Only The U.S. Can End The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict cannot be resolved without the direct and active involvement of the United States, using both inducements and coercive diplomacy to bring about a peaceful solution. If the conflict remains unresolved over the next couple of years it will most likely precipitate a massive violent conflagration to the detriment of the Israelis and…

October 1, 2012 Read more

Israel’s Posturing: Behind Netanyahu And Barak’s Threats To Attack Iran

Successive Israeli governments have consistently inhibited in the past any public discussion about Iran’s nuclear program and what Israel might do to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. In recent weeks however, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Barak have been openly discussing the issue while intimating their readiness to take whatever actions necessary to…

August 21, 2012 Read more

The Arab Uprising: An Impediment Or An Opportunity For Peace?

There is an ongoing debate in and outside of Israel as to whether or not this is the right time to forge peace with the Palestinians in light of the regional upheavals and instability. The peace process, at this juncture, is hopelessly frozen while the expansion of the Israeli settlements and the continued internal Palestinian…

August 13, 2012 Read more

Why Attacking Iran Is Becoming More Likely

The negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program during the past few months have produced nothing more than a diplomatic dance in the face of persistent Iranian ploys for time coupled with intransigence on key issues. In failing to reach a negotiated settlement, the conflict with Tehran is inching closer toward a point of no return, where Israel might decide that the circumstances warrant a unilateral attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Although there are other scenarios under which Israel may decide to attack Iran, chief among them is Israel’s fear that Iran is close to reaching what Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak terms, “a zone of immunity.” Under such circumstances and given more time, Iran would be in a position to store much of its previous enriched uranium, as well as its high quality centrifuges, deep inside the mountain base of Fordow, thus becoming completely immune from aerial bombardment.
    
This objective, which Tehran is hard at work in seeking to achieve, limits how much time Israel would have before it acts. This Israeli concern makes the continuing diplomatic efforts coupled with sanctions advocated by the Obama administration unviable options and might in fact be extremely risky to pursue. The Netanyahu government is absolutely convinced that Iran will continue to play for time as it has over the past several years, during which time Tehran has considerably advanced its nuclear program in defiance of the IAEA and in spite of severe sanctions.

June 19, 2012 Read more

The Prime Minister’s Speech

Having been engaged in the Arab-Israeli conflict as an advocate for peace, interlocutor, a keen observer and a commentator for much of my adult life, I fantasize once in a while about the regional, if not the global, implications of an Arab-Israeli peace. I allow myself to dream what seems to be an impossible dream because I believe in the dynamism and wealth of the human resources and creativity that both Israelis and Palestinians bountifully enjoy. Peace between Israel and the whole Arab world would usher in a renaissance period to the Middle East that history pages have yet to record.

When Prime Minister Netanyahu announced the expansion of his coalition government to include Kadima, which granted him a historic majority in the Israeli Parliament, I found myself fantasizing again about the prospect of such a comprehensive peace. Truthfully, if a coalition government representing three quarters of the Israeli electorates cannot muster the will and the courage to forge peace, who can, and under what conditions? Israeli and Palestinian leaders, regardless of their political coloration, must sooner than later face, under any circumstances, the inevitability of coexistence. Israel, in particular, who is on the defensive for continuing the occupation and the expansion of settlements, must strive to end its increasing isolation.

June 11, 2012 Read more

Israel And The Muslim Brotherhood: Facing The Bitter-Sweet Reality

Since the fall of the Mubarak regime, the conventional wisdom in Israel has suggested that the emergence of an Islamist government in Egypt would necessarily be hostile to the Jewish state. Egypt’s parliamentary elections, in which the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) won close to 50 percent of the vote, only reinforced this notion, which Prime Minister Netanyahu viewed with a suspicious “wait-and-see” attitude. On its part, the MB Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) seems equally unwilling to change their posture towards what they still call the “Zionist entity.” That both sides are loath to talk to one another not only ignores the hard-core realities on the ground but also deepens pre-existing misperceptions.

March 15, 2012 Read more

Egypt Can Rise To The Historical Ooccasion But It Must Choose Wisely

A few days after the Egyptian uprising, I argued that the Arab Spring could well turn into a long and cruel winter due to a host of prominent factors including: the lack of traditional liberalism, the elites’ control of business, a military that clings to power, and the religious divide and Islamic extremism. These factors are making the transformation into a more reformist governance (slow, filled with hurdles and punctuated with intense violence) much to the chagrin of Utopian-minded Western governments who thought that the transition to democracy would be attainable within months. If and when the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and the ruling Military Council reach a power-sharing agreement, the situation will continue to unravel and be punctuated by chaos and accompanied by violence.

March 5, 2012 Read more

Iran: Obama’s Indecisiveness Makes Israeli Strike Likely

The failure of President Obama to impose crippling sanctions a few months after assuming office in 2009 makes the prospect of an Israeli strike on Iran nuclear facilities in the coming few months increasingly more likely. To prevent Israel from taking unilateral action against Iran, the Obama administration must insist that any resumption of negotiations is conditioned upon the immediate suspension of all uranium enrichment activities and acceptance of complete oversight from the International Atomic and Energy Agency (IAEA). Otherwise, the U.S. will have to deal with the serious repercussions of potentially a major conflagration in the Middle East with its unpredictably dire consequences.

February 28, 2012 Read more

Israel’s Borders And National Security

Israel’s National Security: the Psychological Dimension

No one should fault the Israelis for their preoccupation with national security. Indeed, the Jewish historical experience speaks for itself: centuries of persecution, expulsion, anti-Semitism and segregation culminating with the Holocaust and followed by incessant, violent confrontations with Arab states and the Palestinians. Such things have created a major psychological barrier that places national security concerns at the front and center of Israel’s domestic and foreign policy.  For this reason, any agreement on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must take into full account Israel’s legitimate national security concerns, which are deeply embedded in the mind and soul of every Israeli. Regardless of how exaggerated Israel’s sense of vulnerability may seem to its detractors, the Palestinians cannot afford to dismiss Israel’s concerns and hope to strike a peace agreement. Although the Israelis and the Palestinians differ about the kind of measures needed to alleviate Israel’s security concerns, only if the Palestinians appreciate the psychological underpinnings behind Israel’s national security and agree on the security measures needed will both sides reach an enduring peace.

February 16, 2012 Read more
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