The media in Israel is abuzz with the news that Tzipi Livni will bring her Ha’Tnuah party into a joint ticket with the much larger Labor party. Now there is a tandem that can outpoll Likud, they are saying. The Israeli center just might be able to assert itself in this election.
Permit me to throw some cold water on this excitement. Livni, who has been the lone voice in the current government who has actively supported talks with the Palestinians, is doing this because if she doesn’t, there is a very strong possibility that her party will not get enough votes to remain in the Knesset. Labor leader Isaac Herzog, who has very little international experience, ran for the party leadership based on his commitment to resolving the long-standing conflict with the Palestinians. As the prospective Number Two, Livni gives Herzog some credibility in this regard. Read more at LobeLog
Posted in Israel | Tagged Ariel Sharon, Ashkenazi, Avigdor Lieberman, Benjamin Netanyahu, Ehud Olmert, Habayit Hayehudi, HaTnuah, Isaac Herzog, Israeli elections, Knesset, Labor Party, Likud, Menachem Begin, Meretz, Moshe Kahlon, Naftali Bennett, Peace process, reuvin Rivlin, Shas, Shimon Peres, Two-state solution, Tzipi Livni, United Torah Judaism, Yesh Atid, Yisrael Beiteinu | Leave a Comment »
On Friday, yet another poll on the Middle East was released. They seem to come in a very steady stream, and once
Tzipi Livni and Saeb Erekat flanking John Kerry at the kickoff of the new Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in 2013
you identify the questions, the results are almost entirely predictable.
But Shibley Telhami, the Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland, regularly produces polls that are always worth looking at. Unlike most surveys of American views on US policy in the Middle East, Telhami tends to dig deep as opposed to simply establishing general opinions. The poll he released Dec. 5 includes some very interesting developments and reminders as to why things still aren’t changing—in the region or in Washington. Read more at LobeLog.
Posted in Peace Plans | Tagged AIPAC, Christian Zionists, Congress, Israel Lobby, Israeli Settlements, Jerusalem, Netanyahu, One-State Solution, Oslo Peace Process, Palestinian Refugees, Polls, Settler violence, Shibley Telhami, surveys, Two-state solution, United States, US views | 1 Comment »
The Israeli government is headed for yet another round of elections. Although the official election date for the next
Knesset is November 7, 2017, no one ever expected this government to last that long. The voting will likely take place in March of 2015.
What do the new elections mean outside of Israel? Nothing very good, I’m afraid. For the most part, any elections held in the foreseeable future are going to cement the status quo even further, and where they don’t do so, elections will mean a shift even further rightward. Read more at LobeLog
Posted in Israel | Tagged Avigdor Lieberman, coalition, Gaza, Isaac Herzog, Israeli elections, Jerusalem, Labor Party, Likud, Moshe Kahlon, Naftali Bennett, Netanyahu, Shas, Two-state solution, Tzipi Livni, United Torah Judaism, Yair Lapid | Leave a Comment »
Take a particularly provocative and grandstanding Israeli government and shift its focus from Hamas and Gaza to Jerusalem and you have a most explosive recipe. That potion is being stirred now, and the results could shake up the status quo in a way that we have only seen a few times in Israel’s history. Read more at LobeLog
Posted in Jerusalem | Tagged Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, al-Aqsa, al-Quds, ARab League, East Jerusalem, Hamas, Haram al-Sharif, Hashemite, ISIS, Jerusalem, Jerusalem light rail attack, Jordan, Jordan-Israel Peace Treaty, King Abdullah, Muslim Brotherhood, Netanyahu, Refugees, Religious Zionism, Temple Mount, Yehuda Glick, Zionism | Leave a Comment »
The obsession in politics and diplomacy with decorum–largely a relic from the past–can easily distract people from the realities of the present. Case in point, the uproar over Jeffrey Goldberg’s latest article in the Atlantic, the headline of which, The Crisis in U.S.-Israel Relations Is Officially Here, would seem important enough to warrant more attention than it has gotten so far.
Instead, the whisper of an unnamed “senior Obama administration official,” who called Netanyahu a “chickenshit,” has occupied headlines. And instead of taking a strong, or even a weak stance on Netanyahu’s repeated declarations about expanding settlement activity everywhere in Jerusalem and the West Bank, the White House has only tried to distance itself from the remark, describing it as “unauthorized” and “inappropriate.” Read more at LobeLog
Posted in Barack Obama, Bibi Netanyahu, US-Israel Lobby | Tagged chickenshit, Congress, Gaza, Hamas, Iran nuclear talks, Israel Lobby, Jeffrey Goldberg, Jerusalem, Jewish Community, JJ Goldberg, Mahmoud Abbas, Moshe Ya'alon, Netanyahu, Obama, Roi Ben Yishai, Security Council, Two-state solution, US-Israel relations, West Bank | 1 Comment »
Chas Freeman, former US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and thirty-year veteran of the United States’ foreign service delivered a speech today that
Ambassador Chas W. Freeman
everyone in the United States should be paying attention to. It is a searing indictment of American policy in the Middle East from a man who was in the middle of it for decades.
The focus of Chas’ talk is the current battle being waged against Da’ish, or the Islamic State, ISIS, ISIL, whatever the name you want to use may be. If you’ve been following me on Twitter or Facebook, you’ve seen my view in this, but I’ll re-state it briefly.
I believe the entire approach we’ve taken to IS is completely off-course. It is, in fact, a repeat of previous errors. IS wanted the United States to intervene, just as al-Qaeda wanted the US to react with massive force to 9/11. Any losses IS suffers will be more than made up for by the increasing radicalization of the region caused by US intervention. This reality is doubled because the US will only bomb, which will greatly increase damage to civilian lives and infrastructure. And from that soil will grow many more IS recruits, eager to battle their foes in the region and in the West.
Chas lays all of this out very neatly in his speech. But there is an underlying point which, though Chas did make it explicit in his speech, he doesn’t spend a great deal of time on, as he decided to focus on current events. Let me give you my own take on it, so that you can be even more tempted to read and, more importantly, share widely, Chas’ speech. Continue Reading »
Posted in Islamic State, Middle East | Tagged 9/11, al-Qaeda, Chas Freeman, Da'ish, Dick Cheney, Iraq, ISIL, ISIS, Islamic State, Israel, Middle east, Obama, Palestinians, United States | Leave a Comment »