The Middle East, the land that gave the world the very concept of the Messiah, is about to receive a new one. So, why don’t we hear any Hossanas in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, or Rammallah over Tony Blair’s imminent anointing as the new Middle East envoy by the International Quartet for Middle East Peace? By now, after a decades-long parade of envoys, special representatives, shuttle diplomats, mediators, negotiators, intermediaries, and every variety of peace-making performers and reconciliation evangelists, the one creed that is spreading in the region, beyond the three major monotheistic religions, is the gospel of cynicism. That’s the […]

While much of the world watched in astonishment as gunmen from the rival Hamas and Fatah movements ripped through the streets of Gaza, terrifying civilians and tearing to shreds the myth of Palestinian unity, observers in Arab lands also found themselves mesmerized and horrified by what they saw. Among Arabs, the images packed a more visceral punch, leaving a sense of profound disillusionment.<<ad>>After all, the West had always viewed Palestinians, with their armed gangs and suicide bombers, with a mix of fear, skepticism, and — among some age groups and political persuasions — a certain amount of admiration. Among Arabs, […]

COLCHESTER, England — It’s not just Hamas rockets that regularly strike Israeli interests these days. It is just as likely to be the long-range politicized “ordnance” of British elites, given the British Left’s predilection for pursuing and securing boycotts against Israel and its interests. Over the past two years, the unions for British journalists, architects, doctors, and even the Synod of the Church of England, have all sought boycott or censure motions against Israel. And now British academics have added themselves to the list — imposing a boycott of relations between British and Israeli universities at a conference of the […]

TEL AVIV, Israel — As a seemingly inexhaustible source of bad news, the Middle East is arguably the perfect place to go in search for the silver lining that the proverb promises for every cloud. The Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki demonstrated last week how it is done: In an article in the Wall Street Journal, he argued eloquently that the desperate situation in Iraq should be seen as part of a struggle comparable with the American civil war and he challenged skeptics with the question: “Why expect freedom to come easy to Iraq?” As it turned out, al-Maliki is […]

Now what? Is this anyone’s idea of how things would turn out in the yet-to-be-born Palestinian state? After three days of a vicious civil war in the Gaza strip, the Islamic militants of Hamas routed their rivals of the more secular Fatah. In the process, they killed scores of Palestinians. They terrorized their own people, and they made a questionable future even more uncertain. When Hamas gunmen took over the Gaza headquarters of Fatah and emptied file cabinets into the street, what came flying out the window were the best laid plans of politicians and pundits for a future Palestinian […]