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Online Journal: Middle East Current Affairs, the Israel-Palestinian Conflict, Democracy and Civil Society

Volume III


OIG Report on CIA Accountability With Respect to the 9/11 Attacks

Current Commentary

Readers' Comments and thinking about the Middle East I What readers' comments can tell us about political analyses and the world that is out there.

Syria and Hamas will not watch the peace agreement on television - Yossi Beilin is right that we must be prepared for trouble ahead, but there is no gain in bowing to Hamas demands.

Peace Conference: New hope or fresh catastrophe? If the peace conference being organized for this fall is not prepared carefully, it could be much worse than nothing.

Understanding the obvious: U.S. policy toward Israel - Every Israeli politician and government always understood that the settlements were living on borrowed time. Every Arab extremist could also know that the US intended to obtain U.S. withdrawal from the territories in return for peace. So why does everyone act surprised every time it is "discovered?" Is U.S. policy, formulated in 1967, still workable today?  

Israel and Palestine: The time for serious peace action is now  - As usual in the Middle East, there is too much talk about grandiose peace negotiations, which may be impractical right now, and not enough meaningful action on either side

Bush Push on Israeli Palestinian Peace: New Hope? - The Bush initiative for renewed Israeli-Palestinian negotiations may be a serious effort, but it will founder if the Americans do not take into account the well known obstacles and are prepared to deal with them.

Syria: Winds of war, or just hot air?  - Syria is openly threatening to stage, in all senses of the word, a guerrilla war. Serious efforts must be made to avert war, but if it comes, Syria must be liable for the consequences. States cannot perpetrate war crimes by hiding behind stage-managed "liberation committees."

The Truth About Syria - What Americans and everyone should know: Barry Rubin's frightening picture of the Bashar Assad regime.

Sharm summit surprises: Abbas is abandoned -  It is worse than we thought. Egypt and Saudi Arabia decide to push for "unity."

Update: PBS's Getler repudiates reference to 6,000 Palestinian deaths in Six Day War - by Joseph M. Hochstein - MidEastWeb investigative reporting scores a tiny victory for truth in journalism.

Israeli-Arab Peace: What Was and Might Have Been - by Ralph Seliger - Could this have been the way to peace?

Sharm el Sheikh Conference: Vision versus reality in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - Don't expect too much.

False claim of 6,000 Palestinian deaths in Six Day War -  by Joseph M. Hochstein - MidEastWeb discovers a gross error in PBS Ombudsman report.

Gaza Coup: Islamization is coming  - Hamas will use Gaza as a base for creating an Islamic regime in the West Bank or Egypt, according to Walid Salem.

Gaza Coup: Why now? - Walid Salem explains why Hamas moved now.

Ten reasons why Fatah collapsed in Gaza  - Walid Salem explains. First of a series.

Gaza: What is happening and why it is important - For incomprehensible reasons, the US is surrendering its entire policy for a Palestinian state to Iranian and Syrian manipulation, without a fight.

Gaza Implodes - Failure to suppress armed factions and form a real central government has produced tragedy in Gaza

Stop the Chomesh march madness - Settler supporters are trying to create new "facts on the ground," as they did 30 years ago. They get the support of the IDF, and the apathy of the rest of us.

An EU for Israel/Palestine - A utopian vision that can really happen one day. It must...

Claims of Entebbe conspiracy lack credibility  - A canard about Israeli involvement is just another Middle East rumor.

How Peace Broke Out Tony Klug's Fabian utopia of Israeli-Arab peace.

Lebanon Cartoon - "La Vache Qui Rit" (laughing cow or mad beast) is the local nickname of pro-Syrian President Emile Lahud.

In the Wake of the Winograd Interim Findings: Why Is Olmert Hanging On?  - Ehran Lehrman explains.

Boycotting Middle East peace - Boycotts are generated by anti-peace groups masquerading as human rights crusaders.

Middle East: La Vache Qui Rit in Lebanon

Palestine Unravels - Hussein Solomon discusses the problem.

A program for wrecking Israeli-Palestinian Dialog - "Anti-Israel boycott" groups are subverting dialogue and cooperation programs to prevent a solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: The Palestine Campaign for Academic and Cultural boycott of Israel.

