Syria President Bashar Assad (Photo: Reuters)
Headline: Ex-Officer Is First From C.I.A. to Face Prison for a Leak
To Read: Preserving the two-state solution
J Street president Jeremy Ben-Ami calls on Obama to visit the Mideast and clearly lay out his peace plan.
If Obama believes that achieving a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a fundamental American national security interest, he will need to chart a far different course than has been tried before — and quickly. No, he cannot impose a settlement. But these parties — with their lack of trust and wildly conflicting narratives and interests — cannot and will not work this out on their own. We need to stop fixating on “direct talks” as the only option and move the focus away from simply getting the parties “to the table.”
Quote: The start of Obama's first term “saw the emergence of an unfortunate deficit of trust between the White House and the Department of Defense, largely arising from the decision-making process on Afghanistan" Former U.S. commander in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal in his newly released memoirs
Number: 7.8% The latest American unemployment rate
Headline: Liberman: Two states will be principle of next government
To Read: Hanin Zuabi: Not here to be loved
Dalia Karpel of Haaretz talks to the Arab MK about her personal and political life after participating in the Gaza flotilla of 2010.
“I was relieved,” Zuabi tells Haaretz, after the Supreme Court justices ruled unanimously that she is entitled to run for the Knesset. “I wonder whether the court’s decision will change the mind of rank-and-file citizens who were persuaded that I broke the law and endangered the soldiers’ lives. Certainly I will not go from being a hated woman to being popular, but maybe people will consider listening to what I have to say. You know, it makes no difference whether I am talking about women’s employment or the status of Nazareth – it always comes back to the Marmara and that horrible, threatening woman.”
Quote: My colleagues and I were very unsure of whether Netanyahu and Barak can lead an Iranian campaign. We didn't trust their motives Former Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin tells all (again)
Number: 100km/h The predicted wind speed as winter storms rage across Israel
The Middle East
Headline: Defiant Assad says Syria battles 'terrorists'
To Read: Sanctions Squeeze Revolutionary Guard
Alireza Nader of Al Monitor explains how international sanctions are impacting Iran's Republican Guard, which could lead to compromises by Tehran in the nuclear talks.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was created to protect the Islamic Republic from internal and external challenges. Over time, it has come to dominate the regime it was meant to protect. The Guard is the biggest economic actor in Iran, with a hand in virtually every sector — not only oil production but also auto-making, telecommunications, construction and beyond. It has thrived due to an implicit deal with Khamenei: He opens the state’s resources and treasury to it, and it buttresses his often shaky authority as Iran’s Supreme Leader.
Quote: "A peaceful solution in Syria is necessary and it is desired by Arab countries and the international community" Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal at a joint news conference with his Egyptian counterpart Mohammed Kamel Amr
Number: $4.8 billion The size of the loan Egypt is asking from the IMF
The Jewish World
Headline: Al Jazeera Deal Sparks Concern for Jews
To Read: Chuck Hagel's Jewish Scorecard
Nathan Guttman of the Forward presents a run-down of where the Jewish community stands on the prospect of Chuck Hagel as Defense Secretary
Leading the detractors is, of course, Abraham Foxman of the Anti Defamation League whose remark that Hagel’s comments on the pro-Israel lobby “border on anti-Semitism” triggered the entire debate. The American Jewish Committee’s David Harris weighed in on the same side with an anecdote reminding the public of Hagel’s refusal to sign a letter condemning anti Semitism in Russia. Malcolm Hoenlein of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations expressed “concern” over the possibility that Hagel will take over as defense secretary, although he did add that such a nomination will be something “we will work with.”
Quote: As always, I was deeply impressed by the strength and courage and resolve of the families and the extraordinary caring and generosity of Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D- CT) after a visit by the former congresswoman to the families of the Newtown shooting victims
Number: $160,000 The bounty placed by Al Qaeda on the Jewish U.S. ambassador to Yemen, Gerald Feierstein