Category Archives: US Policy in the Middle East

It’s time to reveal the Israeli role in the US surveillance machine

A 2008 document obtained by whistleblower Edward Snowden states that “one of the NSA’s biggest threats is actually from friendly intelligence services, like Israel. There are parameters on what NSA shares with them, but the exchange is so robust, we sometimes share more than we intended.” Is there anything we can we do to force a discussion of Israeli’s role in the national security surveillance state onto the public agenda here in the US?

Posted in Israel/Palestine, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | 17 Comments

Why LA needs a city-funded Middle Eastern cultural center

Jordan Elgrably argues for the creation of a city-funded Middle Eastern cultural center in Los Angeles.

Posted in Activism, Israel/Palestine, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics, War on Terror | 8 Comments

‘Poof’ — Kerry blames Israel for breakdown of talks (Updated)

This is all over the wires, and it might be historic. John Kerry, Secretary of State, blamed the Israelis for the breakdown of peace talks during a hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday. Israel failed to release prisoners on time according to a deal it had with Palestinians, then announced 700 settlement units– “poof!”– causing the latest breakdown in the talks, Kerry said.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | 144 Comments

In Ramallah, Palestinian Authority cracks down on Salafi anti-negotiation protests

As U.S. brokered negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian leaders nearly fell apart last week, in the West Bank the Palestinian Authority was busy cracking down on a Salafi group attempting to stage protests against the talks. Two weekends in a row, after evening prayers at a central Ramallah mosque dozens of Palestinian Authority riot police and undercover security services conducted mass arrests of members of Hizb ut-Tahrir, a marginal Islamic group that seeks the ouster of both the PA and Israel.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, Middle East, Occupation, On the ground reports, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics, War on Terror | Tagged , , | 13 Comments

Distracted by the peace process: What really happened during the talks

Both the US and Israel have come to rely on the endless theatrics of the two-decade peace process. Settlement freezes, prisoner releases, rows about Palestinian Authority funding and, of course, intermittent negotiations have served as useful distractions from the main developments on the ground.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, Occupation, US Policy in the Middle East | 29 Comments

Not an April Fool’s joke: U.S. weighs releasing Pollard to keep Israelis at negotiating table

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is close to concluding a blockbuster deal between the U.S., Israel and the Palestinian Authority, according to Haaretz. The agreement would include a limited Israeli settlement freeze, release of Palestinian prisoners, the release of the spy Jonathan Pollard, and the extension of the Kerry peace negotiations for one year. During that year the Palestinians would not any make claims against Israel before the United Nations. ‘New York Times’ commenters say the U.S. is being manipulated once again, for a sham peace process.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | 88 Comments

Mahmoud Abbas vs Mohammed Dahlan: The showdown begins

Mahmoud Abbas, 79, is an aging president of an authority that has access to funds but no real sovereignty or political leverage (aside from what Israel finds acceptable); and Mohammed Dahlan, 52, is in exile in the UAE after his supporters were chased out of Gaza by Hamas in 2007, and then the West Bank by his own party in June 2011. But Dahlan, aided by some strong friends around the region – and of course, his old intelligence contacts in Israel and the US – is unmistakably plotting a comeback.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, US Policy in the Middle East | 17 Comments

U.S. intel analysts doubt Israeli claim that captured weapons were headed to Gaza

Remember the massive Israeli photo ops earlier this month during the grand unveiling of “advanced” weapons bound for “terrorist organizations” in Gaza? Well, Reuters is reporting some US analysts don’t think it was headed to Gaza.

Posted in Egypt, Gaza, Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, US Policy in the Middle East | 58 Comments

Avigdor Lieberman claims transferring Palestinian citizens is perfectly legal

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s office has produced a legal document claiming that transferring Palestinian citizens and their land to a future Palestinian state is legal. Such a plan has already been raised with U.S. officials in the past, and Lieberman is now throwing it back into the mix as the U.S.-led peace process continues. Members of Knesset have slammed the proposal and Palestinian Officials from the Israeli city of Umm al-Fahm have called the proposal a “second Nakba”

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | Tagged | 48 Comments

A movement grows in a Georgia church basement

Last night in Decatur, GA about 30 people gathered in a church basement to hear Josh Ruebner discuss his new book Shattered Hopes: Obama’s Failure to Broker Israeli-Palestinian Peace. The evening was a small window into the awareness spreading across this county of the U.S. role in Israel/Palestine, and the movement growing in its wake.

Posted in Activism, Israel/Palestine, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | Tagged , , | 33 Comments

US desperate to keep futile peace process going a little longer

Obama seems committed to keeping the peace process show on the road for a while longer, however aware he is of the ultimate futility of the exercise. For the first time since the US launched the Middle East peace talks last summer, the Palestinian leadership may be sensing it has a tiny bit of leverage.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | 60 Comments

Is the U.S. quietly imposing travel sanctions on Israeli officials?

