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

Jerusalem's Shepherd Hotel Affair

In Jerusalem, where all planning is strategic and all local issues are international, the sale of one property can serve as a political move intended to determine the city's future status.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looks up during a session of the plenary in the Knesset, Israel's Parliament. (AP Photos/Tara Todras-Whitehill)

Western communists, it was said in another era, took out their umbrellas whenever it rained in Moscow. I remembered that adage as I read a recent statement from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations that arrived in my inbox. The subject was the latest U.S.-Israeli flap over construction in East Jerusalem. No matter that the diplomatic thunderstorm appears artificial -- deliberately engineered by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to deflect the Obama administration's pressure to freeze settlement activity. At the Presidents Conference headquarters in New York, the umbrellas were opened with alacrity.

New Testimony From Gaza

A newly published account by an organization of Israeli soldiers suggests that policy set by top commanders led to unnecessary civilian deaths and massive physical damage.

An Israeli soldier stands on top of an armored vehicle, near the Israel-Gaza border, in southern Israel, Monday Jan. 19, 2009. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

"We didn't see a single house that was not hit. The entire infrastructure, tracks, fields, roads -- was in total ruin," an anonymous soldier says, describing his days in the Gaza Strip during Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli incursion last winter. "Nothing much was left in our designated area … A totally destroyed city ... The few houses that were still inhabitable were taken by the army … there were lots of abandoned, miserable animals." The destruction continued daily, he testifies, though Palestinians -- fighters and civilians -- had fled the area.

Two States, Still One Exit

Is the two-state solution an obsolete strategy?

Let's face it: When Barack Obama said in Cairo that "the only resolution" of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is two separate states, he was courageously insisting -- well, on what's become conventional wisdom.


As I discuss in my column today, Obama's foreign policy strategy has had a qualifiable effect on Middle East dynamics. But the aftermath of Iran's election is also sure to have a spillover effect elsewhere in the region. What effect, of course, depends on the final act of the drama in Iran.

Did Obama's Cairo Speech Change Everything?

Whether Obama has had a small influence or a large one, the Middle East has already changed significantly.

Barack Obama spoke in Cairo two weeks ago. The Middle East has been roiling since. The street scenes in Iran have pushed the surprise pro-Western victory in Lebanon's elections out of the headlines, along with Benjamin Netanyahu's pained, precondition-crippled acceptance of a two-state solution and the enraged Palestinian response. Two top Israeli intelligence figures scaling down the Iranian nuclear threat from looming Holocaust to mid-range risk -- a major story for a calm week -- has gone almost unnoticed.