Analysis: Settlements will be the key

By Daoud Kuttab, August 27, 2009

Palestinians understand clearly that any political resolution of their conflict with Israel will require compromises, possibly very difficult ones. But one area in which Palestinians do not see room for compromise is the issue of Jewish settlement activities in areas Palestinians hope will be their independent state.

If the Netanyahu-Mitchell framework for talks muddles this issue — for example by leaving the settlements to the final stage of the peace talks — it will be hard to see how there can be a functional peace process.


Analysis: Call this slow-drip diplomacy

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 27, 2009

Binyamin Netanyahu has an ideal schedule in mind. Reach an agreement on a prisoner deal with Hamas and carry it out in three weeks’ time. And then, with Gilad Shalit safely at home for Rosh Hashanah, travel to New York and together with Barack Obama and Mahmoud Abbas at the United Nations General Assembly, announce the beginning of negotiations with the Palestinians and a temporary freeze on settlement activity.

The icing on the cake would be an agreement between the permanent UN members on a severe round of sanctions against Iran.


Analysis: IDF's season of shame

By Yaakov Katz, August 20, 2009

In recent years, Israeli summers have been taken up by a deadly intifada, a tumultuous withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the Second Lebanon War. This year is quiet by comparison, but will be remembered as the summer of military scandals.

While the security situation in Israel is calm, the IDF is undergoing a crisis of morality and ethics.


Analysis: This is a lesson for the residents of Gaza

By Miriam Shaviv, August 20, 2009

The notion that Israel is strangling the PA economy is part of the standard Western narrative — though it has little bearing in fact.

While the rest of the world is deep in economic crisis, the economy on the West Bank is growing by 7 per cent. Mr Brown, eat your heart out.

The lessons are twofold. First, while the “official” peace process seems stuck — Mr Obama’s efforts notwithstanding — on the ground, something real is happening.

The Palestinians on the West Bank are investing positively in their futures for the first time in years.


Analysis: Obama is in trouble

By Emanuele Ottolenghi, August 6, 2009

President Obama’s Middle East policy looks to be in trouble.

His engagement offer to Iran has fallen flat. His lofty speeches to Muslim audiences have failed to sway public opinion towards America. His demands to Israel that it halt any settlement activity have led to an unprecedented row with its government.

Worse, the perceived US pressure on Israel has left Arab leaders with the false impression that they have nothing to deliver. Since the US started its new bid on settlements, no Arab leader has agreed to any concession to Israel, symbolic or otherwise.


Analysis: We ignored gay-bashing to our cost

By Yoav Sivan, August 6, 2009

What does last week’s shooting of young lesbians and gays in Tel Aviv tell us about Israeli society?

It is not an easy question. As a pluralistic, democratic nation, there are many sides to Israel. How the nation views the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT ) community is every bit as varied.


We’re sorry Roseanne, this really is half-baked humour

By Rob Eshman, August 6, 2009

Jews love to outrage, and we love to be outraged. I don’t know why. It’s how we’re wired. We have a rigid sense of what is appropriate and what is not, of what is kosher and what is not, and then we gleefully smear the boundaries. And, with just as much relish, we shake our fingers at the boundary-smearers. We Jews love a good shanda.

This month’s shanda is on the cover of Heeb magazine: a photo of the comedienne Roseanne Barr dressed as Adolf Hitler, pulling cookies shaped like people out of the oven.


Analysis: Forget ‘rich Jew’ media stereotyping, it's time for some introspection

By Anthony Silow-Carroll, July 30, 2009

For a certain kind of US Jew who regards the media as an irritant and the European media as a scourge, the headline at the BBC website confirmed all their worst suspicions. “US rabbis arrested in crime probe,” it read, ignoring the mayors and other public officials caught up in a federal sting aimed at rooting out corruption.


Analysis: The community’s insularity makes these stories more likely

By Anthony Weiss, July 30, 2009

Only two weeks before law enforcement agents arrested Rabbi Saul Kassin, chief rabbi of the American Syrian community, as part of a massive corruption sweep, another US chief rabbi pleaded guilty to exactly the same charge.

Naftali Tzvi Weisz, Rebbe of the Spinka Chasidic sect, admitted to laundering money by accepting tax-deductible charitable donations and then returning the money to the donors, minus a fee.


Analysis: An agreement on a settlement freeze is imminent

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 30, 2009

Visits by four high-ranking American officials to Israel this week seem to have pushed Binyamin Netanyahu’s government to the brink of an agreement on freezing settlement building.

Defence Secretary Robert Gates, National Security Adviser Jim Jones, special envoy George Mitchell and Middle East negotiator Dennis Ross all repeated the requisite statements on America’s commitment to Israel’s security and tried hard to infuse a friendly atmosphere into the talks. They even began to sound tough about imposing time limits on talks with Iran.