FROM Ori Nir
Is "Bibi" on the Ropes in Israel? Israel's parliament, called the Knesset, has 120 seats. In Tuesday's election, neither of the two major political parties is expected to win more than 25. That means there won't be a new government until Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud or Isaac Herzog's Zionist Union assembles a coalition big enough to constitute a majority. Recent polls show Netanyahu's in trouble . If Republicans on Capitol Hill could decide Tuesday's election, Netanyahu would get a record fourth term as Prime Minister. Israeli voters may have other ideas. The latest polls show his conservative Likud Party lagging behind the center-left Zionist Union. But forming a government means assembling a coalition in Israel's parliament of many parties — so nothing is certain. Adding to this year's drama, Israeli Arabs may win enough seats to make a difference.
A New Shot at Peace Talks: Will it be Different this Time? Despite Syria’s civil war, deadly upheaval in Egypt and Iran’s nuclear program, Secretary of State John Kerry’s top priority is a “two state solution” for Israel and the Palestinians. Against all odds, the parties have agreed to negotiate the “final status issues” all at the same time. We’ll hear why there’s skepticism and why there is still hope.
Netanyahu Wows Them on Capitol Hill Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu got more than two dozen standing ovations today in his 50-minute address to a joint session of Congress. Several times, he promised compromises with the Palestinians--but always with firm pre-conditions. We hear some conflicting assessments.
Netanyahu Addresses a Joint Session of Congress Today's reception on Capitol Hill was a far cry from last week's tense encounter at the Obama White House. In his 50-minute address to a joint session of Congress, Israel's Prime Minister got more than two dozen standing ovations. Several times, he promised what he called "painful compromises" with the Palestinians, at the same time laying down a set of pre-conditions unlikely to restart negotiations. That seemed to be a reference to last week's apparent conflict with President Obama. We get varied reactions to how he framed some hot-button issues, including Hamas, the right of return, Jerusalem and the 1967 borders.
Settlements Strain Relations between the US and Israel Barack Obama campaigned as a friend of Israel but, as President, he reportedly told American Jewish leaders that close relations during the Bush years didn't produce much. American Jews appear to support his call for a "freeze" on settlements on the West Bank, but a former Bush Administration diplomat says that's created big problems for Israel's new Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
Settlements Strain Relations between the US and Israel During the Bush Administration, the US and Israel worked hand in glove, but President Obama has outraged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Obama demands a "freeze" on settlements in the West Bank and that a Jewish housing development in East Jerusalem not be permitted. Former diplomats say Obama's reneging on promises made by President Bush. Most American Jews still support the President, but even left-wing Israelis want reassurances that the US is still a friend. As the US tries to restart the peace process, we try to sort this all out.
What's Next for the 'Two-State Solution?' Israel's newly elected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will visit the White House on May 18. President Obama has advocated more progress toward a “two-state solution” with the Palestinians. But Netanyahu appears to have other ideas. His supporters insist that Iran's nuclear threat is more important than peace talks. The US, Europe and Arab states contend they are inextricably linked. With the diplomatic maneuvering is hot and heavy, we hear a variety of opinions.
What's Next for the 'Two-State Solution?' Israel's elder statesman Shimon Perez went to the White House this morning to prepare the ground for a meeting of two newly elected leaders. President Obama is focused on a "two-state solution" with the Palestinians, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears to have other ideas. His supporters insist that Iran's nuclear threat is more important than peace talks. The US, Europe and Arab states contend they are inextricably linked. With Obama and Netanyahu scheduled to meet in just two weeks, the diplomatic maneuvering is hot and heavy. We hear a variety of opinions.
Carter Meets Hamas Chief Despite Israeli, White House Objections The Bush Administration and Israeli government have been trying to isolate Hamas, despite its success in Palestinian elections and control of the Gaza Strip. Today, thirty years after brokering the peace between Israel and Egypt, former President Jimmy Carter met with exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshall in Damascus, Syria, in one of the highest-profile encounters between Hamas and a western leader. Reuters says Carter feels optimistic about the possible release of Yigal Shalit, the Israeli soldier being held by Hamas. Ori Nir is a spokesman for Americans for Peace Now.
American Jews Staying Mum on Annapolis Peace Meeting Condoleezza Rice has said that "failure is not an option" at next week's Annapolis Conference on the Middle East. "At stake," contends the Secretary of State, "is nothing less than the future" of the entire region. The most hawkish of American Jews are opposed, but Israeli officials call it a "golden opportunity." So where are the mainstream Jewish groups whose missions call for support of the Israeli government? Ori Nir is a spokesman for Americans for Peace Now.
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
Trump's 'America First' goes missing abroad In the Middle East, President Trump is changing some policies of the Obama Administration—and reversing his own campaign attacks on Islam as a religion that "hates us." We hear about his visit to Saudi Arabia and what's at stake for the rest of his foreign excursion.