Middle East Peace off the Map over Disputed Land E1

Posted on Tue, Dec 18, 2012 @ 04:53 PM

middle east conflictAbout 12 years ago I interviewed the mayor of the Israeli West Bank settlement, Maale Adumim. Benny Kashriel told me then that his city would eventually become part of Jerusalem, being linked to it by annexed contiguous land. Indeed he regarded Maale Adumim as part of the Jerusalem metroplis even then and had publicity brochures that proclaimed as much. The still open and barren land separating the two cities is known as Development Area EI (East 1).

Now it is back in the headlines following the upgrading of Palestine to non-member observer state by an overwhelming UN vote. Seemingly in retaliation, the government of Benjamin Netanyahu revived Israeli planning activity in the E1 sector making way for construction of up to 3400 housing units there and in other parts of Jerusalem. As tensions rise in this tit-for-tat scrapping, attempts at Middle East peace are once again on hold. The reality is that if E1 becomes a developed area between Israeli-held East Jerusalem and the 40,000 Israeli residents of Maale Adumim, the possibility of a Palestinian State with meaningful access between the northern and southern parts of the West Bank and with East Jerusalem as its capital, becomes a much more complicated prospect and perhaps moot if compromises over road connections fail.

It was the Labor government of Yitzhak Rabin that created the E1 area in 1994 in support of Maale Adumim (which Rabin had authorized in 1976). The city is regarded as a gateway to Jerusalem from the Jordan Valley. As a result, it seems unlikely that any Israeli government will give up the strategically positioned enclave, preferring rather to enhance its security by connecting it materially to Jerusalem. 

Tags: jerusalem, Middle East Peace, Israeli-Palestian conflict, middle east politics, israel, Palestine

Gaza's Ordeal Continues

Posted on Tue, Feb 10, 2009 @ 02:03 PM
Who really cares about Gaza's war ravaged people?
Google News
Details: Gaza's Ordeal  Continues
Gaza War
If there’s one thing that’s evident about the ever-sickening situation in Gaza, it’s that the ordinary suffering citizen is getting little help from Hamas or Israel or apparently anyone else. According to the New York Times, even the U.N. refugee agency in Gaza can obtain only a portion (in volume and range) of its much-needed supplies from across the Israeli blockaded border. To make matters worse, armed Hamas police have recently stolen some of the essential supplies—food and blankets—from a U.N. distribution center in Gaza City. And now the U.N. has temporarily suspended sending any supplies into Gaza because of a second Hamas theft of ten vehicles loaded with flour and rice.

Tags: israeli-palestinian conflict, Middle East Peace, Gaza crisis, humanitarian aid, Middle East Conflict

Middle East Peace through Jerusalem or Tehran?

Posted on Fri, Jan 16, 2009 @ 02:07 PM
Scholars focus on new model for negotiations
Writing in the New York Times, Ethan Bronner reviews a new collection of scholarly essays on how to resolve the various critical problems in the Middle East. The authors, from two US policy research groups, deal in “nuance and realism, despite small lapses.” They also happen to have close relations to the incoming Obama administration. They assert that the road to peace may lie not so much through Jerusalem, as through Tehran.

Tags: Middle East Peace, Ethan Bronner, current events, Middle East Conflict

Getting to a Stopping Point in Gaza

Posted on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 @ 02:13 PM
Israeli author proposes next steps in current conflict in Palestine's Gaza Strip

David Grossman has a fine piece in the NYT about the current Israeli campaign to crush Hamas. He argues for a 48 hour unilateral ceasefire on Israel's part.

Grossman, whose eldest son was killed in the 2006 Lebanon War, maintains that such an approach taken early in that conflict, would have put Israel in a much better position now. During the proposed 48 hour ceasefire, he suggests that international mediators should be invited to resolve the immediate crisis. His analysis takes note that Israel has the duty to defend not only Israeli citizens subject to Hamas rockets, but also innocent Gazan Palestinians.

Grossman writes, "We must not forget, even for a moment, that the inhabitants of Gaza will continue to live on our borders and that sooner or later we will need to achieve neighborly relations with them."

