Middle East

In pivot, Egyptians and their leaders are warming to Jews, Israel

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, center, meeting a six-person delegation from the American Jewish Committee, July 2015. (Courtesy of Ken Bandler)

CAIRO (JTA) — It’s been a particularly challenging summer for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi. Within one week in late June and early July, his attorney general was assassinated in the upscale Cairo suburb of Heliopolis and an Islamic State affiliate launched a two-day siege in the North Sinai town of Sheikh… Read more »

What can Iran hide in 24 days? Answering the questions posed by the nuclear deal

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, left, testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee about the Iran nuclear deal, July 29, 2015. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

  WASHINGTON (JTA) – Congress has until mid- to late September to consider whether to reject the nuclear restrictions for the sanctions rollback deal reached by Iran and six major powers on July 14. Some of the debate is over the meaning of certain provisions in the accord. Here’s a breakdown… Read more »

A year after Gaza war, border communities are growing

Children in the southern Israeli kibbutz of Nahal Oz playing near a colorfully painted concrete shelter, July 6, 2015. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

TEL AVIV (JTA) — Few communities were as battered during last summer’s conflict between Israel and Hamas as Nahal Oz, a kibbutz of some 350 people located just a mile from the Gaza border. At one point in the fighting, 40 missiles landed on the community in a single… Read more »

After Palestinian baby’s death, Israelis say condemnation not enough

Tali Mizrahi, a member of the anti-racism group Light Tag, visiting the home of a Palestinian baby allegedly killed by Jewish arsonists. (Ben Sales)

DUMA, West Bank (JTA) — The smell of stale smoke wafted from the burnt concrete home now marked by a banner bearing the grinning face of a baby and, in bold red letters, a name: Ali Saad Dawabsha. Some 100 Jewish visitors trudged hesitantly under the banner and into the… Read more »

Thousands protest the Iran deal at Times Square rally

A protester's sign urging U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer to vote against the Iran deal at the "Stop Iran Now" rally in Times Square, July 22, 2015. (Gabe Friedman)

(JTA) — New York Sen. Chuck Schumer was not actually in New York on Wednesday, but the Democrat’s influence on the fate of the Iran deal loomed large when several thousand people descended on Times Square to protest the agreement. Many of those demonstrating against the agreement chanted “Where… Read more »

AIPAC to fight White House head to head in battle over Iran deal

The White House is said to be "on fire" and ready for battle in defending the Iran nuclear plan. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Cancel your summer vacations. That was the order AIPAC’s executive director, Howard Kohr, gave his employees in a staff meeting convened this week at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee after the United States announced the Iran nuclear deal. With the influential pro-Israel lobby group pushing for Congress… Read more »

Why the Iran nuclear deal is likely to survive its hurdles

MARCH 03: Sen. Bob Corker (L) (R-TN), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, answers questions at a press conference following the weekly policy luncheon of the Republican caucus at the U.S. Capitol March 3, 2015 in Washington, DC. Corker answered questions on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to a joint meeting of Congress earlier in the day. Also pictured are Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) (R-KY) and Sen. John Thune (C) (R-SD). (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) – The nuclear deal with Iran, 20 months in the making, is now done — at least as far as negotiations go. The accord, announced early Tuesday, still faces hurdles, although they likely won’t keep the deal from going ahead. So what happens next? We read the laws, perused the… Read more »

The United States and Iran: What happens when a deal is in place

President Barack Obama teleconferencing about the Iran nuclear talks from the White House with Secretary of State John Kerry, March 31, 2015. (Pete Souza/Flickr)

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Years before it is deemed a success or a failure, a nuclear deal between Iran and the major powers could unleash far-reaching changes in the region. Much of the focus in Congress and the media in recent weeks has been on whether the deal would inhibit… Read more »

As Iran deadline approaches, skeptics draw dueling red lines

A pro-government demonstrator holds aloft a picture of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at Tehran University, on June 19, 2009 in Tehran, Iran. (Photo by Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — In nuclear talks between Iran and the major powers, it’s deadline time, and skeptics on both sides are laying out red lines in a bid to shape a final deal. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader who had been wary of the talks, last week outlined his… Read more »

For this U.N. report on Gaza War, Israel came prepared

A Palestinian child amid the rubble of buildings in Gaza City that were destroyed during the summer of 2014 war between Israel and Hamas, June 22, 2015. (Aaed Tayeh/Flash90)

(JTA) – This time, Israel and its supporters came prepared. Anticipating what they believed would be an unfair U.N. report on last summer’s Gaza War, the Israeli government and friendly groups in the United States were ready with at least three reports they say better reflects the reality of… Read more »

New PBS special examines ‘Seeds of Conflict’ in the Middle East

Collectives of European immigrants, soon known as kibbutzim, were an early building block of the Zionist movement. (Courtesy of Yad Yitzhak Ben Zvi)

LOS ANGELES (JTA) – Conflict between Arabs and Jews in the Middle East now appears a permanent condition, but it didn’t have to be that way, according to a one-hour PBS special premiering on June 30. “1913: The Seeds of Conflict” traces the relationship between the two Semitic tribes… Read more »

With White House set to approve Iran deal, options to shape outcome remote

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), left, shakes hands with ranking member Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) during a committee markup meeting on the proposed nuclear agreement with Iran on April 14, 2015. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) – The Iran deal may not be done, but bids by its opponents to shape it are all but buried. Skeptics of the nuclear negotiations have all but given up on a congressional role before the June 30 deadline for an agreement between Iran and the major… Read more »

Competing views of Iran deal highlight challenges ahead

President Barack Obama has said that Iran should be granted sanctions relief only once it begins to implement a nuclear accord. (Chip Semodevilla/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Now that the outline for an Iran nuclear agreement has been released — or, more precisely, two outlines, one by Iran, the other by the Obama administration — major gaps have emerged that will need to be resolved ahead of a June 30 deadline for a… Read more »

U.S. and Israel escalate war of words over Iran

(JTA) – Israel and the Obama administration have stepped up their war of words over the framework agreement that aims to limit Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for a gradual rollback of sanctions. President Barack Obama made his most detailed effort yet to persuade skeptics of the accord reached… Read more »

Obama and Netanyahu dig in for fight over Iran deal

(JTA) — For President Obama, the framework agreement reached Thursday with Iran is a “historic understanding” that does more to roll back Tehran’s nuclear program than any possible alternative and avoids the risk of a destructive war in the Middle East. But to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, it’s… Read more »

After the nuclear negotiators go home, what happens next?

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, thir from left, in Lausanne, Switzerland, with his counterparts from the other world powers negotiating with Iran before the nuclear talks resumed, March 30, 2015. (U.S. State Department/Flickr)

(JTA) – Diplomats in Lausanne, Switzerland, have extended their deadline on a framework accord on Iran’s nuclear program. But even if an agreement is reached this week, it’s merely a way station toward a comprehensive deal that is due by June 30. If a deal is reached, who needs to approve… Read more »

Netanyahu: No Palestinian state on my watch

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview that as long as he is Israel’s prime minister, a Palestinian state will not be established. The interview was published Monday on the Israeli news website NRG, a day before Israelis head to the polls, as Netanyahu attempts to shore… Read more »