Posts Tagged ‘Palestinians’

Can Gaza Ever Be Pacified?

August 8, 2014

Marc Ginsberg (Ambassador to Morocco, 1994-1998)

Cross-posted from Ambassador Ginsberg’s August 7, 2014 special to the Huffington Post.

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The Gaza Strip will never fit neatly into a future Palestinian state jigsaw puzzle. Even in a utopian final two-state settlement it will always be separated from the West Bank across 30 Israeli desert miles. The best minds have tried to figure this one out… an elevated highway linking Gaza and the West Bank, a highway tunnel gouged under Israel, even a light rail system. Yet Gaza’s ill-fated geography is what it is no matter what Hamas may seek (and will always fail) to change.

The simplistic narratives spinning around the war about Gaza only make things worse for its victimized citizenry. For Israelis and for those truly interested in a positive future for Gaza, it is essential to understand that Hamas and the Palestinians who live there are not one and the same.

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It’s Just Not Good Enough to Be Prime Minister of AIPAC

March 7, 2014

Marc Ginsberg (Ambassador to Morocco, 1994-1998)

Cross-posted from Ambassador Ginsberg’s March 5, 2014 special to the Huffington Post.

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Noted New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman once remarked that it is far more important what Arab leaders say to their people in Arabic then what they tell Americans in English. That adage also applies to Israeli leaders, including Benjamin Netanyahu, whose speech yesterday before the National Policy Conference of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee wowed the fretful faithful, but represented no Sister Soldjah moment break with his darker anti-peace agenda.

Netanyahu in English is not the same Netanyahu in Hebrew.

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A step forward for peace in the Middle East

February 3, 2014

Edward M. Gabriel (Ambassador to Morocco, 1997-2001)

Cross-posted from Ambassador Gabriel’s January 30, 2014 special to  The Hill.

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At a time when our country is exhausted by hearing bad news from the Middle East, and after having watched so many U.S. peace initiatives in the region fail, it is interesting to see the enthusiasm and optimism of Secretary John Kerry as he battles the seemingly impossible challenge of helping to broker a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Every U.S. administration since 1967 has tried to contribute to a peace process. As U.S. Ambassador to Morocco from 1997-2001, I played a small role in talks that came close, but ultimately failed, to reach a compromise at the end of the Clinton administration.

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Ambassador Stephenson on his Trip to Israel

October 22, 2013

Thomas Stephenson (Ambassador to Portugal, 2007-2009)

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As I write, I am flying back from four days in Israel during which time I participated in a series of meetings with current, and several former, senior military, intelligence, and government leaders. None of the meetings were for attribution, but I thought it would be interesting to address the questions posed (How does the government shutdown impact US foreign policy and US credibility abroad? How significant is the recent shift in US-Iran relations? What do you expect will result from the recent agreement between Secretary Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, and the Assad regime regarding the disarmament of Syria’s chemical weapons?) in the context of Israel’s precarious position with regard to most of the issues raised, and the gist of what we heard and observed regarding these issues while there.

There was concern expressed about the impact on Israel and our other trading partners of our government shutdown and potential debt default (fortunately, an agreement to kick the can down the road a few months was reached the day after our meetings concluded). Several of the people with whom we met expressed concern about the potential impact of shutdown and sequestration on our military capabilities, the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, and the extent to which world financial markets and international trade have been roiled by our failure to find a solution. There is no doubt relief in many corners of the world that we have at least an interim solution.

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