Gershom Gorenberg

Gershom Gorenberg is a senior correspondent for The Prospect. He is the author of The Unmaking of Israel, of The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967-1977 and of The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount. He blogs at South Jerusalem. Follow @GershomG.

Recent Articles

Corroboration, Not Revelation

So far, the WikiLeaks cables from Israel confirm that Netanyahu is exploiting the Iran issue to avoid serious negotiations with the Palestinians.

(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

In January 1969, the labor attaché at the U.S. embassy in Israel sent a report classified "confidential" to the State Department. In it, she passed on the inside information on Israel's ruling Labor Party that she'd gained by having an over-the-hill politician named Golda Meir over for dinner. Meir had said that then-Prime Minister Levi Eshkol would run for re-election that fall. "The tone of her remarks indicated that any other possibility was too ridiculous to consider," attaché Margaret Plunkett commented. Eshkol's health was "perfectly okay," according to Meir. As for Meir herself, she'd only agreed under pressure from the party to run again for Knesset. The report would remain classified for at least 12 years.

Freezing Netanyahu

Despite the appearance of wild generosity, Obama and Clinton could have Netanyahu in a very tight spot.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the annual General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America in New Orleans (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

"There must be more here than meets the eye," friends and colleagues have been saying about the deal that Hillary Clinton and Benjamin Netanyahu reached for a new three-month freeze on West Bank settlement building. How could Clinton and her boss be willing to pay so much -- 20 new F-35s, a guaranteed American veto in the Security Council on recognizing unilateral Palestinian independence -- for so little? Surely Obama and Clinton must be up to something.

Crossing Borders

One little girl in need of medical care, two journalists, and a lucky set of social connections highlight just how difficult life has become in the West Bank.

The rural West Bank (Flickr/Josh Hough)

Dalal rested in her father's lap. She smiled but only said one word, ana, "I" in Arabic -- her entire vocabulary at the age of three and a half. My friend Dr. Eliezer Be'eri, carefully felt her feet and ran his hand over her back. "Can she hold things?" Be'eri asked.

"She just started to with her right hand," answered her father, Osama Rusrus.

"Does she pass things from hand to hand?"

"No. The other hand doesn't function."

The Coalition Against Israeli Democracy

A proposed amendment to Israel's citizenship law shows how far right Netanyahu's government really is.

Israeli Welfare Minister Isaac Herzog (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Israeli Welfare Minister Isaac Herzog is normally a soporific politician. Dressed up in a suit, he looks and sounds more like a boy about to celebrate his bar mitzvah than like a Cabinet member. Asked for a sound bite on a controversial issue, he's likely to answer with a tangle of equivocation. Herzog owes his senior status in the Labor Party to legacy -- his father's career in Labor concluded with 10 years as Israel's figurehead president, his grandfather was Israel's first chief rabbi -- and to his proven willingness to support whoever's in charge in the party. A key example: Last year he backed party leader Ehud Barak's decision to join Benjamin Netanyahu's government, over the objections of Knesset colleagues who recalled that Labor once had principles.

Netanyahu Isn't in Charge Here

The lesson from the latest crisis in Israeli-Palestinian talks is that Obama should be negotiating with the Israeli public.

Israeli Minister of Defense Ehud Barak arrives at the Pentagon, Monday, Sept. 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

The confession of weakness was startling. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak was explaining to the BBC why Israeli-Palestinian peace talks should continue despite Israel's refusal to extend its freeze on new building in West Bank settlements. People had to understand, he said, "Israel doesn't have a way to stop this building totally."