Israeli Right Jeopardizes Alliance by Hectoring Obama
With less than a month left in his presidency, Barack Obama has managed to infuriate the Israeli right by hardening America’s stance on the construction of West Bank settlements.
Whatever the merits of their quarrel with the American president, though — and there are leftwingers in Israel and Jewish supporters of Obama in the United States who are disappointed as well — the over-the-top reaction from the Israeli right is unjustified and, more importantly, ill-advised. Read more
A bit of armchair psychology is required to answer that question. Based on the way way he conducts himself and the many profiles I’ve read about the man, I think it’s safe to say that a powerful motivator was his desire to prove himself. Read more
It looks certain now that Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu will draw Avigdor Lieberman and his nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu party into the ruling coalition, expanding his parliamentary majority by five seats. Lieberman, a hawk and former foreign minister, would become defense minister in the new arrangement, replacing Moshe Ya’alon.
The news comes after speculation that Netanyahu was working out a deal with Labor’s Isaac Herzog instead.
I talked about this surprising development today with the Atlantic Sentinel‘s man in Tel Aviv, Ariel Reichard. Read more
Hamas Celebrates Stabbings, Shootings Across Israel
The Palestinian militant group Hamas praised a series of attacks in Israel on Tuesday that wounded fourteen and left an American tourist dead.
“Hamas celebrates the martyrs that have ascended through these operations,” a spokesman for the organization said, “and confirms that their pure blood will, God willing, be the fuel for escalating the intifada.” Read more
Israel Unfreezes Relations with EU After Labeling Row
Israel unfroze diplomatic relations with the European Union this weekend, having failed to persuade the bloc to revise its labeling rules for products imported from Jewish settlements on the West Bank.
Israel suspended talks with EU institutions about its relations with the Palestinians in November in response to a directive to member states to label goods made in settlements as such rather than “Made in Israel”.
Michael Koplow argues at his blog, Ottomans and Zionists, that conservative politicians in the country played up the suspension of talks as Israel using its power to change EU policy and ended up with nothing but more exasperated European counterparts.
“The bluster and rage turned out to be irrelevant at best and counterproductive at worst,” he writes. Read more