Daniella Peled

So Goodbye Mr Olmert

By Daniella Peled, July 30, 2008

He held on, and held on, and held on - and then all of a sudden Olmert let go of power in a hastily-arranged, surprise press conference.

"I believe with all my heart in my ability to continue to serve, the same as I believe in my innocence," he told Israeli prime time news on Wednesday night.

Well sorry mate, precious few people agree with you on either point.


A Bit of The Wall is to Fall

By Daniella Peled, July 28, 2008

A High Court ruling means a 1.5 mile stretch of the security barrier is to be moved, after petitions from Palestinians affected by the route and human rights groups.

The IDF was also peeved after it became apparent that the route of this particular section had been chosen to make room for a new settlement - not out of any security concerns.


Obama’s tarnished Israel tour

By Daniella Peled, July 25, 2008

What makes Europeans love Obama is exactly what makes Israelis wary of him

Barack Obama swept into Israel this week to a fanfare of delight and a frenzy of excitement. He hugged Shimon Peres, embraced Tzipi Livni and joshed with Binyamin Netanyahu, bringing with him the sexy sparkle of a new era of American politics.

Except he didn't, quite.

Unlike the breathless welcome awaiting Obama on the European leg of his world tour, the excitement that greeted him in Israel was far more fuelled by anxiety.


The Obama show comes to town

By Daniella Peled, July 23, 2008

The Obama show has come to town. It’s a big day for the Democratic presidential candidate and all-round shiny wunderkind, which officially started with an 8 am breakfast with Defence Minister Ehud Barak.
Then followed a mad rush to tick off all the requisite national icons – Yad Vashem, Ramallah, Sderot, Shimon Peres – before the finale at the Western Wall tonight.
There will be no lack of kippah-wearing, Peres-hugging photo opportunities with which the presumptive leader of the free world can wow Jewish voters back home.


Three injured in tractor attack

By Daniella Peled, July 22, 2008

Three people have been injured in central Jerusalem after a tractor driver apparently went on the rampage, two weeks after a similar incident left three people dead.

A border policeman shot the driver dead after he drove into two vehicles on the corner of Keren Hayesdod and King David streets.

The injured, one of whom was said to be in serious condition, were taken to Shaare Tzedek hospital.


Brown in the Holy Land

By Daniella Peled, July 21, 2008

So Gordon Brown is taking a quick gallop through Israel and Palestine this week – Yad Vashem, the Knesset, Bethlehem, and so on.

Personally, if I hear Brown meander on once more about learning about the Holy Land at his father’s knee I will spit. Enough with the cheap Brownie points already.


Jordan’s man: ‘Time is running out’

By Daniella Peled, July 18, 2008

A two-state solution can only be possible if Jerusalem pursues a rapid, comprehensive peace deal with all its Arab adversaries, according to Jordan’s former top man in negotiations with Israel.

“When the time comes for an agreement, it will have to be comprehensive,” Marwan Muasher, Jordan’s first ambassador to Israel, told the JC. The previous failure of an incremental peace process meant that a deal could only work if concluded in a matter of months. “A year is too long in today’s Middle East,” he said.


Analysis: A bad deal closes a disastrous war

By Daniella Peled, July 18, 2008

The last scenes of the disastrous Second Lebanon War were played out on Wednesday, and ended with Hizbollah being able to claim victory even more convincingly than they did two years ago.


US diplomatic overtures to Iran are good news

By Daniella Peled, July 17, 2008

A great scoop in the Guardian today about US diplomatic overtures to Iran. This kind of American engagement is good news.


A Win for Hizbollah

By Daniella Peled, July 16, 2008

Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah is a brilliant media manipulator. He managed to convince Lebanon and the wider Arab world that his group won a divine victory over Israel in the 2006 war, although in truth it was more a case of Israel losing than anyone winning.


