Analysis

Analysis: Obama could not make peace alone

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 24, 2009

Binyamin Netanyahu has accomplished a remarkable feat. He travelled to the US, met the president at a highly publicised summit, upset the leader of the free world, returned home empty-handed — and is still not facing a public outcry.

A similar dispute with the Americans ultimately brought down the Shamir government in 1992. Later premiers never dared openly confront the US.

Barack Obama’s displeasure was barely disguised and no amount of spin can gloss over the failure of the three-way summit. But Mr Netanyahu, at least for now, is getting away with it.

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Analysis: Come to think of it, the new system might benefit Israel

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 24, 2009

Barack Obama’s decision to scrap the plan to position a missile-defence system in Poland and the Czech Republic could ultimately prove a boost to Israel’s defences.

The change in American plans was motivated by President Obama’s desire to placate the Russian leadership but there also remains a need to mount a defence against nuclear missiles that may be launched in future from Iran and other rogue nations in the east.

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Analysis: Obama snubs allies over missile shield

By Emanuele Ottolenghi, September 24, 2009

President Obama’s decision to scrap plans to deploy a radar station in the Czech Republic and 10 missile interceptors in Poland, as part of a long range ballistic missile defence network, may come down to budget cuts alone — the Administration does not have the funds to support a costly military programme at this difficult economic juncture.

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Analysis: Judge Goldstone's other religion

By Gerald Steinberg, September 24, 2009

Richard Goldstone does not fit the model of alienated anti-Zionist Jews who promote boycotts and have no other involvement with Israel or the Jewish community. Quite the opposite. He is an active member of the community, is involved in Zionist groups, and has a daughter who lived in Israel.

So other explanations are needed for the harshness of his report on Gaza. From his activities, speeches and writings, some themes emerge.

Judge Goldstone’s life is intensely focused on the “laws of war”, in which he strongly believes, rejecting all debate or criticism.

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Analyis: Deceptive quiet on Gaza border

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 18, 2009

My visit last week to the headquarters of one of the battalions stationed around the Gaza border was deceptively tranquil. The road leading to the base may still be full of craters created by Hamas mortar shells, fired in the years of bombardment leading up to Operation Cast Lead last January. But in the neighbouring kibbutz, work is going on peacefully in the fields, right next to the border fence.

For the first time in a decade, children in the nearby town of Sderot started the school year two weeks ago without having to first practise running to the bomb shelters.

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Analysis: Settlement deal is a hard sell

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 18, 2009

One of the less known items on Binyamin Netanyahu’s CV is his stint as the sales manager of an Israeli furniture manufacturer, before he joined the diplomatic service. The PM will need all his sales acumen now to market two totally different products to the American administration and the Israeli right wing in the run-up to the highly anticipated “peace summit” at the UN next week.

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Analysis: Human Rights Watch is naive

By Martin Bright, September 18, 2009

The suspension of Human Rights Watch senior analyst Marc Garlasco is a devastating blow for the reputation of a group which stands or falls by the independence of its reporting on government abuses.

It is hard to imagine why anyone would wish to surround himself with the ephemera of fascism.

And yet, it is theoretically possible for an individual to be fascinated by Second World War military history and remain objective when reporting on the Israeli-Palestinan conflict (one of Mr Garlasco’s areas of expertise).

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Analysis: Why this is a national tragedy

By David Harris, September 18, 2009

Israelis are a pretty divided lot. Ashkenazim fight with Sephardim, the Orthodox squabble with the secular, Arabs bicker with Jews and so it goes on. Little seems to unite this hot-blooded nation.

Yet when it was reported on Sunday that Asaf Ramon was killed in a jet fighter accident, arguments were set aside and people entered a period of collective mourning.

In the evening, as families sat down to watch the news, there was a feeling of déjà vu.

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Analysis: TUC in chaos over Israel

By Martin Bright, September 18, 2009

There was nothing edifying about the sight of trade unionists fighting each other in Liverpool this week over an attempt by the Fire Brigades Union to introduce a boycott of Israeli goods .

Did no one tell the brothers there is a recession on?

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Analysis: Hizbollah is losing credibility at home

By Gary Gambill, September 10, 2009

Beirut is abuzz with talk about Salah Ezzedine, a financier who bilked thousands of Lebanese out of their life savings before declaring bankruptcy late last month.

Dubbed the “Lebanese Bernie Madoff”, Mr Ezzedine took a financial beating when the collapse of oil prices last year decimated his holdings in Eastern Europe.

In a desperate attempt to recover from his losses, Mr Ezzedine raised hundreds of millions of dollars from Lebanon’s insular Shiite community by offering a reported 40 per cent annual return. In the blink of an eye, the money was gone.

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