Monthly Archives: August 2010

Negotiations Under False Pretenses

US envoy George Mitchell meeting Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations are likely to begin in the near future. The international community under the conductor’s wand of the Obama Administration has applied considerable pressure to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to withdraw from all of his demands for setting the conditions for his participation in the negotiations. read more

A little bit of hope

ALMOST NO ONE IN THE MIDDLE EAST HAS ANY confidence that proximity talks will lead to an Israeli-Palestinian agreement. In my view, however, if conducted with the full weight of the office of the president of the United States behind them, including a readiness to make full use of the diplomatic tool box, these talks do have some chance of success. read more

Bring in the third parties

Israeli-Palestinian negotiations have finally been renewed. Even though the current round of talks is not direct, the parties are dealing with the core issues with the goal of reaching a permanent status agreement at some point. According to news reports, the first topics on the agenda are borders and security arrangements, both of which will rapidly lead to negotiations on Jerusalem and refugees. read more

A Gulf experience

I am writing from a Gulf Air flight from Bahrain to Amman after attending a conference on nuclear energy run by the Gulf Cooperation Council for Foreign Relations. Ironically, my in-flight reading is Thomas Friedman’s award-winning book The Lexus and the Olive Tree – a brilliant explanation of the meaning of globalization and its impacts on the world. Last evening I went to dinner with two young Bahraini women who are breaking new frontiers for youth around the region through the Internet. We were connected by Eyal Raviv, a young Israeli social entrepreneur who created “mepeace.org” – the Facebook of peacemakers. Eyal met the Bahrainis and other young Arabs at a social entrepreneurs conference in London in early March. read more