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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 28, 2011 / 24 Nissan, 5771

If Palestinian rift is healed, does that help US aims in Middle East?

By Howard LaFranchi





What the surprise accord means for those outside the disputed territories --- including America's role as Muddle East mediator


JewishWorldReview.com |

cASHINGTON — (TCSM) The surprise rift-ending accord reportedly reached in Cairo between the Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas yesterday is potentially both good and bad news for the Obama administration's stated goal of forging some kind of Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement by September.

But the bad largely outweighs the good, many Middle East analysts say.

And beyond the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they add, the accord may offer a glimpse of the more politically complex region the US will have to deal with in the wake of the Arab Spring.

"We're very possibly looking at a hint of things to come in a more democratic Middle East," says Daniel Levy, co-director of the Middle East Task Force at the New America Foundation in Washington. "Either America figures out how to deal with a general opening up of politics in the region," he adds, "or it is going to be left behind."

One thing a Fatah-Hamas accord would accomplish is a pulling of the rug from under the argument that Israeli-Palestinian peace was impossible because Palestinian divisions made reaching any agreement impossible. For years the sharp divisions between the two main Palestinian groups — which went so far as warfare and led to a separate Hamas government in Gaza — have allowed Israel to rightly claim it did not have one Palestinian government with which to negotiate.

So much for the good news.

HAMAS AS PARTNER IN GOVERNMENT
The bad news starts at the fact that, if the accord holds and the two factions do indeed form an interim government before eventual elections, the Palestinian government will include a partner — Hamas — that rejects the existence of Israel.

"If anything, this allows the Israelis to say with some authority and legitimacy that they cannot and will not engage in a peace process with a government that is partially headed by Hamas," says Aaron David Miller, a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington.

The official White House reaction to news of the accord appeared to address that point.


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"The United States supports Palestinian reconciliation on terms which promote the cause of peace. Hamas, however, is a terrorist organization which targets civilians," White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said in a statement. "To play a constructive role in achieving peace, any Palestinian government must accept the Quartet principles and renounce violence, abide by past agreements, and recognize Israel's right to exist."

The "Quartet" refers to the United Nations, Russia, the European Union, and the US.

A former State Department Middle East expert, Mr. Miller says a government in which Hamas holds major ministerial portfolios is hardly going to be one to encourage a conciliatory approach from the Israelis. "If it's an accord that allows Hamas to shoot, as it were, and play politics at the same time, no Israeli government will respond by easing up," he says. "It puts the US in a very difficult position to say the least."

ISRAEL CONDEMNS ACCORD
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quick to condemn the reported accord, saying that it would doom the peace process if carried out.

"You can't have peace with both Israel and Hamas," Mr. Netanyahu said in a statement issued by his office and apparently directed at Palestinian President and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas. "Choose peace with Israel."

Yet as pithy a "sound bite" as that may be, says Mr. Levy, it ignores the new reality of a neighborhood that is under momentous change that can't simply be dismissed. "It may be a great PR line, but it's of no use to an America that has to engage with the real world," he says.

Many regional analysts were quick to underscore the fact that the Fatah-Hamas accord was apparently negotiated with an Egypt in full political transition as the go-between. It is the same Egypt-in-political-transition that vows to honor its peace accord with Israel, even as it decides to reestablish diplomatic relations with Tehran.

"Is America going to have frostier relations with a democratic Egypt because it doesn't like all the choices it makes, in the same way that it already has frostier relations with a democratic Turkey?" Levy says. "If that's the response, it bodes ill for America's role in the region."

A pro-Israel US Congress is not likely to simply accept a Palestinian unity government including Hamas as a reality in a changing region, however. In fact, the Wilson Center's Miller says congressional reaction to a Hamas role is likely to be the "first practical problem" the Obama White House faces if the accord announced Wednesday holds.

IMPACT ON US AID TO PALESTINIANS
"If Hamas formally participates in a [Palestinian] government, Congress will act on its own, and the administration will have a tough time responding," he says. "Congress isn't going be sending hundreds of millions of dollars in assistance to Hamas."

The Palestinians receive more than $450 million in financial assistance from the US, the largest single donor. But the US cut off the funding when Hamas was briefly part of a unity government, and most analysts believe the same would occur now — unless Hamas agreed to a set of conditions laid out by the international community including the US.

Those conditions include a full renouncing of violence as a means of accomplishing goals, and recognition of Israel's right to exist.

But Miller says that if anything, the Palestinian accord suggests that not just Hamas but Fatah as well may be turning its back on an international process it has concluded did not deliver.

"This is one more step in a series now," Miller says, "that suggests the Palestinians have decided to go unilateral."

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© 2011, The Christian Science Monitor