PACBI Resources: PACBI - Criteria for boycott   PACBI - Youth Brochure   PACBI - Resources Page Image > Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)

Chaos in Gaza: Saving Fatah from the Palestinians - Israeli reoccupation of Gaza will not save the Fatah as some contend. It would get Israel into a dangerous military adventure.

Arab Peace Initiative: Opening the window of opportunity  - The window of opportunity needs to be cleaned and opened a bit, and all Arab participants have to be saying the same thing about the issues.

Window of Opportunity for Middle East Peace: Arab or Saudi Peace Initiative? - Walid Salem tells us some surprising and encouraging things about the Arab Peace Initiative.

Notes from the May 3 oust-Olmert rally in Rabin Square - Irrelevant, an air-head happening, or the start of a revolution?

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Just peace - Peace is not a matter of borders or "justice."

Winograd: Sins of Commission The Winograd commission claims that the IDF botched a 'real' war. It was much worse. Israel bungled a turkey shoot against a vastly inferior enemy.

Salahuddin Shoaib Choudhury: What are you willing to do for peace and freedom? Salah continues his dangerous lonely path of self-sacrifice in the fight for peace and freedom.

The Arab Peace Initiative versus the culture of confrontation - No peace plan can succeed unless it can change geopolitical and cultural blocks to peace. More

Middle East Misinformation: How to believe what you want to believe  - "Information" sources create virtual realities for true believers. More

Arab Peace Initiative: Israeli- Palestinian Joint Statement - Palestinians and Israelis urge their leaders to negotiate land for peace. More

Israel and the Palestinians after the unity government - Israel needs to launch a pro-active peace initiative that can get the backing of the international community. More

Syria: Which Way? Syria beckons for peace and acts for war. Will the real Bashir Assad please stand up? More

Israel: The occupation is not so moral either- Self defeating and pointless cruelty is not much better than self-defeating terrorism. More

Resistance: Moral or Murder?  - Is intentional murder of babies justified? Should we need to ask this question? More

Bibi Netanyahu May Be Back - At PeaceWatch, we contemplate this dismal possibility. More

Middle East - Waiting for disasters to be handled by incompetents - The only competent people handling Middle East affairs seem to be on the wrong side of the political fence. More

Religious leaders want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem- Bawa Jain reports on history meeting. More  Arabic  Hebrew

Tripartite autism and how to break out of it - The recent empty summit conference of Israel, the US and the Palestinians is the result of policy pathology. More 

Plain talk about Iraq - It is bad, and that is no reason for anyone to celebrate. More

Lebanon and Hezbollah: at long last, it is time to wake up - The goals of Hezbollah are quite clear, but many Lebanese seem to be afraid to admit it to themselves. More

Palestinian unity: Ominous signs - Palestinians seem to have united against the possibility of peace. More

Hamas-Fatah Unity Talks - The talks must "succeed" - but what does that mean? More

The Devil's Dictionary of Israeli-Palestinian Peace - How words are used to mask reality. More

US Intelligence discovery: 'Iraq at Risk of Further Strife' - Washington Post spins the NIE report in an absurd way. More

Davos: Building the public peace lobby  - One voice people speak out for peace, leaders say the same old thing. More

What Are You Willing to Do To End the Conflict? - One voice kicks off grass roots campaign in Davos - More

Lebanon chaos: Cui Bono? - The inexplicable developments in Lebanon could only be explained in one way. More

Syria and Israel: deniable peace non-negotiations - No doubt there were negotiations - why didn't they bear fruit? More

Bridging the Divide: Must Read, Must Think - Book Review - A must book for peace and dialogue people, flawed but important. More

Palestinians and Israel: Top down peace process for a new political horizon - There is a way out of the impasse; it requires leadership. More

Winning in Iraq: Overcoming the urge to surge - Doing more of the same will produce more of the same, but there might be a different route to success. More

Crystal Ball 2007: The ball is clouded - Many impasses await uncertain resolution this year. More

Recalling Teddy Kollek - Joseph Hochstein's personal reminiscences of Teddy Kollek, beloved mayor of Jerusalem. More

Osama Bin Laden Is Dead, Again - Brad Berner - The hunt for Bin Laden goes on -- but killing him will not bring salvation. More

Victims of Holocaust Denial - Jews, Muslims, and Human Dignity - Munawar Anees - Muslims and Jews stand against the hate stirred up by Ahmadinejad and other fanatics. More

