Analysis: Should Israel swap one man for many?

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 12, 2009

The impending deal over the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners — many serving life sentences for terror — to secure the return of Gilad Shilat, touches upon one of the most sensitive points in the collective Israeli psyche.

It also an issue with immense political, security and social ramifications, whether in terms of the price being paid for his release, or the implications of allowing him to continue languishing in captivity.

Rami Igra, the former head of Mossad’s Prisoners and MIAs department, opposes such deals.


Analysis: EU wants to talk to Hamas

By Daniella Peled, February 5, 2009

So there is “no ambiguity” in US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s position toward Hamas. The same, however, cannot be said for other international players, whose attitude to the militant group is getting ever more creative. And European equivocation, according to Israeli officials, is reaching an extremely concerning point.

An indication can be found in the monthly statements of the General Affairs and External Relations Council, where EU Foreign Ministers discuss topical issues and produce a declaration on Israel-Palestine.


Seeds sown for a Green surprise

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 5, 2009

Every Israeli election throws up a host of unlikely political mutations — the result of attempts to cross the electoral threshold and gain a seat in the Knesset. Next week’s polls will be no exception.


Analysis: The problem with this poll? Israelis don’t care

By Uri Dromi, February 5, 2009

If you arrive in Israel today, you wouldn’t know that in few days people here are going to vote to decide the nation’s future. Except for the huge billboards with portraits of the candidates promising the moon, and the commercials — a royal waste of money, which few people will watch — there is nothing but indifference.

Why this apathy in a country so politicised, with historically high levels of voting? How come 25 per cent of Israelis are undecided, and maybe more will not vote?


Analysis: An astonishing act by this German Pope

By Ed Kessler, January 29, 2009

The extraordinary decision of Pope Benedict XVI to lift the excommunication of four traditionalist Catholic bishops who head the Fraternity of St Pius X, one of whom is Holocaust denier Richard Williamson, has now been answered by the decision of the Israeli Chief Rabbis to break off official ties with the Vatican.

While the Chief Rabbis’ reaction is understandable, it won’t help. The Vatican’s action, for close watchers of Pope Benedict XVI’s approach to Catholic-Jewish relations, is not wholly surprising.


Analysis: Emanuele Ottolenghi

By Emanuele Ottolenghi, January 29, 2009

There is every reason to doubt the figures given by Hamas for the number of dead and wounded in Gaza. In Jenin in 2002, Palestinian spokesmen gave staggering figures: first 3,000, then 500. A UN inquiry downsized this to 54 and confirmed that most were combatants.


Analysis: George Mitchell worries Israelis

By Yaakov Katz, January 29, 2009

It is no secret that Israel is concerned at the appointment of George Mitchell, who arrived in the country this week as the new United States special envoy to the Middle East.

When he negotiated the Good Friday Agreement in Ireland in 1998, he said there was no conflict that could not be resolved, and speaking at a conference in Tel Aviv last month he reiterated this view, declaring: “It may take a long time but with committed, active and strong leadership it can [also] happen here.”


Analysis: After Cast Lead: where do we go from here?

January 22, 2009

Prepare for more civilian casualties

Anshel Pfeffer
Israel correspondent of the JC

It is, notoriously, hard to argue with success. And that seems to be the case with Operation Cast Lead. There were minimal Israeli casualties, and its leaders enjoyed more than 80 per cent public approval ratings, reaching across the political spectrum.


Analysis: Israel's diplomatic failure led to UN resolution

By Danny Ayalon, January 15, 2009

In March 2001, Ariel Sharon visited George Bush for the first time as Israel’s new prime minister. As Sharon’s chief foreign policy adviser then, I remember the unwritten understanding those two men reached during that initial encounter: our countries would never surprise each other — we may not always see the situation in the same light, but we would always consult.


Analysis: Should Israel be in Gaza?

January 8, 2009

Melanie Phillips: Yes

War is hell. There can surely be not one amongst us who does not feel the utmost horror and anguish at the devastation and misery in Gaza and the deaths of civilians, especially children. And it may well get even worse.

This is because Hamas are using the people of Gaza as human shields behind which to store and fire their missiles. That’s what happened on Tuesday, when the IDF returned mortar fire from a school where Hamas were hiding amongst civilians. It appears that IDF shells detonated bombs