Mideast Israel Palestinians

Israel Takes Aim at the Laws of war

  Unnamed Israeli officials have recently indicated that a future war with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon is inevitable, and that large numbers of civilians will likely die in such a conflict. Israeli officials argued in a recent New York Times piece that Hezbollah, like Hamas, commits double war crimes by targeting Israeli civilians and militarizing[…]

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Meet the New Israeli Government

After more than a month of negotiations, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu managed to cobble together a coalition government in the final hour, with commentators describing the process as embarrassing and circus-like. The stability of Netanyahu’s new Likud-led government is questionable – it has the slimmest coalition majority possible with only 61 of 120 seats,[…]

Mideast Israel Palestinians

The Missing Peace: Full Recognition of Palestinian Humanity

For the third time in less than six years, Israeli airstrikes are pounding Gaza. That means six-year-old Palestinian children have lived through 3 major Israeli military assaults in their short lives. Every few years now, the same nightmare replays, along with the familiar news chorus of Israeli propaganda: Hamas is to blame for all of[…]

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The Bulldozer is Dead, Long Live the Lion: Eulogies of Sharon

Arik Sharon is dead. Reviled and celebrated as a nation-builder and war-criminal, he was born Ariel Scheinerman to Georgian emigres in February 27, 1928 in the then hotly contested Sharon plain, now one of Israel’s most densely populated areas. He claimed to have defended his village with a knife as a 13-year-old and joined the[…]

Egyptian-Hamas Relations: An Icy Cold Front Settles In

Is Another “Coup” in the Forecast? Since the ouster of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in July, relations between the interim Egyptian government and Hamas, the ruling Palestinian faction in Gaza, have cooled considerably. The temperature dropped further this week when for the first time, the Egyptian naval police fired on Palestinian fishermen, a practice that[…]

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Did You Hear? Israelis and Palestinians are Talking Again!

The two-state “solution;” or, how to beat the same dead horse  Somehow US Secretary of State John Kerry managed to wrangle Israelis and the Palestinian Authority back to the negotiating table. After a lengthy stalemate, a renewed “peace process” kicked off in grand fashion with a Ramadan Iftar dinner at the State Department earlier this[…]

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Will al-Thani of Jordan be the First to Go?

In the third wave of the Arab Spring monarchies are on their heels King Abdullah al-Thani’s attempts to placate Jordan is going up in flames, to the Arab Spring chant “the people want the downfall of the regime” seen from Sidi Bouzid to Deraa. After closing roads with flaming car chassis, protesters tried to storm[…]

With this cast of characters, who needs cartoons?

The 2012 UNGA meeting proved to be entertaining, but was it productive? The annual United Nations General Assembly meetings are a time for countries to come together, speak to each other in a neutral location, and attempt to work out their problems.  Unfortunately, they have become an opportunity for states to battle for status via[…]

Where things stop, nobody knows

Merry-Go-Round in the Sinai The 5 August evening attack on a Sinai police station is not only impacting domestic policies (and policy-makers) but also regional relationships. Since the attacks that killed 16 Egyptian policemen took place, a flurry of activity in Egypt, Israel, and Gaza is slowly reshaping the relationships of key regional actors. First[…]

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Jordan’s Big Tent

Hejazis, Palestinians, Iraqis, Chechens…and now Syrians Sometime in the morning of June 21, Syrian pilot Colonel Hassam Merei al-Hamade walked across the tarmac of the al-Dumair military airport and climbed into the cockpit of a Russian-made MiG-21 fighter jet, determined to desert. The colonel took off rapidly to avoid radar detectors and flew 110 miles[…]

Bidding Sarko Adieu?

The Future of French Middle East Policy As the final round of voting for the French presidential election approaches, it looks like Sarko might need to start looking for a new job. Socialist candidate François Hollande has been consistently leading the polls and remains ahead after Wednesday’s big debate. Foreign policy somehow did not make[…]

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Between the Israeli Occupation and a Hard Place

Hunger striker highlights Israeli detention practices, but will anything change? Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan demonstrated to the world this week the power of nonviolent resistance. The 33-year-old father of two was arrested in his West Bank village by Israeli forces on December 17, and has since been held by Israel under administrative detention, without charge[…]

Politcs make for Strange-Bedfellows

Mashaal, Haniyeh, and Abbas: The awkward shift between old friends and new Khalid Mashaal, the Hamas politboro chief, announced this week that he will not seek re-election as the head of the organization. The announcement comes as tensions in Damascus increase, discussions between Hamas and Fatah appear to have reached a standstill, and the negotiations[…]

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Stuff heading for the fan

Israel/Palestine: Stirring the cauldron Until about two weeks ago the blooming Arab Spring had left Israel and Palestine looking strangely quiet. However, the Obama administration’s failure to bring Netanyahu’s government and Abbas’ Palestinian Authority together meant that there were widespread expectations that negotiations would give way to confrontation–a third intifada. That confrontation has now taken[…]