Why There's No Peace in Palestine

by Catherine Cook | published September 1, 2003

On September 13, 1993, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat signed a Declaration of Principles on the White House lawn, heralding the beginning of the Oslo peace process. Ten years later, the process is completely deadlocked. Israel has decided to “remove” Arafat, and many outside observers are left wondering what went wrong. The answer lies in the fundamental failure of the Oslo process to address the root causes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The "Olive Branch" That Ought to Cross the Wall

by Abdul-Latif Khaled | published December 21, 2004

The autumn olive harvest used to be a time of celebration in this West Bank village. Entire families would spend days together in the groves. Even Israelis would make special trips here at this time of year to buy our olive oil. But with new Israeli restrictions on access to the fields, Palestinian farmers now have to leave their families at home, and may never even get to their olive grove.

Today, picking olives is no celebration. In the past few weeks, Israeli bulldozers began clearing agricultural land that belongs to Jayyous residents in anticipation of building 50 new houses for Israeli settlers.

Israeli Settlements Illegal and Getting Worse

by Stephanie Koury | published September 24, 2005

On his way to the UN summit in New York, Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon said to reporters, “Building is continuing there [West Bank settlements]; we will build as much as we need.” Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz proclaimed the day before, “We have to make every effort to direct resources to the development of the settlement blocs.” While the media portrays dismantling Gaza settlements as an Israeli concession to the Palestinians, scant attention has been focused on the real problem—that the whole settlement enterprise pursued by successive Israeli governments since 1967 is illegal. Israeli withdrawal of settlements from Gaza is partial compliance with international law, not a concession.

West Bank Road Vs. Peace

by Stephanie Koury | published November 11, 2005

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's brokering of an Israeli-Palestinian agreement on border crossings into the Gaza Strip is a good step for the economic development of Gaza and a positive sign of American engagement in the peace process. But the real test for the U.S. administration’s commitment to this peace process isn’t the Gaza Strip—it’s Israel’s settlement expansion and its separation plan for the West Bank.

Sharon Legacy Needs Undoing

by Michelle Woodward | published January 14, 2006

With the sudden incapacitation of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his effective exit from the political scene, the rush to define his legacy has begun. President George W. Bush called Sharon “a man of courage and peace,” and Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) commented, “it is [Sharon’s] vision for making peace with the Palestinians and achieving a two-state solution that has driven him in recent years.”

In fact, progress toward Middle East peace depends on undoing the ailing premier’s legacy.

Why Hamas Won and Why Negotiations Must Resume

by Joel Beinin | published February 8, 2006

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has admitted that her staff was caught off guard by Hamas’ victory in the Jan. 25 Palestinian Legislative Council elections. “I’ve asked why nobody saw it coming,” she said. “It does say something about us not having a good enough pulse.”

While the State Department, President Bush and many other observers understand that Hamas’ popularity is due to frustration with Fatah’s corrupt governance of the Palestinian Authority, they have been missing several other crucial reasons why the P.A. has failed.

Respect Democracy? Engage Hamas

by Richard Falk | published March 11, 2006

The Bush administration is caught in a trap of its own making. Having championed democratic elections in the Middle East, Washington now confronts a politically unpalatable outcome—a Palestinian Authority led by Hamas, the radical Islamic group.

The choices for the US are stark, but clear. President Bush can either accept Israel’s logic of unilaterally imposing a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or he can show some leadership and insist that Israel finally end the occupation.

The Conflict After Israel's Elections

by Joel Beinin | published March 27, 2006

No matter how Israelis vote tomorrow, they will likely be voting for a future of insecurity and conflict. The three major political parties—the right-wing Likud, the “centrist” Kadima and the so-called left-wing Labor—have not offered them a genuine peace option.

Despite the talk of possible Israeli withdrawals from parts of the West Bank, a new consensus has emerged among these parties that East Jerusalem and Israeli settlement blocs in the West Bank should be annexed to Israel. This would violate international law, destroy the possibility of a viable Palestinian state and condemn the Middle East to ongoing strife.

Hurting Peace, Not Hamas

by Michelle Woodward | published April 14, 2006

As President George W. Bush said in his second inaugural address, and as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said last summer at the American University in Cairo: “America will not impose our style of government on the unwilling. Our goal instead is to help others find their own voice, to attain their own freedom and to make their own way.”

Contradicting their lofty rhetoric, the Bush administration, along with the European Union, is undermining democracy and U.S. credibility in the Middle East by sabotaging the result of the January 25 Palestinian elections. In completely rejecting the outcome they are also effectively giving up the biggest “carrot” in their arsenals for influencing Palestinian Authority policy.

Israel's Occupation Remains Poisonous

by Lori Allen | published July 26, 2007

There is an oft-told Palestinian allegory about a family who complained their house was small and cramped. In response, the father brought the farm animals inside -- the goat, the sheep and the chickens all crowded into the house.

Then, one by one, he moved the animals back outside. By the time the last chicken left, the family felt such relief they never complained of the lack of elbow room again.

No doubt, the recent release of Palestinian tax receipts by Israel, some of which will be used to pay Palestinian civil servants who received only partial wages for the last 16 months, felt like the last chicken leaving.