Daniella Peled

Waiting for Gilad

By Daniella Peled, March 9, 2009

Gilad Shalit's family have set up a protest tent outside the Prime Minister's residence in Jerusalem. This is a time-honoured method of Israeli dissent. The spot has been previously occupied by bereaved parents, single mothers, Holocaust survivors and a whole host of others who have felt disenfranchised or ignored by the Israeli leadership.


Hapless in Jerusalem

By Daniella Peled, March 5, 2009

This morning, a bulldozer went on the rampage in Jerusalem, the third such attack in a year. Luckily, this time no-one was killed or badly injured; the Palestinian driver was shot dead by police. No motive has yet been discovered, no organisation has yet taken responsibility.
But it was pretty traumatic, nonetheless. And it meant that Nir Barkat, the new mayor of Jerusalem, had to deal with the first terror attack on his beat. How did he do?
Well, he arrived on the scene within half an hour (as he should).
And what did he say?


Freedom for plasticine!

By Daniella Peled, March 4, 2009

Political comment with a sense of humour AND a retro 1980s flavour...



Daily Mail-o-matic

By Daniella Peled, March 3, 2009

I spent two hours yesterday evening helpless with laughter at this website.
Only trouble is, people in glass houses and all that...I dread to think what a JC version might look like...


Sabra-style celebrity

By Daniella Peled, March 2, 2009

Depressed by the ongoing efforts to boycott Israel as rogue and militaristic nation? Don't be. Proof has arrived this week that cements the Jewish state as one of the family of liberal and progressive Western nations.

Yup, Israel now has its own very Celebrity Big Brother. Gushingly launched last night on Channel Two, the predictable fanfare of grade D slebs included singers, models, the obligatory lesbian/gay - and Maariv's literary critic, who entered the house brandishing a bible.


Donors meet in Egypt to rebuild Gaza

By Daniella Peled, March 2, 2009

International donors are meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh for a conference aimed at rebuilding the Gaza Strip following Operation Cast Lead.

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas are all in attendance at the summit, along with more than 40 foreign ministers.

The conference was to call on 80 donor nations and international organisations for at least $2.8 billion (£1.9bn) to reconstruct the devastated coastal strip.


While Gilad Shalit suffers...

By Daniella Peled, February 26, 2009

What on earth was this broiges all about?
Gilad Shalit has been sitting in some godforsaken Hamas dungeon since June 2006, enduring a horrific captivity in no doubt inhumane conditions and with no access to the Red Cross.
Meanwhile, in Israel, just when the deal to free him seems to be close, an almighty hissy fit erupts in the political echelons.
Amos Gilad, Israel's envoy in the Shalit negotiations, says something rude about Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's handling of the situation.


With friends like Lieberman...

By Daniella Peled, February 19, 2009

So Netanyahu has got what he wanted - or has he? Lieberman has endorsed him, guaranteeing Bibi an imminent return to the seat of power he vacated 10 years ago.

Without even trying, Netanyahu can form a bloc of 65 seats, taking in the Likud, Yisrael Beiteinu, Shas, United Torah Judaism, Habayit Hayehudi and National Union parties.

Bibi must be cracking open the Golan Heights Blanc de Blanc fizz - except he isn't.


Lieberman endorses Netanyahu

By Daniella Peled, February 19, 2009

The head of the far-right Yisrael Beiteinu party has publically backed Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu to be the next prime minister of Israel.

Avigdor Lieberman told President Shimon Peres today that his party - which holds 15 seats in the Knesset - would endorse the Likud chairman, providing he could create a broad coalition.

Mr Lieberman said the options were “a broad government, which is what we want. A narrow government, that will be a government of paralysis, but we don’t rule out sitting in it.

“And the third option is going to elections, which will achieve nothing.”


Tennis world threatens Dubai over Pe’er ban

By Daniella Peled, February 19, 2009

A major row over the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) decision to refuse a visa to Israeli tennis player Shahar Pe’er is escalating ahead of next week’s men’s championships, at which another Israeli is due to play.

International tennis organisations have hinted they may pull out of the $10 million (£7m) Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships if Israeli doubles player Andy Ram is also denied entry.


Mossad strikes again!

By Daniella Peled, February 17, 2009

The Daily Telegraph reports that Israel is using hitmen to bump off Iranian scientists - part of a strategy to delay Iran's nuclear programme.

One of the victims is thought to be top Iranian scientist Ardeshire Hassanpour, who died mysteriously from "gas poisoning" in 2007. The Israeli plan also reportedly includes the use of double agents and front companies to supply Iran with faulty components and intelligence.


One Israeli, two opinions - at least

By Daniella Peled, February 16, 2009

That old saying, "two Jews, three opinion" applies equally to Israelis, except more so. In their case, it's more like "one Israeli, two opinions".
Israelis seem to be eternally confused. They consistently support a two-state solution - yet vote in parties with little interest in bringing it about.
They favour a centrist national unity government - but 13 per cent voted for the far-right Yisrael Beiteinu.


The strategic vote is a losing game

By Daniella Peled, February 11, 2009

Israelis, unlike us repressed Brits, are usually quite happy to discuss their voting plans.

Throughout the day yesterday I got updates from one of my friends who was torn between Meretz, as the best fit in terms of social policy and peace manifesto, and Kadima as the best option to lead a centrist coalition in government. In the end, Meretz won out (but still only managed a tragic four seats).


Racism or apathy?

By Daniella Peled, February 10, 2009

One occasionally sees the phrase "Death to Arabs" scrawled on walls and bus stops around Israel. It's a common enough graffiti, the catchphrase of the long-outlawed Kach party.

But I recall once seeing the ugly phrase daubed on a wall in Ramat Aviv, a leafy middle-class suburb and the sort of place where everyone votes Meretz, practices yoga and only buys fair-trade produce.


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.


The path of darkness or the path of light

By Daniella Peled, February 5, 2009

Dr Ezzeldeen Abu al-Aish's bereavement was broadcast live on Israeli TV.

The Palestinian gynecologist, who had worked in Israeli hospitals, called his friend Shlomi Eldar, Channel 10 correspondent, in the middle of a news broadcast on January 16. A shell had just hit the father-of-eight's Gaza home, killing three of his daughters and his niece. He was sobbing, desperate for help for the dying and wounded.

The IDF investigated and yesterday produced their results: it was a mistake.


No, it's not just Israel

By Daniella Peled, February 3, 2009

So the Chinese premier's three-day visit to London has been disrupted by pro-Tibet rallies, demonstrators, and even a shoe-thrower.

Take note, those who gripe that do-gooders protest against Israeli human rights abuses but not those of China, Sudan, or Zimbabwe.

Seems that, actually, they do.


A challenge for Bibi

By Daniella Peled, February 2, 2009

With barely a week to go before the Israeli elections, it already seems like a done deal: Binyamin Netanyahu looks set to win.

But Bibi is unlikely to be breaking open the champagne just yet. He may be on the verge of returning to the spot he vacated a decade ago, but he has a hard task ahead when it comes to forming a coalition, even by Israeli standards.

Netanyahu is faced with three main choices when it comes to forming a government, each aimed at suiting a diplomatic, a financial or a political purpose.


Not glamorous, but good

By Daniella Peled, January 22, 2009

Earlier this week I heard a delicious rumour. The reason that the new US Middle East envoy had not been announced, my friend suggested, was that it was actually going to be Bill Clinton.