Daniella Peled

Iran: an under cover view

By Daniella Peled, November 6, 2008

In The Secret War With Iran, (Oneworld, £16.99) Israeli journalist Ronen Bergman has managed to pull off that much-vaunted trick, beloved of blurb-writers, of making a serious, investigative book read like a thriller.

This provides a fascinating insight into the clandestine battle which has raged between Iran, the US, Israel and other actors in the 30 years since the Islamic Revolution, with spies, secret deals, assassinations, terror plots and political intrigue.


Israel welcomes Obama win

By Daniella Peled, November 5, 2008

The historic election of Democrat Barack Obama as US President has been warmly welcomed by Israeli and Palestinian leaders alike.

Foreign Minister and Kadima leader Tzipi Livni said that the election as the first-ever African-American president was "a mark of merit for American democracy".

She added: "During Barack Obama's recent visit to Israel, and especially during the tour we conducted together in the city of Sderot, the people of Israel were impressed by his commitment to the peace and security of Israel."


Israeli elections: Predict this one at your peril

By Daniella Peled, October 30, 2008

It is unfortunate, but hardly surprising, that Israel finds itself heading for new elections. No
Israeli government has managed to make it through its full term in a generation.

Still, it is a pity. Israel could have done with a little stability right now, what with the global financial crisis, the threat from Iran, a soon-to-be new US president, talks with Syria, negotiations with the Palestinians and all the usual stresses and strains of being a beleaguered state in the Middle East.


A boon to Austria’s far-right

By Daniella Peled, October 17, 2008

What a way to go. Like Grace Kelly, Isadora Duncan and Princess Di before him, Jorg Haider met his death last week in a high-speed car crash. It was a fittingly dramatic exit for the handsome poster-boy of Austrian prejudice who, with his perma-tan and gelled hair, had brought a touch of glamour back to the far-right.

Indeed, coming just two weeks after his political comeback - when the far-right won nearly a third of the vote in the Austrian elections - his death has a bio-pic quality that has captured the imagination of the Austrian public.


Love and hate in Akko

By Daniella Peled, October 16, 2008

The ancient port town of Akko has a special place in my family history. That’s where my parents went on their first date (well, strictly speaking their second, which itself was something of a miracle since they didn’t really like each other at first). But on that warm September afternoon they rambled through the souk, they strolled along the soaring Crusader battlements, they ate at the famous Abu Christo fish restaurant – and, reader, six weeks later she married him.


Credit crunch? Who cares?

By Daniella Peled, October 3, 2008

Israel is one of the few Western countries where economics does not play big on the political scene

It is an ill wind that blows nobody any good. And the current stiff breeze chilling the collective tuches of the world's bankers is - to stretch a metaphor a little painfully - actually blowing some political careers right back on course.


Israel concerned over Austrian far-right vote

By Daniella Peled, October 3, 2008

Israel has expressed "deep concern" over the massive success of the Austrian far-right in this week's elections.

The combined success of the far-right parties amounted to almost a third of all votes cast in the early elections, called after Austria's coalition collapsed in June. They may now be called upon to help form a new government.


The politics of fear

By Daniella Peled, September 29, 2008

As if to confirm our worst suspicions and prejudices about them Europeans, the far-right in Austria stormed the polls on Sunday.
The two parties which campaigned on an anti-European Union, anti-immigrant platform won nearly a third of the vote, with the mainstream parties pushed into last place. A rather frightening scenario.


A deadly ritual

By Daniella Peled, September 23, 2008

The news of the latest attack in Jerusalem came with a sense of inevitability. A vehicle driven into a crowd of people; the young driver, a resident of East Jerusalem, shot dead by a passing soldier.


Livni’s hairstyle is irrelevant

By Daniella Peled, September 19, 2008

The new Kadima leader's main strength is her pragmatism, not her womanhood

‘Wife, mother, secret agent" ran the breathless headline in The Times on Wednesday, anticipating Tzipi Livni's win in that day's Kadima primaries. In case anyone had failed to notice the potential sexiness of this story, the first paragraph emphasised that Livni was a "blonde former Mossad secret agent", just ahead of the de rigueur reference to Golda Meir.


Who would win in a fist fight between Tzipi Livni and Sarah Palin?

By Daniella Peled, September 15, 2008

Who would win in a fist fight between Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin and Kadima leadership candidate Tzipi Livni?

