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.
An Iranian flag flutters in front the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna, Austria, March 4, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Leonhard Foeger / File.
The acting chief of the UN nuclear watchdog policing Iran‘s nuclear deal with major powers, Cornel Feruta, will meet senior Iranian officials in Tehran on Sunday, a spokesman for the International Atomic Energy Agency said on Friday.
“The visit is part of ongoing interactions between the IAEA and Iran,” the spokesman said
The headquarters of the World Zionist Organization (WZO) in Tel Aviv. Photo: Screenshot.
The World Zionist Organization (WZO) on Friday opened a three-day conference in Santiago, the capital of Chile, on the topic of confronting antisemitism in Latin America.
Convened by WZO vice-chair Yaakov Hagoel, the conference will involve 150 Jewish professionals from around the region who will receive briefings from “high-level experts in the field to deal with the growing phenomenon,” the Spanish-language Jewish news outlet Diario Judio reported.
Russian immigrants (new olim) attend an event marking the 25th anniversary of the great Russian aliyah to Israel from the former Soviet Union at the Jerusalem Convention Center on Dec. 24, 2015. Photo: Hadas Parush/Flash90.
JNS.org – For most olim, moving to Israel is the realization of a dream. After years of hoping and planning, making aliyah and taking root in the Jewish state is a joyous and exultant experience. Still, the big move is not without its challenges, and many new immigrants become frustrated while attempting to navigate Israeli bureaucracy, secure a job, and find the right neighborhood to call home.
Taglit-Birthright Israel trip participants visit the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, Aug. 18, 2014. Photo: Flash90.
JNS.org – “It’s so much more.” That’s the mantra of the 54 Jewish young adults from across North America who just wrapped up 10 weeks in Israel.
Sure, they had applied to the Birthright Israel Excel program for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to intern at Israeli offices of such top global companies as Facebook, Visa, Microsoft, Ernst & Young (EY), and Barclay’s.
Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announced that the State Department will consider allowing U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem to list “Jerusalem, Israel” on their U.S. passports.
“We’re constantly evaluating the way we handle what can be listed on passports,” he told JNS in a wide-ranging interview. “It’s something that’s actively being looked at.”
The Palestinian Authority Foreign Ministry responded to this in a statement published in Wafa News saying the move was “an emphasis by the administration of President Donald Trump to antagonize the Palestinian people and undermine any chance for peace on the basis of a two-state solution.”
If you’re Jewish, how afraid should you be of being a victim of a violent anti-Semitic hate crime? In the wake of the Pittsburgh and Poway synagogue shootings in the last year, many American Jews remain afraid. The specter of white-supremacist hate that fueled those and other mass shootings has become the primary focus of those tasked with fighting and monitoring anti-Semitism.
If the use of Nazi symbolism in fashion was manifested in isolated cases, there would be only slight cause for concern. But when this trend is backed or glossed over by giants such as Amazon, the biggest online sales platform in the world, we cannot remain indifferent. From home decor to clothing and accessories, the popular website is infested with products depicting Holocaust victims heading to the gas chambers and images glorifying the Third Reich.
When the Second Intifada broke out in 2000, Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin boasted that the desire of his people for death in the service of Hamas was greater than the Israelis’ desire to live. Yassin, of course, was not referring to himself; happy to send his people off to die, he himself clung to life and even believed that his advanced age and status would protect him. But nothing lasts forever, and in March 2004, he was killed in an Israeli airstrike.
Egypt’s leading authorities have reinstated a notoriously “radical” cleric and hate preacher to the pulpit (minbar), despite strong opposition.
According to Arab Weekly, “The Egyptian Ministry of Religious Endowments, which controls the mosques, gave Yasser Burhami, the deputy head of the Salafist Call, the umbrella organisation of Salafi movements, approval to deliver sermons before Friday prayers at the Wise Caliphs Mosque in Alexandria.”
This week’s Torah reading Shoftim, maps out for us, the ideal national structure, of the Jewish people in their homeland, the Land of Israel. It describes the policies that Jews should be striving to implement today: Malchut/Kingdom, Sanhedrin/Torah, Nevuah/Prophecy, and Kehunah/Temple.