Saddam: Divisive death of a demonic dictator - Saddam's trial was chaotic, but his death served justice. More 

Prophet and Loss Statement 2006 - Even in this year of surprising disappointments, our predictions were right much more often than they were wrong. More

Iran: Laughing all the way to ground zero - UN Security Council Resolution 1737 is a declaration of international impotence in the face of Iranian nuclear development. More

Abbas and Olmert - What meeting?  - The long awaited meeting was greeted with a notable lack of fanfare. More

U.S. Government and American Muslims Engage to Define Islamophobia Muqtedar Khan reports on a meeting at the Saban Center. More

Israel and Syria: Not missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity - Ehud Olmert may one day be very sorry he did not at least try to make peace with Syria. More

Iraq - Arab-Israeli Peace Linkage - in which direction? - The Iraq mess may be linked to prospects for Arab-Israeli peace, but not in the direction suggested by most pundits. More

Iraq report: No wiser than we were - The ISG could not make any recommendations except handwaving and wishful thinking. Perhaps that's  all that can be done in Iraq. But they missed a chance to provide a real study. More

Lebanon Crisis: What can be worse than violence? - The world watches paralyzed, as Hezbollah attempts to stage a bloodless coup in Lebanon. Lebanese may lose their liberty for fear of civil war. Which is worse? More

Peace comes closer? - The truce and the Israeli offer are hopeful signs, but contemplating the realities shows just how far we are from a settlement. More

Jewish peaceniks, Christian visitors, and the Israel-Palestine problem - Joseph Hochstein reports on a one-sided  "peace" gathering. More

To a Palestinian friend - how not to end the impasse - Ami Isseroff replies to Walid Salem - giving in to Hamas demands without any modification in the Hamas program would doom the peace process. More

The situation in the Palestinian and the Israeli Arenas, and Ways Out - Palestinian moderate Walid Salem suggests Israelis should give in to Hamas demands in order to end the impasse. More

US Policy in the Middle East - Policy may or may not change following the elections, but the alternatives on offer don't seem to promise any solutions. More

The Prospects of Palestinian Statehood and Peace - Walid Salem views the prospects for peace under the Hamas. More

11/09/2006: It is past time to end the Gaza mess - The tragic deaths in Beit Hanoun are the result of a festering problem. More

David Grossman: The will to peace - Author and bereaved parent raises the questions we all want to ask and reminds us that peace is a national goal - not a "concession" to enemies. More

Courageous journalist Salah Choudhury may face death sentence - The penalty for speaking out against Islamist extremism is death in Bangladesh. Getting your office trashed is an offence too. Bangladesh - save the sane people. More

Peace TV? Might Happen - New project would create satellite TV station for Middle East Peace. More

Islamism and Fascism Debate - A series of four articles:

Islamo-Fascism I: What Bush said, and why it is objectionable - He didn't say all Muslims are Fascists, but the term doesn't "work" anyhow. More

Islamo-Fascism II: What some experts say - Experts define Fascism differently. More

Islamo-Fascism III: How to measure Fascism - In the absence of theoretical guides, empirical measures may be the best crieria. More

Islamo-Fascism IV: The Twentieth Century dictatorships and Islamism - Common factors gave rise to repressive and authoritarianism regimes, justified by different and often flimsy rationales. More

Iraq: You broke it, you bought it, so what now? - Punishing Bush's errors is not enough; someone has to offer a workable policy alternative. More
Israeli-Palestinian Dialogue and Why it Isn't Working -
Dialogue and propaganda are two different things. More

Byzantine background of the Pope's remark about Islam - A Byzantine expert discusses the historical background behind Manuel II Paleologus' remarks about Mohamed. More

The Pope and the Imams: The end of Moderate Islam? How moderates in the Arab world are being lined for the pro-repression cheering section. More

Palestinian Unity: peace opportunity or mirage? It is too early to dismiss or greet the Palestinian unity government, but things can (and must) be done to help ensure it can be a partner for peace. More

Unclear Iranian Nuclear Weapons Policy US attempts to get Iran to stop enriching uranium seem to be getting no place. More

Urgent need for peace education: Teaching hate in Gaza - There can't be peace while summer camps teach kids to hate Jews. More

