Obama's Rage and the Palestinians' 'Days of Rage'
March 18, 2010

They are not unconnected. They are not unconnected at all. Now, presumably the president didn't want to provoke the rage of the Palestinians. (Although, then again, he might just have anticipated it.) But Palestinian rage is very easy to provoke. Snap your fingers and, there, you have it. You don't even have to rent a mob. It comes free will, so to speak. The fact is that Obama did more than snap his fingers. He sent out very top members of his administration to beat up on Israel and they did.

Maureen Dowd And The Saudi Royals
March 17, 2010

Maureen Dowd spent a week in Saudi Arabia, presumably without having to wear the hijab or be smacked on her tush by themutaween to get her to pray. But now that she’s been to Riyadh, she is also an expert, an expert not so much on the huge peninsula but on Israel. Great place to learn! You see, the Saudi foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, has actually instructed her on Israeli politics.

The Crisis
March 16, 2010

JERUSALEM—Suddenly, my city feels again like a war zone. Since the suicide bombings ended in 2005, life in Jerusalem has been for the most part relatively calm. The worst disruptions have been the traffic jams resulting from construction of a light rail, just like in a normal city.

Israelis Are Undivided On Jerusalem
March 16, 2010

Yes, many—likely most—Israelis want this or that part of the city to go ultimately to the Palestinian Authority, a larger portion more forthcoming than less… But none want any of it to go to Hamas. Who will be the legatee, however, is not something that Israel has the ability to decide. Some Israelis want the whole of Jerusalem to remain under their sovereignty. That is neither feasible nor desirable. The opportunities are very small, indeed. The Arabs are enraged, although they are easily enraged and have been enraged for decades. Since the mid-1800s, Jerusalem has had a Jewish majority.

Irish Eyes Are Not Smiling. At Least In Northern Ireland They're Not. George Mitchell’s Frosty Legacy.
March 14, 2010

On the front page of the Sunday Boston Globe “Ideas” section, there’s a photograph of East Belfast—or, rather, of a concrete demarcation “that separates the Protestant community from the Catholic residents on the other side of the wall.” It is called the “Peace Line,” and maybe it’s what George Mitchell, who negotiated the settlement that ended “the Troubles,” thinks of as peace. Mitchell was Bill Clinton’s “special envoy” to those troubles, and that is why Barack Obama made him his personal emissary to Israel and the Palestinians.

I Make No Excuses. But The Obama Administration Was Not At All Surprised By The Israeli Decision To Build In East Jerusalem.
March 14, 2010

In fact, Israel explicitly told them that it would, and Washington--with some regret, to be sure--accepted the fact. So why are the Obami having such conniptions?

Biden: Obama Made Me Do It
March 11, 2010

I am a little embarrassed to be so self-referential this morning, but I am going back to my Spine from yesterday, “The Relentless Facts of Palestine.” Vice President Biden knew he had to calm the waters in Israel a bit. And he did. So, to an audience at Tel Aviv University--said by some to be comparable to Cairo University, where President Obama delivered his June 4 speech, and which saying tells you how little most people understand the real differences among universities--Biden delivered the reassurances that probably nobody expected: “U.S.

“Diplomacy 102”: A New York Times Editorial Gets It Right
March 11, 2010

This is apropos my last Spine. The editorial habits of the New York Times are to utter hortatory dicta about how this should happen and that. In this morning’s lead editorial (“Diplomacy 102”), it heuristically explains what happened to the president’s ambitions to restart direct negotiations on a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians: President Obama seriously miscalculated last year when he insisted that Israel impose a full stop on all new settlement building ...

The Relentless Facts Of Palestine: The Tribulations Of Biden And Obama’s Ironic Fate
March 10, 2010

Everything is narrative. And the present “responsible” narrative, we are told, comes from President Obama. It’s too bad he knows very little about the intrinsic history of the dispute or about its present contours, which, after all, he--in his arrogance, vanity, and suave--has done much to make both sides more rigid rather than more amenable to compromise. (Actually it’s at least three sides if you count Hamas-controlled Gaza, which the president blithely ignores ...

Who Is Really Playing A Double Game In Kabul? Ahmadinejad Or President Karzai?
March 10, 2010

On his way to Kabul, Secretary Gates accused Dr. A’jad and Iran of “playing a double game” in Afghanistan. And surely they are. Nonetheless, the administration which the secretary of defense serves has, if anything, encouraged this behavior. Most especially by not following through on any of its (in any case, namby-pamby) threats as Tehran carries on its relentless march to nuclear possession. But what, in fact, Iran has been doing is not surprising.