

Jewish groups that support a more active Middle East peace process are applauding a new plan conceived by a group that includes former Israeli military and intelligence chiefs and revealed by Ha'aretz on Tuesday.

Putting off peace: a delusion?

It's almost a given among the Israeli center and right that there's no urgency to the matter of making peace with stubbornly hostile Arab states. Maybe in ten or twenty years, the climate in the region will be better, they say, so why rush?

Sarah Palin and the Jerusalem two-step

The Netanyahu government is getting ready to roll out the red carpet for former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, due to visit Israel next week

That makes Palin the latest in a procession of possible 2012 Republican presidential contenders to make the de rigor pilgrimage; she was preceded by former Ark. Gov. Mike Huckabee, who has visited enough to qualify for an aliyah stipend, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Mass. Governor Mitt Romney and Mississippi governor Haley Barbour.

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