Lebanon and Israel: A chance for peace?? - Lebanese and Israeli leaders are mentioning "peace." Is it realistic? More

Middle East: A neglected detail - A small detail that seems missing from discussions of Middle East Policy. More 

We won't ever forget the name of Amir Peretz - Israel's most disappointing politician whose childish boast is now an ironic taunt. More

Israel-Lebanon: No Horizon - There is no way forward for Israel without a clear policy beyond military solutions. More

Lebanon War Fiasco: An experiment in learning by doing - Olmert and Peretz demonstrated how not to fight a war, but they had fun learning. More

Middle East comedy versus reality - Jay Leno could win top ratings with some of the lines that pass for logic these days. More

Fighting Hezbollah in the worst way possible - Defeating Hezbollah is imperative, but Israel has been making the wrong decisions. More

Beyond the front lines - The war from both sides. More

War Fever - A Tel-Avivian explains why he is not caught up by patriotic fervor. More

The Generic Israel-Lebanon War - It is a war with no name, but if Hezbollah wins, there will be no peace in the Middle East. More

Israel, Hamas, Hezbollah: The vicious circle of righteousness, force, and loss of compassion - Dan Baron argues for a different Israeli policy. More

Gaza and Lebanon "We told you so" - Who told who what? Did the withdrawals bring disaster? More

Fog of War: Rumors and misunderstandings - Some things we know are not true; others make no sense. Par for the course in the Muddle East. More

Putting it together: US Middle East Policy is coming apart - US democracy initiative backfired, and US "puppets" may be pulling the strings of their supposed masters. More

Israel: Returning to Lebanon - Situation spirals out of control after killings and kidnappings of Israeli soldiers by Hizbulla. More

A Different voice from Sderot - Sderot resident Nomika Tzion asks the Israeli government to negotiate peace. More >Hebrew Version

Gaza standoff is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in miniature - Elements of the big conflict may be seen in the little conflict, but there are important nuances. Hamas has loaded the dice so it may win no matter what. More

Whose fault? The Blame Game in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict - "Peace" advocates who insist on finding a culprit are driven by inflexible ideologies that are incompatible with peace. More

Gaza: The Price of Protracted Occupation Walid Salem offers a way out of the impasse. More

One state for Israelis and Palestinians is 'utopian' - South Africans are in love with the one state solution, but it won't work here, argues Benjamin Pogrund. More

Israel and the Palestinians - over the cliff? Inexperience may be leading us into a fiasco, without solving the fundamental problems. More

Showdown in Gaza: Reality versus politics The Gaza mess that is going out of control illustrates the dangers of divorcing "peace process" from war reality. More

Iraq embassy memo portends Busherdammerung - Electric shortages, murderous sectarian rivalry and enforcement of fanatic dress codes are ominous. Embassy staff want to know what happens to them if the US leaves. Is the writing of Saigon on the walls  of Baghdad? More

Occidentalism, Zarqawi and Iraq - Something is wrong when we have to choose between insane adulation of Iraqi terrorists and support for the US fiasco in Iraq. A new ideological approach is needed. More

Realignment is bent out of shape - Ehud Olmert's unilateral plan becomes a multilateral unilateral plan. More
End of the PNA-PLO?
Have the PNA and PLO outlived their usefulness? More
Epitaph for Zarqawi -
Almost everyone agrees the world is better off without this man, but unbelievably, a cult following is developing. More

Tragedy in Gaza - The death of a Gaza family indicates the futility of peace rituals and cant against the background of violence. More

A good day for Iraq: Zarqawi is Dead - The end of Abu Musab al Zarqawi can only be applauded by decent people, but it won't mean deliverance for Iraq. More

Prisoners' document dilemmas - The document generated a lot of enthusiasm, but it may be good only for Marwan Barghouti. At the same time, moderation of Hamas may paradoxically result in increased chaos and proliferation of Al-Qaeda. More
06/07/2006: Hamas: Twisting in the Wind - Hamas faces difficult choices - or perhaps it is avoiding facing them. More

Maskiot Settlement tells us about realities of Israeli Policy Israeli government is talking convergence and peace, and at the same time, it is building settlements. What can this mean? More

Does Iran Want to Be Hit (First)? Dulio Demarzios offers an intriguing theory about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's aims. More