Another week, another scandal

By Daniella Peled, July 14, 2008

Oh dear. Another week, and another corruption scandal for Ehud Olmert, still managing to drag out his inevitable political demise beyond all reasonable expectations. Now he is suspected of having double-billed for foreign trips as Jerusalem mayor and later as a government minister, using the money to fund his own family holidays. What makes a high-flying, ambitious politician potentially do something not only so low, but frankly so stupid? One can only imagine that it must be greed, arrogance - and confidence that the Israeli political system would let him get away with it.


Tony Blair is wasting his time

By Daniella Peled, July 11, 2008

Launching a new column on international affairs, our foreign editor assesses the Middle East Envoy’s first year

How much impact has Tony Blair had in his year as the Quartet’s Middle East envoy? According to one government adviser, it all boils down to a matter of parking at Jerusalem’s legendary American Colony Hotel, where the former British prime minister has his offices. “When he’s there, they cordon off the car park,” he sniffs, “and you have to leave your car outside.”


Gaza Ceasefire

By Daniella Peled, July 10, 2008

How long will the Gaza ceasefire hold? No-one has very high expectations, and neither side are putting great efforts into maintaining it. The armed Palestinian groups have been firing the odd rocket; and on Thursday, Israel killed an 18-year-old al-Aqsa Martyrs brigade gunman just by the border - the first fatality since the agreement was reached last month. The Kassams followed in quick succession.


How Russia’s Jews found a richer future

By Daniella Peled, July 4, 2008

New wealth, and friends in high political office, are transforming communal life in the former Soviet Union

Over the finest kosher sushi, served on elegant china amid the lavish surroundings of Moscow’s century-old Choral Synagogue, two-dozen Jewish businessmen have gathered to taste the possibilities of buying membership of an exclusive club.


Analysis: This, or ruin for all

By Daniella Peled, June 20, 2008

So finally we can all stop pretending. Israel does negotiate with terrorists, albeit indirectly.

The deal hammered out with Hamas this week — in which neither side got quite what it had wanted — was always the only realistic way Israel had of stopping the rocket-fire from Gaza.

Of course, both the blockade of the Strip and the operations the IDF has carried out over the last year strengthened Jerusalem’s hand in these negotiations. But the only other alternative would have been a full-scale, scorched-earth military operation in Gaza.


Why President Obama could be good for Israel

By Daniella Peled, June 6, 2008

A more involved US president might boost the peace process

Barack Obama has so far managed to defy one expectation after another. He has come from being a virtually unknown greenhorn to defeating Hillary Clinton as the Democratic presidential candidate. And he may yet become America’s first ever black president, as well as one of its youngest.

So would President Obama repudiate the whispering doubts about his pro-Israel and Jewish-friendly credentials that have accompanied his campaign?


Life is good, says the oligarch

By Daniella Peled, May 30, 2008

Mikhail Friedman: The billionaire who sees ‘no obstacles’ to local Jewish life

Russian Jews can look forward to far greater opportunities in the former Soviet Union than they can in Israel, according to one of the country’s wealthiest Jewish businessmen.


What next for the coalition?

By Daniella Peled, May 30, 2008

The net has been closing in on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert ever since the news broke of his alleged financial misdoings. The last three weeks have been little more than a relentless march towards his final political demise.

On Wednesday, this inglorious fate came a step closer with the announcement by Labour leader Ehud Barak that he would lead his 19 MKs out of the coalition without some major show of political remorse from Mr Olmert.


Milliband tribute ahead of Israel trip

By Daniella Peled, May 16, 2008

Foreign Secretary David Milliband delivered an unscripted tribute to Israel’s achievements and search for peace at the Israeli embassy Independence Day Party this week. Expressing his delight at participating in the celebration, held at a central London hotel with 2,000 invited guests, Mr Milliband praised Israel’s free press and achievements in agriculture and technology.


How Israel can make peace with Syria

By Daniella Peled, May 2, 2008

Conditions are ripening for a deal — not least the emergence of a promising new mediator

Recently, a very senior Israeli minister provided a private audience with a particularly neat metaphor for possible talks between Jerusalem and Damascus. “Negotiating with Syria,” the minister said, “is not like haggling in the marketplace. It’s like going into a boutique. You know exactly what you want, and just how much you’re going to have to pay for it.”