As the United States begins implementing travel restrictions on Russian officials involved in the military occupation and annexation of Crimea, there are signs that the State Department has been quietly denying visas to Israeli military and intelligence officials in accordance with a separate set of U.S. laws.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | Tagged | 43 Comments

The battle over Palestine is raging–and Israel is losing: Ali Abunimah on his new book

Ali Abunimah’s new book, The Battle for Justice in Palestine, chronicles how Palestine solidarity activism in the U.S. is on the move, with the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement growing in leaps and bounds. Mondoweiss’ Alex Kane sat down with Abunimah to discuss the state of the battle over Palestine, lessons learned from the end of South African apartheid and the potent coalitions the BDS movement is forging in the U.S.

Posted in Activism, BDS, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | Tagged , , | 45 Comments

D.C. Metro ads target US aid to the Israeli occupation

The American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), a national education and advocacy group, is using the beloved Cherry Blossom Festival to attract attention to its message: US aid to Israel has got to stop.

Posted in Activism, Israel/Palestine, US Policy in the Middle East | 12 Comments

State Dept puts American seal of approval on latest Israeli-initiated round of violence

Since the publication of a damning Amnesty International report on IDF practices Israel has seemingly ramped up the killing of Palestinians, including six dead over a 24 hour period last week. US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki, above, is quick to criticize rockets from Gaza, but withheld such condemnation for Israel’s recent killings, effectively putting an American stamp of approval on the latest Israeli violence.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Occupation, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | Tagged , , , | 29 Comments

Thousands denied water in Jerusalem as California Gov signs energy pact with Netanyahu

Israel cut off the water supply to 45,000 Palestinians this week while Prime Minister Netanyahu was traipsing across the globe signing historic legislation with the governor of my very own state, California, on — you guessed it — water conservation!

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, Occupation, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | 55 Comments

Caught in an honest moment, Kerry casts doubt on the ‘peace process’

Israeli reporter Chico Menashe was standing next to John Kerry during the recent Obama press conference with PM Benjamin Netanyahu when he heard Kerry react derisively to Obama’s claim that Kerry’s meetings with Prime Minister Netanyahu were productive.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, US Policy in the Middle East | 23 Comments

Israel lobby AIPAC is down, but not out — yet

It seems the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is starting to lose its iron-clad grip on our policymakers, but it’s certainly not time to sound the death knell. AIPAC still has a lot of muscle and will keep trying to flex it. Code Pink’s Medea Benjamin runs down what we have to look forward to coming out of the 2014 AIPAC policy conference.

Posted in Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, US Policy in the Middle East | Tagged | 51 Comments

Unravelling the false history of the Iranian nuclear program: An excerpt from ‘Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare’

“Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare” by Gareth Porter shows that virtually nothing about the nuclear scare over Iran that was reported in the Western news media was what it seemed. The book aims to unravel the false narrative that sustained the decade of crisis and to recover the real history of the Iranian nuclear program and the interactions between that program and the governments of the United States and Israel.

Posted in Iran, Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, Middle East, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | 10 Comments

10,000 Israeli teens follow mother-hen of extremist settler movement in anti-Kerry protest

Do these teens remind you of the dizzy teens awaiting the Beatles? Change the scene: Days before John Kerry will arrive in the Middle East for more negotiations, thousands of Israelis marched in the occupied Jerusalem hills to claim land that would be essential to a two-state solution

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, Occupation, On the ground reports, One state/Two states, Settlers/Colonists, US Policy in the Middle East | Tagged | Comments Off

Israeli government implosion over peace process opens door to international isolation

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rarely been so politically embattled. His travails indicate the Israeli right’s inability to respond to a shifting political landscape, both in the region and globally. U.S.-led negotiations may not lead to an agreement, but they will mark a historic turning-point nonetheless. The delegitimisation of Israel is truly under way, and the party doing most of the damage is the Israeli leadership itself.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, Occupation, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | 15 Comments

Ultra-nationalist rabbis warn John Kerry of divine punishment for the peace process

A group of Ultra-Nationalist rabbis wrote an open letter to John Kerry on Sunday comparing him to the Purim holiday villain Haman and accusing him of making “a declaration of war against the Creator and Ruler of the universe.”

Posted in Israel/Palestine, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | 43 Comments

The Two-State SodaStream Solution

Why doesn’t Netanyahu doesn’t break from his right wing pack and accept Mahmoud Abbas’s offer for an American-led NATO occupation of Palestine? He would take almost all of Palestine while leaving a cheap and subservient labor pool of millions of Palestinians for Israeli and Palestinian kingpins. Call it the SodaStream solution.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, Occupation, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | Tagged , | 2 Comments

The demand for a demilitarized state is telling Palestinians to give away the right to be free

Progressive Jews have been arguing for a demilitarized Palestinian state for decades. It’s a staple of progressive Jewish discourse. I, for one, am not climbing on the demilitarized state bandwagon. It is a disingenuous act. It means you are giving away the right of Palestinians to be free.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | 16 Comments

Kerry’s framework according to Friedman and Indyk (Updated: Abbas Weighs In)

In recent days both NY Times columnist Thomas Friedman and Special Envoy Martin Indyk have leaked elements of what is expected to be John Kerry’s “framework” proposal to Israeli and Palestinian leadership. The framework appears vague and Indyk has said the sides don’t have to agree to it in full. For these reasons the value of the Kerry plan would seem only to sustain the talks, not move them forward toward a final resolution. The peace process continues….

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, Media, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | Tagged | 99 Comments