Iranian peace overtures in 2003 and mysterious non-reaction- More about the Iranian letter offering to adopt the Arab peace initiative - and why it was ignored. More

Palestinian face-off on Prisoner's document - The prisoner's document is a masterpiece of diplomacy. If the Hamas and Israel reject it, Fatah and the PLO are the winners. If the Hamas accepts it, Fatah and PLO are the winners as well. More

Iran letter to US in 2003- Did the US miss a chance for peace in the Middle East? In 2003 the Iranian government apparently sent the US a letter proposing to end terror and adopt the Arab peace initiative. The Bush administration ignored it. More

Bad news from the Israeli side? - Plans to annex Hebron cast doubt on  the unilateral convergence plan. More
Good news on the Palestinian side?
Palestinians may be unifying around a moderate program. Or not. More
Olmert in Washington: A guide to the perplexed -
In reality, Olmert got nothing in Washington, but some Israeli media hype gave a different impression. More

Olmert visits the emperor - convergence and roadmap to disaster  A trip that accomplishes nothing is worse than no trip at all. More

Iranian unclear weapons program - and the world's unclear response (not a typo). More

Ahmedinejad's Letter to Bush - Take II The letter is modeled on the ultimatums of medieval caliphs and on the letter of Khomeini to Gorbachev. Is it a bid  to gain popularity and leadership among Muslims? More

Palestine and Israel - No Road and No Map - The quartet overseeing the Roadmap for Middle East Peace met and decided to ignore the disastrous wreckage of their plans and focus on hypothetical palliatives. More-

Ahmadinejad's letter to Bush: Worse than we could imagine Let's hope he was just kidding. More

Where are the Palestinians going? - Radical and imaginative thinking is needed to prevent a tragedy. More 

Hamas, the Arab Peace Initiative and reality - What is the Arab peace initiative, is Hamas about to accept it, and would it make a difference if Hamas accepted it? More

Iran - High Noon? - As the Iranian nuclear crisis approaches a critical phase, nobody seems to have a solution, and some "experts" are trying to convince us there is no problem. Iran's neighbors in the Persian Gulf certainly believe there is a problem. More

Israel, the Palestinians and terror - reinventing history  - If historical facts get in the way of your argument, just alter the facts. If you are prominent pundit or journalist, you can get away with it. More

Solving the Hamas Problem - Just because there are no good solutions, doesn't mean that all the bad solutions must be adopted. More

The Euston Manifesto - Taking Back the Dream - Be a part of a new effort to restore decency and intellectual honesty to the struggle for human rights. More
Is the Hamas government about to fall? -
Maybe, but it won't be a great loss to anyone. More

Passover Message: FREE PEOPLES - Yesh Tguva* - Paul Usiskin examines the holiday message in the light of realities and Realpolitik. More

Israeli Elections - What the Hell! - Israelis are fed up with irrelevant old-line ideologies, empty promises  and foreign policy fantasies. More

What will happen after the Israeli elections? - Ratna Pelle explores the possibilities. More

The devil is in the detail in the Middle East Benjamin Pogrund examines why peace is so near yet so far. More

The Syrian regime is not about to collapse - Nehad Ismail discusses the unappetizing and unrealistic alternatives to the Bashar Assad regime. More

First Results - Israeli Election Surprises - The pollsters were not completely right. Israeli elections spawned new parties and surprises. The development of those parties will be of interest. More

Gaza and the West Bank - What Nobody is saying- It seems there are no peace partners and no peace plans and nobody cares what happens to the Palestinian people, least of all the Palestinian leaders. More

Iraquagmire - Putting an end to the Iraq nightmare - All we are offered is either perseveration in disaster or defeatism. Neither are realistic. More

Strengthening Middle East Moderates - The extremists don't represent most of us, so why do they always seem to win? More

Ehud Fit the battle of Jericho Jail - The IDF besieged the jail and the walls came tumbling down. Americans and British proved that they are unable or unwilling to stand behind their guarantees. Ehud Olmert proved that he knows a political opportunity when he sees it. More

Tel-Aviv will be fun city, Jenin a riot - Are Ehud Olmert's policies really different from those of Benjamin Netanyahu? More

Iranian threats are not empty rhetoric and must be taken seriously Nehad Ismail examines Iran's options for causing pain.  More

