By dropping earlier demands that Iran shut down an underground uranium enrichment plant and ship material out of the country as part of a preliminary deal, nuclear negotiators have kicked some of the toughest questions forward to talks for the next year.
Palestinian peace negotiators resigned over a lack of progress in talks with Israel, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said.
The Islamist Hamas movement has sharply criticized the Palestinian Authority for resuming peace talks with Israel, saying that President Mahmoud Abbas is giving in to American pressure. The criticism comes as Hamas moves toward a rapprochement with Iran, despite differences over Syria.
Cynicism about new Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts comes in a variety of flavors. There is the lazy cynicism of allegedly objective pundits: “Only a fool would believe that this could work.”
After 20 years of stops, starts and a bloody intifada in between, John Kerry believes he can pull out a final status Israeli-Palestinian peace deal in nine months.
Israel did not promise the United States that it would abstain from attacking Iran while negotiations are going on, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intends to send a letter to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, in which he will call on him to return to the negotiating table, promptly and without preconditions.
Iran paid the Islamist group Hamas to block a deal with the rival Fatah movement that would have ended a five-year rift between the two main Palestinian factions, a Fatah spokesman said on Tuesday.
Israel on Wednesday cautiously welcomed the planned resumption of big-power nuclear talks with Iran, insisting that Tehran be denied the means to turn uranium into bomb fuel.
The Obama administration heralded progress in Israeli-Palestinian talks held under Jordanian auspices.
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met in Jordan for the second time in a week. The face-to-face meeting Monday was the result of a meeting last week in Amman with representatives of the Mideast Quartet.
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators made no breakthrough during their first high-level discussions in more than a year on Tuesday, but agreed to hold further talks in Amman on a confidential basis, Jordan's foreign minister said.
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators will meet this week after more than a year of deadlock in peacemaking, officials said Sunday, but both sides played down prospects of any imminent resumption of talks.
This time there are maps -- not that they necessarily help. After the collapse of the Camp David talks in 2000, the Israeli and Palestinian sides bickered about who had offered what, and the competing historical narratives were adopted by either side and around the world. This time, the proposed territorial concessions that former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian negotiators discussed are visible in living color -- in a set of leaked Palestinian Authority documents published by Al Jazeera.
When the fat lady sings on Sept. 26, it may only be an intermission.
Tony Blair called for "face-to-face," direct negotiations between the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority as soon as possible.
In the course of his campaign, Obama turned to the Jewish community to declare his support for Israel, saying that Israel's security is "paramount."
But if he really believes this to be true, he will have to understand that words of support are not enough. He will have to work to achieve the one thing that can bring the Jewish state true security: true peace.
Why should any supporter of an embattled Israel want to risk the future of the Jewish State on a president known for the temperamental, quixotic and unpredictable whims that guide his decision making?
Although the Palestinians say wide gaps remain, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Olmert reportedly agreed in talks Sunday to make every effort to wrap up a full-fledged peace agreement by the end of the year. But both sides are skeptical.
Even for the complex Middle East it was a moment of exceptional irony. Some 180 Fatah loyalists fleeing a series of shootouts and summary executions by Hamas
on the streets of Gaza ran for the border -- banking on the mercies of the enemy they usually target
Ehud Olmert's departure opens up the possibility of radical new directions in Israeli policy vis-a-vis the Palestinians, Syria and Iran
All this is about living POWs. But what about dead ones? How far should a government go in order to bring a dead soldier to burial?
After the pomp and circumstance of Annapolis, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are gearing up for tough bargaining over the minutiae of a two-state settlement.
Not only will they have to agree on core issues like borders between Israel and a Palestinian state, but they'll also have to find common ground on a host of lesser concerns regulating relations between the two states, ranging from shared sewage systems to allocations on the electromagnetic spectrum.
Before year's end, a U.S.-sponsored conference involving Israel and the Palestinian Authority will convene in Annapolis, Md., to frame yet another plan to end the Arab-Israeli war and create a Palestinian state. Sadly, this conference has as much chance of succeeding as did Oslo, because the same mistakes that ensured failure then are being made now.
Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky stirred controversy with remarks on Jerusalem in the Jewish Journal. This week his congregation hosted the "Israel in Focus Conference" at B'nai David-Judea, where the situation in Israel was discussed.
Leaders on both sides are optimistic. They see Olmert's moves as part of a new and wider American plan for Israeli-Palestinian accommodation.
Political impasses are unstable. So is ours. Sooner or later, the volatile situation will erupt, and a new reality will be created.
After the Lebanon and Gaza experiences -- sustained rocket attacks on Israel in the wake of unilateral pullouts -- will Olmert still want to adopt last summer's Gaza model of withdrawal without agreement, or will he seek a different formula, such as bilateral arrangements with moderate Palestinian leaders or the introduction of international forces to keep the peace after Israel pulls back?
