Israeli, Palestinian delegations meet in Washington
for iftar dinner, July 29, 2013. Photo: REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
Headline: Liberal Democrats Move to Torpedo Iran Sanctions Bill
To Read: Paul Pillar believes that not recognizing the Egyptian coup might be a highly problematic precedent for the US-
The fact that there is a legal issue, given a statutory requirement to suspend aid in such circumstances, makes the costs of not recognizing the reality of the Egyptian coup all the greater. Failure to recognize this reality is an act of hypocrisy, which fosters additional foreign cynicism about anything the United States says concerning democratic or other values. It also is a staining of our own political culture. It is a compromise of our respect for the rule of law, even when it is our own law. The rule of law represents one of the most fundamental differences between the United States and the least desirable polities of the world. We cannot afford to treat it casually.
Quote: "He was always trying to do what was possible to improve relations in a very intelligent, open and clear way. This is someone who knows the United States very well and with all the frustrations of the past is still someone they know in Washington", a senior western diplomat commenting on the appointment of Mohammad Javad Zarif as Iran's new foreign minister and on its possible implications on Iran-US relations.
Number: 3, the number of alleged members of al-Quaeda who were killed by a US drone attack.
Headline: Peace talks begin amid deep divisions
To Read: Raphael Ahren writes about Netanyahu's win-win situation on the peace front-
According to a prominent leader of Israel’s right wing, who asked to remain anonymous, Netanyahu is approaching the peace talks with two possibilities in mind. Firstly, if the unthinkable happens and the two sides reach an agreement, he will enter the history books as the man who brought peace to the Middle East, even if it means a withdrawal from much territory and a division of Jerusalem, he added.
“But his working assumption is that this will not happen and that the Palestinians, as always, will cause the negotiations to collapse,” the source said. “In this case, he expects to play up the blame game. In such a scenario, Netanyahu hopes for a period of quiet from the American administration.”
It’s a win-win strategy for Netanyahu: “If the negotiations miraculously succeed, it’s a win for him. If the negotiations fail, it’s also a win for him because he believes the Americans will blame the Palestinians,” the source said.
Quote: “I have killed lots of Arabs in my life – and there is no problem with that”, another harsh one by Naftali Bennett.
Number: 70,000, the number of Settlers who would have to be relocated as part of a peace agreement, according to 'Peace Now'.
The Middle East
Headline: EU envoy given access to deposed Egypt leader Morsi
To Read: Michael Nazir-Ali thinks that the west should not miss another opportunity to better things with Iran-
Rouhani is a protégé of the former president Muhammed Khatami, with whom I have had the chance to work. When he was President, I spent a whole day with him meeting political, civil society and religious leaders. Visiting him in Iran, I was always struck by his learning and his humility. Khatami knew about the puritan origins of the United States and the ways that tension between religious beliefs and liberty was resolved. He never tired of pointing out similarities between the difficulties of the Iranian experience and the founding of America. In opposition to the then fashionable ‘clash of civilisations’ thesis, he launched his own ‘dialogue of civilisations’ programme.
Quote: “In a final resolution, we would not see the presence of a single Israeli — civilian or soldier — on our lands”, PA President Abbas talking about the future Palestine.
Number: 72, the percentage of young Egyptians who don't feel represented by their parliament.
The Jewish World
Headline: Pope Francis considering trip to Israel next year
To Read: According to Orthodox Rabbi Efrem Goldberg, the Orthodox community needs to take a hard look at its agenda-
One might say authorship of the Torah and Biblical criticism is vitally important as we are losing observant Jews to those beliefs and they are abandoning an observant lifestyle. Surely there are thoughtful Jews grappling with these issues and an articulate and persuasive response by us may keep them in the fold. Yes, communicating the capacity to engage scientific thinking and traditional Judaism without compromise is a worthwhile exercise.
But let’s be honest. How many Jews do you know who stopped keeping Shabbos, began eating non-kosher, or entered a relationship with a non-Jewish woman because they couldn’t reconcile the authorship of Exodus and Deuteronomy? It seems to me many more are walking away because of the issues that we are not discussing broadly.
Quote: "to unite approved mohalim across Europe under a single banner, ensuring all communities can be confident in the high level of training and regulation of the circumcisers", the mission statement of Europe's new circumcisers' union.
Number: 4th, Anthony Weiner's standing in NYC's Mayoral Race.