FROM Jim Gelvin
Has the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Entered a New Phase? The nightmare scenario that Israel has feared since its establishment came true." "The barrier of fear has been broken." Those are Israeli commentators on what Defense Minister Ehud Barak describes as "the Palestinians' transition from suicide-bomber terrorism" to "mass demonstrations, deliberately unarmed." They're all quoted in a Washington Post article by Joel Greenberg in Jerusalem. With Middle Eastern regimes under challenge as never before, are the Palestinians adopting a new strategy in their struggle with Israel? How will President Obama respond to claims that the US is losing influence in the region?
Political Change and Continuing Conflict in the Middle East On Sunday, Israel's 63rd anniversary, massed Palestinians approached the country's borders from Syria, Lebanon, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Some were fired on by soldiers, but Israeli leaders concede that a shift from suicide bombs to unarmed masses creates challenges of a new and different kind. Another challenge will come in September, when the UN General Assembly might well declare a Palestinian state. This week, it's President Obama's turn, with a much-anticipated speech on the so-called "Arab Spring" and meetings with regional leaders, including today's meeting with King Abdullah of Jordan.
Israel, the Palestinians and anti-Americanism in the Muslim World Last week UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said the Israeli-Palestinian issue "carries a powerful symbolic and emotional charge... like no other conflict in the world." There was a sense of optimism, when President Mahmoud Abbas said the Palestinians would form a "unity government" to negotiate the end of the economic and political blockade imposed by Israel and the western powers. But with Hamas and Fatah bitterly divided over recognizing Israel's right to exist, there may be no "unity government" with which to negotiate. We update the Palestinians' internal struggles and look at the mood in Israel after the bombing of Lebanon. We also get some history of the Israeli-Palestinian issue and why it's the source of so much anti-Americanism around the world.
Janesville and the American Dream Janesville, Wisconsin is the hometown of Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan. But he couldn’t prevent the closing of the General Motors factory after 100 years. On this Memorial Day rebroadcast of To the Point, we hear what’s happened to what once was a model of American middle-class unity.
Venezuela spirals into economic and political chaos Venezuela, a country whose potential for prosperity is unmatched, finds itself on the verge of civil war. What sustains the repressive government? With time running out, guest host León Krauze looks at what the international community can do to pull the country from the edge of collapse.
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.