Death of a Stone-Thrower: Intifada 3.0 (Dispatch 4) – VICE NEWS Published on Oct 17, 2015


Tension builds in Israel and the West Bank with three new stabbing attacks on Israelis reported on Saturday, and the funeral for a young Palestinian stone-thrower killed by Israeli forces in Nablus. VICE News attends the funeral, where grief turns to rage and calls for revenge.

Watch: Day of Rage (Dispatch 3) – http://bit.ly/1LAvbuy

Clashes in the West Bank: Intifada 3.0 (Dispatch 1) – Vice News Published on Oct 14, 2015


The latest spasm of violence in Israel has left seven Israelis and at least 30 Palestinians dead. On Wednesday, a day when at least two stabbing attacks on Israeli Jews were reported, VICE News correspondent Aris Roussinos traveled to the West Bank to see if the apparently leaderless youth-led revolt has spiraled into the Third Intifada.

Watch: Voices from the West Bank – http://bit.ly/189fFpl

Gas Politics in Gaza – By Tareq Baconi October 15, 2015


At the end of the summer, the Italian energy giant Eni discovered one of the largest gas reserves in the Mediterranean. Just off Egyptian shores sits Zohr, a gas field with a staggering 30 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. As Egypt celebrated the good news, Israel panicked about the implications of the discovery on its much-touted Leviathan gas field, which was discovered in December 2010. It was a “painful wake-up call,” the Israeli energy minister, Yuval Steinitz, said.

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at Oct 15, 2015 2.36

Why? Eni’s discovery could possibly return Egypt, which significantly reduced gas exports in 2012, to its role as a regional gas exporter. This threatens Israel’s aspirations to position itself as the region’s energy powerhouse. For one, the rationale underpinning the $15 billion gas deal signed between Jordan and Israellast year now appears weak: Jordan, which sought to substitute for the drop in Egyptian resources, may now decide to turn to Cairo for a less controversial source of gas.

For Palestine, however, which has also been in gas negotiations with Israel, these regional changes have little impact. With nearly total dependency on Israel for its energy needs, Palestine is seeking ways to enhance the quality of life under occupation. Gazans are seeking to import gas from the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon to alleviate suffering and reduce power shortages, while the West Bank is discussing with Israel the import of gas to increase local power generation and reduce electricity costs.

Article continues:

Israel’s shield no more? – By MICHAEL CROWLEY 3/18/15 6:44 PM EDT


Officials say they are revisiting the U.S. stance in light of Netanyahu rolling back his support of a Palestinian state.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/03/israels-america-united-116203.html#ixzz3Uqx5iSbG

AP Photo

AP Photo

Barack Obama listens as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014. | AP Photo
In the wake of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decisive reelection, the Obama administration is revisiting longtime assumptions about America’s role as a shield for Israel against international pressure.

Angered by Netanyahu’s hard-line platform toward the Palestinians, top Obama officials would not rule out the possibility of a change in American posture at the United Nations, where the U.S. has historically fended off resolutions hostile to Israel.

And despite signals from Israel suggesting that Netanyahu might walk back his rejection, late in the campaign, of a Palestinian state under his watch, Obama officials say they are taking him at his word.

“The positions taken by the prime minister in the last days of the campaign have raised very significant substantive questions that go far beyond just optics,” said a senior administration official, adding that recent Israeli government actions were in keeping with Netanyahu’s rhetoric.

While saying it was “premature” to discuss Washington’s policy response, the official wouldn’t rule out a modified American posture at the United Nations, where the U.S. has long fended off resolutions criticizing Israeli settlement activity and demanding its withdrawal from Palestinian territories.

“We are signaling that if the Israeli government’s position is no longer to pursue a Palestinian state, we’re going to have to broaden the spectrum of options we pursue going forward,” the official said.

There is no virtually no chance that the U.S. will trim its financial or military support for Israel. But some analysts believe that going forward, Netanyahu may be vulnerable in international forums where the U.S. has long been a bulwark against criticism of Israel and its presence in Palestinian territories.

“I do think the administration is going to look very closely at the possibility of either joining, or at least not blocking an internationally backed move at the U.N. to restate the parameters for ending the conflict,” said Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of the left-leaning pro-Israel group J Street.

