While the PM is likely to be reelected, his biggest blind-spot remains the issue of the Palestinian issue, on which he takes little to no action.
WHITE HOUSE senior adviser Jared Kushner gives a speech at the opening of the ‘Peace to Prosperity’ conference in Manama. (photo credit: REUTERS)
It must be admitted that, despite the many bullets of criticism fired against Benyamin Netanyahu, in Israel and across the region, the Israeli prime minister remains a “survivor” – a masterful political operator who has shaped the past two decades of the Jewish state and perhaps its future as well. Yet his greatest weakness remains his failure to engage the Palestinians in a genuine bid for peace.
After another electoral victory in April, Netanyahu failed to put together a parliamentary majority after his longtime ally Avigdor Liberman, representing a political party largely composed of Russian-speaking Jews, split from his coalition. This meant another election.
So, by all accounts, the current Israeli prime minister is likely to returned to office.
Still, Netanyahu’s greatest weakness is the peace process. He has no public plan for coming to a final resolution with the Palestinians, or even a plausible outline of next steps.
He enjoys the Trump era, which has given him many political gifts. The US administration transferred its embassy to Jerusalem and acknowledged Israel’s annexation of the Golan. Netanyahu makes an argument about it; he prides himself on what he calls his “historic diplomatic successes.” Except that the Palestinian problem remains and will have to be answered in the interest of Israel and its future generations.
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For decades, policy makers have focused on a political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This approach brought us the Oslo Accords of the 1990s, giving Palestinians over 90% of the land and water they said they wanted as well as a guarantee of security. Yet, Yasser Arafat, weakened by the emergence of Hamas and fratricidal struggles within the Fatah Party, left him ill-disposed to seize this historic opportunity. Arafat refused to give in on the Palestinian’s “right of return.” Israel also refused to budge on it, since it would mean that the Israelis would soon become a minority in their own state. The peace process has been in limbo ever since.
JARED KUSHNER, Trump’s son-in-law and special adviser, aims to resurrect the peace process with a simple, new idea: both young Israelis and Palestinians want jobs, safety and hope.
Kushner wants to ramp up economic growth to foster a climate of confidence conducive to a successive series of steps to peace. It is a new approach, since it rejects the notion of settling all outstanding issues in one grand bargain.
Two of the protagonists rejected Kushner’s idea before it was even unveiled at his Bahrain conference: Jordan and the Palestinian Authority.
Jordan’s monarchy is paralyzed by internal crosscurrents; it can take no diplomatic risks. Islamist movements thrive amid joblessness while Syrian refugees are an unmanageable burden for this small country. Jordan’s king still has religious responsibility for the Muslim holy places of Jerusalem. Jordan itself needs economic growth before it can play a constructive role in diplomacy.
As for the PA, it is too ill to treat the maladies of others. Elections have been postponed for 12 years after the Hamas coup in Gaza. Credible corruption charges are numerous. It cannot effectively police or even clean its streets. PA President Mahmoud Abbas cannot heal the fractures among his movement. Worse of all, Palestinian leaders have not dispensed with obsolete ideological visions and have not offered new alternatives to their youth.
At the Bahrain conference, former British prime minister Tony Blair had essentially supported Kushner’s plan, adding that a political agreement, without economic vision and an international commitment to boost the living standards of Palestinians, will fail. While he stressed that he remained committed to a two-state solution, Blair said that this will only happen “when economics and politics are right.”
Kushner’s plan is worth trying. No one else is making a serious effort to better the lives of Palestinians. And Netanyahu should get on board, before he misses an historic opportunity.
The writer, a Moroccan publisher, is on the board of directors of the Atlantic Council and an international counselor for the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
Ahmed Charai, a Moroccan publisher, is on the board of directors of the Atlantic Council and an international counselor for the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
Menachem Begin in December 1942 wearing the Polish Army uniform of Gen. Anders’ forces with his wife Aliza and David Yutan; (back row) Moshe Stein and Israel Epstein
(photo credit: JABOTINSKY ARCHIVES)
During the inauguration of a memorial to the victims of the Siege of Leningrad in Jerusalem’s Sacher Park on January 24, 2020, before the climax of Holocaust remembrance events at which Russian President Vladimir Putin was given a central platform, we were stunned to hear a rendition of The Blue Kerchief (Siniy
Giant figures are seen during the 87th carnival parade of Aalst February 15, 2015
The annual carnival in Aalst, Belgium, is expected to take place on Sunday with even more antisemitic elements than in previous years.
