US Opinion and Commentary

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Israel Between Obama and Trump

Posted December 29th, 2016 at 3:20 pm (UTC-5)
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Acknowledging that United States policy will likely change on January 20, Secretary of State John Kerry nonetheless delivered an emphatic defense of the Obama administration’s decision to abstain from a vote on a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s settlement policy.

In a speech Wednesday at the State Department, Kerry said the U.S. declined to exercise its veto because it “cannot, in good conscience, do nothing, and say nothing, when we see the hope of peace slipping away,” referring to Israel’s expansion of West Bank settlements and their impact on a “two-state solution.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Kerry’s speech “disappointing” and said “Israel looks forward to working with president-elect (Donald) Trump” to repeal the resolution.

Trump and Netanyahu traded tweets of support ahead of Kerry’s speech, leaving little doubt that a new chapter in U.S. relations with Israel and the Middle East is about to be written.

Will Obama Roll the Dice on the Middle East One More Time?

Posted September 6th, 2016 at 9:37 am (UTC-5)
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 All along, the assumption has been that Obama might wait to act until after the presidential election, so as to avoid creating problems for Hillary Clinton. There’s plenty of precedent: Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush all bid for a Middle East legacy during their final months.

Netanyahu Bet the Future of the U.S.-Israel Relations on the GOP. Now He Has a Trump Problem

Posted March 8th, 2016 at 10:57 am (UTC-5)
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Trump, alone in the modern Republican Party, has tacked away from unconditional support for Israel. He has said he would take a “neutral” stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and suggested that if negotiations fail it might well be Israel’s fault

Israel’s Unprecedented Geopolitical Strength

Posted February 12th, 2016 at 1:18 pm (UTC-5)
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It may seem counterintuitive, or even downright strange, but Israel’s geopolitical position is probably stronger now than at any time in the country’s history. This is likely to continue at least in the short-to-medium term, but looming long-term challenges should give some pause to Israel’s current leaders.

Is the U.S. Giving Up on Israel?

Posted January 21st, 2016 at 10:02 am (UTC-5)
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(U.S. Amb. to Israel, Daniel) Shapiro noted that the US administration is “concerned and perplexed” by Israel’s settlement policy. According to him, the policy raises honest questions about Israel’s long-term intentions.

The Last Temptation of Barack Obama and John Kerry

Posted January 13th, 2016 at 9:02 am (UTC-5)
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[A]s time runs out on the presidential hourglass, the ‘need to do something’ syndrome is kicking in. … this need can be quite compelling regardless of the odds of success. … the president will be leaving a Middle East far worse off than the one he inherited. And fair or not, he’ll be blamed.

Obama Shutters the Peace Process Shop

Posted November 9th, 2015 at 12:55 pm (UTC-5)
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White House officials stated that an agreement between the two sides “isn’t in the cards” during what remains of the Obama presidency … It’s a stunningly honest admission, particularly for a president who set such high goals seven years ago. But was it a wise one? What is the Obama Administration up to?

Obama: ‘If Not Now, Bibi, Then When?’

Posted November 9th, 2015 at 9:57 am (UTC-5)
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Last year, shortly before Benjamin Netanyahu made one of his periodic visits to the White House, I interviewed Barack Obama about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict… The president told me … “The essence of my conversation,” Obama said, is this: “If not now, when? And if not you, Mr. Prime Minister, then who?