Netanyahu’s campaign statements “make it a lot easier for the administration to justify going down a more international route,” Ben-Ami added.

The chief Palestinian negotiator with Israel, Saeb Erakat, told Agence France-Press that the Palestinians will “accelerate, continue and intensify” their diplomatic efforts to pressure Israel.

The U.S. has run critical interference for Israel on such measures in the past. Last November, the U.N. Security Council considered a draft resolution, pushed by the Palestinians and Arab countries, demanding an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank within three years. The U.S. quietly quashed the effort.

Article continues:
http://www.politico.com/story/2015/03/israels-america-united-116203.html?hp=t3_r

Where’s the Money? (Excerpt from ‘Fallout in Gaza’) – Vice News Published on Mar 5, 2015


During the devastating 50-day war in Israel and Gaza this past summer, around 18,000 homes in Gaza were destroyed or severely damaged, leaving around 120,000 residents homeless.

Now, with trouble in neighboring Sinai and infighting between Palestinian factions, reconstruction efforts in the beleaguered Gaza Strip are moving slowly. With the UN warning of a growing humanitarian crisis for the people of Gaza, many fear that another armed conflict is imminent.

Six months after the end of fighting, VICE News returns to the region to investigate the progress on reconstruction.

In this excerpt, VICE News correspondent Danny Gold learns of the effects that insufficient aid, coupled with living in temporary or demolished housing, has had on the residents of Gaza.

Trouble in the Tunnel: Fallout in Gaza (Part 2) – Vice News Published on Feb 25, 2015


During the devastating 50-day war in Israel and Gaza this past summer, around 18,000 homes in Gaza were destroyed or severely damaged, leaving around 120,000 residents homeless.

Now, with trouble in neighboring Sinai and infighting between Palestinian factions, reconstruction efforts in the beleaguered Gaza Strip are moving slowly. With the UN warning of a growing humanitarian crisis for the people of Gaza, many fear that another armed conflict is imminent. Six months after the end of fighting, VICE News returns to the region to investigate the progress on reconstruction.

In part two, VICE News correspondent Danny Gold visits the Kerem Shalom crossing with Israel to see what goods are being allowed into the Gaza Strip, and spends time with a resident of Nahal Oz kibbutz, which was attacked by rockets and Hamas soldiers during last summer’s war.

After a War, Still Living in Rubble: Fallout in Gaza (Part 1) – Vice News Published on Feb 24, 2015


During the devastating 50-day war in Israel and Gaza this past summer, around 18,000 homes in Gaza were destroyed or severely damaged, leaving around 120,000 residents homeless.

Now, with trouble in neighboring Sinai and infighting between Palestinian factions, reconstruction efforts in the beleaguered Gaza Strip are moving slowly. With the UN warning of a growing humanitarian crisis for the people of Gaza, many fear that another armed conflict is imminent. Six months after the end of fighting, VICE News returns to the region to investigate the progress on reconstruction.

In part one, VICE News correspondent Danny Gold returns to Shija’iyya, the neighborhood that bore the brunt of last summer’s fighting, and investigates how the closure of the Rafah crossing and demolition of the underground tunnels to Egypt has impacted Gaza’s fragile economy.

A City Divided: Jerusalem’s Most Contested Neighborhood – Vice News Published on Jan 2, 2015


Throughout the past several months, Jerusalem has been a scene of clashes and violent attacks. Silwan, a Palestinian neighborhood just steps away from Jerusalem’s Old City, has been at the heart of the unrest, and is becoming one of the most contentious neighborhoods in the most contested city in the world.

As settlement expansion into East Jerusalem continues, Israeli authorities have ramped up their practice of demolishing homes built without proper permits — permits which are near impossible for Palestinians to acquire. In addition to the demolitions due to lack of permits, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced in early November the reinstatement of the policy of demolishing terrorists’ homes, which Palestinians claim is a form of collective punishment.

VICE News traveled to Silwan and met with Palestinians and Israelis living in this contested neighborhood at a time when Jerusalem is more divided than ever.

