On Tuesday, President Trump released his long-gestating plan for Middle East peace, the so-called “deal of the century.” It calls for a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza; for Jerusalem, including its Old City, to be the undivided capital of Israel; and for Israel to annex all settlements, as well as the Jordan Valley — which makes up nearly a fourth of the West Bank, including its eastern border with Jordan — creating a discontiguous Palestinian archipelago state, surrounded by a sea of Israeli territory. Mr. Trump announced that the United States will recognize Israeli sovereignty over all the territory the plan assigns to Israel, and shortly after, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel pledged to annex all settlements and the Jordan Valley beginning on Sunday.… Seguir leyendo »
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What is new in this form of Gaza protest over recent weeks?
Monday’s protest, held on the day of the U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem and the eve of nakba day, when Palestinians commemorate the expulsion and flight from their homes during the 1947-1949 war, was the largest of the past several weeks, and the bloodiest day of Israeli-Palestinian conflict since the 2014 Gaza war. The protesters’ primary goal has been to underscore the Palestinians’ insistence on returning to the homes in Israel from which they and their families have been exiled for 70 years; a more immediate demand of the march has been to end the siege of Gaza, including the tight restrictions on exports, imports, and travel in and out of the territory.… Seguir leyendo »
What happened last Friday?
Friday was 30 March, Land Day, the annual commemoration of protests by Palestinian citizens of Israel against government appropriation of their lands in 1976. Tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza marched toward the border with Israel in what is to be the first of several weekly marches leading up to 15 May. On that day, Palestinians commemorate what they refer to as the nakba, the forced displacement of some 750,000 Palestinians during the 1948 war. Over two thirds of Gazans are refugees from villages in Israel, and this year organisers named the series of events – of which last Friday’s was the largest of its kind in several years – the “Great March of Return”, reflecting the marchers’ demand to return to their original homes.… Seguir leyendo »
Has President Trump endorsed Israel’s position on the status of Jerusalem?
Not precisely, although many are understanding it that way. In policy terms, a central question is what President Trump recognised as Israel’s capital. Was it West Jerusalem, thereby leaving open the possibility that East Jerusalem would be the capital of a future state of Palestine? Was it present-day municipal Jerusalem within its unilaterally expanded borders, thereby essentially pre-empting the final status of the city? Or was it some third variant? His statement was not clear.
On the one hand, Trump specifically cited the Jerusalem Embassy Act as the basis of his decision, which refers to the “undivided” Jerusalem that Israel considers to be under its sovereignty.… Seguir leyendo »
When violence erupts in Jerusalem and the West Bank, it is usually not long before the Gaza Strip follows. At Gaza’s border with Israel on Friday, a Palestinian teenager was killed while protesting in solidarity with Palestinians in Jerusalem. Several days earlier, two rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza, and the next day Israeli tanks destroyed a Hamas position.
It’s an all-too-familiar echo of the events that preceded the Gaza conflict of 2014: widespread Palestinian protests in Jerusalem, Israelis murdered in the occupied territories, a sharp rise in Palestinians killed by Israeli forces, mass arrests of Hamas officials in the West Bank, and a steadily tightening noose around Gaza.… Seguir leyendo »
Three months after the 1967 war, Israel’s ruling Mapai Party held a discussion on the future of the newly conquered territories. Golda Meir, who would become Israel’s leader a year and a half later, asked Prime Minister Levi Eshkol what he planned to do with the more than one million Arabs now living under Israeli rule.
“I get it,” Mr. Eshkol jokingly replied. “You want the dowry, but you don’t like the bride!” Mrs. Meir responded, “My soul yearns for the dowry, and to let someone else take the bride.”
On this 50th anniversary of the war, it is clear that over the half-century that followed, Israel managed to fulfill Mrs.… Seguir leyendo »
President Donald Trump makes a 26-hour visit to Israel on 22 May to discuss the “ultimate deal” — a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians — with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem. With his eyes on the big prize, Trump risks neglecting a critical element of any agreement: the Palestinian territory of Gaza, where a new bout of war is potentially brewing.