Thus ran the idle debate in the pub yesterday afternoon, where Mossad-trained Livni was deemed the sharper, swifter opponent, but Palin was ultimately ruled to have the muscular advantage, what with all that moose pie and elk steak she must eat (not to mention the hunting, killing and butchering of it).


Palin will repel Jewish voters

By Daniella Peled, September 4, 2008

A journalist friend phoned me up last weekend to announce the breaking news that Republican presidential candidate John McCain had chosen his running mate.

He listed her attributes in telegraphic style. Female, 44, pro-choice, mother to five children - including, he added in hushed tones, a baby with Down's syndrome whom she had chosen to have.


Who won the Free Gaza boat affair?

By Daniella Peled, September 1, 2008

So who won in the "Free Gaza" boat affair?

This band of activists was determined to sail to Gaza to break the siege with balloons and hearing aids – and they did. Israel wanted to avoid a media frenzy featuring scenes of nuns arrested by Israeli sailors and crying Palestinian children seeing their hearing aids consigned to the briny depths. They also succeeded.


Israelis Beware

By Daniella Peled, August 26, 2008

Israeli travelers have been warned of a serious and heightened threat of abduction.

Apparently Hizbollah operatives are keen to avenge the assassination of its head of operations Imad Mughniyeh, killed in a February car bombing in Damascus.

The global threat to Jews and Israelis is nothing new. But this warning is especially diffuse, as it is fails to specify a particular country, or region, or even a continent where Israelis are at particular risk.


An arms role to be ashamed of

By Daniella Peled, August 21, 2008

Once upon a time, at least in the popular imagination, Israel's biggest export was oranges. Could it now be mercenaries?

Conspiracist websites abound with claims that Israelis are behind every junta, coup or military regime in the world. All this would be easy to dismiss as antisemitic delusions... if it wasn't so close to being true.


It's the neo-cons, stupid!

By Daniella Peled, August 19, 2008
There have been plenty of surprises in the Georgia crisis – but one aspect has been utterly predictable.
In the midst of the complex threats and dynamics of sovereignty and spheres of influence and endless Cold War rhetoric, one issue seemed crystal clear to large numbers of commentators and bloggers.
It was the neo-cons what done it.
Yup, those pesky Washington hawks were at it again. Not content with invading Afghanistan and occupying Iraq and ratcheting up tensions with Iran and being all pro-Israeli, they had now gone and messed up the Caucasus.


Russian troops rob JC reporter at gunpoint

By Daniella Peled, August 14, 2008

A JC reporter was one of a group of civilians robbed at gunpoint by a Russian soldier on Thursday morning in Georgia.

Anshel Pfeffer, also covering the conflict for Israeli newspaper Haaretz, was with three other journalists in a car near a Russian army checkpoint on the outskirts of the town of Gori.

A large crowd of journalists had gathered at the checkpoint, and Mr Pfeffer, 35, said the atmosphere had been cordial, with Russian soldiers and fofficers chatting and joking with the media.


Olmert's Pointless Peace Plan

By Daniella Peled, August 13, 2008
Ehud Olmert, in the dying hours of his administration, has apparently presented the Palestinians with a “peace deal” – but unfortunately one so pointless that is has been rejected by the Palestinians and ignored by Israel.
This plan seems to have all the familiar elements – land swaps, renunciation of the refugees right-of-return, a demilitarised Palestine – while ignoring some rather crucial issues such as the status of Jerusalem and the future of the Jordan Valley.
And the territorial exchanges it suggests are not exactly practical.


Gaza’s withdrawal symptoms

By Daniella Peled, August 8, 2008

Israel's unilateralism during the disengagement doomed the Strip

Abu Salach's little café barely qualified for the title. With a couple of plastic tables shaded from the fierce Gaza sun by a grapevine trellis, the only goods on sale were minibar-sized bottles of soda, lemonade, and plates of near-inedible hummus. But he had big plans. His neighbours in the nearby settlement of Shirat Hayam were being turfed out - hence the boost in custom from journalists and IDF spokesmen - and he was going to get back access to the stunning beach, just two minutes away.


What's next for Kadima - and Israel?

By Daniella Peled, August 1, 2008

Politically, Ehud Olmert has been a dead man walking for months. Having survived the damaging fallout of the Second Lebanon War and astonishingly dismal approval ratings, it has been the latest corruption allegations that precipitated his terminal decline.