A City Divided: Jerusalem’s Most Contested Neighborhood (Trailer) – Published Dec, 2014


Throughout the past several months, Jerusalem has been a scene of clashes and violent attacks. Silwan, a Palestinian neighborhood just steps away from Jerusalem’s Old City, has been at the heart of the unrest, and is becoming one of the most contentious neighborhoods in the most contested city in the world.

As settlement expansion into East Jerusalem continues, Israeli authorities have ramped up their practice of demolishing homes built without proper permits — permits which are near impossible for Palestinians to acquire. In addition to the demolitions due to lack of permits, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced in early November the reinstatement of the policy of demolishing terrorists’ homes, which Palestinians claim is a form of collective punishment.

VICE News traveled to Silwan and met with Palestinians and Israelis living in this contested neighborhood at a time when Jerusalem is more divided than ever.

The Middle East Peace Conundrum – By Teresa Welsh Dec. 11, 2014 | 12:01 a.m. EST


The U.S. hasn’t been able broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal – but it can’t be done without the U.S., either.

Palestinian activists use ladders to cross over the Israeli separation barrier to pray at the al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem on Nov. 14, 2014, during protest against Israeli restrictions on the holy place.Palestinian activists use ladders to cross over a separation barrier to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem during protests against Israeli restrictions on the holy place last month.

Recent months have seen a simmering of violence in Israel, with no viable end to conflict between Israelis and Palestinians in sight. The issues separating the two sides – security, borders and control of Jerusalem among them – are no closer to being resolved than they were in April, when the last round of peace talks collapsed.

The U.S. has long been the chief negotiator in trying to reach a deal between Israelis and Palestinians that would end a decades-old clash between two peoples claiming the same holy lands as their own. Yet again and again the process has failed, causing some to say it’s time for a new lead actor to take the stage, even though complexities on the ground indicate neither side will make concessions significant enough to create space for a deal no matter who is trying to mediate.

“The day that the talks broke down on April 1 of this year was the day where it became evident that the period of American ownership of this political process is over,” says Daniel Seidemann, a Jerusalem expert and founder of Terrestrial Jerusalem – an Israeli nongovernmental organization – referencing a period during which disputes over the failed release of Palestinian prisoners and international conventions started the talks’ demise. “This conflict will not be resolved primarily through an American-brokered deal between Israelis and Palestinians.”

[READ: Inside Israel’s and Palestine’s Propaganda Wars]

Secretary of State John Kerry walks past American and Israeli flags at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv on Jan. 6, 2014.

John Kerry had led the negotiations between Israel and Palestine since last summer.

Secretary of State John Kerry was in charge of the latest round of talks, continuing the long-held role of the U.S. as lead mediator between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Kerry remains involved in the region, holding meetings with leaders on both sides in attempts to quell a flare-up of tensions this fall over a holy site in Jerusalem, but has recognized that the time is not right to resume formal peace talks.

“We don’t expect the negotiations to resume tomorrow,” Kerry said Sunday at a forum in Washington on U.S.-Israeli relations.

Khaled Elgindy, a former adviser to the Palestinians in the peace process and a fellow at the Brookings Institution, says the U.S. must recognize it can no longer go it alone when it comes to mediating peace.

“There are lots of things the U.S. can do without totally ceding the mantle,” Elgindy says. “We still need even American leadership, but its leadership in orchestrating other actors and not simply trying to do everything ourselves and then because of our political constraints saying, ‘We can’t do it right now but no one else is allowed to do anything until we can do it.’”

Elgindy says Americans too often have let their country’s domestic political situation jeopardize effective movement toward peace. He points to the attempted Palestinian statehood bid at the U.N., which the U.S. has said it would vote against.

“Why on earth would the United States vote against recognizing a Palestinian state if that is the stated goal and has been identified by President [Barack] Obama as a vital national security interest?” Elgindy says. “It’s because we didn’t do it. It’s because it didn’t happen in a signing ceremony on the White House lawn. It’s because we’re not controlling the process.”

Article continues:

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/12/11/challenges-face-the-us-as-lead-middle-east-peace-negotiator-between-israel-and-palestine