March 21, 2013 |
RAMALLAH, West Bank -- President Obama met with Palestinian leaders in the West Bank on Thursday in search of hopeful signs for the stalled peace process and declared that a sovereign state of Palestine beside Israel is still viable. Following a long meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Obama said he thinks the two-state solution could occur if both sides would “think anew” about long-standing arguments that have stalled peace talks. If the expectation is that “we can only have direct negotiations when everything is settled ahead of time,” Obama said, “then there's no point in negotiations.” In what U.S. officials took as a hopeful sign, Abbas listened politely and even nodded a little as Obama talked about setting aside the demand that there be a freeze on the building of Israeli settlements as a precondition for negotiations.
March 19, 2013
President Obama will arrive in Israel on Wednesday for his first visit since being elected in 2008. We wish him the best, but frankly, we have very low expectations. Indeed, it's hard to figure out why he's making the trip at all. The peace process has been at a standstill for years. Israelis and Palestinians are stuck, at the moment, on the issue of settlements - there are now more than 300,000 Israeli settlers living in the West Bank, and the Palestinians have refused to reopen negotiations unless Israel agrees to a settlement freeze.
March 19, 2013 |
JERUSALEM - As President Obama prepared for his first official trip to Israel, he made a point of referring to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by his affectionate nickname, "Bibi," in a TV interview. In Israel, Netanyahu geared up to greet Obama on Wednesday at the airport in Tel Aviv, ensuring that the first images show the two reelected leaders smiling and shaking hands. But after four years of public clashes, private entreaties and largely unsuccessful attempts to outmaneuver each other, no amount of backslapping is likely to alter perceptions that the personal rapport between Obama and Netanyahu has ranged from awkward to dysfunctional.
March 12, 2013
Re "The Israel trip," Opinion, March 8 Ami Ayalon's suggestions to President Obama as he prepares for his trip to Israel make the assumption that the United States should continue in its role as mediator between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Obama has shown his clear bias toward Israel in many ways. He came out against the Goldstone Report, a United Nations investigation into the Israeli incursion into the Gaza Strip in 2008; he never condemned the Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara and the killing of a U.S. citizen by an Israeli commando; he blocked a Palestinian bid for U.N. observer status; and he has retreated from earlier demands of a settlement freeze on Palestinian lands.
December 20, 2012 |
JERUSALEM - Israel's political left cheered when newly installed Labor Party head Shelly Yachimovich led the faction from near-extinction two years ago to its current No. 2 ranking in polls for next month's Knesset elections. The feisty former journalist was heralded for her foresight in focusing on Israel's high cost of living long before massive social inequality protests swept the nation last year. But since rising to the helm of Israel's oldest major political party, Yachimovich, 52, has stirred dissent within the ranks over her latest unconventional strategy: a lurch toward the political right in hopes of drawing centrist and even conservative voters to the historically liberal Labor.
October 2, 2011
Russia's strongman Re "Putin's back, unfortunately," Editorial, Sept. 28 Vladimir Putin's right to run for a third term as president of Russia is highly questionable. Such an idea would have never visited Bill Clinton, since the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says: "No person shall be elected to the office of the president more than twice. " When a group of legal scholars was preparing a draft of the Russian Constitution adopted in 1993, they were looking at the 22nd Amendment as an example.