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Archive for the ‘Middle East’ Category

The recent UN vote on Israeli settlements lessons the power imbalance between Israelis and Palestinians.

Originally published in Foreign Policy in Focus on January 10, 2017.

President Barack Obama’s decision that the U.S. abstain on the vote at the UN Security Council regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Secretary of State John Kerry’s talk on the Israeli Palestinian conflict have been attacked too often with willful mischaracterizations. Such attacks demonstrate again how Americans are suffering from uncivil, nasty discourse, which is harmful to all parties. (more…)

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By Miriam F. Elman, originally posted to The Washington Post- Monkey Cage on December 29, 2016.

President-elect Donald Trump’s pledge to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and his selection of an ambassador to Israel who heartily supports the relocation have produced a deluge of dire warnings. Critics claim the move would unleash a wave of extremism, making past clashes pale by comparison. But these warnings may be exaggerated. A careful look at conflict-resolution theory suggests that moving the embassy could be a constructive move, pushing Israelis and Palestinians back to negotiations. (more…)

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Israeli academics are being quietly ostracized by their U.S. peers, not out of principle, but out of fear of pro-boycott colleagues. I hope our challenge to BDS-by-stealth at Syracuse U will encourage more campuses to take on their boycott bullies.

Miriam F. Elman Sep 07, 2016 12:03 PM

Back in July, Ben-Gurion University President Rivka Carmi expressed concern about a “growing and worrisome phenomena”: informal boycotts of her faculty. BGU scholars were telling her of being quietly shunned by colleagues—excluded from conferences, getting their research proposals and manuscripts summarily rejected, and finding it difficult to place their graduate students into post-doctoral appointments. (more…)

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By Ahmed Hezam Al-Yemeni
This post was originally published at Peace Direct, where he is an Insight on Conflict’s Local Peacebuilding Expert for Yemen.  Click here to read the original post.  

30 August 2016: Peace Direct’s Local Peacebuilding Expert for Yemen is Ahmed Al-Yemeni. He recently returned home after 12 months abroad. In this harrowing dispatch, he describes the trail of devastation he followed, all the way to his family village.

Following Yemen’s war from a distance is not like living it. Touching and feeling the agony and suffering of Yemenis, as well as hearing the airstrikes and visiting the areas targeted, is epic and dramatic. It is also full of blood, and the cries of those killed and injured. It is a dark portrait, with many destroyed schools, hospitals, bridges, and public infrastructure, destroyed for unclear reasons and a strategic vision that no one can understand or justify. (more…)

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In the eighth year of Barack Obama’s presidency the struggle over assessing the correctness of his foreign policy is understandably under way. Unfortunately, too often the struggle is waged in extreme, ill-founded terms. Many Republican leaders and pundits accuse Obama of being naïve, weak, indecisive, and even at times of pursuing non-American interests and goals. Obama himself, in his unflappable manner, ignores the wildest charges and tries to explain the rationale for the foreign policy choices that he makes. His team defends and explains the grounds for choosing the least bad option in difficult circumstances. They agree on the importance of not doing “stupid stuff.” (more…)

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The evidence favoring the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed in July 2015, is before our eyes. It was negotiated between the Iranian government and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council: the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, and China and one other: Germany (P5+1). For much of the time prior to the negotiated interim agreement, the U.S. pursued a highly bellicose policy toward Iran and Iran speeded its development of a nuclear program that could be preparatory to having nuclear weapons capability. That history also makes evident why the rejection of the signed agreement is likely to have extremely grave consequences for the United States. (more…)

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Hatem SharrubHatem Shurrab is the head of communications with the Islamic Relief Fund in Gaza. He submitted a video report depicting the aftermath of the current conflict in Gaza. Mr. Shurrab was part of the Maxwell School’s Leaders for Democracy Fellowship (LDF), a U.S. State Department program that hosts reformers from the Middle East and North Africa for months of academic training and professional affiliations. See the video here.

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By Nimrod Goren

(Originally published on the I24News website, July 27, 2014)

Israel can no longer rely on Egypt to broker between itself and Hamas; a fundamentally new set-up is required.

The list of “wannabee-mediators” between Israel and Hamas is long. Those that have offered assistance in brokering a ceasefire include the UN, the Quartet, the US, the EU, Germany, Britain, France, Italy, Turkey, the Palestinian Authority, Qatar, Tunisia, China and Russia.

It was not always like that. In previous rounds of Israel-Hamas violence the overall formula was rather clear. It was the Egyptians, with American backing, that would eventually deliver. In 2012, after operation Pillar of Defense, the Egyptians were even designated as the guarantors of the Israel-Hamas understandings. (more…)

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by Imran Khalid

With Palestinian deaths (overwhelmingly civilian) nearing 700, it is time for a global rethink vis-à-vis Occupied Palestinian Territories. The current crisis comes on the heels of the 2009 invasion of Gaza which resulted in over 1500 Palestinian and 13 Israeli deaths, and the 2012 crisis in which well over 100 Palestinians were killed. We don’t need a statistician to inform us of the enormous discrepancy between the two sides militarily, economically and geopolitically. Indeed, Israel’s hold on Palestinian people and land has been likened to the apartheid regime in South Africa of yore. Yet, I am increasingly shocked and awed by the heavily biased coverage of crisis by the media in the United States and beyond. While social media has been integral in highlighting their plight, major media entities in this country continue to present the Palestinians as the “other,” with lesser values. (more…)

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by Timothy Rodriguez

(Published on the blog “Edgy World Affairs,” July 16, 2014)

It has come again. Something that comes every couple of years now – an Israeli assault on Gaza. To see images and video of the horrific bloodshed is pain enough – around 190 Palestinians killed (80 percent civilian), up to 1,485 injured; 1 Israeli killed and about 10 injured – but to make matters worse, the lack of journalistic and intellectual integrity on the topic has been appalling to listen to and read.

Contrary to the official Israeli line – which too many unquestionably follow as if it were gospel – the current assault did not begin with Hamas shooting rockets or the abduction of three Israeli teenagers. (more…)

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