Is there a future for Palestinians? If Palestinians make believe Hamas is just fine as it is, they may have no future.  More

Sedition or Patriotism? Salah Shoaib Choudhury has been fighting for democracy and moderation in Bangladesh. His "reward" is to be tried for sedition.  More

After Moscow: Israel and Hamas must make a deal - Nehad Ismail argues that Hamas missed a golden opportunity in Moscow. Sooner or later, Hamas and Israel will have to talk, but Hamas will need to reform first. More

About a Song - Make something good happen in Jewish-Arab Israeli dialogue - Vote for "Mother Earth" in the Eurovision contest to promote Jewish-Arab cooperation. More

Jordan Valley - Disaster in the making - Some Israelis think they are fooling someone if they look the other way while annexing the Jordan Valley.  More

Rise of Hamas- Debacle for peace - For some people, it seems we need to belabor the obvious: the peace process and the roadmap cannot coexist with the Hamas ideology.  More

Palestinian Unilateralism in Action: The Hamas Campaign Platform - Walid Salem discusses the Hamas platform in detail and gives a Palestinian view of what it might mean. More 

Full Text of Second Mehlis Report-

Mehlis  {interim] Report on the Hariri assassination - complete unexpurgated text

Cartoon Crackup - Indiscretion, intolerance and cynical politics are an explosive mixture. More

Hamas Victory - How it Happened, What is to be done? - Walid Salem writes from Jerusalem. More

<First Reactions to Hamas Victory - Walid Salem writes from Jerusalem. First in a series. More

Hamas victory in the Palestinian elections - - No easy solutions and too much complacency, writes Ratna Pelle from Holland More

Hamas victory - the new Middle East is not what we expected  - Those busy looking to find the guilty culprits for the unexpected Hamas win, should each look the mirror. More

Abbas needs his 'Altalena' - Time for Abbas to act decisively against armed gangs, as Ben-Gurion did, writes Ralph Seliger. More

The Quiet Revolution - Politics of Peace - It is still only words, but for the first time, both Palestinian and Israeli politicians are competing to prove to their electorates that they are moderates who can bring peace. More

State Sanctioned Fundamentalism - Perspectives from Tehran and Washington - The rule of George Bush and Mahmud Ahmadinejad have more in common then you might think according to Hussein Solomon. More

Sharon: warrior or a man of peace at the end? 01/14/2006 by Ratna Pelle - "I am a Jew, and that is the most important thing for me. Therefore when it comes to security Israel will not make any compromises."  These words, spoken in Sharon's last interview before he suffered a massive stroke, summarize his views of Israel and peace very accurately. More

Crystal Ball 2006 - Will Israel invade Iran? Will the US stay in Iraq? What will be the fate of the peace process? What will the price of oil be this year? MidEastWeb's yearly predictions. More

Sharon's illness upsets the chessboard - Ariel Sharon's victory in the upcoming Israeli elections was the last certainty in Israeli-Palestinian relations. Now what? More

Prophet & Loss Statement 2005 - Check out our predictions for 2005 versus what really happened - and compare them to predictions of prestigious "think tanks." More

Why Israel Labor's leasing proposal falls short - Ralph Seliger of Meretz USA takes on the proposal to lease settlement blocs from Palestinians. More

Apartheid? Israel is a democracy in which Arabs vote - Benjamin Pogrund argues against comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa. More

Islamism - The Tsunami of the future? - The Middle East seems to accept religious fanaticism and religious control of government as legitimate political factors. More

Abbas Joins Kadima Party: "Sharon is the best hope for peace" After considering the results of the recent Fatah primaries, Mahmoud Abbas has decided to join the Kadima party. More

Pay heed to Jewish fears of Iran's Ahmadinejad - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad doesn't stop reminding us that he wants to destroy Israel. Benjamin Pogrund explains why there are good reasons to believe Ahmadinejad is serious. More

Suicide Bombing in Netanya or 'The Iranian Candidate?' - The terrorists have opened the Israeli campaign season with a bang. More

Israel political earthquakes: Sharon quits, Peretz resurrects Labor - Ariel Sharon today virtually destroyed the Likud party that he helped to create in 1977. He announced his resignation from the party and called for new elections. With this move, and the election of Amir Peretz as head of the the Israel Labor party, the Labor party, mourned only a few weeks ago as defunct, will probably become the leading political party in Israel once again, with the largest bloc of Knesset votes. If there are no further surprises in store, Amir Peretz would be the next Prime Minister of Israel, an inconceivable idea just two weeks ago. As usual, however, Sharon is planning surprises.

