A Dismal Failure Of Leadership All Around

It is hard to describe the state of affairs of the Arab-Israeli conflict at this particular juncture without using adjectives such as "sad," "unfortunate" or even "tragic," which I think is the most appropriate description. The collapse of the so-called Israeli-Palestinian peace process is indicative not only of the failure of the Israeli and Palestinian leadership, but of the other parties involved, in particular the Arab states and the Obama administration. It is a tragic situation because all the parties seem to focus on political expediency to explain away their failing policies while they lose the capacity show the vision and courage needed to avert the great regional disaster that is in the making.

December 20, 2010 Read more

The Psychological Underpinnings Of The Turkish-Israeli Rift

Any evaluation of Turkey and Israel's national strategic objectives reveals that the perceived policy incompatibility between the two countries is embedded not as much in their objectives of regional peace and stability, as in their assessment of three other geostrategic factors: a) the role and the objectives of other regional players, such as Iran, b) the terms under which peace and regional stability can be secured, and c) the manner in which Turkey and Israel seek to ensure their national interests and remain unchallenged by other states in the area. To better understand the Turkish and Israeli perspectives we must first to look into their national mindsets.

December 13, 2010 Read more

Time For Barak To Depart

The Israeli government must still approve the proposed United States-Israeli agreement to freeze settlement construction in the West Bank in exchange for a U.S. offer of three billion worth of military hardware, including stealth fighter jets. If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu succeeds in obtaining cabinet approval, the parties will have 90 days to focus primarily on reaching an agreement on borders. Only an agreement on borders would enable negotiations to proceed by delineating which of the settlements will be incorporated into Israel proper, and which would not. The resumption of Israeli construction would then be limited to those areas that are considered part of Israel proper. The success or failure of the Obama administration's peacemaking effort hinges on whether or not sufficient progress is made to induce the Palestinian and Israeli leadership to continue with the negotiations beyond the 90-day freeze.

December 6, 2010 Read more

Why Robert Wexler?

The Obama administration is close to reaching a new agreement with Israel that would freeze Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank for a non-renewable three months. Once the negotiations resume, and regardless of the outcome, it will be necessary for the administration to replace Middle East Envoy George Mitchell who led the negotiations for the past two years to no avail.

November 29, 2010 Read more

The U.S. And Iran At A Pivotal Crossroad

Two years into the Obama administration, the United States has made important progress in tightening sanctions against the Iranian regime, but more must be done to alter Iran's nuclear ambitions. Despite the new sanctions, Iran has continued to gain influence in Iraq and Afghanistan and stir unrest in Lebanon, strengthening its armed forces all while advancing its uranium enrichment efforts. Today, it is unlikely that Iran views the United States, preoccupied with withdrawing from the region and addressing its languishing economy, as a genuine threat to its nuclear aspirations. Moving forward, the United States must establish a successful Iran policy that underlines the importance of international engagement efforts while at the same time outlines clear consequences for Iran's continued defiance.

November 22, 2010 Read more

Syria’s Dilemma

When Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Southern Lebanon to great fanfare last month, he did more than irk Israelis and the West who seek to diminish Iranian influence in the Levant.  The visit served to underscore the increasing polarization in the broader region, placing the divergent views of Iran and the Arab states in stark contrast, with Syria in the middle.  As a result, Syria is under newfound pressure.

November 16, 2010 Read more

Israel’s Dismal Public Relations

Israel's public image today is dismal. As Elie Wiesel once joked, "Jews excel in just about every profession except public relations, but this should not surprise us: when God wanted to free the Jews from Egypt he sent Moses, who stuttered." However, today Israel's problem is not that its leaders are stuttering, rather that they are stalling to show leadership toward ending the Arab-Israeli conflict. In doing so, they are sending a message to the international community that Israel does not care what the world thinks, and that it does not want peace after all.

November 8, 2010 Read more

Calling On Robert Wexler

It is time for the White House to bring on a new Mideast peace team. At various points in the past several months Special Envoy for Middle East Peace George Mitchell has responded to reporters' questions about the stalled peace process by recalling his experience mediating the conflict in Northern Ireland, stating that he had "700 days of failure and only one day of success." Unfortunately, this analogy was never an apt one. In the Middle East, 700 days of failure serves to undermine credibility and trust-and that is exactly what has happened to Mitchell and his team.

November 4, 2010 Read more

“Change We Can Believe In”

With the peace process at a standstill, President Obama must shake up the current efforts, and his Mideast peace team, in order to get the Israelis and Palestinians back on track toward a peaceful resolution of their conflict. The Obama White House has invested an enormous amount of political capital to advance Middle East peace since taking office, yet has little to show for it. Even so, the United States cannot abandon its efforts and leave Israel and the Palestinians to their own devices. It is therefore time to recognize that the current U.S. strategy is not working-significant changes are needed if there is to maintain any hope for reaching a breakthrough in the coming year.

November 1, 2010 Read more
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