Elliott Abrams

Pressure Points

Abrams gives his take on U.S. foreign policy, with special focus on the Middle East and democracy and human rights issues.

Gaza: “Decorators Are Never Available”

by Elliott Abrams Monday, October 29, 2012

On October 20 Israel intercepted the latest in a series of vessels seeking to break its maritime blockade of Gaza. This ship, the MV Estelle, carried five European parliamentarians and a former Canadian member of parliament. The ostensible purpose of these visits, mostly by European “activists,” is to draw attention to the horrendous, horrible, impossible isolation and the desperate humanitarian conditions there, all imposed by the Israeli blockade. Read more »

Israel and Gaza

by Elliott Abrams Friday, October 26, 2012
Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh (L) and the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani arrive at a cornerstone laying ceremony for Hamad, a new residential neighborhood in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip October 23, 2012. (Courtesy REUTERS/Mohammed Salem). Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh (L) and the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani arrive at a cornerstone laying ceremony for Hamad, a new residential neighborhood in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip October 23, 2012. (Courtesy REUTERS/Mohammed Salem).

The recent upsurge of mortars and rockets being fired into Israel from Gaza, the strong Israeli military reaction, and the possibility that a stronger reaction may yet come, have raised once again the issue of Israel’s relationship with the small area many Israelis call Hamastan. The visit to Gaza this week of the Emir of Qatar, who was the first foreign head of state to go there since Hamas took over in 2007 and who pledged $400 million in aid to Gaza, has also put the region back on the front pages. Read more »

Syria’s New Attack on Lebanon

by Elliott Abrams Saturday, October 20, 2012

Fears are expressed almost every day that the war in Syria will spread to Lebanon, or to all of Syria’s neighbors. The problem, however, is not that the war “will spread” as if by nature, inevitably, the way spilled water spreads, but that it will be spread–deliberately, by the Assad regime. Read more »

Jordan and Palestine

by Elliott Abrams Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Jordan's King Hussein (R) and Crown Prince Hassan pose for photographers at Amman airport February 11, 1996. (Courtesy REUTERS). Jordan's King Hussein (R) and Crown Prince Hassan pose for photographers at Amman airport February 11, 1996. (Courtesy REUTERS).

The relationship between the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the West Bank, which it ruled from 1948 to 1967, remains in question despite the late King Hussein’s renunciation of all claims to the West Bank in an interesting address to the Jordanian people in 1988.  Here are excerpts: Read more »

Where Do Our Rights Come From?

by Elliott Abrams Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Clouds are reflected off the Secretariat Building (C) of the UN headquarters during the 67th United Nations General Assembly, in New York, September 24, 2012. (Courtesy REUTERS/Chip East) Clouds are reflected off the Secretariat Building (C) of the UN headquarters during the 67th United Nations General Assembly, in New York, September 24, 2012. (Courtesy REUTERS/Chip East)

In the last few decades, “rights talk” has become increasingly common. But what is the origin of these “rights?” Why do we have the right to freedom of speech or religion or assembly?

That is an easy question for Americans: our Declaration of Independence says
Read more »

Robert Gates and Israel: There He Goes Again

by Elliott Abrams Saturday, October 6, 2012

This past week, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told an audience in Norfolk, Virginia that an American or Israeli strike on the Iranian nuclear sites would be “catastrophic” and that American officials should make it clear to the government of Israel that “they do not have a blank check to take action that could do grave harm to American vital interests.” Read more »

Aid to Egypt: What’s the Rush?

by Elliott Abrams Tuesday, October 2, 2012
A combination picture shows protesters shouting slogans before (L) and after pulling down an American flag in front of the U.S. embassy in Cairo September 11, 2012. Egyptian protesters scaled the walls of the U.S. embassy in Cairo on Tuesday and some pulled down the American flag during a protest over what they said was a film being produced in the United States that was insulting to the Prophet Mohammad, witnesses said. (Courtesy REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh). A combination picture shows protesters shouting slogans before (L) and after pulling down an American flag in front of the U.S. embassy in Cairo September 11, 2012. Egyptian protesters scaled the walls of the U.S. embassy in Cairo on Tuesday and some pulled down the American flag during a protest over what they said was a film being produced in the United States that was insulting to the Prophet Mohammad, witnesses said. (Courtesy REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh).

Texas Rep. Kay Granger has put a hold on $450 million in aid to Egypt, and this has caused consternation in the Obama administration.

Granger is a member of the Committee on Appropriations and chairs the subcommittee on foreign operations, so she is a powerful figure. Her brief explanation of the hold is this: Read more »