Rice brokers lifting of Gaza siege - Negotiating Israeli-Palestinian agreements is easy. It's been done thousands of times, but will the agreements be kept?

Laptop computer evidence of nuke program - is it conclusive? - Expert David Albright casts doubt on the evidence of Iran's nuclear warhead program as presented in the New York Times, but doesn't deny the importance of the actual evidence.

Terror in Jordan kills 57: Enough is Enough - Wednesday evening, terror attacks at three hotels in Jordan killed 57 people and wounded up to 200. At least two of the explosions are believed to have been suicide bombings, but in reality it makes no difference how they were carried out. Our hearts go out to the victims and to the people of Jordan.

Thank the al-Khatib family for their gift to peace - The parents of Ahmed al-Khatib, a twelve year old boy killed by accident by the IDF in Jenin, have given a gift to the peoples of Israel and Palestine, and to peace. They have allowed the organs of their son to be used to help save the lives of Israeli children. More

Self-righteousness will come home to roost ( or NY is Fun City, Paris is a riot)  - The news from France is not good. The riots that are engulfing France should be the occasion for concern by all decent people. Instead, they have generated an incredible outpouring of self-righteousness. More

The legacy of Yitzhak Rabin - Ten years after - Critics have missed the very obvious point of what Rabin was trying to do and why it was important. More

A Palestinian responds to Ahmedinejad's call for destruction of Israel - Walid Salem asks some pointed questions and calls for an intensive discussion of the issues. More  

Iran wants to destroy Israel - so what else is new? - All the world is in a surprising uproar because Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that Israel should be wiped off the map. What's the fuss? 

Two Muslims and one American consultant - Three views of the Middle East Rashomon More

The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Toward one history  -  Palestinians and Israelis, Arabs and Zionists have learned different histories of the conflict. There can't be peace until we all agree. How do we achieve that?  Mehlis Report fingers Syria, Lebanese officials for Hariri assassination  - The UN report is embarrassing for apologists and wishful thinkers. More

Live in the Middle East - Travel warning for the United States - Gaza is Safer - U.S. homicide rate in 2004 was 25 percent higher than Israel's combined rate of deaths from crime, suicide bombings and intifada-related military casualties More

Future of Palestine: Abbas at the crossroads - Abbas procrastinates, like a confused old man lost in the swirl of the uptown traffic. The once assertive being is now reduced to a mere cork upon a turbulent sea trapped between the many currents, and while he dithers Palestine slips away unnoticed as each hope is squelched. More

Abbas visits the Emperor - Again  - The question I keep asking myself about the Bush-Abbas meeting is, "Was this trip really necessary?' Honestly, I could not understand what was to be accomplished, and I still can't.

Iraq vote means what? A relatively large proportion of Iraqis voted for (or against) their new constitution, probably approving it. This is considered by most optimists to be at least a temporary reprieve and possibly a great success. More

Violence in the West Bank Palestinian terrorists of the Fatah al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades took "credit" for killing three Israel civilians, one a fifteen year old youth, yesterday in the West Bank and for wounding four others in two separate attacks. More

Al-Qaeda to Al-Qaeda - Zawahiri to Zarqawi - US intelligence has just released the text of Ayman Zawahiri's letter to Abu Musab Zarqawi. [more]

Is this what is wrong??  My attitude to the war in Iraq is increasingly, "Either find a way to win, or get out."

Abbas Sharon Summit Postponed - No surprise there - They had nothing to talk about, so they decided not to talk about it.

Zionist Dream or Zionist Nightmare - the future is up to us - The Israeli left has abdicated leadership to the right, and sold out on key issues. The extreme right is planning to take over Israeli society. They might succeed by default.

Untangling Iraq-  Americans are now, slowly, beginning to admit that they "might" have a problem in Iraq. Admitting the problem is a first step. Finding solutions is a different matter More

Five years of Intifada - a reckoning - Five years after the start of the Intifada, it is doubtful if anyone has learned anything useful, but it is useful to take stock.

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