There is a perception by many in the West that Muslims and Jews have been at each other's throats for over a thousand years. They believe that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has been going on forever, and there is no hope for a peaceful resolution because Islam is a uniquely virulent religion. This fundamentally misreads the situation--the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is relatively recent and is primarily a conflict over land, though the introduction of religious elements into the conflict makes the conflict much more dangerous and difficult to solve. I will discuss how religion complicates finding a s
If you ask most Americans what a waqf (plural, waqfs or awaqf) is they might answer that it is something to stir-fry their vegetable in or that it is a word from a Klingon dictionary. Actually, understanding what waqfs are is essential to understanding why Hamas refuses to recognize Israel's right to exist. Trying to understand Hamas's position without understanding what a waqf is is like parachuting into Pakistan wearing nothing but an American flag T-shirt. You may as well apply for the Darwin awards because your understanding will be fatally flawed.
David Samel made a very perceptive observation in the comments section of an article about settler violence in the West Bank. The article itself is worth a read, but I'd like to focus on Samel's comment about right-wing Israelis who deny that the West Bank is occupied as well as the significance of the Palestinian Nakba. Samel was responding to a commenter named Bar who had put the term "Occupied West Bank" in quotes to denote that he really didn't believe it was appropriate to refer to the West Bank as occupied territory. Samel resonded:
Over a year has passed since my proposal to solve the Israeli/Palestinian conflict while simultaneously addressing the Iran nuclear crisis. I still think it is a mistake to treat the two issues separately since we miss opportunities by artificially compartmentalizing our foreign policy.
Bibi Netanyahu has repeatedly demanded that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a "Jewish State" for peace talks to go anywhere. It is not enough for the Palestinians to recognize Israel's right to exist peacefully as a normal state. No, according to Netanyahu the Palestinians have to go beyond that and recognize Israel's right to exist as a Jewish State. Israel hasn't always demanded this. It did not require that either Egypt or Jordan recognize it as a Jewish State bef
Ask almost any supporter of Israel about how the Arab/Israeli conflict started and they are likely to mention Arab attacks against Jews in 1920/21 that left 47 Jews dead and 150 wounded. They may point to Arab rejection of Churchill White paper of 1922. Undoubtedly they will point to the attacks in Hebron in 1929 in which more than 60 Jews were murdered and the rest were driven out of the city. Or they will recall in horror how the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem,
Human Rights Watch has extensively documented Israeli destruction of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem and in the 62% of the West Bank under total Israeli control known as Area C. This article by HRW is long and somewhat repetitive, but it is a must read for anyone trying to understand how Israeli actions are jeopardizing the peace process. Here are a few key passages to give you a flavor or the article, but you really should read it yourself.
As Joel Braunold points out in his Open Zion article, intervening in Syria is both a security imperative and a risk. I agree with everything he says, but I think he missed the most important reason to intervene in Syria. Israel is watching this very carefully to see if Obama's red line in Syria means anything. If we fail to launch some sort of attack (preferably as part of a multinational force), then Israel will conclude that we have a backbone made of silly putty. Israel will conclude that it can not count on us to keep our w