Daniella Peled

Turkish anger may backfire

By Daniella Peled, January 22, 2009

Israel seems to have made it through Operation Cast Lead without suffering too much diplomatic damage. Despite all the global outrage and condemnation, only a handful of countries severed ties with Jerusalem — and Israel can probably live without its friendships with Venezuela, Bolivia, Mauritania and Qatar.

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Just what has Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert got against journalists?

By Daniella Peled, January 20, 2009

Haaretz reports that the misguided decision to bar all journalists from Gaza during Operation Cast Lead was down to the edict of the Prime Minister’s Office. The High Court itself ruled against the ban; by last week both the IDF and the Defence Ministry said that journalists could be allowed in. But the PMO stood firm.

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Payers not Players

By Daniella Peled, January 19, 2009

You’ve got to feel sorry for those poor Europeans. They funnel vast sums of money into building the infrastructure of Gaza, only to have it destroyed by the Israelis.

“We don’t want to go on to reconstruct Gaza every I-don't-know-how-many-years,” said EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner this week. “This is not what we want. What we would like to see is a clear sustainable peace."”

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When good friends go bad

By Daniella Peled, January 14, 2009

It’s never nice when old friends fall out. But it’s hard to imagine a more high-profile spat than that between the Prime Minister of Israel and the President of the US.

In an exceptionally rare statement, the White House insisted that Ehud Olmert’s account of a 3am phone call to George Bush to persuade Condoleezza Rice to abstain from a UN ceasefire vote as “100 per cent, totally, completely not true”.

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Ceasefire now

By Daniella Peled, January 8, 2009

We need a ceasefire in Gaza now. We need massive amounts of humanitarian aid to be allowed into the Strip. And we have to find a longer-term, more durable way to prevent a repeat of this horrific situation.

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Turkish disgust

By Daniella Peled, January 6, 2009

Israel seems to have only alienated one diplomatic ally thus far through its Gaza operation – but a vital strategic one.

 Turkey is Israel’s closest Muslim partner, enjoying a far warmer relationship with the Jewish state than the cold peaces extant with Egypt and Jordan, for instance.

 And yet Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a speech on Sunday which appeared nearer the rhetoric of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than the words of an old– though not uncritical - friend.

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A diplomatic Czech mate

By Daniella Peled, December 31, 2008

Czech President Vaclav Klaus must be overwhelmed by his stroke of diplomatic luck. His country has been handed the EU presidency right in the middle of a major Middle East crisis. With 27 members, each country has to wait well over a decade before it gets its crack at the six-month presidency. So he is ensuring they make the most of it.

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Inside the minds of Hamas

By Daniella Peled, December 31, 2008

International leaders may be issuing calls for an immediate ceasefire, but Hamas leaders may be hoping for a rather different outcome.

They have been hugely damaged by Israel’s surprise attack and massive bombing campaign. Communications lie in tatters, Israel has reportedly inflicted huge damage on their local operational structure and an estimated 50 per cent of rocket silos have been destroyed.

The only way Hamas can now inflict any serious retaliatory damage is if the IDF decides to embark on a ground invasion.

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Israel rejects ceasefire call

By Daniella Peled, December 31, 2008

Israel has rejected a French proposal for a 48-hour ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

France had called for a temporary truce to allow humanitarian aid to reach the beleaguered Stri, but an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman said that the plan failed to include any guarantees that Hamas would stop firing rockets at Israeli communities.

However, sources said the truce might be reconsidered if its terms were amended.

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Saudi peace plan: still the only show in town

By Daniella Peled, December 30, 2008

It is the peace plan that refused to die. While the Annapolis process has been and gone, the Road Map is a distant memory, and Gaza is on fire, somehow the Arab League Initiative remains the perennial best-seller of the jaded peace industry.

First proposed by the Saudis in 2002, it presents an apparently simple deal: Israel gets peace with 22 Arab states in return for a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders.

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Analysis: Plenty of plans but no solution

By Daniella Peled, December 23, 2008

While Israeli officials privately predict an imminent ground operation, there is no pretence that this will solve anything.

Israel has the military capability to re-occupy the Strip, but has no desire to re-assume responsibility for 1.5 million Gazans, quite apart from the vast cost this would entail, both human and financial.

Israel has been limiting itself to striking directly at rocket-launching teams. Now this is likely to be extended to hitting rocket workshops and Hamas leaders — with the inevitable civilian casualties.

