from The Great Debate:

What’s behind the effort to make Israel, the ‘Jewish State,’ more ‘Jewish’

By Matt Duss
December 2, 2014

Israel's PM Netanyahu delivers a statement to the media in Jerusalem

With the myriad challenges the Israeli government currently faces – regional turmoil, unrest in Jerusalem, and opposition to a highly contentious budget -- this might seem like an interesting time for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to promulgate a new law defining Israel’s identity as “the nation state of the Jewish people.” The bill, which was supposed to have been voted on this Wednesday but has now been delayed, would recognize Jewish religious law as an inspiration for legislation, and affirm that, “The right to the fulfillment of national self-determination within the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.”

from The Great Debate:

Can you live a moral life in the holy city of Jerusalem?

By Amy Wilentz
November 24, 2014

A man holds an Israeli flag during a mass prayer for soldiers and civilians at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City

While you are reading about violent attacks in Jerusalem on the home page of your newspaper, Jerusalemites are living their lives, most of the time, as if they dwelled in a happy little European nation, say Luxembourg or the Netherlands… or suburban New Jersey. That’s how you can feel there a lot of the time, if you live on the Israeli side. That is assuming you’re not a crazed extremist of some kind.

from The Great Debate:

A one-state solution: Israel’s settlements aren’t going away

By Dimi Reider
November 13, 2014

Jewish youth hold Israeli flags at the beginning of a rally march in the West Bank settlement of Itamar, near Nablus

Bursts of Israeli settlement construction in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, once the subject of intense news coverage, have become almost routine.

from The Great Debate:

Why Palestinians are back fighting on Jerusalem’s streets

By Rashid I. Khalidi
November 13, 2014

Palestinian youths throw stones towards Israeli border police during clashes at a checkpoint between the Shuafat refugee camp and Jerusalem

Once again, widespread popular unrest has broken out in Jerusalem. Since July, there have been clashes between young Arabs and Israeli security forces using tear gas, rubber bullets, live ammunition and truncheons.  

from The Great Debate:

Here’s why Israel loses no sleep over Islamic State

By Dimi Reider
October 21, 2014

A masked man speaking in what is believed to be a North American accent in a video that Islamic State militants released in September 2014 is pictured in this still frame from video

At first sight, it seems that Israel is just as preoccupied with the rise of Islamic State as anyone else. Israeli media report diligently on the extremist group’s assault on the Kurdish town of Kobani and run at least a story every few days on its atrocities. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu references Islamic State frequently, as do other Israeli ministers. And the stories of two Palestinian citizens of Israel who died fighting for the group have been recently featured in the press.

from The Great Debate:

Israel appropriated 1,000 acres of the West Bank. Why now?

By Dimi Reider
September 8, 2014

israelflag.jpg

Last week, Israel announced that it was appropriating nearly 1,000 acres of private Palestinian land near Bethlehem. The seizure, which one anti-settlement group called the largest in 30 years, was condemned by Palestinians, the United Nations, and criticized by the United States.

from The Great Debate:

Peace may be the true threat to Hamas, Israel’s leaders

By Amy Wilentz
August 18, 2014

Relatives of a Palestinian woman, who medics said was killed in an Israeli air strike, mourn during her funeral in Khan Younis

It’s time to wonder whether Israel and Palestine will ever be able to move out of the moral abyss into which they’ve plunged themselves, and address the threat of peace.

from The Great Debate:

In Israel, an unsettled peace process

August 14, 2013

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is annoyed. Before meeting with visiting German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle on Monday in Jerusalem, Netanyahu complained about a recent European Union decision to stop EU grants, prizes and loans from going to Israeli entities located in the occupied territories or that conduct activities there. "I have to say," Netanyahu declared, "on a sad note, that I think Europe, the European guidelines (on the settlements) have actually undermined peace."

from Ian Bremmer:

Israeli-Palestinian talks won’t fix the Middle East’s problems

By Ian Bremmer
July 31, 2013

On Monday, the Obama administration announced that Secretary of State John Kerry had convinced Israel and the Palestinian Authority to sit down for negotiations for the first time in three years. Coming out of Monday and Tuesday’s meetings, Kerry announced a goal of working out a comprehensive peace agreement within nine months.

from David Rohde:

Kerry’s triumph may not last long

By David Rohde
July 19, 2013

AMMAN, JORDAN - Secretary of State John Kerry's announcement that Israeli and Palestinian officials had reached an agreement that "establishes a basis" for the resumption of direct peace talks is a badly needed foreign policy achievement for the Obama administration.