When we were kids, we went to my uncle's Jordan Valley farm in the Palestinian West Bank to hunt for Easter eggs. The event was organized by his Christian wife and the whole family was happy to celebrate because it was so much fun. As we peered through the bushes and looked under the stones of this most fertile of West Bank land, the adults made sure that each child found at least one brightly decorated egg. Israel's occupation in 1967 put an end to those family visits during my father's vacations from the American University of Beirut.Read More
Israel's ten-month "freeze" on settlement building, declared under pressure from the Obama administration last November, is set to expire this month. James Cunningham, the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, reportedly warned European envoys that direct talks between Israelis and Palestinians were on the verge of collapse over the settlement freeze. While attention has focused on whether the freeze will continue, few have asked if it was ever truly in force.
Rabbi Kenneth Chasen is the latest to offer a glowing report of the Palestinian-state-in-the-making supposedly being built by Salam Fayyad, a political unknown until he was boosted from obscurity by the George W. Bush administration and installed as the unelected "prime minister" of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah.Read More
GEORGE J. MITCHELL, the United States Middle East envoy, tried to counter low expectations for renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations by harking back to his experience as a mediator in Northern Ireland.Read More
News of resumed peace talks have hit the headlines -- on September 1st, international leaders will break bread and on September 2nd, ostensibly well-rested and full-bellied, they will resume direct peace negotiations. Sadly, the photo opportunity will provide little more than the occasion for spectators to juxtapose this photo alongside similar ones over a span of nearly two decades.Read More
Israelis and Palestinians have agreed to enter direct negotiations (yet again) in Washington on September 2. The Obama administration is sure to hail this as a significant breakthrough. Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, and borders will all be on the table. But substantive Palestinian economic growth must also be addressed with guarantees that the Palestinian economy won’t be choked off as is currently the case.Read More
Despite Israel's siege of Gaza, and the escalating displacement in the Negev and East Jerusalem, Palestinians have some reason to celebrate. In Washington a food co-op has passed a resolution calling for a boycott of Israeli products, confirming that the boycott movement – five years old last month – has finally crossed the Atlantic.Read More
President Obama’s capitulation last month to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was disheartening. But it was not surprising. Most American presidents, Dwight Eisenhower aside, wilt under the pressure of the Israel lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in particular.Read More