Olive Tree Initiative Weekly News Digest

News, Editorials, and Studies on the Middle East March 20th, 2011 To submit an article, visit and bookmark here

Table of Contents
Israel and Palestine ................................................................................................. 3
Itamar: Already, The Aftermath .................................................................................................................... 3 A responsible government would calm, not escalate .................................................................................... 3 Palestinians Embarrassed, Not Proud, of Settlement Attack .......................................................................... 3 Settler violence continues across West Bank ................................................................................................ 3 Briefing on Protest for Palestinian Unity Becomes a Rally Itself ..................................................................... 3 Netanyahu is Already Dividing Jerusalem .................................................................................................... 3 Israeli Navy intercepts ship with Iranian arms bound for Hamas .................................................................. 4 Cyprus: No Cooperation with Flotillas to Gaza ............................................................................................. 4 Israeli-Arab MK Tibi: Palestinians ashamed of Itamar attack ......................................................................... 4 Israel Goes Ahead with Fence Move, Despite Terror .................................................................................... 4 Can Netanyahu break the deadlock? ............................................................................................................ 4 Natural gas again flows from Egypt to Israel, but future of deal is unclear .................................................... 5 Abbas ready to delay new government, give Hamas a chance to join .......................................................... 5 Politics of Despair and Politics of Hope ......................................................................................................... 5 Gaza after the revolution............................................................................................................................... 5 Wanted: The PM’s Vision for Israel ............................................................................................................... 5 The Arab Nightmare ..................................................................................................................................... 6 Revolution’s End ........................................................................................................................................... 6 What if Arabs had recognized Israel in 1948? ............................................................................................... 6 Where are the Arabs? ................................................................................................................................... 6 Double standard seen in Arab response to Libya ......................................................................................... 6 Only Half a Revolution? ................................................................................................................................. 6 Memo to Madam Secretary: First, Do No Harm ............................................................................................. 7 The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment........................................................................................ 7

Middle East & The Arab World................................................................................... 6

American and International Foreign Policy ................................................................. 7

Israel and Palestine
Itamar: Already, The Aftermath
Blog – Via Bernard Avishai’s Personal Blog: Some solid and thought provoking comments on Netanyahu's decision to respond to the massacre in Itamar by expanding settlements

A responsible government would calm, not escalate
Editorial – Via Haaretz’s Editorial Board: A responsible government would act now to calm and not to escalate, to pursue a diplomatic solution and not a belligerent confrontation. But in Jerusalem we don't have a government like that.

Palestinians Embarrassed, Not Proud, of Settlement Attack
News – Via Media Line’s David E. Miller: Interesting how even Hamas is separating itself from the attack. And how it seems that it was not organized by a major Palestinian organization

Settler violence continues across West Bank
News – Via Ma’an with contribution by AFP: Some settler responses to the Itamar attacks. Hopefully things do not escalate.

Briefing on Protest for Palestinian Unity Becomes a Rally Itself
News – Via New York Time’s Fares Akram: Good article on the growth of civil society – youth led – in West Bank and Gaza the calls for for Palestinian reconciliation: “Hundreds of demonstrators calling for Palestinian unity took to the streets here on Monday, a day earlier than scheduled, in an effort to prevent what they said were attempts by political factions to hijack their movement for their own agendas.”

Netanyahu is Already Dividing Jerusalem

News – Via Artutz Sheva’s Ekad Benari and Yoni Kempinski: The Israel Land Fund organization claims that the current government is enforcing limited "borders" with Palestinian East Jerusalem, including giving PA security jurisdiction, and prohibiting Israeli movement.

Israeli Navy intercepts ship with Iranian arms bound for Hamas
News – Via Jerusalem Post’s Yaakov Katz: Cargo vessel flying Liberian flag found with Chinese-made anti-ship missiles, as well as instruction manuals in Farsi intercepted by Israeli navy.

Cyprus: No Cooperation with Flotillas to Gaza
News – Via Arutz Sheva’s Chana Ya’ar: Cyprus is the first country to officially declare it will not cooperate with efforts by various anti-Israel movements and countries to send flotillas to violate Israel's blockade of Gaza. Peres thanked his counterpart for also being the first country to take concrete steps to prevent flotillas from leaving its ports. “Terror activities in Gaza are unacceptable,” stated Christofias, “and therefore we have prevented the flotillas from leaving.”