Gaza’s 1.8 million Palestinians are administered by a third force, Hamas, labeled a terrorist organisation by the U.S. and others, and the isolation of the territory, imposed by Israel and Egypt, is pushing the population dangerously into dire straits.… Seguir leyendo »
Barack Obama entered the White House more deeply informed about and sympathetic to the Palestinian cause than any incoming president before him. He had attended and spoken at numerous events organized by the Arab-American and Palestinian-American communities, in which he had numerous contacts, and he had repeatedly criticized American policy, calling for a more even-handed approach toward Israel. Yet if there has been a distinguishing feature of Obama’s record on Israel-Palestine, it is that, unlike his recent predecessors, he has not a single achievement to his name. In the view of some top advisers, Obama’s final months in power are a unique opportunity to correct the record, and, more important, score an achievement that his successors could scarcely undo.… Seguir leyendo »
Israel is now confronted by the greatest unrest it has faced since the second intifada ended more than ten years ago. Palestinian protests and clashes with Israeli forces have spread from East Jerusalem to the rest of the West Bank, as well as to Gaza and Palestinian towns inside Israel. In the first three weeks of October, ten Israelis were killed and more than a hundred injured in stabbings and shootings, and by drivers ramming cars into pedestrians. Over the same period, Israeli forces killed 53 Palestinians and injured around two thousand. Compared to the second intifada, the protests this month have been smaller, the influence of Palestinian political factions weaker, and the attacks far less lethal.… Seguir leyendo »
El actual presidente palestino llegó al poder con un margen de tiempo limitado para obtener resultados políticos. Funcionario gris más que líder revolucionario con el carisma de Yasir Arafat, parecía un puente hacia la recuperación, después de los desastrosos años de la Segunda Intifada. En el momento de su elección, enero de 2005, los palestinos estaban abatidos, exhaustos y necesitados de alguien que aborreciera la violencia y tuviera aceptación internacional, capaz de obtener el apoyo político y económico necesario para reconstruir una sociedad despedazada. El movimiento de Al Fatah estaba dividido y desacreditado por el fracaso de Oslo, los escándalos de corrupción y el abandono de su estrategia de liberación antes de alcanzar la independencia.… Seguir leyendo »
The streets of Jewish West Jerusalem are eerie and still. Silence hangs over the city, punctured occasionally by a siren’s wail. Buses are half empty, as is the light rail that runs alongside the walls of the Old City.
Heavily armed security forces, joined by army reinforcements, patrol checkpoints, bus stops and deserted sidewalks. Young men in plain clothes carry assault rifles. The evening news broadcasts images of stabbings and shootings. Among the few shops doing good business are those selling weapons and pepper spray.
In the city’s occupied East, residents are frightened, too. Massive cement cubes block exits from their neighborhoods.… Seguir leyendo »
When Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced his intention to drop a bombshell in his speech this Wednesday at the UN General Assembly, Palestinians and Israelis shrugged. No one believed that the man who had spent the last four decades urging the Palestinian national movement to accept Israel, renounce violence, and seek a peaceful accommodation was about to reverse course. The only credible threat he could make was to resign, leaving Israel with a less accommodating successor. Indeed, that is the one threat he consistently wields—and to great effect, eliciting worried inquiries from Israeli, European, and U.S. officials. The leader of the Palestinian national movement has thus found himself in the curious position of having his supposed enemies more concerned about his welfare than are his own people, two-thirds of whom just told a leading pollster that they wanted him to resign.… Seguir leyendo »
As Hamas fires rockets at Israeli cities and Israel follows up its extensive airstrikes with a ground operation in the Gaza Strip, the most immediate cause of this latest war has been ignored: Israel and much of the international community placed a prohibitive set of obstacles in the way of the Palestinian “national consensus” government that was formed in early June.
That government was created largely because of Hamas’s desperation and isolation. The group’s alliance with Syria and Iran was in shambles. Its affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt became a liability after a July 2013 coup replaced an ally, President Mohamed Morsi, with a bitter adversary, Gen.… Seguir leyendo »
Earlier this month, at a private meeting with the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and his security advisers, a group of Middle East experts and former intelligence officers warned that a third Palestinian intifada was imminent. The immediate catalyst, they said, could be another mosque vandalized by Jewish settlers, like the one burned on Tuesday, or the construction of new settlement housing. Whatever the fuse, the underlying source of ferment in the West Bank is a consensus that the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, has reached a dead end.
Mr. Abbas’s political strategy was premised on the notion that security cooperation between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government would make Israel feel safer and remove its primary justification for continuing to occupy the West Bank, thereby clearing the way for a Palestinian state.… Seguir leyendo »
The rival Palestinian groups Hamas and Fatah officially agreed this week to reconcile and form a unity government. In response, Israel has decided to punish the Palestinian Authority by withholding two-thirds of its annual revenues. It’s a tactic Israel tried after Hamas won parliamentary elections in 2006 — and it will probably have as little success now as it did then.
Blocking the funds that pay the salaries of civil servants would destroy the Fatah-dominated West Bank’s relative prosperity, turning it into something resembling the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. There, several years of isolation have led not to the weakening of Hamas but to the strengthening of even more uncompromising enemies of the Jewish state.… Seguir leyendo »