I had the pleasure of interviewing Grossman some years ago at his home in Jerusalem. He struck me then and even more so today as a man of wisdom, compassion and carefully constructed understanding of the Middle East conflict.

His voice should be heard in the current crisis.

Tags: Middle East Peace, David Grossman, Gaza violence, Middle East Conflict

Middle East Politics Online

Posted on Sun, Dec 07, 2008 @ 02:22 PM

USC class Blogs to understand the Middle East, its conflicts and possibilities
Middle East Politics Net

The class I've been teaching this semester at the University of Southern California is almost over. The 33 students have posted well over 600 entries on the associated blog middleeastpolitics.net  presenting information focused on 12 countries in this very diverse region.

They have learned a lot in a short time and the blogging requirement has been part of their almost daily routine. They even heard from two guest lecturers on the finer points of of social media use, search engine optimization and effective blog posting.

Tags: Middle East Peace, middle east politics, classroom blogging, Middle East Conflict

Uri Savir's Passion for Peace

Posted on Tue, Sep 02, 2008 @ 02:42 PM

Savir speaks about a new approach to the Middle East conflict
Middle East Conflict

Like many others with classes to teach in the Fall, I have been away from blogging for the Summer. But I did manage to conduct a significant interview with the Israeli career diplomat and Oslo Accords negotiator, Uri Savir.

His new book, Peace First, has just been published. In it he calls for a new approach to diplomacy. He speaks of peace building rather than peacemaking and the creation of an ecology of peace. With contributions by Shimon Peres, Dennis Ross and Ahmad Qurei, Peace First builds on Savir's work since 1993. He presently heads up the Peres Center for Peace in Tel Aviv and the Glocal Forum in Rome.

Tags: Middle East Peace, Uri Savir, Middle East Conflict

Middle East Peace Talks to Resume

Posted on Tue, Apr 01, 2008 @ 03:08 PM
About-Face for Abbas Who Agrees to Meet Olmert
Google News
Details: Middle  East Peace Talks to Resume
Middle East Peace Talks

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas agreed to resume talks with Israel's PM Ehud Olmert, next week. The agreement came following talks with US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, in Jordan.

Tags: Ehud Olmert, Middle East Peace, mahmoud abbas, Peace talks, Condoleezza Rice

Israeli and Palestinian Leaders Bogged Down Post-Annapolis

Posted on Thu, Dec 27, 2007 @ 04:37 PM
Still no sign of progress toward peace
The Washington Post carried an editorial comment today about the noisy exchange over Israel's plan to build more homes in Har Homa overlooking Bethlehem. The point is that it is a marginal issue when both sides know there will be land swaps in a final solution for Jerusalem. True. But wisdom would suggest that provocation of any kind is not the path to meaningful and just peace.

Tags: jerusalem, Bethlehem, Har Homa, Middle East Peace, conflict, israel, Palestine

Possible Middle East Peace: What it Will Take?

Posted on Tue, Nov 06, 2007 @ 02:30 PM

In the introduction to his new book, A Possible Peace Between Israel and Palestine: An Insider's Account of the Geneva Initiative,” Menachem Klein notes that the only way forward in the Middle East crisis that has gripped Israeli and Palestinian societies for over 50 years is profound change on a personal level on both sides. Summing things up this past June, he writes, “It is possible to change, and positions must be changed.” This is an extraordinarily important book at this moment in time and should be read by all involved in the forthcoming Annapolis talks.

Menachem kindly wrote a comment for the dust jacket of my book Identity, Ideology and the Future of Jerusalem (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2006), which makes the same point in its conclusion. There I note that peace will never come unless there is a realization at the deepest personal levels that peace begins within each individual. It is a matter not so much of “who am I?”, but “who should I be?” Success will come from the triumph of outgoing concern over self-interest. It is this kind of moral choice that underlies the solution to the seemingly perennial deadlock. Only by negotiating from this vantage point can lasting peace be achieved.


Tags: Middle East Peace, Menachem Klein