by Lara Friedman
Last week, friends forwarded me a mailing they had recently received from AIPAC. Included with the letter touting AIPAC's accomplishments and the expected call for donations was a map-style fold-out insert, headlined with the ominous message: "Israel Faces Increasing Threats." Under that headline, taking up more than half the page, is a photo of an Israeli policewoman shepherding to safety an Israeli woman who clearly has been the victim of a bombing attack.
by Lara Friedman
The Gaza Strip! IDF Girls Gone Wild! These are some of the nicknames for the recent scandal sparked by Facebook photos and video of semi-nude female IDF soldiers, striking poses and dancing on IDF bases and inside IDF facilities, in some cases carrying weapons and sporting (parts of) IDF uniforms. These stories seemed to be everywhere -- including at the Forward.
By Ori Nir
Israel TV Channel 2 recently ran a lengthy report of pre-dawn arrests of Palestinian children -- rock-throwing suspects -- at a West Bank Palestinian refugee camp. The TV crew was embedded with an Israeli unit that raided the camp.
by Lara Friedman, Daniel Seidemann
At the crux of the ongoing controversy over Google's decision to recognize "Palestine" on its google.ps landing page is an emphatic refusal by some in Israel (and abroad) to accept empirical reality. That reality is pretty uncomplicated. Most of the world today recognizes the Palestinians as a people. Most countries have voted at the U.N. to recognize Palestine as a theoretical state that must one day come into being in areas currently controlled by Israel. No nation on earth endorses Israel's continued occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem; Israeli actions to further entrench the occupation continue to provoke global condemnation.
by Lara Friedman
People keep asking me: "Have you seen the news? Has Bibi actually frozen settlements? What does this mean?"
I am writing in the afterglow of President Obama's speech in Jerusalem--an afterglow that lingers on as I re-read his words, and as I recall the boisterous applause that greeted them. I'm content to leave the word clouds and microscopic parsing of his speech to others. Likewise, I'll leave to others the speculation about what might have been, if only this speech had been given years earlier. For my part, I am unrepentantly stopping to savor the moment.
When President Obama visits Israel this week, he will attempt neither to unmoor the old peace process nor outfit a new one. But with new leverage in hand, a determined Secretary of State John Kerry at the helm, and riding a wave of domestic and worldwide popularity, the president may never have stronger winds at his back in the search for Israeli-Palestinian peace. To take advantage of them, he will soon need to open his sails. If the president hopes to ever make any real headway, however, he should first rid his outlook of an old trope that has become an excuse for inaction: the idea that "The U.S. cannot want peace more than the parties themselves."
Last week I
raised concerns about Dennis
Ross's new 14-point peace plan, which would gut the very notion of the two-state solution. Ross's approach is
the most prominent manifestation of a growing trend toward the acceptance of a seductive new logic that has emerged
in the context of the current Israeli-Palestinian deadlock. According to this line of thought, breaking the
deadlock requires an approach that falls comfortably within Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's
pro-"Greater Israel" political comfort zone, but that can somehow still be marketed as "pro-peace."
Just in time for President Obama's long-awaited trip to Israel, perennial Israeli-Palestinian policy strategist Dennis Ross has published his 14-point plan to achieve Middle East peace. Ross claims that by following this plan, Israelis and Palestinians can "chip away at the sources of each side's belief about the other's commitment to a genuine two-state solution."