Aalst’s organizers have sold hundreds of “rabbi kits” for revelers to dress as hassidic Jews in the carnival’s parade. The kit includes oversized noses, sidelocks (peyot) and black hats. The organizers plan to bring back floats similar to the one displayed in 2019 featuring oversized dolls of Jews, with rats on their shoulders, holding banknotes.
Pope Francis waves as he arrives at the Basilica of Saint Nicholas in the southern Italian coastal city of Bari, Italy February 23, 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Remo Casilli.
Pope Francis on Sunday warned against “inequitable solutions” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying they would only be a prelude to new crises, in an apparent reference to US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace proposal.
Francis made his comments in the southern Italian port city of Bari, where he traveled to conclude a meeting of bishops from all countries in the Mediterranean basin.
Palestinians walk past a shop selling fruits in Ramallah, Feb. 20, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Mohamad Torokman.
Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have reached an agreement to end a five-month long trade dispute, officials said on Thursday.
The dispute, which opened a new front in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, began in September when the PA announced a boycott of Israel calves. The PA exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank under interim peace deals.
Antisemitic caricatures on display at the annual carnival in Aalst, Belgium. Photo: Raphael Ahren via Twitter.
Disturbing images emerged on Sunday of the annual carnival at Aalst, Belgium, showing an astounding number of antisemitic themes, costumes, displays and statements.
Israeli journalist Raphael Ahren documented people dressed as caricatures of Orthodox Jews, a fake “wailing wall” attacking critics of the parade, blatantly antisemitic characters and puppets wearing traditional Jewish clothes and sporting huge noses.
The stench of anti-Semitism always hovers over Switzerland’s Lake Geneva when the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is meeting there. The foul emanations reached a new nadir last week with UNHRC’s publication of a “database” of companies doing business in the disputed territories in Israel.
Following the publication of the list, Bruno Stagno Ugarte, deputy director for advocacy of NGO Human Rights Watch, stated, “The long-awaited release of the U.N. settlement business database should put all companies on notice: To do business with illegal settlements [sic] is to aid in the commission of war crimes.”
One of the many things that annoys me about politicians is how sure they are of themselves. Everything is black and white. Every idea is good or bad. Take globalism, for example. You either love it or hate it. It works or it doesn’t.
Another thing that annoys me is how so much of a politician’s life revolves around power: Do everything you can to get it, and everything you can to keep it.
Why am I ranting? Because, while our politicians have been consumed with power and the media with the fights over power, a threat to our nation has been virtually ignored.
Blue and White Party leaders Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid are establishing their diplomatic credentials in the immediate run-up to Israel’s March 2 election with an insult to a U.S. administration that has arguably provided Israel with more diplomatic gains than any previous administration.
The Times of Israel reported that at a campaign stop in front of English-speaking Israelis, Gantz accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “of neglecting bipartisan ties in favor of exclusive support from U.S. President Donald Trump’s Republican Party,” under the headline “Gantz pledges to mend ties with U.S. Democrats if elected.”
Bipartisanship was in short supply at the State of the Union address earlier this month—with one notable exception.
Nancy Pelosi had been looking dyspeptic, shuffling the papers she would later rip to shreds, when President Donald Trump reminded his audience that “the United States is leading a 59-nation diplomatic coalition against the socialist dictator of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro.”
Suddenly, the House Speaker applauded. Trump then introduced “the true and legitimate president of Venezuela: Juan Guaidó.”
The law professor Alan Dershowitz has thrown a legal hand-grenade into America’s political civil war by claiming to have evidence that former President Barack Obama “personally asked” the FBI to investigate someone “on behalf” of Obama’s “close ally,” billionaire financier George Soros.
He made his cryptic remark in an interview defending U.S. President Donald Trump against claims he interfered in the prosecution of his former adviser, Roger Stone.