Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu
Photo by REUTERS/Larry Downing
To Read: Gordon Adams believes that the US Public expects too much out of the US Military -
I despair, I confess, of any expectation that the Washington assumption will be reexamined. But it is worth raising the flag, because persisting in the illusion that we should, and can, be the indispensible nation, the guarantor of the system, the protector of the commons, is unsustainable, counterproductive, and even dangerous.
In a world where virtually no problem can be solved without the cooperation of all, especially inevitably rising powers like Turkey, South Africa, Brazil, India, Iran, China, and even Russia, the assumption that we have the answers and are the indispensible manager is just plain wrong; it passed its sell-by date a long time ago.
Quote: "The head of it isn't even an assistant secretary. That doesn't sound like much. But when you're trying to throw your weight around the State Department, it matters. Why should people take you seriously? You have a shitty budget, you have a crappy product and you don't even have to be congressionally confirmed", a congressional staffer commenting on the State Department's Bureau of International Information Programs.
Number: 71, the number of Guantanamo Bay prisoners who will get parole-style hearings.
Headline: Netanyahu seeks national referendum on peace deal
To Read: Ben Birenbaum offers 7 reasons to be optimistic about the Israel-Palestinian negotiations-
There’s a common quip, most recently attributed to Israeli Arab MK Ahmed Tibi, that “the most Netanyahu can offer is less than Abbas can accept,” That is a reasonable prediction, but it should not be treated as prophecy. Make no mistake: There is a deal that—under the right circumstances—could be acceptable to both sides. And its parameters are far clearer than they were in 2000, when Israelis and Palestinians entered the ill-fated Camp David summit with vastly different conceptions of peace.
Quote: "We are writing to express our deep concern over the European Union’s intention to issue new guidelines restricting European interaction with Israeli entities beyond the 1967 lines. We strongly believe this move is counterproductive to sincere American efforts to restart peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians", the beginning of a letter to the EU written by members of the US congress.
Number: 82, the number of prisoners Israel has already agreed to gradually release for negotiations to resume.
The Middle East
Headline: Abbas: Any agreement will be brought to referendum
To Read: The Middle East Institute's Mohamed El Manshawi describes the Egyptian people's exaggerated perception of US involvement in their country's affairs-
This conclusion points to two surprising trends. The first is that Egyptians lack an understanding of what factors drive America’s interest in Egypt, and thus America’s policy towards Egypt. The second is that the Egyptian people are not yet exerting their own full influence over Egypt’s domestic affairs because they believe in an all-powerful America whose wishes are more important to the outcome than those of the Egyptian people themselves. This is why political forces in Egypt compete for America’s favour while publicly denouncing America at the same time — they believe they have no practical choice but to collude with the great manipulating power. Moreover, for any group to change its public statements to reflect America’s lack of true influence would be disadvantageous because of how easy it is to blame American meddling and influence for Egypt’s problems. Foreign scapegoats are a tool historically proven to be effective at garnering mass support, and in the Middle East, no foreign scapegoat is more effective than the United States.
Quote: "Past experience shows that the occupying Zionist regime is basically not ready to pay the price for peace since war mongering and occupation lie at its very core", Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Abbas Araqchi, discussing the Israeli-Palestinian talks.
Number: 13, the number of members of the same family killed in an especially violent day in Syria.
The Jewish World
Headline: Latvia president nixes appearance with Peres at Shoah memorial
To Read: Political pundit Barry Rubin writes about his biblical-journalistic hero, the prophet Micaiah-
This story brought home to me that to do one’s task rightly, to bear witness honestly, and to face the consequences without flinching should be the hallmarks of my field. What else should a writer, teacher, or intellectual do? Unfortunately, at times one seems to be outnumbered by 400 to 1, in both numbers and audience size.
Micaiah had a good answer as to how to know who was right: Watch and see according to the outcome! Or as he put it more elegantly to Ahab: “If you ever come home safe, the Lord has not spoken through me.”
Quote: "[I'll go to Israel] when Apartheid is over", a controversial tweet by successful filmmaker Mira Nair.
Number: 231, the number of olim Gilad Shalit is going to accompany on their flight to Israel.