Israeli Siege is Undermining Peace

by Lori Allen | published October 19, 2006

Since Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s recent Middle East tour concluded without concrete results, and unity talks between Fatah and Hamas remain at a standstill, the possibility of an Israeli-Palestinian political compromise appears bleaker than ever. But Palestinian lives and livelihoods should no longer be held hostage to the reigning diplomatic stagnation.

Behind the Gaza Breakdown

by Chris Toensing | published December 18, 2006

The latest convoluted set of events within Palestine, and at its borders, form a depressing tableau that mirrors the conflict as a whole.

The Horrors of Israel's Peace

by Samera Esmeir | published January 22, 2009

Three weeks after the war on Gaza, Israel declared a unilateral ceasefire but refused to terminate its so-called defensive operations. In response, Hamas declared a ceasefire for one week, until the withdrawal of Israeli troops has been completed. For many in the West, the ceasefire might seem like an occasion to celebrate, for the cessation of military hostilities on both sides will perhaps renew the peace process. But there are reasons to be critical of this ceasefire, since it continues the situation in which Israel acts unilaterally. What we are actually witnessing is a new phase of the catastrophe in Gaza. While the characteristics of this phase are not yet known, Israel’s violence has become ever more evident.

Out of the Rubble

by Mouin Rabbani | published January 23, 2009

Speaking to his people on January 18, hours after Hamas responded to Israel’s unilateral suspension of hostilities with a conditional ceasefire of its own, the deposed Palestinian Authority prime minister Ismail Haniyeh devoted several passages of his prepared text to the subject of Palestinian national reconciliation. For perhaps the first time since Hamas’s June 2007 seizure of power in the Gaza Strip, an Islamist leader broached the topic of healing the Palestinian divide without mentioning Mahmoud Abbas by name.

Letters, He Gets Letters

by Chris Toensing | published March 26, 2009

Shortly before assuming office, President Barack Obama was handed a missive signed by such Washington luminaries as ex-national security advisers Zbigniew Brezezinski and Brent Scowcroft, urging him to “explore the possibility” of direct contact with Hamas. One month after he entered the White House, Obama received an epistle from Ahmad Yousef, a Gaza-based spokesman for the Islamist movement, making the same recommendation. “There can be no peace without Hamas,” Yousef told the New York Times  when asked about the letter’s contents. “We congratulated Mr. Obama on his presidency and reminded him that he should live up to his promise to bring real change to the region.”

Birth Pangs of a New Palestine

by Mouin Rabbani | published January 7, 2009

Shortly after 11:30 am on December 27, 2008, at the height of the midday bustle on the first day of the Gazan week and with multitudes of schoolchildren returning home from the morning shift, close to 90 Israeli warplanes launched over 100 tons of explosives at some 100 targets throughout the 139 square miles of the Gaza Strip. Within minutes, the near simultaneous air raids killed more than 225 and wounded at least 700, more than 200 of them critically. These initial attacks alone produced dozens more dead than any other day in the West Bank and Gaza combined since Israel’s occupation of those lands commenced in June 1967.

Cast Lead in the Foundry

by The Editors | published December 31, 2008

A stopped clock, the saying goes, is right twice a day. The “senior Bush administration official” who chatted with the Washington Post on December 28 was right that Israel is “not trying to take over the Gaza Strip” with the massive assault launched the previous day, and correct that the Israelis are bombing now “because they want it to be over before the next administration comes in.” That’s twice, and so one must take this official’s remaining reasoning -- that President-elect Barack Obama may not smile upon Israel’s gross abuses of military power as the Bush administration has done -- with a grain of salt.

Dual War: The Legacy of Ariel Sharon

by Yoav Peled | published March 22, 2006

The elections scheduled for March 28, 2006 will conclude what has got to be one of the more bizarre campaigns in Israel’s history. The series of totally unexpected events began with Amir Peretz’s surprise victory over Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres in the race for the Labor Party leadership. Peretz immediately withdrew Labor from the coalition government, forcing Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to call early elections.

Converging Upon War

by Robert Blecher | published July 18, 2006

“WAR,” proclaimed the three-inch headline in Ma‘ariv, Israel’s leading daily, the day after Hizballah launched its cross-border attack on an Israeli army convoy on July 12. With the onset of Israel’s massive bombing campaign in Lebanon that evening, its aerial and ground incursions into Gaza were transformed into the southern front of a two-front conflict. But are the two fronts, in Lebanon and Gaza, part of a single war? Speaking in such terms risks misidentifying what really links Israel’s actions on its northern and southern borders.