Reading List For The Week, 1/31

[tweetmeme] Just finished your book?  Looking for something else to read?  Read these this week:

‘Captives: What Really Happened During The Israeli Attacks’ in the New Yorker, by Lawrence Wright

A young man looks for his mother’s grave in a cemetery in Beit Lehia that was destroyed by tanks in January. Israel’s three-week-long attack has given rise to charges of war crimes on both sides.

Goldstone Explains Why Israel is Being Singled Out (After Serbia and South Africa)’ in Mondoweiss (blog post) by Philip Weiss

The other night I came home from Judge Goldstone’s speech at Yale and, sensing that it was important, posted a quick report. In days since I’ve relistened to the speech and seen its depths. Though it was not about Gaza per se, nearly everything the judge said was a logical and quietly-impassioned response to the critics of his Gaza report to the U.N. Human Rights Council. Richard Goldstone is a sober jurist, a man of the law, but his speech was a spiritual/political discussion of racism and inequality, with a backdrop of the Holocaust and apartheid South Africa.

How Gaza Can Help Israeli Palestinian Peace Talks’ in Foreign Policy Blogs (blog post) by Marc Lynch

There’s something of a buzz right now about a U.S.-led push to once again try to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.  It is to their credit that George Mitchell and the Obama administration remain deeply committed to pushing forward on this issue in the face of all the skepticism and all the setbacks.  I wouldn’t be surprised if some formula is found to revive the talks — which would be no small diplomatic achievement.  If they do manage to get the two parties to the table, would it have real prospects for a successful outcome or would it shape up as another Annapolis, highly publicized talks which nobody expects to produce anything?  I think that there’s one place where a new U.S. initiative could totally reshape the game in a productive direction:  Gaza.

Yemen Intervention Risks Ripple Effects’ in The Guardian by Simon Tisdall

It’s unclear as yet what level of increased intervention in Yemen Barack Obama is contemplating – but that there will be heightened US involvement there for the foreseeable future is beyond doubt. Trouble is, Yemen cannot be treated in isolation.

‘Gaza’s Agony’ in Foreign Policy (via The Jerusalem Center) by Eyad El-Sarraj

On the night Barack Obama won the U.S. presidency, he announced: “To all those … who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of the world … a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear the world down: We will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security: We support you…. The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.”

Obama’s words made the world shiver with anticipation.

‘Ignoring Gaza’s Humanitarian Crisis’ in Salon (via The Jerusalem Center) by Juan Cole

When a relief plane for Doctors Without Borders isn’t allowed to land by U.S. military authorities at the airport in Port-au-Prince, there is an outcry.

But Israeli military authorities will not allow any relief planes at all to land in the Gaza Strip (the Israelis destroyed Gaza’s airport in 2001).

‘Ecological Peace Between Syria and Israel?’ in Syria Comment by Saleem H. Ali

On January 7, 2010, Tel Aviv University hosted a unique conference on the role of ecological factors in peace-building between Syria and Israel. This was a bold initiative at a time when relations between the two countries have been strained by the Israeli government’s call for a referendum law on relinquishing any portion of the Golan and other annexed territories after the 1967 war. However, despite the cynicism of many on both sides of the border, the Porter Institute of Environmental Studies, under the initiative of an enterprising postgraduate student Shahar Sadeh, managed to convene a meeting to discuss the prospect. Even though Syrian participation at the meeting was not possible due to a prohibition of professional contact between the two sides, it was perhaps constructive to have Israelis discussing the issue independently since they are the occupying force in the region and would have to first resolve internal political differences on the issue.

‘Third Parties must help Israel comply with its obligations’ in Bitter Lemons by Ghassan Khatib

The long experience of Palestinian-Israeli negotiations has taught us that the question is not whether to negotiate. If they are to resume, negotiations cannot be an objective in themselves, they are a means to achieve certain ends.

‘Negotiations? No Thanks’ in Bitter Lemons by Mordechai Keder

Since the Netanyahu government was elected in late March 2009, negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians have been frozen. It looks like the two sides prefer it that way. Of course in addressing the international community, and particularly the United States, each side has to pretend to be interested in renewing talks. But beneath the surface, both are afraid to proceed.

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