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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The strange physics of Middle East geopolitics is due for a paradigm shift

Apparently, Mahmoud Abbas took a great step backward on the road to Middle East peace this week. According to Maan News agency:

Dialogue between Fatah and Hamas has not been resumed ...Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told the Al-Sharq Al-Awsat news agency.

He also told the news agency that he will not give any concessions in the Annapolis peace conference...


by Moderator @ 02:31 PM CST [Link]

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Annapolis Middle East meeting: Lay down the law

Everyone seems to be agreed that the U.S. hosted Middle East meeting planned at Annapolis is going to be a catastrophic failure (see here, and also Eran Lerman, Yossi Alpher, Ghassan Khatib, Oded Eran and Daoud Kuttab). The consequences of failure at Annapolis could be catastrophic, ruining both chances for Middle East peace and US standing in the Middle East. [more]

by Moderator @ 02:02 PM CST [Link]

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Annapolis meeting: Propitious signs for peace

Truly, there has never been such unanimity in the Middle East before. We can see that in the articles published here about the upcoming Annapolis meeting (see Eran Lerman, Yossi Alpher, Ghassan Khatib, Oded Eran and Daoud Kuttab and yours truly ) as well as in Op Eds around the Middle East and positions of various statesmen. [more]

by Moderator @ 06:07 PM CST [Link]

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Annapolis: The consequences of failure

Representative sentiment about the upcoming Middle East summit meeting indicates that it is probably heading for disaster, that Palestinians have unrealistic expectations, Israel thinks it can bluff its way through, and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is judged to be clueless about the Middle East. (see articles by Eran Lerman, Yossi Alpher, Ghassan Khatib, Oded Eran and Daoud Kuttab). [more]

by Moderator @ 01:02 PM CST [Link]

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Toward Annapolis: Palestinians learned nothing and forgot nothing

Daoud Kuttab's article about the upcoming Annapolis meeting below is the last in a series of analyses by others that we are presenting here. (see the other articles by Eran Lerman, Yossi Alpher, Ghassan Khatib and Oded Eran). [more]

by Moderator @ 03:50 PM CST [Link]

Should the US propose an Israeli-Palestinian final settlement?

How active should the US be in solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

At first glance, it looks like Oded Eran is telling us that the US should intervene to impose a solution on the Israelis and Palestinians at Annapolis in order to make real progress in the negotiations. [more]

by Moderator @ 03:14 PM CST [Link]

Annapolis: Palestinian great expectations

Like their Israeli counterparts Eran Lerman, Oded Eran and Yossi Alpher, Palestinians do not see a great chance of success for the Annapolis talks (or meeting or summit). Unlike the Israelis, Palestinians Ghassan Khatib and Daoud Kuttab seem to focus exclusively on what Israel ought to do, rather than on what both sides or the United States might do, or on analysis of objective factors that stand in the way of success. [more]

by Moderator @ 02:43 PM CST [Link]

Annapolis: walking off the cliff?

This very pessimistic view of the prospects of the Annapolis conference unlike that of Eran Lerman, implies that it is very likely to fail, and that it if it does fail, it will make matters worse. I tend to agree with this assessment. Alpher doesn't spell out how failure will make things worse. We have to think about all the consequences of failure or failure that is spun to look like success. It seems we are on the brink of a precipice, as usual, and about to take a great leap forward.

Ami Isseroff

Making matters worse

by Yossi Alpher

About ten days ago, I made the rounds of the think tanks in Washington, DC, discussing current American/Middle East issues with colleagues. From scholars of the far right to the left, no one believed the Annapolis conference would succeed. The level of cynicism regarding the Bush administration's motives and capabilities in the Middle East was depressing. Between the lines was a consistent assessment that, in pressing the case for the conference, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was out of her depth. [more]

by Moderator @ 01:58 PM CST [Link]

A happy end for Israel and Palestinians at Annapolis?

Dr. Lerman posits a more or less "happy end" for the Annapolis meeting even though, as he notes "the best of intentions may not suffice." It seems to me that he doesn't see the dangers in failure, or in failure that is spun as success, which seems to be the happy end he has in mind. Yossi Alpher has a clearer view of why Annapolis is probably going to fail and what failure at Annapolis implies.

