Syrian Foreign Minister Eager to Work with Obama

Former U.S. senator George Mitchell is due to arrive in Syria’s capital, Damascus, Friday on his first visit there since being named Pres. Barack Obama’s special envoy for Arab-Israeli peace. In an exclusive interview with IPS in Damascus on Jun. 4, Syria’s foreign minister, Walid Moualem, made clear that Mitchell will receive a warm welcome. … Continue reading “Syrian Foreign Minister Eager to Work with Obama”

Hamas Leader to Obama: Deeds, Not Words

DAMASCUS — The head of Hamas’s political bureau, Khaled Meshaal, gave a qualified welcome here Thursday to the big speech that Pres. Barack Obama addressed to the Muslim world in Cairo. "The speech was cleverly written in the way it addressed the Muslim world… and in the way it showed respect to the Muslim heritage," … Continue reading “Hamas Leader to Obama: Deeds, Not Words”

Obama Aide Puts Israel’s Nukes in the Diplomatic Mix

LONDON — Last month in Prague, President Barack Obama vowed that he would seek a world without nuclear weapons. On Tuesday, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller spelled out that this policy would apply to Israel, as well. Speaking at a conference on the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Gottemoeller said that "Universal adherence … Continue reading “Obama Aide Puts Israel’s Nukes in the Diplomatic Mix”

Obama and Netanyahu: Storm Clouds Ahead?

A big confrontation is brewing between the United States and Israel’s new government over the Palestine issue. Since his first days in office, President Barack Obama has expressed clear support for speedy action toward the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. Since then, he and his key advisers — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton … Continue reading “Obama and Netanyahu: Storm Clouds Ahead?”

Gaza Changed Everything, But Its People Still Suffer

Three months after the end of Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza, and nearly four months after former prime minister Ehud Olmert started it, the standoff between Israel and Hamas is as unresolved as ever. Gaza’s 1.5 million residents, nearly all of them civilians, are still in a very tough situation, since Israel still prohibits … Continue reading “Gaza Changed Everything, But Its People Still Suffer”

Obama’s Lieberman Problem

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government was sworn in Tuesday — just one day later his foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, set off a firestorm by saying he judged Israel was no longer bound by agreements reached at the late-2007 peace conference convened by the U.S. in Annapolis, Maryland. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul-Gheit was one … Continue reading “Obama’s Lieberman Problem”

In the Mideast, Even Mixed Signals Mark a Policy Shift

The British government has announced it will hold talks with the political wing of Lebanon’s Hezbollah. The Barack Obama administration sent two envoys to Syria to discuss steps to improve relations. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has invited Iran to take part in a conference on the future of Afghanistan. It looks as though … Continue reading “In the Mideast, Even Mixed Signals Mark a Policy Shift”

East Jerusalem Settlements Ratchet Up Tensions

JERUSALEM – As the fires of human misery continue to smolder in Gaza, the situation in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem is emerging as another potentially explosive issue in, and far beyond, the Middle East. The future of the city is considered an issue of prime importance to both Palestinians and Israelis, as well as to their … Continue reading “East Jerusalem Settlements Ratchet Up Tensions”

Israel’s Lurch to the Right Could Be Far Indeed

EAST JERUSALEM – The continuing efforts by Israel’s presumptive next prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, to assemble a rightwing-dominated government have sparked serious concern about the effects such a government might have on peace efforts with the Palestinians. In addition, the fact that Netanyahu has invited Avigdor Lieberman, leader of the openly anti-Arab Yisrael Beiteinu party, … Continue reading “Israel’s Lurch to the Right Could Be Far Indeed”