The key to whether the Saudi plan becomes a serious option -- even if adopted by the Palestinians -- lies in Washington. The American goal remains a negotiated two-state solution based on Bush's "vision" that he outlined in June 2002.
Olmert's attention to the fine print and his less-than-mythic status in Israel have become subjects of parody at home.
But it's just those qualities that have made him a favorite among Jewish officials and politicians in Washington.
The Hadera Democratic School, which receives funding from both public and private sources, was the first of its kind in Israel. Since its founding in 1987 in this city about 60 kilometers north of Tel Aviv, 23 other schools have opened around the country based on its model of democratic education, in which student participation and choice is emphasized.
Though a regional economic and military superpower, Israel had been powerless in the world of negotiations to address the clearly identified threat to its survival. The Palestinians had the ability to hold Israel hostage by refusing to agree to any settlement that would end Israel's occupation.
The Valley Cities Jewish Community Center received a new lease on life this week when its parent organization agreed in principle to sell the center property to a local partnership that will keep the JCC going. Without the agreement, the center could have shut down at the end of June, probably for good.
The parent organization, which is called the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Los Angeles, said it would accept a $2.7 million bid for the Sherman Oaks property. The condition for this "discounted" price was that any developer must also agree to renovate the JCC building or construct a new facility, insiders said. Four developers are believed to have expressed interest in putting senior housing and a state-of-the-art JCC on the land. A formal purchase offer could materialize by the end of July.
The meeting Monday between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and President Bush at Bush's vast Texas ranch was to have affirmed the special U.S.-Israel relationship and paved the way forward in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process -- a triumphant summit between two friends, farmers and statesmen.
By what criteria should Jewish voters select Los Angeles' next mayor? The March 8 election is looming as a referendum on first-term incumbent James K. Hahn.
As professor Raphael J. Sonenshein of California State University, Fullerton noted in an earlier Jewish Journal column, the Jewish community seems split mostly among three candidates.
In a keynote speech last week at the Herzliya Conference on Israel's National Security, Sharon declared that "2005 will be the year of great opportunity," with "a chance for an historic breakthrough in our relations with the Palestinians, a breakthrough we have been waiting for years."
The Israeli establishment is delighted by the re-election of President Bush.
Regardless of his true intentions, Sharon, by marking most of the Gaza Strip for evacuation, has almost completely given up on meaningful Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in the near future. There is a small chance that negotiations may still occur, precluding Sharon's withdrawal from occurring in a vacuum. However, if Israel chooses to navigate the risky path of unilateralism, America's goal should be to encourage a safe and secure outcome through hands-on engagement.
The Bush administration starts a new round of Mideast diplomacy with a strong hand, thanks to its successful military action in Iraq and weak opposition at home.
In fact, much of this week's aid talk may be political playacting intended to give a boost to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in his reelection bid, not to produce real shekels in the Israeli treasury.
"It highlights the fact that the myth -- that all terror against Israel is because it occupies Palestinian territories -- is wrong," said Matthew Levitt, a terrorism expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
The heart of the dispute centers on whether Sea Point must observe the standards of halacha demanded by the country's chief rabbinate in Johannesburg, or whether it can adopt looser standards.
According to a poll released last week by Americans for Peace Now (APN) and the Arab American Institute (AAI), U.S. Jews continue to support an active Mideast peace process and a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians, despite two years of horrific terrorism and the bitter disappointment of a peace process turned sour.
Middle East diplomacy shifted to New York this week amid widespread skepticism that there is any formula that can convince Israel and the Palestinians to make even slight progress toward peace.
Trick or treat? That slightly out-of-season challenge reflects Israeli reaction to Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat's dramatic call on his people for "a complete stop to all armed activities, especially the suicide attacks."
A parade of Arab and Muslim leaders is passing through Washington, promising support for the U.S.-led effort against terrorist kingpin Osama bin Laden -- but also urging the administration to press harder for a cease-fire and new negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
They were called "Syrian-Israeli" talks, but this week's second round of negotiations between the two countries was very much an American affair -- in a storybook small town chosen by the White House, with President Clinton playing host and mediator.
So it was no surprise that when the talks were snagged over a disagreements over what to talk about, it was Clinton who held the negotiators' hands, cajoled, nudged and pleaded.
The interviewer's question to Prime Minister Ehud Barak on Israeli television over the weekend was clearly one Barak would have preferred to do without.
Despite the usual last-minute posturing, complaining and maneuvering in the region, administration officials prepared for Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's Mideast trip this week confident Israel and the Palestinians will sign an agreement that will lay out implementation of the long-delayed Wye River accord.