From the time he took over the leadership of the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), it was obvious that Mahmoud Abbas was going to have a difficult road ahead of him. Replacing Yasser Arafat, the charismatic leader of the Palestinian national movement was tough enough. But, among other challenges, Abbas had to wind down the second intifada without destroying the PLO, try to restore some of the faith Arafat had squandered with his autocratic tendencies, cronyism and human rights abuses, and walk the impossible tightrope of fighting against the Israeli occupation while working with Israel under the terms of the Oslo Accords.
History is unlikely to judge Abbas kindly. The deck may have been stacked against him, but even within that context, he has performed poorly. Read more at LobeLog
Once again, in his speech Wednesday at the United Nations, President Obama revealed the reduced importance of the Israeli-Palestinian
Obama speaking at last year’s UNGA
conflict on his agenda. He also revealed just how out of touch his entire country is with respect to reality.
The Israel-Palestine conflict was the last specific global issue mentioned by Obama in his address to the UN General Assembly, and his wording was straight out of the playbook. It was also only mentioned briefly and without any hint that the United States would be taking any action at all on the issue. Read more at LobeLog.
I have discovered an article of mine from 2006 still online. It is a review I wrote for the journal Global Understanding of William Quandt’s book, Peace Process: American Diplomacy and the Arab–Israeli Conflict since 1967. Despite being eight years old, it is striking how much of this piece remains relevant. It will also serve as a preview of some more current work I am doing. I hadn’t seen the piece since its initial publication, so I’m happy to share it with you here. I hope you find it as valuable as I do.
In the last of three pieces, starting with an article at LobeLog earlier this week and one at this site yesterday, I look at the need for advocacy for various one-state formulations to be part of the discourse around resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict. I argue that, even for two-staters, there is an absolute need to broaden the discussion, to get to a better idea than the failed Oslo one, but that this won’t be possible unless some leadership, probably Palestinian though it could be Israeli too, is willing to advocate a one-state solution. That’s what is missing now, and what needs to emerge and just might be doing so. Check it out in Souciant this week.
Twenty years ago today, YItzhak Rabin and Yasir Arafat shook hands in front of Bill Clinton on the White House lawn. Even those who recognized that the Oslo Accords were not all they were cracked up to be had to be moved by the moment. But when the moment was over, Israeli-Palestinian-American took over and the agreement was a worsening disaster from the start. What happened, why did it happen and what did it mean? I explore in Souciant this week.
This article originally appeared at LobeLog. Check out the new look of this outstanding site for foreign policy analysis you won’t find anywhere else.
In recent weeks, a few incidents have begun to raise questions about the vaunted power of the so-called “Israel Lobby” and whether its influence might be waning. First there
Bibi might have to do more listening to Obama and future Presidents
were the AIPAC-backed congressional bills that sought to level sanctions on the Palestinian Authority to punish it for having gone to the United Nations in seeking and winning an upgrade in their status to one that implied statehood and granted it a few more rights in the international system. Those bills both died before reaching the floors of the Senate and House of Representatives. More recently, there was the row over Chuck Hagel’s nomination as Secretary of Defense. That nomination went forward and it has since become evident that, despite some disparaging comments from a few Senators, Hagel is likely to be confirmed.
Those aren’t small failures for “the Lobby”, but the circumstances around them should be examined to put them in context. The two events do indicate the potential beginnings of a shift in the discourse around US policy in the Middle East, but it’s important not to make more out of this than there is. Continue reading
In this week’s piece for Souciant, a rundown of some of the effects of the surprisingly impactful Palestinian victory at the UN General Assembly.