Hunting (2) Our posting yesterday attracted some valuable comments, for which we thank subscribers. The picture is more complex and in some respects more encouraging than the one we presented.
Gaza Visitors to Gaza where the population is now reported to exceeded 1.8 million are invariably shocked by what they see (a group of members of the European Parliament were reportedly prevented by the Israeli authorities from entering Gaza last month).
Palestine: decision point approaches The deadline set for the Kerry talks expires at the end of April. There is still little hard news, but most reports continue to expect the outcome to be a “framework document”, which many compare with the “road map” published in 2003 which immediately became a dead letter.
Jordan and Palestine: rising temperature Following the problems at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem last month which caused the Jordanian Parliament to vote unanimously for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador (our posting of 1 March), tension has increased with the killing of a Jordanian judge by the Israeli Defence Forces.
Muslim Brotherhood: Gaza, Jordan and the Gulf Egyptian outlawing of the Muslim Brotherhood has a ripple effect throughout the region.
Jordan Jordan is out of the news. King Abdullah II is visiting the United States. A report in the New York Times on a meeting planned with President Obama in southern California can find nothing more important to say than that both men will miss Valentine’s Day with their wives.
Palestine and Israel: Waiting for Kerry Although not comparable with Gaza (our posting of 9 February), the situation in the West Bank is grim enough, and in human terms unacceptable.
Gas in the Eastern Mediterranean The discovery of the large offshore Leviathan gas field west of Haifa in 2010, following the discovery of the Tamar field a little further north in 2009, was welcomed as potentially alleviating Israel’s energy problems, but the prospect has been dimmed by politics.
Iraq: the Sunni west Anbar province, the largest in Iraq, is predominantly Sunni and stretches west from Baghdad to the borders of Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, containing the cities of Ramadi, Falluja and Haditha.
Palestine: the Kerry talks As John Kerry completes his 10th negotiating visit to the region there are indications that the Palestine talks are reaching a decision point.