October 24, 2011 |
When East Jerusalem teachers ask students to open their history books these days, pupils are wondering: Which one? Two sets of textbooks are vying for the formative minds of thousands of Palestinian students in Arabic-language schools in East Jerusalem. One was written by the Palestinian Authority, and the other is a revised version reprinted by Israeli authorities. It's a textbook war that underscores the long-running battle of narratives in the Mideast conflict, where the fight over the future is often rooted in understanding of the past, and schoolbooks can play a critical role.
October 10, 2011 |
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was touring Latin America this week, his second visit to the region in less than a year as part of a worldwide lobbying effort to gain recognition for a Palestinian state. Abbas met officials in the Colombian capital of Bogota on Monday, a day after announcing with President Mauricio Funes of El Salvador plans to establish diplomatic ties there. Until recently, El Salvador was one of Israel's closest allies in Latin America. "We are very interested in developing our relations with all the countries of the American continent," Abbas said in San Salvador, according to a Spanish translation of his remarks.
October 2, 2011 |
Israelis and Palestinians are struggling to respond to the latest international peace initiative, with each side embracing parts they liked and dismissing those they didn't. More than a week after the group known as the Mideast quartet launched its effort to get the two sides back to the bargaining table, neither Israel nor the Palestinian Authority has formally accepted or rejected the initiative as a whole, reflecting an apparent desire to avoid alienating the body, which is composed of the U.S., European Union, United Nations and Russia.
September 24, 2011 |
As Israel considers its reaction to the Palestinian drive for recognition of statehood at the U.N., officials are weighing calls for swift retaliation against fear that tough measures could be counterproductive. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he is evaluating Israel's next step. But key members of his right-wing coalition are pushing for a firm response, which they say would discourage Palestinians from pursuing their strategy of gaining United Nations recognition or taking other unilateral steps away from the negotiating table.
September 20, 2011 |
Diplomats on Tuesday raced to nail down a plan to deflect the Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations, crafting a face-saving formula that could lessen the immediate prospect of a Security Council veto, which the Obama administration desperately sought to avoid. Under the plan, the council decision on the application for recognition, which Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas plans to make Friday, would be put off indefinitely. That would buy time for the U.S. to try to restart negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, and would keep $600 million a year in American aid and other international assistance flowing to the Palestinians.
September 19, 2011 |
In Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," the heroine falls down a rabbit hole into a confusing fantasy world. Writing today, Carroll might have placed Alice in the 66th General Assembly of the United Nations, where Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas plans this week to seek U.N. recognition of statehood. If Alice was perplexed by the Mad Hatter or the Queen of Hearts, it would be interesting to see her reaction to a president whose mandate has long expired applying for statehood over territory, part of which he is too afraid to visit.
September 18, 2011 |
Recent college graduate Reem Qadan is exactly the kind of young, energetic West Bank resident the Palestinian Authority hopes will hit the streets this week when it makes its historic case for U.N. membership and statehood recognition. But rather than use her Facebook page to coordinate plans with friends to join the rallies, the 21-year-old is posting critical messages dismissing the United Nations bid as a "tale of collective mismanagement" by Palestinian leaders. Many of her Facebook friends echoed the sentiments and said they planned to skip the rallies.
September 15, 2011 |
Rebuffing international pressure to soften their positions and return to the negotiating table, Israelis and Palestinians announced separately Thursday that they were moving forward with an expected diplomatic battle next week at the United Nations. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will address the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 23, after which he will submit a formal application to admit Palestine into the international body as a state, according to his foreign minister, Riad Malki.
September 15, 2011 |
Later this month, the Palestinian Authority intends to go before the United Nations to request recognition of an independent Palestinian state. Although there is strong backing for the bid, the United States, in the name of supporting Israel, has stated its willingness to use its Security Council veto power to keep the Palestinians from joining the U.N. as a full voting member. The U.S. has also refused to join in a more symbolic General Assembly vote that could change the Palestinians' status from a "nonvoting observer entity" to a "nonvoting observer state.
September 9, 2011 |
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday that no amount of international pressure or any last-minute concessions, including a settlement freeze in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, would stop him from taking the Palestinian statehood plan to the U.N. Security Council this month. In a briefing with foreign journalists at his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Abbas brushed aside warnings he said he had received this week from American officials about a possible confrontation with the United States, as well as the flurry of diplomatic efforts launched by the Mideast "quartet" — the U.S., Russia, the European Union and the United Nations — to craft a compromise.