This article originally appeared at LobeLog.
It’s time to ask some tough questions about US policy regarding Egypt. The most pressing being what that policy is, exactly?
John Kerry in a pre-June meeting with then Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr, and then-President Mohammed Morsi
I agreed with the easily assailable decision by the Obama administration to refrain from labeling the ouster of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi a coup. It still is my belief that doing so might be consistent with US law, but would not be helpful to Egypt. Instead of taking funding away from the military which, since it now directly controls the Egyptian till, would simply divert the lost funds from other places (causing even more distress to an already reeling Egyptian economy) it would be better to use the aid as leverage to push the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) toward an inclusive political process that would include drafting a broadly acceptable constitution and, with all due speed, re-installing a duly elected civilian government. Continue reading
My report for Inter Press Service on the renewal of peace talks between Israel and the PLO.
Israel now intends to build a massive railway network in the West Bank, including in Palestinian Territories. The PA has rightly refused to cooperate, but is there an opportunity to do something more here? I explore in this week’s Souciant.
On Monday. The Elders, including Jimmy Carter, spoke in Washington to the question “Can the Two-State Solution Be Saved?” I report on Carter’s answer for Inter Press Service.
This piece originally appeared at LobeLog.
Martin Indyk is about to be named the US representative for the resuscitated Israel-Palestinian talks, according to a report from Israel’s Channel 2. (Though it seems Channel 2’s Ehud Yaari was not first with the news. That was actually the inestimable Laura Rozen at al-Monitor)
David Ivry, Paul D. Wolfowitz, Ariel Sharon, Donald H. Rumsfeld, and Martin Indyk, at the Pentagon, March 2001
This says a great deal about the US role in the “peace process” and, indeed, the conflict in general. Indyk was the key force in founding the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), which is, in essence, the think tank of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). In fact, Indyk went from working for AIPAC to working for them as WINEP’s first Executive Director in 1985.
He went on to be Bill Clinton’s special assistant for the Middle East and senior director of Near East and South Asian Affairs at the National Security Council. His government service culminated in appointments as US Ambassador to Israel from April 1995 to September 1997 and again from January 2000 to July 2001. Indyk was as central as any figure to the construction — and failures — of the Oslo process, the Camp David II summit in 2000 and the following years of downward spiral. Continue reading
My friend, Sarit Michaeli, B’Tselem’s tireless spokesperson, was shot in the thigh with a rubber-coated bullet by Israeli Border Police
B’Tselem spokesperson Sarit Michaeli, holds a rubber coated bullet, which was taken out of her leg, in Ichilov hospital in Tel Aviv, July 20, 2013. Photo by: Oren Ziv/ Activestills.org
Friday during the weekly demonstration at a-Nabi Saleh, The Palestinian village has suffered from Israel taking parts of its land and the nearby settlement of Halamish stealing its already limited supply of water.
Sarit, in her account of the incident, which I’ve pasted below, makes it clear that there were no stone-throwers anywhere near her, that the police, as they regularly do, violated even their own rules of engagement, and that either she or some other non-violent civilians near her had to have been intentionally targeted: “In order to shoot at me, the soldier had to knowingly point his weapon in my direction, or in the direction of a medic and two Palestinian female protesters who were close to me. No one standing in my vicinity threw any stones.” Continue reading
This piece originally appeared at LobeLog.
John Kerry meeting with Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, July 19, 2013 (from State Department photos)
I’m always pleased when something surprises me in the realm of Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy. It doesn’t happen often. Today’s announcement that Secretary of State John Kerry has apparently succeeded at bringing Israel and the Palestinian Authority back to the table was one such surprise.
The announcement should not be overstated, of course. At this writing, there is a proviso out there that a few details still need to be worked out. So, there’s a convenient back door that both parties can exit through.
Even if the talks did resume, there is no reason to believe they will succeed. As Stephen Waltdetails, Israel’s governing coalition remains hostile to a two-state solution, the Palestinians remain divided and, despite whatever pushes and prods Kerry used to achieve this outcome, the US remains politically paralyzed and feckless. Coming up with a positive scenario that is even marginally realistic is therefore not easy. But here is one shot at it. Continue reading