The ink was not dry on the historic Geneva nuclear accord with Iran before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced it as a “historic mistake” that would allow Iran to cheat and get closer to nuclear weapons. Netanyahu may have been doing Iran a favor. By criticizing the deal so harshly, he will make it More »
QUICKTAKE: Can Israel Block a Deal With Iran?
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has sought to reassure the Israeli people that his positions regarding Iran’s nuclear program have not changed. He told an audience at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University that the international community should tighten rather than relax economic sanctions against Iran until Tehran completely ends its suspected nuclear weapons program. Israel sees More »
INSIGHT: Three Major Challenges for Israeli-Palestinian Talks
Israeli and Palestinian peace negotiations have resumed after a prolonged hiatus. Six Middle East trips, and tireless efforts by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry made this resumption possible. The talks face three major challenges as a new chapter begins in the twenty year-long saga of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Diplomatic Ambiguity. One fundamental challenge will be More »
INSIGHT: The Day After a Strike on Iran
All eyes are on what it will take to prevent Iran from getting its hands on a nuclear weapon. If sanctions and diplomacy prove incapable of containing Tehran’s nuclear ambitions – and soon – a military strike to destroy or at the very least delay its program is seen as the least bad option More »
INSIGHT: Israel’s Syria, Hezbollah Challenge
Israel in early May reportedly carried out its heaviest attacks on targets in Syria since the uprising against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad began in March of 2011, hitting a military convoy and several military installations near the capital, Damascus. The air strikes were the first direct military intervention by Israel since several of More »
QUICKTAKE: PLO’s Envoy to US Says Arab Land Swap Initiative Nothing New
In a fresh bid to jumpstart long-stalled Middle East Peace talks, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Arab League officials in Washington this week to discuss possible changes in the 2002 Peace Initiative that might attract the parties back to the negotiating table. Following the meeting Monday, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, More »
INSIGHT: Takeaways from Obama’s Visit to Israel, the West Bank
The main news story of President Obama’s Middle East trip was his intensive focus on engineering an emotional reset with both the leadership and people of Israel. His two prepared texts (the speech to Israeli youths at the Jerusalem Convention Center and his toast to President Shimon Peres upon receiving Israel’s Medal of Distinction) More »
INSIGHT: Israel’s Next Front – Syria
For the better part of 40 years, the Syrian border has been the quietest of Israel’s frontiers. Notwithstanding Israel’s 1973 capture and subsequent annexation of Syrian territory in the Golan and Bashar al-Assad’s ongoing support for terrorist organizations targeting the Jewish state, the border has been tranquil since the signing of the 1974 armistice. More »
QUICKTAKE: What’s Really Stalling Middle East Peace?
New U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in the Middle East; President Barack Obama is scheduled to make his own trip to the region soon. Syria and Iran are high on the U.S. agenda but the Middle East peace process is not off the table. Kerry would even want to move it higher More »
‘Harlem Shaking’ It Up Across the Middle East
Just when the Gangnam Style craze began to fizzle, and we thought that the world would be spared another viral dance phenomenon, enter the Harlem Shake. It began as a 2012 heavy bass instrumental music track produced by Baauer, the stage name of American music producer Harry Rodrigues, uploaded to YouTube in August 2012. More »
QUICKTAKE: Israeli-Palestinian Peace During Obama’s 2nd Term?
The new U.S. secretary of state, John Kerry, has openly affirmed his commitment to achieving peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. Iran and the Syrian crisis may be topping the agenda his current visit to the region, but most analysts believe he will use his first trip as America’s top diplomat to signal his More »
QUICKTAKE: 3 Things Obama Could Do to Better US Image
With fresh anti-American sentiment growing in some parts of the Middle East and North Africa, Economist Intelligence Unit expert Robert Powell offers some thoughts on what President Barack Obama could do to counter the trend. Powell spoke with VOA’s Susan Yackee. Yackee: What does President Obama need to do to improve his image in the More »
INSIGHT: Israel’s Election Surprise
Israeli voters delivered an unexpected outcome in the general election held on January 22nd. According to still preliminary results, a late surge by the new centrist Yesh Atid party saw it capture 19 seats and emerge as the second-largest grouping after Likud-Beiteinu, which secured 31 seats in the 120-member Knesset (parliament). Overall, the election More »
QUICKTAKE: Three Big Issues Facing a New Israeli Government
With Israel’s new Knesset polarized and, in broad strokes, almost evenly divided between right and center-left following recent parliamentary elections, it remains to be seen what type of government will emerge to lead the country into the near future – or whether a government can be formed at all. A final tally of the vote More »
QUICKTAKE: With Israel’s New Knesset Equally Split, What’s Next?
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fared worse than expected in this week’s election. His Likud-Beitenu Party won just 31 seats. The right-wing religious HaBayit Yehudi Party (leader – Naftali Bennett), claimed 11 seats. The real surprise was the second place win by the centrist Yesh Atid Party, led by Yair Lapid, the former television news presenter, More »
VOICES: Snow, With a Small Chance of Peace
Children building snowmen and palm trees sprinkled with snowflakes were just some of the many pictures that filtered through my Facebook news feed last week when Jerusalem experienced its heaviest snowfall in more than 20 years. As I clicked on photo after photo of the snow-covered holy city and its surrounding white-laced hilltops, I was More »
INSIGHT: War with Iran in 2013?
Israel did not bomb Iran last year. Why should it happen this year? Because it did not happen last year. The Iranians are proceeding apace with their nuclear program. The Americans are determined to stop them. Sanctions are biting, but the diplomatic process produced nothing visible in 2012. Knowledgeable observers believe there is no “zone More »
QUICKTAKE: A Middle East Roadmap for Obama
As U.S. President Barack Obama approaches the beginning of his second term, experts caution that his Administration must radically rethink its strategy to achieve an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal or risk seeing its stated goal of a two-state solution slip away. Such was the conclusion of a Washington symposium organized by the Carnegie Endowment for International More »
Points of View: What Should Obama Do to Solve the Arab-Israeli Conflict?
As President Obama enters his second term, experts warn that his administration must radically rethink ways to achieve an Israeli-Arab peace deal or risk seeing his goal of a two-state solution slip away. Yet, while they agree that the old approaches will not work, there is a range of possibilities of what might achieve More »
QUICKTAKE: The Gaza Conflict – A Palestinian Perspective
Israel and Hamas on Wednesday agreed to a ceasefire brokered by Egypt on the eighth day of violent conflict between the two parties in the Gaza Strip. Israel has agreed to stop all hostilities, whether by land, sea or air, and has pledged not to target individuals or undertake any kind of military incursions More »