Ami Isseroff

A Bumpy Road to Annapolis: Where the Best of Intentions May not Suffice

It seems likely, as things stand, that the US-sponsored Middle Eastern summit (or “meeting,” as it is now being carefully referred to) in Annapolis next month will find it difficult to deliver on even the modest goal of a Declaration of Principles (DoP) - which is supposed, in turn, to establish the terms of reference for future Israeli -Palestinian negotiations on the permanent status agreements. This somewhat pessimistic outlook cannot, however, be ascribed to “the usual suspects,” the causes regularly offered as explanations for the failures of the peace process in previous years: [more]

by Moderator @ 01:23 PM CST [Link]

Friday, October 19, 2007

Support for One Million Voices from the Palestinian Authority

A press release from One Million Voices that arrived today claims that in his press conference, Dr. Saeeb Erekat announced that the Palestinian Authority approves of the program of One Voice Palestine. This desparately needed support for peace is most welcome (See Sumud: One Million Voices for real peace in Israeli and Palestinian societies). These remarks were not transmitted in media accounts of the press conference that I was able to find. This support is important, but it should have come before threats forced cancellation of the peace events of October 18 due to threats and false rumors.


by Moderator @ 05:21 PM CST [Link]

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Sumud: One Million Voices for real peace in Israeli and Palestinian societies

The most important Middle East event of October 2007 may be an event that didn't happen. Today was to be the day of simultaneous "summit" concerts around the world by the One Million Voices initiative to dramatize the will of the Israeli and Palestinian people for a peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This event, planned well before anyone knew there would be a November peace summit, was serendipitously timed to boost the failing cause of peace, and raise the rather meager chances that this summit will be a success.

The petition that Palestinians, Israelis and others (you) are asked to sign at One Million Voices recommends no particular political solution. It just urges the Israeli and Palestinian leadership to negotiate in earnest until an agreement is reached. [more]

by Moderator @ 10:27 PM CST [Link]

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Israelis and Palestinians declare for peace

The declaration below was signed a while ago, but has not gotten the publicity it should have. In view of intensifying efforts to sabotage the peace negotiations (see Drowning out One Million Voices), anyone who cares about Israeli-Palestinian peace should help publicize the declaration. Without necessarily endorsing every single word of the recommended political solution, we can all understand that public support for peace progress is vital. It would be much better, if the declaration had said "Make peace for both peoples" without trying to specify the parameters. That is the idea of the One Million Voices initiative.

We will never have peace until people people stop saying "we want peace -- but." Peace has to mean peace. It can't be a tactic to destroy your enemy, or a continuation of war by other means.

Ami Isseroff

Message from Palestinian and Israeli Civil Society to the International
Conference on the Middle Eastern Conflict

The people of Palestine and Israel call upon President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to begin immediately intensified negotiations to conclude, by the end of 2008, a genuine peace agreement based upon: the Arab Peace Initiative and the previous agreements signed between the two sides; the implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions 242, 338 and 1397; a fair agreed-upon solution to the Palestinian refugees problem in consideration of General Assembly Resolution 194; the end of the Israeli occupation; the evacuation of all Jewish settlements from within the final borders of the State of Palestine; and a solution for Jerusalem based upon keeping it as one city but establishing it as the capital of the two states: Palestine and Israel. [more]

by Moderator @ 03:21 PM CST [Link]

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Drowning out One Million Voices: The enemies of peace

As the November Middle East peace summit at Annapolis drags on to its almost inevitable and disastrous conclusion, there is one small candle emitting a ray of hope. A conspiracy of evil people, masquerading as "progressives" and friends of the Palestinians and members of the "peace camp," has been formed to snuff out this ray of hope. [more]

by Moderator @ 09:12 PM CST [Link]

Monday, October 8, 2007

Spinning Jihadism and stopping the clash -- postscript

The article Spinning Islamist Extremism: When "justice" and "peace" aren't what you think by Jason Guberman-Pfeffer, generated a very literate and interesting debate in comments by Paul Hilder of Avaaz, by the author and by thoughtful others that you can (and should) read for yourself there. The article discusses, in particular, an attempt to whitewash or euphemize radical Jihadism.

by Moderator @ 01:04 AM CST [Link]


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