While I was in Jordan, King Abdullah gave a lengthy interview to Haaretz about the Israeli-Palestinian situation in which he warned that “We’re sliding back into the darkness.” My conversations with more than two dozen Jordanian officials, political activists, journalists and analysts suggest that on this, at least, the King reflects a widespread Jordanian consensus. Jordanians are growing increasingly frustrated with the Obama team’s approach, alarmed at Netanyahu’s unpunished intransigence, and downright frantic about the trend in Jerusalem. If we don’t start seeing progress soon, with stronger American leadership, then the “tinderbox” could explode.
It wasn’t always like this. When I was last in Jordan about six months ago, I found a great deal of optimism over the appointment of George Mitchell and the high profile Obama gave to the Israeli-Palestinian problem. But now those hopes seem to have largely evaporated. The launch of Israeli-Palestinian talks which they had expected by June continue to drift in limbo, while Obama’s failure to deliver on the settlement freeze has — just as so many predicted — eroded his credibility. How could the Americans have allowed Netanyahu to not only defy U.S. demands on settlements but to not even pay any significant price? Again and again, from all sectors of Jordanian political society, I heard the same refrain: Obama’s heart is in the right place and we want him to succeed, but he’s just not getting it done. [continued…]
Twenty-eight Palestinians have been held in administrative detention for two to four years, and one has been held for four-and-a-half years, according to a report due to be released early Wednesday morning by two human rights organizations, B’Tselem and Hamoked.
The report, entitled “Without Trial,” found that more than 1,000 Palestinians had been held simultaneously in administrative detention during the second intifada.
At the end of September of this year, Israel was holding 335 administrative detainees, including three women and a minor. Thirty-seven percent of the detainees had been in jail for one to two years. [continued…]
Commanders of the U.S.-trained Palestinian security forces who have been locking up criminals and battling Hamas militants here for nearly two years have maintained morale in the ranks with a single promise: They will one day be the anchor of security for an independent Palestinian state.
The lack of progress toward that goal is starting to sap Palestinian public support for the forces and erode morale among troops, even as they win praise and fresh funding from Washington for their accomplishments. [continued…]
Mental health professionals say there has been a rise in the drug’s usage in Gaza since the war. The Hamas authorities have tried to crack down on it, but the drug’s severe withdrawal symptoms means it is a seriously hard habit to break. Hasan Shaban Zeyada, a senior psychologist at the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP) is convinced that many of the psychological problems underlying the addiction are “the consequence of living in this situation: the siege, internal division and the war”.
Abu Ahmed used to have a good job as a driver. But like an estimated 100,000 other Gazans he lost it when Israel imposed its blockade after Hamas seized control of the strip from Fatah in June 2007. “Before the war the situation was so hard. There was no work, plus I had to take care of 11 people, including my wife. All people could do was sit around in the street and drink tea or coffee.” [continued…]