Daniel Levy

Daniel Levy is the president of the U.S./Middle East Project, based in New York and London, and is a former Israeli negotiator.

Recent Articles

Ten Commandments for Mideast Peace

Three former peace negotiators for Israel, the U.S., and Palestine lay out a common plan that could provide the basis for an Israeli-Palestinian final settlement. All that's required is some political courage and leadership.

It has barely been noticed, but there has been a change for the better in the Bush administration's thinking -- or at least talking -- about the Middle East. For the first time in six years, Washington is putting Israeli-Palestinian negotiations near the top of its agenda. For the first time, it wants those negotiations to address the fundamental political issues that divide the two sides and has begun to evoke the need to lay out what the administration calls a political horizon. And for the first time, it seems willing to take a risk. There was even a whiff of Bill Clinton in this most un-Clintonesque of administrations when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice suggested that dealing with provisional issues would be just as difficult as dealing with permanent ones, and hardly as rewarding. This news is long in the waiting, but it's good news nonetheless. Movement on the peace process is important on its own merits, but -- more important from a U.S. perspective -- there are critical...

Prelude to Progress

Under Saudi auspices in the holy city of Mecca, overlooking the sacred Kaaba stone, Palestinian Fatah and Hamas leaderships finally reached a power-sharing deal last week. The deal came 13 months after the Hamas victory in Palestinian legislative elections, and the party's subsequent inability to form a functioning government in the face of an international boycott, Arab opposition, and an ongoing standoff with President Abbas and his Fatah movement. The occasional armed clashes that occurred in the last year between Fatah and Hamas descended last month into an open and violent confrontation. The deteriorating situation included mutual kidnappings, assassinations of senior security figures, and external offers of help to rearm the respective sides (principally by the United States and Iran). A situation threatening to spiral out of control, Somalia-style, may have been what brought both parties back from the precipice. The Palestinian public was beginning to turn against both Fatah...

Study Some More

Barely two weeks old, the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group Report is viewed by many as having already suffered crib death. Those who shaped the initial disastrous policy in Iraq and the broader Middle East have waged a tenacious and effective counter-attack against the 79 Report recommendations. Somehow, we have now reached a place where the most likely next step on Iraq will be a combination of troop escalation ("surge" in language-massaged neocon speak) and an even more stubborn refusal to talk with the country's neighbors, notably Syria and Iran. While the main culprits continue to be the neocon echo chamber and the apparently immovable ideological blinkers they have applied to this administration, elements of the Democrat and progressive foreign policy community can hardly chalk this up as having been a fortnight of strategically smart behavior. The ISG continues to be the best tool available in trying to drive both the existing administration's Iraq policy and the neocon...

Is It Good for the Jews?

On May 23, the House of Representatives passed Resolution 4681, the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act, by a vote of 361 to 37. Nothing remarkable about that. But the passage of H.R. 4681 had all the ingredients of the worrying way in which the Israel-Palestine conflict has played out in American politics and policy for the past decade or more. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) lobbied enthusiastically for the bill. Many AIPAC supporters and donors, assuming that they were simply doing right by Israel, would be surprised and perhaps even shocked to learn that its provisions are significantly more draconian than Israeli policy. Israel has to live with the Palestinian reality on the ground, coordinate with whomever necessary on everything from security to avian flu, and distinguish between moderates and extremists. Congress and lobbyists do not. Israeli officials, as had happened on numerous occasions, were concerned by this excess of zealotry, but they kept quiet for...

Fork in the Road Map

When Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas visited Washington in early June, one might have expected him to be heralded as the poster boy for “freedom's march” in the Middle East -- democratically elected, a reformer, and a recognized man of peace. Yet after the meeting, Palestinian delegation members spoke to me in terms of only a “small success.” For Abbas, or Abu Mazen, as he is also known, the Washington trip did represent a milestone of sorts in his efforts to resurrect the notion of there being a Palestinian partner for peace. While the Abbas program of reforms still has some way to go, the record of achievements so far has attracted praise. Abbas was elected on a platform of achieving Palestinian political aspirations through negotiations and peaceful means, while simultaneously pushing ahead with far-reaching democratic reforms. The domestic agenda includes entrenching the rule of law, security restructuring, political pluralism, and financial...

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