Are these changes of heart or tactics?

By Evelyn Gordon, December 3, 2009

By freezing settlement construction and offering to trade hundreds of terrorists for Gilad Shalit, PM Netanyahu seems to be abandoning everything he previously believed in. But he may simply be applying a lesson learned from his first term as premier: to confront difficult challenges, you must keep the Israeli centre solidly behind you.

Mr Netanyahu faces two crucial challenges. First, the lack of effective international pressure on Iran’s nuclear programme may force him to take military action.


Analysis: Netanyahu will concede even more

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 3, 2009

No Israeli prime minister has ever announced an entire freeze of house building in the West Bank. Binyamin Netanyahu did it last Wednesday and despite the right-wing makeup of the Knesset and his own cabinet, he seems to have managed to get away with it. For now.


Analysis: The outpost men are desperate

By Shmuel Rosner, November 26, 2009

“Disobedience”, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned earlier this week, “could lead to the state’s collapse”.

And of course, he’s right. But not the disobedience of a small cadre of kooky soldiers.

At the core of this debate the question is supposedly simple: who makes the rules? For most Israelis, the answer is clear — it is the government. But for some confused soldiers (and civilians) it is not that clear — they think that their rabbis make the rules, and that their ideals and beliefs cannot be curbed by the state.


Analysis: So, violence works

By Daoud Kuttab, November 26, 2009

If you ever want a single case that can illustrate all the sources of disagreement in the Middle East, all you need to do is look at the emerging Shalit prisoner exchange deal.

Legally Israel refuses to recognise as prisoners of war over 10,000 prisoners it is holding, because that assumes that there is a war in the region.

Nor does it accept that they are protected individuals to whom the Geneva Convention applies. The Convention regulates how an occupying power is supposed to deal with civilians under its occupation.


Analysis: Easy for Cameron to say

By Martin Bright, November 26, 2009

David Cameron may find it more difficult than he imagines to ban Hizb-ut-Tahrir.

He is right that it is a deeply unpleasant organisation committed to the destruction of western democracy and its replacement with a totalitarian system based on “sharia law”. Many young Muslims have been persuaded by this warped version of Islam.

Mr Cameron is also right that there is a strain of antisemitism running through the rhetoric of HT that should not go unopposed.It should certainly not receive government funding.


Analysis: Bibi played his card well

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 26, 2009

One of the favourite labels Binyamin Netanyahu’s political rivals have tried to stick on him is that he is a “panickist”.

In the past, his hasty ill-advised style of decision-making has given them ample ammunition. But the timing of his announcement on a settlement freeze this week can hardly be faulted. He held on to his trump card despite intense international prodding, finally using it at the most opportune moment.


Analysis: Our meat is improving already

By Sue Fishkoff, November 19, 2009

Sholom Rubashkin’s convictions on 86 of 91 federal fraud charges ends one chapter in an ugly story of monetary scandal and worker exploitation that has rocked the North American Jewish community. But the case’s implications for kashrut are ongoing.

Rubashkin’s arrest following a massive May 2008 immigration raid that eventually ruined the Agriprocessors plant in Postville, Iowa, bitterly divided American Jewry, brought shame to the kosher meat industry and depleted the country’s supply of kosher meat.


Analysis: PA will not declare independence alone

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 19, 2009

Israeli politicians were up in arms this week over the stated intention of the Palestinian Authority unilaterally to declare an independent state in the near future.

Unilateral steps on the Palestinian side will be met by similar moves from Israel, they ominously warned, hinting at possible annexations of parts of the West Bank, as they did in east Jerusalem after the Six-Day War in 1967. Such a declaration, they promised, would mean an end to any diplomatic process with the Palestinians.


Analysis: By kicking Bibi, Obama hopes to save Abbas

By Shmuel Rosner, November 12, 2009

The Obama administration felt it had no choice but to humiliate Mr Netanyahu. It was a small price to pay if the gesture re-awakened the peace process. A small price to pay if the gesture convinced Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas not to make his resignation final. A small price to pay with a prime minister the Obama team never really liked, and probably will never like.

They look at Mr Netanyahu and see their own failure. They look at him and see the broken promise of the rekindled peace process. They meet him and they have to be nice — because being cold gained them nothing.


Analysis: Work of a lone wolf?

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 5, 2009

It is still unclear exactly how many murders settler Ya’akov (Jack) Teitel will eventually be charged with.

So far, the security services say he is to be accused of killing two Palestinians in 1997 and numerous counts of attempted murder, with the dead including Arabs, Christian clergymen, a left-wing professor, gay rights activists, messianic Jews and policemen.

The latest accusations centre on the mysterious double murder of two traffic policemen on a dark night in the Jordan Valley eight months ago, deaths that were originally blamed on Palestinian terror organisations.