Stories written by Jerrold Kessel

MIDEAST: A Circle Not Easily Squared

Security first or borders first: security says Israel, borders retort the Palestinians. Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are finally again getting under way. Israel though remains adamant that the only chance the talks have to make headway is for its security concerns to be satisfactorily addressed.

MIDEAST: Pessimistic About Peace, Yet…

As President Obama on Wednesday initiates the ninth U.S. attempt in the last 30 years to bring about a final Palestinian-Israeli peace agreement, expectations are low and pessimism is high.

Israel Navigates Between Inquiries

Israel's easing of its land blockade of Gaza is unlikely to lessen international pressure for a change in its policies towards the Palestinians. Nor can Israel be expected to give up its battle to undermine Hamas' control of the Gaza Strip.

No Sidelining Arab-Israelis Over Raid On Aid Flotilla

Normally, in this non-descript sleepy Arab town in Galilee, TV sets are tuned to Al-Jazeera or Al-Arabiyya, the round-the-clock Arabic networks.

MIDEAST: Where Commemorations Are Split

In Israel and Palestine memory is a split matter, depending on which side of the map you come from. Especially this May, as Israeli and Palestinian leaders restart negotiating a border acceptable to their peoples.

ISRAEL: The Only Democracy in the Middle East?

Noam Chomsky, a fierce espouser of left-wing causes, is widely admired in countries which parade themselves as "democracies". Apparently, the admiration does not extend to Israel.

Ziad Abuzayyad Credit: Jerrold Kessel/IPS

Q&A: ‘U.S. Can Stop Israeli Settlements’

Ziad Abuzayyad was Palestinian cabinet minister responsible for Jerusalem affairs and a member of the Palestinian Legislature. During previous rounds of peace talks with Israel he was a leading member of the Palestinian negotiating team

MIDEAST: Netanyahu Plants Trees and More on Occupied Land

When Benjamin Netanyahu dug a spade here and in another West Bank settlement this week, some thought the Israeli Prime Minister was actually digging a hole into current United States-sponsored peace efforts.

Ghassan Khatib Credit: Jerrold Kessel and Pierre Klochendler /IPS

Q&A: ”Israeli Settlements Killing Two-Nation Solution”

In the absence of any progress towards peace between Israelis and Palestinians, leaders of the Palestinian Authority (PA) are adopting a reasonable approach as a way of building up international pressure on Israel to get it back to the negotiating table.

David Landau Credit: Jerrold Kessel and Pierre Klochendler /IPS

Q&A: ”U.S. ‘Grand Bargain’ Can Save Israel From Itself”

Resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict along the two-state parameters seems less likely with Israel torn between accepting a Palestinian state and the settler ideology which calls for Israel's exclusive rule over the whole of Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Saeb Erekat Credit:

Q&A: No Unilateral Declaration of Palestinian State, Says Erekat

The Palestinian Authority has embarked on a new strategic drive to get renewed international recognition for the borders of the future Palestinian state. Last Thursday it gained backing for this approach from the Arab League.

MIDEAST: ‘It’s the Occupation, Stupid’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finds himself embattled on several fronts as he tries - hitherto unsuccessfully - to ward off the enormous international pressure on Israel unleashed by the Goldstone report for its conduct of the war against Hamas in Gaza earlier this year.

Daniel Seidemann Credit:

Q&A: ‘Ignore Jerusalem, At Everyone’s Peril’

A new spate of demolitions of Palestinian homes by the Israeli authorities near Jerusalem's walled Old City, plus resuscitated plans for a new major Jewish settlement building project on the outskirts of occupied East Jerusalem, threaten to spark fresh tension between Israelis and Palestinians.

MIDEAST: Israel in No Mood to Brook Dissent

The war on Gaza is widening. Not so much on the battleground inside Gaza as inside Israeli society. The Israeli army continues the battering of Hamas, but on another front Israelis are firing on their own democracy - and from within the very halls of democracy itself.

MIDEAST: Israel at Crossroads Between Ceasefire and Occupation

Into the third week of its war on Gaza, Israeli leaders are convinced they're still calling the shots. But, without a suitable diplomatic exit soon, the military "successes" could quickly begin to unravel, some sobering Israeli voices have cautioned.

MIDEAST: Israel Ponders End to Offensive

"Unlike the Qana tragedy in 1996 which brought about an immediate end to the Israeli offensive in southern Lebanon, Tuesday night's Israeli shelling of the Fakhura UNWRA school will not bring about an abrupt cessation of the Israeli military campaign," says analyst Chemi Shalev in the Wednesday morning edition of Israel Today. "But it will definitely accelerate the diplomatic pressure for a ceasefire."

MIDEAST: In a Battle for Legitimacy

A confident Israel launched the second half of its war against Hamas in Gaza self-assured that it has already secured two central components of the war: the reaffirmation of its right to self-defence, and the legitimacy of its military action. The latter, Israel reckons, derives directly from the modesty, not necessarily of the scope of the operation (the most extensive against Palestinians in 40 years), but of its declared war goals.


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