• Diplomatic Wounds Leave Half-Healed Scars

    Turkey and Israel are close to resolving their dispute over last year's flotilla fiasco, but the partnership that existed between them for more than a decade will almost certainly stay submerged.

    As a new flotilla of ships prepared to set sail for Gaza Tuesday, Turkish and Israeli officials and analysts said that only a major breakthrough on Israeli-Palestinian peace could begin to revive a relationship that once featured joint military exercises and hordes of Israeli tourists visiting Istanbul. Even then, the officials said, they doubted that the warmth of the 1990s and the mid-2000s would resurface.

    Suat Kiniklioglu, deputy chairman for external affairs of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), told a conference in Washington sponsored by the Middle East Institute Jun. 23 that "If there is not dramatic change in the Arab-Israeli conflict, I don't see a Turkish Embassy in Tel Aviv in five years."

    Alon Liel, a former director general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry who served in Turkey in the early 1980s, agreed that the relationship is in peril.

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  • The Goldstone Report and Israel-Palestine Peace

    Israel articulated three main objectives when it started its offensive against the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip last winter: stop the rocket fire into southern Israel, weaken the security infrastructure of Hamas in Gaza, and restore the deterrence that it felt had been lost after enduring years of rocket attacks, as well as the kidnapping of its soldier, Gilad Shalit.

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  • Obama and Israel: Different Middle East Peace Strategies

    Unless former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell, President Obama's special Middle Eastern envoy, is prepared to commute by government executive jet for the next five to 10 years, this isn't a bad time to turn in his badge. Moshe Ya'alon, Israel's vice prime minister and minister for strategic affairs in Israel's 32nd government, talked his way through Washington's corridors of power this week, spelling out the Jewish state's refurbished negotiating posture for a Palestinian state. Bottom line: The Nobel Peace Prize will not help Obama's quest for an independent homeland for the Palestinians by the end of his first term. Even if re-elected, the geopolitical prize would most probably elude him again.

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  • Israel and the Iranian Nuclear Threat

    Israel and the Iranian Nuclear Threat

    I attended a panel discussion Friday in which the topic of Iran’s nuclear program came up. The two principal commentators on the subject were the dean emeritus of the Center for Naval Warfare Studies (Dr. Robert S. Wood) and a retired U.S. Navy admiral, William Pendley, who has had direct experience by virtue of being a participant in talks with North Korea in the 1990s. They both agreed in essence on four points, as I took it (I apologize to Bob and Bill if I have distorted their views).

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  • The Lieberman Question

    Several Haaretz correspondents worry that the expected appointment of hardliner Avigdor Lieberman as foreign minister in a coalition government led by Bijamin Netanyahu would harm Israel's relationship with the United States.

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  • Israeli Election: Netanyahu Loses, Right Wins

    While Binyamin Netanyahu and his Likud Party had a much poorer showing than expected, with Tzipi Livini's Kadima Party apparently winning more seats, all indications are that Israel's next government will be more nationalistic and strident than the current one.

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  • The Crisis Beyond Gaza

    The Israeli assault against Gaza grinds on. The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) has put dusty boots on the ground (it doesn’t rain enough for them to be muddy), and the bombing and shelling by both sides continue. Civilians, as is usually the case in this part of the world, bear the brunt of the suffering. In the end, it will end, and nothing appreciable will have been accomplished. Hamas will not be destroyed, and the Palestinians will still not have their demands met. Some things seem never to change.

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  • Can Israel Win?

    Time's Tim McGirk asks, "Can Israel Survive its Assault on Gaza?"  While rather hyperbolically phrased, it's a good question.

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  • Red Cross Condemns Israel

    Just when you thought Israel's PR couldn't get any worse:

    The International Committee of the Red Cross said Thursday that it had found at least 15 bodies and several children -- emaciated but alive -- in a row of shattered houses in the Gaza Strip and accused the Israeli military of preventing ambulances from reaching the site for four days.

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  • Polls: Gaza and Sarkozy


    Our new poll asks, "Who is most to blame for the current violence in Gaza?"

    Is it Hamas, whose refusal to stop terrorist rocket attacks on Israeli civilians provoked the attacks? Or is it Israel, for swatting at a gnat with a sledgehammer?

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