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.

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Showing posts for "Middle East"

The New York Times and Israel (Again)

by Elliott Abrams

The New York Times, whose hostility to Israel is visible in both its news and its editorial pages, was at it again yesterday. In an editorial (about the symbolic vote in the UK parliament backing Palestinian statehood) entitled “A British Message to Israel,” the Times‘s editorial board unloaded yet again with a barrage of advice, opinion–and untruths. Read more »

The President and the New Housing in Jerusalem

by Elliott Abrams

In December 2012, the Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee announced a major new housing project. In an area of east Jerusalem called Givat Hamatos, 2600 units would be built. Of some significance, half would be set aside for Jewish residents and half for Arab Jerusalemites.  Last week, just before the New Year’s holiday, the deputy mayor of Jerusalem signed an order described as “symbolic,” continuing official approvals of the work. Read more »

Abbas’s UNGA Speech

by Elliott Abrams

Last week Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gave a controversial speech to the United Nations General Assembly.

Reactions have been strong. The U.S. State Department said “President Abbas’ speech today included offensive characterizations that were deeply disappointing and which we reject. Such provocative statements are counterproductive and undermine efforts to create a positive atmosphere and restore trust between the parties.” The Palestinians replied by saying the American comments are “irresponsible, indecent and rejected.” What did Abbas say? Read more »

Danger Ahead in Bahrain

by Elliott Abrams

It has been a while since I wrote about Bahrain, because I’ve always been hopeful that this or that piece of bad news was transitory and that reason would prevail. I’m losing hope.

The basic situation has been clear for several years: the majority of the population, which is Shia, feels deprived of political rights by the royal family, which is Sunni. There have been several efforts to come up with a compromise, especially after the “Arab Spring” began in 2o11. But as The Economist wrote last December, “Human-rights organisations warn that the situation is deteriorating. Two years after an even-handed report by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry—a laudable effort by King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa—few of its recommendations have been implemented.” That article was entitled “Trouble Ahead: the government is poisoning the well.” Sure enough, the so-called “national dialogue” launched in February 2013 got nowhere and was suspended in January 2014. Read more »

“Who Won the Gaza War,” and “What Now for Israel?”

by Elliott Abrams

In the past week I have written a long article and even longer essay on the Middle East situation today.

“‘The Fog of Cease-fire: Who Won the Gaza War” is the cover story in this week’s edition of The Weekly Standard and can be found here. In brief, it seems to me Israel was the winner by most measures, but as we saw with the Lebanon war of 2006 (where most Israelis thought they had “lost” but now believe that conflict has deterred Hezbollah from making further trouble on the border) judgments may change over time. Meanwhile, there is no sense of triumph in Israel, which is already creating political difficulties for Prime Minister Netanyahu. Read more »

Which Side Is UNRWA On?

by Elliott Abrams

The war in Gaza has brought UNRWA, the UN agency dealing with Palestinian “refugees,” back into the news– mostly because UNRWA schools were used to shoot rockets at Israel.

The failings of UNRWA were examined here (“Ending UNRWA and Advancing Peace“)  in December, 2011, although today they seem even worse. The UNRWA employees union is under Hamas control, and it’s clear that the staff is riddled with Hamas “activists.” The Israeli commentator and former Knesset member Einat Wilf wrote yesterday that
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