February 2009 Archives
Earlier this week blogger Philip Weiss posted a letter sent to me by an activist named Ira Glunts. I don't know Mr. Glunts and have never heard from him before, but since he has elected to make his letter public, it seems appropriate for me to respond in kind.
Glunts' letter (which you can read on Weiss' blog) expresses his outrage at APN for our recent statement and Action Alert supporting a statement made February 12th by Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY) about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Very few people in Israel posses more influence and have a broader global strategic perspective than Major General (res.) Amos Gilad, director of the Defense Ministry's Diplomatic-Security bureau. Gilad enjoys so much clout and influence that last December he was depicted by Israel's leading Haaretz Daily as "the man who is running the country."
Last week, frustrated by what he argued is the erratic way in which Israeli politicians are negotiating with Hamas through Egypt over a ceasefire agreement and over the release of a kidnapped Israeli soldier, Gilad lashed out. Extensive quotes, carried by Maariv daily on February 18, indicate the Israeli security establishment's concern over Israel's alienating existing and potential regional allies.
As has been widely reported in the press, Senate Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) is currently in the middle of a trip to the Middle East, including visits to Israel, Gaza, and Syria. He is one of many members of Congress traveling to the Middle East during this recess - travel that we hope is an indication that the 111th Congress is going to deal seriously with this region. Sen. Kerry's travel is especially important, given his role as the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and earlier today APN sent him a letter (copied below) applauding his travel.
Today's Ma'ariv includes a report with extensive comments by Amos Gilad, Israel's lead negotiator with Hamas (through Egyptian mediation). Gilad is clearly frustrated by Olmert's decision to condition the cease-fire on the release of Shalit. And he speaks plainly about that. Just as remarkable are the comments he makes about the dwindling number of allies that Israel has in the Arab world, and the need not to alienate Egypt.
If you're reading this blog, you probably seldom read the Jerusalem Post, which is why you may have missed the Post's interview with Elliott Abrams, the Bush White House Mideast policy czar - his first interview since he left his position as deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser for global democracy strategy.
The Post got the scoop because its reporter Ruthie Blum Leibowitz is Abrams' sister-in-law. That probably has something to do with why I find the interview so satisfying and so frustrating at the same time.
I am now a regular contributor to GlobalSecurity.org
My first contribution was an analysis of yesterday's Israeli elections. Here it is:
I could not find this in English online, and so here are the results of the exit poll published by Israel Radio:
On Israeli policy, settlement construction, growth, etc. during 2008