• Another Sign of the Times

    26 November 2009 I arrived in Israel at about 15:00 on Wednesday, 25 November afternoon to visit my mother, brother, and sister who are Israeli (and US) citizens resident in Israel since 1973.  My mother has been ill, and this visit was prompted primarily for that reason.  I have visited Israel dozens of times before […]

  • Three Months in the Wilderness

    The next three months are unlikely to see much movement on any of the crucial issues that have been simmering just below the boiling point in the Middle East.  On October 13 Kadima leader Tzipi Livni and Labor Party leader Ehud Barak signed a draft agreement to form a new Israeli government under her leadership.  […]

  • The Heart Wants to Hope, But the Brain Cannot

    Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni eked out the narrowest of victories in the primary elections for the leadership of the Kadima party over her principal rival, über-hawk Minister of Transport Shaul Mofaz.  Livni won by 431 votes, or 1.1% of the 39,331 ballots cast.  Only a little more than half the eligible members of Kadima turned […]

  • Palestine and Israel: What’s Iran Got to Do with It?

    Responding to the Israeli voices and actions noisily advocating a preemptive strike against Iran, Ha-Aretz columnist Uzi Benziman (July 21, 2008) writes, “Before bombing Iran, it would be best [for Israel] to solve the conflict with the Palestinians.  By the way, there does appear to be a link between the two threats.”  While Benziman doesn’t […]

  • A Tale of Two Cities: Istanbul and Sharm al-Sheikh

    Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s May 21 announcement that Israel and Syria will soon begin indirect negotiations in Istanbul, mediated by the Turkish government, should not have surprised anyone.  As Olmert told the Israeli daily Ha-Aretz (May 22, 2008), “exchanges [with Syria] have been ongoing for a long time.”  What seems to have changed is […]

  • Preparing for War with Iran?

    As Israel prepares to celebrate its 60th anniversary, the weak and internally divided government of Ehud Olmert persists in pursuing counterproductive policies detached from all regional and global realities except the guaranteed support of the United States.  Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice soldiers on in her starring role keeping the theatrical performance known as “the […]

  • Unpleasant Anniversaries

    March is a cruel month in the recent history of the Middle East.  This year is the fifth anniversary of the death of Rachel Corrie who was crushed to death by an Israeli soldier driving an armored Caterpillar D9 bulldozer on March 16, 2003 as she attempted to stop the gigantic vehicle from destroying the […]

  • Why Another History of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict?

    James L. Gelvin.  The Israel-Palestine Conflict: One Hundred Years of War.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. x + 294 pp. Illustrations, maps, notes, bibliographies, glossary, time line, biographical sketches, index. Those who have noted, but not read, James Gelvin‘s The Israel-Palestine Conflict: One Hundred Years of War may well ask themselves, “do we need another […]

  • It’s the Empire, Stupid

    The status of the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt remains unsettled.  Egypt is under heavy pressure from both Israel and the United States to reestablish control and seal the border.  In an uncharacteristically blunt criticism of the regime of President Husni Mubarak, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice testified before the House Foreign Affairs […]

  • The People in Gaza Challenge Sham Peace Process

    About 3:00 am on Wednesday morning Jan. 23, well-coordinated explosions demolished the iron wall built by Israel to seal the southern border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt (the Philadelphi axis).  Tens of thousands of Palestinians streamed across the border and entered the Egyptian side of the town of Rafah, which had been bisected by […]