Analysis: How the IDF stalled a Cast Lead inquiry

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 29, 2009

From the moment the Goldstone Report was published a month ago, accusing Israel of war crimes in Gaza, the IDF kept mum.

Reporters who called the IDF Spokesman Unit for a response were given a standard answer: “This is a matter for the Foreign Ministry, don’t ask us.”


Analysis: Poll will further split Palestine

By Daoud Kuttab, October 29, 2009

If President Mahmoud Abbas carries out his threat to hold presidential and parliamentary elections on January 24, as announced this week, he will deepen the split between Gaza and the West Bank.

Palestinian basic law requires that elections take place before the end of January 2010. The PLO leader, however, was willing to postpone these elections until June 2010 in return for a reconciliation with the Islamic Hamas movement that controls Gaza against Palestinian, Arab and international will.


Analysis: Israeli MKs were wrong to attend J- Street

By Yoav Sivan, October 29, 2009

Ten current and former members of the Knesset from parties on the left and centre-left — Meretz, Labour and Kadima — have just been in Washington to attend the first conference of J Street, a new American-Jewish lobby group that fancies itself as a counterweight to Aipac.


Has Barak finally managed to destroy the Labour party?

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 29, 2009

Labour Chair and Defence Minister Ehud Barak added a new title on Monday: Labour parliamentary faction leader. Mr Barak had to assume the position after his last loyal back-bencher announced he was resigning from the post.

MK Daniel Ben-Simon said he was resigning because “Labour has not fulfilled its diplomatic goals and does not belong in the coalition”.


Analysis: It was an envoy-trap set by J Street

By Shmuel Rosner, October 22, 2009

The question of “engagement vs boycott” is as old as all questions related to human relations. And Israel’s Washington ambassador, Michael Oren, has been pondering it again.

Next week, the “pro-peace, pro-Israel” group J Street will hold its first national conference in Washington. Mr Oren was invited to speak, and soon realised that, more than an invitation, this was a trap.


UK's tactics over the report could hurt Obama's MidEast mission

By Martin Bright, October 22, 2009

Who would have thought that white phosphorous would become the issue to unite Gordon Brown and David Miliband, after a year of tension between Downing Street and the Foreign Office?

But the two rivals have found common ground over Israel’s use of the controversial smoke-producing substance during the war in Gaza earlier this year.


Analysis: Stay calm, and argue

By Uri Dromi, October 22, 2009

Now that the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva has endorsed the Goldstone Report by a 25-6 majority, with five countries opposing and 11 abstaining (the UK, France and three other members of the 47-nation body declined to vote), the question is what we do next.


Analysis: This is a lethal blow to Human Rights Watch

By Martin Bright, October 22, 2009

The intervention from Robert L Bernstein in the debate over the credibility of Human Rights Watch is beyond devastating.

Mr Bernstein founded the organisation and was its chair in the two decades from 1978 to 1998, during which time HRW built itself into one of the most respected monitors of state abuse in the world. His op-ed piece in the New York Times accuses the present leadership of losing its way over the issue of Israel.

But far more seriously, it accuses his successors of betraying the founding principles on which Mr Bernstein and others built the organisation.


Analysis: Iran deal is victory for Obama...for now

By Meir Javedanfar, October 21, 2009

After three days of intensive negotiations with the US, France and Russia, Iran has agreed to a draft deal on the status of its nuclear programme. Although the exact details of the deal are not yet clear, it appears that Iran is to export most of its Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) to Russia.

This deal is a victory for Barack Obama, as he has managed to convince Iran to give up what many believe is somewhere between 75 – 80 per cent of its LEU. That means for now, it will be impossible for Iran to make a nuclear bomb, as the LEU it needs will no longer be in the country.


How the Palestinians stoked, then stopped, a new intifada

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 15, 2009

Everything seemed to be in place for a third intifada. A bogged-down peace process, extreme politicians eagerly egging on their cohorts, rumours of Zionist plots to destroy the Temple Mount mosques, huge piles of rocks aimed at the heads of Jews at the Western Wall and all the religious fervour of Ramadan and the High Holy Days.

But in the end, the Jerusalem riots of the past couple of weeks petered out. Despite dire warnings from some former police officers and defence experts, a third uprising against Israel failed to ignite.