The world press, which has widely reported South Africa’s invitation to the Palestinian prime minister and the objections by the South African Jewish community, has failed to publish in full what the South African minister himself said in defending the decision. I am reprinting it below.
May 11, 2007 5:56 PM
June 21, 2007 7:24 AM
The latest violence in Gaza has created de facto Islamic (i.e. Hamas) security-based control over Gaza and nationalist (i.e. PLO) control -- along with a new emergency government -- in the West Bank. The international community will quickly turn on the money faucet to the non-Hamas government, and Gaza will be left to burn and starve under the rule of the Palestinian Islamists.
November 12, 2007 11:01 AM
Israel was the only country in the world whose government, its opposition, and a majority of its people were in favor of the Iraq war. The loudest voices in favor of a strike against Iran today are exactly the same pro-Israel voices who also wanted the U.S. to attack Saddam, and they are the ones who are opposing President Bush in his belated and weak effort to push for a two-state solution in which Palestine will be an independent sate alongside the state of Israel.
After decades of conflict in the Middle East, Secretary Rice finally said three weeks ago that the creation of a Palestinian state is in the national interest of the United States. To prove it, the U.S. sent its National Security advisor to Ramallah. That’s the first time a senior U.S. official has discussed the Israeli-Palestine conflict in terms of U.S. national security.
March 5, 2008 11:20 AM
The Current Discussion: With the Israeli re-invasion of Gaza, it's clear that the "Annapolis Peace Process" is collapsing. Does it matter? Who's to blame?
The situation in Gaza reflects exactly what happens when a superpower (like the U.S.) makes a plan, sets parameters, declares deadlines and then lets the situation on the ground fall apart. Conventional thinking in the Middle East is that the Israelis don't carry out wide-ranging military activities without a green light from Washington D.C. Whether or not they gave prior approval, the U.S. has done little to stop the Israelis excessive use of force, which, according to international humanitarian law, is a crime of war.
April 4, 2008 8:10 AM
The Current Discussion: Vice President Dick Cheney said last week that Hamas is doing all it can to torpedo the Mideast peace process -- but Ephraim Halevy, former head of Mossad, thinks it's time to include the Islamist group in peace talks. Who's right?
The problem has to do more with the US attitude towards Iran and Syria rather than its attitude towards Hamas. Furthermore, the big question is whether the Bush administration believes in engaging with any Muslim movement (radical or moderate).
Regarding Syria and Iran, the US has to decide what to do with the olive branch that Syria and to a lesser degree Iran have waved. True, the issue of Lebanon and the election of a Lebanese president is holding things up, but some kind of engagement with Islamists (Hezbollah included) would most probably soften Syria's attitude toward the presidency and would loosen up its hardline attitudes toward Hamas.
A zero sum game with Islamists has proven a failure and a more sensible strategy would be to engage moderate Islamists and to give up on the my way or the highway attitudes. By hardening their position, the Americans are encouraging the Lebanese majority to refuse compromises and the same regarding the Israelis and Hamas. As has been leaked, the Israelis are much more practical on this regard than the Americans
May 12, 2008 3:50 PM
The Current Discussion:Israel celebrated its 60th birthday last week. Will it survive to celebrate its 100th?
The state of Israel as it is now will not exist in 100 years. But if it changes, it will happily celebrate its 100th birthday.
Consider Israel now: its borders unclear, its soldiers occupying another people, its Jewish citizens given unique rights, and its government supporting Jewish settlement activities in another land.
December 29, 2008 11:17 AM
I predict that in 2009, the siege on Gaza will end. The 1.5 million Palestinians holed up in the tiny strip south of Israel will be allowed to travel freely. Goods and services will be able to move in and out of this embattled region. I also predict that Palestinians will hold presidential and parliamentary elections (closer to the end of the year) and a more sane parliament will be elected.
January 6, 2009 1:35 PM
My colleague and long-time friend Ayman Bardawil got a call from his family in Rafah. The house he was born and raised in was totally destroyed last week. His brother and family, who live in that house, were miraculously saved because one of his daughters had a cold and they went over next door moments before the house was shelled. These are the kind of stories that you hear every day. Ayman's family support Fatah, but that didn't save them from the destructiveness of the Israeli onslaught.
January 23, 2009 10:22 AM
The Current Discussion:What's the biggest mistake Barack Obama could make in his first six months in foreign policy?
The one mistake that President Obama should be careful not to commit is to continue the status quo when it comes to the Arab-Israeli conflict. The Middle East has been in turmoil for years because one country and one country alone, the U.S., for purely domestic reasons, has chosen to go against the entire world in its blind and unhealthy support for Israel. The time has come for international law to prevail also on Israel, and for common sense and multilateralism replace the unjustified unilateralism when it comes to absolute support for Israel. A popular T-shirt in the old city of Jerusalem states the following: "Don't worry U.S., Israel is behind you."
It is this arrogance that allowed the disgraced and criminally-charged prime minister of Israel to boast that he forced President Bush to leave a speaking engagement in Philadelphia in order to take his call and accept his orders that the U.S. should not vote in favor of a security council resolution that the U.S. itself had helped draft. The only word for this is a Jewish word, chutzpa.
So Mr. President, please don't make the mistake of protecting the Israelis from their own arrogance. Please think of the innocent people dying, suffering and living under occupation for political reasons. Don't make that mistake.
February 20, 2009 3:01 PM
The Current Discussion: Israel's real "existential question" is whether or not to disenfranchise its Arab minority, says Fareed Zakaria in his column this week. Is he right?
This particular issue - especially the description of Israel as a "Jewish state" - almost torpedoed the 2007 Annapolis conference. Palestinians adamantly refused to recognize the state established on Palestinian land as a Jewish state, because 20% of that state's citizens are non-Jewish Palestinian Arabs.
But former President George Bush would not budge, calling Israel a "Jewish state" as he spoke in favor of an independent Palestinian state (which he promised would be realized before his term was up.) While this was not the first time that a U.S. senior official has referred to Israel as a religious entity, Bush's insistence on the description despite Palestinian president Mahmood Abbas's demands that this term not be used reflected a total U.S. acceptance of the Israeli position. Calling Israel a Jewish state goes directly against the general U.S. principle of separating politics from religion and counters the democratic values that the U.S. is trying to export to the rest of the world, including the Arab region.
May 12, 2009 4:55 PM
The Current Discussion: Are Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama on a collision course over Iran and the Palestinian problem? What would be the consequences of a breach between the United States and Israel?
If Netanyahu and Lieberman continue on their course of denying Palestinians their right to self-determination, and continue denying that they have nuclear weapons while threatening to bomb Iran's civilian nuclear facilities, yes - this will bring Israel and the U.S. onto a collision course.
President Obama is trying to find a peaceful, negotiated solution to the Iran nuclear program. This is the only sensible way forward. If we have learned anything in the last 60 years is that there is absolutely no military or violent solution for Palestine or for Iran.