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Must Read, January 18, 2012

by Shmuel Rosner

January 18, 2012 | 2:57 am

(Photo: Reuters)

Can the center hold?

Writing in Foreign Policy, Yossi Klein Halevi outlines the paradox facing Israselis – most of whom believe in a two-state solution, but mistrust the Palestinian commitment to ending the conflict.

“Some centrists have criticized ¬Netanyahu for refusing to endorse the 1967 borders as a starting point for negotiations. But they fault him for tactical reasons, not strategic ones. By accepting the Clinton parameters, of which the 1967 borders are a key principle, centrist commentators have argued, Netanyahu could have exposed Palestinian intransigence. But few Israelis believe that any initiative at this point would be met by the Palestinian concessions necessary for peace. So long as Hamas remains ascendant and Palestinian leaders from all factions insist on the right of return to Israel proper, no Israeli prime minister will sign a peace agreement.”

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Syrian echoes of Saddam

An editorial in Britain’s Telegraph newspaper slams Bashar Assad for his brutal response to the Syrian uprising, and behaving in a manner reminiscent of another (deposed) Arab leader.

“Any doubts about [Assad’s]  determination to smash the uprising should have been dispelled in the three weeks since Arab League monitors arrived in Syria. In that time, the UN estimates that about 400 people have been killed. Having accepted a league plan to halt the violence, Mr Assad has cocked a snook at its architects, seemingly confident that, however damning the findings, no military action will be taken.”


Who Is Behind Cyberattacks on Israel’s Airline and Banks?

Eli Lake of the Daily Beast takes a critical look at the latest front in the Israeli-Arab conflict, and even finds a ray of hope.

“The coordinated attack Monday was probably the first large-scale hacktivist action inspired by the Arab-Israeli conflict. “In the past, we have seen coordinated attacks on South Korea, Estonia, and other countries,” Meyran said. “We have never seen this in Israel.”

Iran, the U.S. and the Strait of Hormuz Crisis

Iran and the U.S. currently find themselves in a standoff, writes George Friedman in Real Clear Politics, but warns that any misstep by either side could have serious implications on a global scale.

“Each side is seeking to magnify its power for psychological effect without crossing a red line that prompts the other to take extreme measures. Iran signals its willingness to attempt to close Hormuz and its development of nuclear weapons, but it doesn’t cross the line to actually closing the strait or detonating a nuclear device. The United States pressures Iran and moves forces around, but it doesn’t cross the red line of commencing military actions. Thus, each avoids triggering unacceptable actions by the other.”

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