For MidEast Peace, Look to Israel's Arab Partners - John Hannah
- It's virtually impossible to imagine Israel and the Palestinians conducting fruitful negotiations under the current circumstances. Mistrust is at an all-time high. Gaps on the core issues are wide. Talks have been in deep freeze for over two years. For months on end, young Palestinians have targeted innocent Israelis in a wave of random stabbings.
- The Palestinian leadership seems weaker, more divided, and more paralyzed than ever, utterly incapable of taking on the compromises that even the most generous peace offer would require.
- If outside intervention to impose a deal rewards the Palestinians' refusal to negotiate, what incentive would they have to return to the table, rather than merely sit back and wait for even greater international pressure to be brought on Israel?
- President Obama might more productively direct his energies during his waning months in office to the slightly more auspicious diplomatic ground of Israel's thickening links with a handful of key Arab states.
- Unfortunately, Israeli officials complain that the U.S. remains far too focused on the Palestinian issue, while missing entirely the historic opportunity to advance relations between Israel and the Arab states. That's the real peace process play that America should be pursuing.
The writer is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
Arab States Willing to Amend 2002 Saudi Peace Initiative
- Daniel Siryoti
[A] Channel 10 report said Arab countries have indicated that some of the clauses in the Saudi initiative [were] open to negotiation include demands that Israel withdraw from the Golan Heights and grant Palestinian refugees a "right of return."
Israel, Egypt Nearing Compromise - David Wainer
Israel may agree to settle for half of the $1.73 billion fine Egypt was ordered to pay it so talks on exporting Israeli offshore gas there can go ahead, people familiar with the negotiations said. Payments would be spread over 14 years. An international arbitration court in December ordered Egypt to pay Israel damages for violating a contract to supply Israel Electric with Egyptian gas.
Israel's willingness to compromise on the fine reflects the tight cooperation between the countries since Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi became Egypt's defense minister in 2012, then president in 2014. Egypt exported natural gas to Israel until it canceled the agreement in 2012 as its wells became depleted and the pipeline carrying it came under repeated sabotage.
A Note of Optimism for Israel's Future - Yossi Melman
Iran's Sunni Arab enemies have turned to Israel, which is reaching out with secret military and intelligence deals to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The writer was a senior correspondent for 27 years on national security, intelligence and strategic issues at the Israeli daily Ha'aretz.