Analysis: The Pope had no chance of keeping everyone happy

By Uri Dromi, May 14, 2009

When Pope Benedict XVI left the Holy Land, he probably felt like that woman who applied for a new job. “I see you were last employed by a psychiatrist,” said the employer to the applicant. “Why did you leave?” “Well,” she replied, “I just couldn’t win. If I was late to work, I was hostile. If I was early, I had an anxiety complex. If I was on time, I was compulsive.”


Analysis: An opportunity for Israel, if it’s smart

By Miriam Shaviv, May 14, 2009

Israel, and its supporters, are squirming. For the past few weeks, Washington has slowly been ratcheting up the pressure on the Jewish state, releasing increasingly alarming details of the demands President Obama intends to put to Prime Minister Netanyahu when they meet in Washington next week. Mr Netanyahu must accept Palestinian statehood; settlements must be frozen; more responsibility for security must be granted to the Palestinians. Most ominously, President Obama’s efforts to stop the Iranian nuclear programme will be linked to progress in the Palestinian peace process.


Analysis: Leaders must build a rapport before the work begins

By Barry Rubin, May 14, 2009

What does Israel want from PM Netanyahu’s first meeting with President Obama? There are four main themes: assess US thinking, get along, inform US policymakers of Israel’s concerns, and persuade Mr Obama on the issues.

The single most important aspect of this meeting is that it is the first between the two as their countries’ leaders. They will have to see if they understand each other, though both will make a big effort to portray the encounter as a success. Mr Netanyahu has to defuse the negative stereotype of himself as uncooperative on peace.


Analysis: A one and three-quarter state solution may be Bibi’s best offer

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 14, 2009

The White House has all but spelt it out. If Binyamin Netanyahu doesn’t commit himself to a two-state solution in his meeting with Barack Obama on Monday, he may as well save the airfare. Bibi is an astute enough observer of American politics to understand that this time, no amount of lobbying by congressional allies or senior Jewish Democrats is going to change the administration’s policy. He is going to have to find a way to deliver the goods.


Analysis: Why this had to happen

By Jan Shure - Travel Editor, May 13, 2009

The launch of direct flights to Eilat this winter by the resort’s leading hotel chain, Isrotel, is an acknowledgement of both the importance of the UK market to the Red Sea city, and also a realisation that if potential visitors have to endure lengthy and inconvenient journeys they will simply choose to go elsewhere.


Analysis: Catholics have high hopes

By Catherine Pepinster, May 7, 2009

As Pope Benedict prepares for his forthcoming visit to Israel and the Middle East his intention is clear — he travels as a pilgrim of peace to the Holy Land. For Catholics, the holy places that the Pope will visit — Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nazareth — rank alongside Rome in their importance for pilgrims.

But the visit also has profound implications for the Roman Catholic Church, for this papacy, and for its relations with the Jewish people and Judaism.


Analysis: What the report does prove

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 23, 2009

“I am not going to apologise for even one moment that we carried out an operation in which only ten soldiers were killed,” said a very senior IDF officer this week. “We fought against a vicious enemy that used civilians, ambulances, schools and mosques as shields, every step of the way. So I’m not prepared for any self-flagellation, just a degree of self-criticism.” This attitude encapsulates the reasoning behind a series of reports released this week by the IDF on the fighting in the Gaza Strip during Operation Cast Lead.


Why I’m going to the geneva conference to fight antisemitism

April 14, 2009

Controversy reigns over the UN’s anti-racism conference. Delegate Rosalind Preston explains why she’ll be there:

For me there was never any doubt. How could we not be present at a conference where the Jewish world in general and Israel in particular is expected to be vilified and demeaned?


Analysis: Iran: US isn’t really going Mullah light

By Emanuele Ottolenghi, April 2, 2009

The tight-lipped approach of the Obama presidency to policy on Iran took a characteristic turn of the spectacular when President Obama sent his carefully worded greetings of happy Nowruz — Iran’s new year — to the Iranian people and leaders.

For the advocates of engagement, the message was a signal that the wind of diplomacy is finally in their sails.

The President seemed to have both legitimised Tehran’s ruling regime and thrown the notion of regime change to the dustbin of history.


Analysis: Israel hits higher up supply chain

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 2, 2009

As Israeli disquiet grew this week over the extent to which its recent action in Gaza succeeded in slowing arms smuggling, news emerged of a strike by its air force against an arms convoy in Sudan.

Excellent intelligence meant Israel had early warning of an arms shipment containing suspected long-range missiles for Hamas and was able to identify it among hundreds of ships crossing the Red Sea and convoys traversing the desert.