Israeli-Arab MK Tibi: Palestinians ashamed of Itamar attack
News – Via Ynet’s Roni Sofer: Ahmad Tibi, Palestinian-Israeli Knesset Member (and Deputy Speaker of the Knesset), who is often extremely critical and border-line hostile to Israel, denounced the Itamar attack, saying "The Palestinian nation is ashamed", not allowing it to be justified, continued to say that "while it is true that we are in the midst of a major dispute with the settlers, the murder of children is much more than just crossing a red line."

Israel Goes Ahead with Fence Move, Despite Terror
News – Via The Israel Project: The security barrier in Bil’in to be moved in five weeks, releasing 700,000 square meters of land back to the Palestinians, following ruling from Israeli Supreme Court. Israel recently opened 80 new gates to allow Palestinians to reach work.

Can Netanyahu break the deadlock?
Study – Via BICOM: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is widely believed to be preparing an interim proposal to offer the Palestinians. Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that produce a comprehensive and final agreement by the end of this year are an increasingly unrealistic prospect; nonetheless, there is growing international pressure for a breakthrough, including Britain and other European states, on both Israel and the US. The difficulty of balancing international and domestic political pressures could make it a defining moment of Netanyahu's political career. Whether such a proposal brings momentum back to the peace process will depend on the international reaction, and the extent to which the Palestinians feel the pressure to return to talk

Natural gas again flows from Egypt to Israel, but future of deal is unclear
News – Via Belling Herald’s Batsheva Sobelman: Egypt resumed natural gas shipments to Israel Wednesday for the first time since the fall of former President Hosni Mubarak. But many here remain worried about the long-term prospects for the $2.5 billion export deal, which when signed in 2005 was touted as a sign of warming relations with Israel but could soon turn into an uncomfortable diplomatic dispute with Egypt's new government.

Abbas ready to delay new government, give Hamas a chance to join
News – Via CNN’s Kareem Khadder: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Wednesday that he is ready to visit Gaza immediately in an effort to end the internal political division between the two main Palestinian political parties, Hamas and Fatah.

Politics of Despair and Politics of Hope
Editorial – Via Huffington Post’s Noah Efron: Tel Aviv councilman backs Geneva Accord-like "final solution"

Gaza after the revolution

Editorial – Via Foreign Policy’s Sara Roy: Identifies and talks about Hamas-Fatah split, March 15th "revolution", strategic importance, humanitarian issues.

Wanted: The PM’s Vision for Israel

Editorial – Via Jerusalem Post’s David Horovitz: If Netanyahu continues to dodge specifics, various int'l players, US included, will intensify their efforts to impose their idea of a solution.

Middle East & The Arab World
The Arab Nightmare
Blog – Via Foreign Policy’s Blake Hounshell: Some solid points about the uncertainty in the Middle East

Revolution’s End

Editorial – Via Foreign Policy’s Ellen Knickmeyer: On the eve of a pivotal constitutional referendum, Egypt's young activists are struggling for direction.

What if Arabs had recognized Israel in 1948?
Editorial – Via Arab News’ Abdulateef Al-Mulhim: Opinion article from a Commodore within the Saudi Royal Navy, on what could have happened if Israel was recognized in 1948, and war not declared.

Where are the Arabs?
Editorial – Via Al Jazeera’s Robert Grenier: If Arab states are serious about ending Gaddafi's menace to his people, they must take the lead in helping the rebels.

Double standard seen in Arab response to Libya
News – Via LA Time’s Jeffrey Fleishman: Concerns over Western involvement and possible reigniting of Islamic radicalism complicate the situation, which is also coated with hypocrisy.

Only Half a Revolution?

News - Via Human Rights Watch’s Nadya Khalife: There are real risks that women will be left on the sidelines, without a voice and unable to help shape a transition to a democratic Egypt. The failure to include women in the constitutional committee and the lack of women among newly appointed cabinet ministers does not bode well.

American and International Foreign Policy
Memo to Madam Secretary: First, Do No Harm
Editorial - Via Foreign Policy’s Aaron David Miller: Miller a 30 diplomat on I-P writes an article stressing the limits and options of US power. He mentions that I-P is America’s comparative advantage, but that the gaps are too wide

The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment
Editorial – Via NY Book’s Peter Beinart: Peter Beinart, a keynote speaker from J-Street this year, and American Jewish writer, talks about the decline of American Jews interested in Israel, and the reasons behind it.

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