As the curtain drops on 2017, it drops too on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process as we have known it. At the age of 24, that process has finally died, with none other than President Donald Trump
Shimon Peres, John Kerry and Mahmoud Abbas at the World Economic Forum in May 2013
pulling the plug. But let’s not give him too much credit or blame for that. The killing blow was struck by his predecessor, Barack Obama.
There was much to like in Obama’s presidency, especially given the mess he was handed in 2009 and the unprecedented obstructionism of the Republican Party during his tenure. But he also had abject failures that were due to his own shortcomings, and the sharp degeneration in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict under his watch is at the top of the list. Read more at LobeLog
The photo you see to the left was found by Jewish Voice for Peace on the Facebook page (since removed) of a group that named itself
“Hating Arabs Isn’t revenge–it’s values.” Hashtag reads Israel Demands Revenge!”
“Am Yisrael Doreshet Nekama,” in English, “The People of Israel Demand Revenge.” The hashtag on the sign is similar, though with an important difference–the word “Am” is removed and it is “Israel Demands Revenge.”
The photo has since gone viral, though not as its creators may have hoped. It has become a Twitter and Facebook symbol for Israeli racism. For me, personally, it is important that the hashtag removes the word “Am” because “Am Yisrael” commonly means the Jewish People, while “Israel” alone more commonly refers to the country.
But what’s really important that people understand in the image is the driving force behind Israeli policy. Yes, these girls or young women may not yet even be old enough to vote or to serve in the IDF. But it doesn’t take a very hard look to understand that they are not fanatical settlers. These are not orthodox young women, and just judging by their appearance and dress (which, it should be noted, is not conclusive), they are probably quite secular, mainstream Israelis, very much of the Tel Aviv culture. Continue reading
My report for Inter Press Service on the renewal of peace talks between Israel and the PLO.
In this week’s piece at Souciant, I start taking a look at what Barack Obama’s second term may look like in terms of Middle East policy now that Mitt Romney has bungled himself into a position where he will need an unprecedented comeback to defeat the incumbent. Yet, while I see serious trouble for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has actively worked for Obama’s defeat, I don’t see a lot of fundamental change in Washington’s attitude in the region for the next four years. At least, not at the instigation of the White House; change will come from the region itself, if it comes at all.