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Review: The Holocaust Is Over: We Must Rise From Its Ashes

By Daniella Peled, December 23, 2008

By Avraham Burg
Palgrave Macmillan £15.99

Avraham Burg was once at the very heart of the Zionist project. He is a former Knesset Speaker and a former head of the Jewish Agency. His late father, Josef, was a cabinet minister and chairman of the National Religious Party.
So when the Hebrew version of this excoriating attack on modern Zionism and the Israeli establishment was published, it created outrage.

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Analysis: There is no easy solution

By Daniella Peled, December 18, 2008

Sunday’s vast rally in Gaza, with its ghastly Gilad Shalit tableau and tens of thousands of flag-waving Hamas supporters, was a sight intended to strike terror or awe into all who saw it (including the ranks of foreign cameramen).

But as a show of force it was pretty deceptive. The fact they still hold Shalit hostage is pretty much the only achievement Hamas can show off to the beleaguered occupants of the Strip. Things are probably about to get much worse, too.

The six month truce is up and Israel, much as it wants to continue it, fully expects an imminent escalation in the south.

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At least 24 killed in Eilat bus crash

By Daniella Peled, December 16, 2008

At least 24 people have been killed after an Israeli bus carrying tourists plunged into a desert ravine north of the resort town of Eilat.

Dozens more passengers have been injured, with some reported to be in a serious condition.

The private bus was en route to an airport near Eilat when it veered off the Mitzpe-Ramon-Eilat road into the 80-metre ravine.

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Livni's shimmer to the right

By Daniella Peled, December 11, 2008

Tzipi Livni went off at an interesting tangent this week.

Speaking in Tel Aviv, she was quoted as saying that Israel’s Arab population should see a future Palestinian state as the solution for their national aspirations.

“Once a Palestinian state is established, I can come to the Palestinian citizens, whom we call Israeli Arabs, and say to them ‘you are citizens with equal rights, but the national solution for you is elsewhere,’” Army Radio quoted her as saying.

This was a suggestion rather too close to the extreme-right concept of transfer for comfort.

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The financial turmoil may help Israel in 2009

By Daniella Peled, December 11, 2008

As the hangover fades on January 1, watchers of world affairs can look forward to a busy schedule over the following year with the inauguration of a new US president in January, Israeli elections in February and Iranian polls in June, not to mention the ongoing global financial turmoil and rogue nuclear programmes.

In Jerusalem, policy planners have been busy with their own forecast for 2009, and a quick look throws up some interesting predictions.

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Analysis: What this means for Netanyahu

By Daniella Peled, December 9, 2008

This has been a bad week for Bibi. The turn to the right in the Likud primaries presents a double, if not triple, whammy to his ambitions in next February’s general elections.

His new list, stuffed with extremists and rabble-rousers who dogged Ariel Sharon’s administration, might have passed muster – just - with the Israeli public in the middle of the intifada.

Right now Netanyahu is still blazing ahead in the polls, but this has given Kadima chair Tzipi Livni a very handy stick to beat him with.

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Research into bias gave me a one-side view

By Daniella Peled, November 27, 2008

A student researching media bias has been given a fresh insight into partiality after his requests for information from Israel advocacy groups were, he claims, ignored while pro-Palestinians were happy to answer his enquiries.

Alan White, 21, a sociology student at Strathclyde University in Glasgow, says he emailed a range of organisations as part of his dissertation into media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and how partisan groups shaped their public relations strategies.

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Fifteen Israelis could be held

By Daniella Peled, November 27, 2008

As many as 15 Israeli citizens may currently be held hostage in various locations around Mumbai following Wednesday's series of terror attacks.

The Foreign Ministry believes six Israelis are being held in the Chabad centre, with others among the hostages at the Oberoi Hotel.

A further 20-25 believed to be in the city have yet to make contact with their families in Israel.

Foreign Ministry officials described a tense and confused situation as they worked to gain information on the hostages and other Israelis.

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Analysis: From our Foreign Editor

By Daniella Peled, November 27, 2008

This is far from the first mass terror attack in Mumbai, India's sprawling financial capital. Just two years ago, 200 people were killed in bomb attacks on the city's trains, blamed on a Pakistani and Indian Islamist groups.

But last night's atrocity was different.

This was an extremely well co-ordinated strike, featuring teams of gunmen attacking specific targets.

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