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August 15, 2014

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PAGE 2A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, AUGUST 15, 2014 How Ob0000r,00a and Netanyahu can make up Pete Souza / White House The relaHonship between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, seen here after Obama's arrival in Israel on March 20, 2013, has been marked by reports of tensions. dents, remembers the last such breach betweenU.S, and Israeli leaders--when George H.W. Bush was president and Yitzhak Shamir was prime minister--and it was worse, he says. That is, until Iraq in- vaded Kuwait in August 1990. "The only thing that will improve the relationship is the emergence of a joint project that affords both of the them the opportunity to get on the same page and succeeds and makes them look good," said Miller, now a vice president at the Wilson Center. The first Persian Gulf War and the subsequent Madrid peace talks are '!what saved the Bush-Shamir relationship." "You need a set circum- By Ron Kampeas WASHINGTON (JTA)-- President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Ne- tanyahu are not the best of friends--that seems pretty clear by now. But following reports dur- ing the Gaza conflict of cut-off phone calls, tough talk of"de- mands" and eavesdropping, it may be time for them to figure out a way back to steadier ground. JTA asked an array of experts on the U.S.-Israel relationship what the two leaders must do to restore a relationship that both say is critical for their countries. Deus ex machina: A crisis wil! bring us together stances that compels the afonDavidMiller, aMiddle UnitedStates and Israel to East negotiatorunderDemo- operate in a way that not raticand Republican presi- just manages something but accomplishes something don'tseethesamethreattheir abilityofU.S.militaryaidand and does not make the re- and makes them look good," Miller said. "That's the only thing that will do it--phone calls and warm statements won't do it." Let's talk big picture Tamara Cofman Wittes, who served as deputy assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs in Obama's first term and now is director of the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, says Netanyahu and Obama should talk not about the specific near-term issues they face but aboutwhat they want to get done and what kind of legacies they wish to leave. "Both of these guys have a clear sense of what they were put there to do," Wittes told JTA. "Both of them have a clear sense of what they want to leave behind. And I am confident that one of the things both of them want to leave behind is a strong and solid U.S.-Israel relationship. That broader, deeper conver- sation will help them get past practical differences." Honey, we've both changed since we were young and in love Haim Malka, the deputy director of the Middle East program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, says their big-pic- ture talk should focus on how America and Israel each are changing. "Young people in America don't have the same kind of perception of Israel as their parents and grandparents-- in part because they grew up at a time when israel has been a strong military power. They parents did," said Malka, who in 2011 wrote a book about the future of the U.S.-Israel rela- tionship. "The U.S. and Israel need a serious conversation about the relationship, the tension points in the relation- ship and why it's changing." Martin In@k, who until June was the top U.S. Middle East peace negotiator and is now a Brookings Institution vice president, says the United States must recognize Israel's shifting alliances. Israel, as opposed to past crises in the relationship with the United States, "is strong economically, strong militarily and has a range of relationships across the world with other powers beyond the United States," Indyk said Tuesday at a Brookings event on the Gaza war aftermath, citing India, China and Russia as examples of Israel's bur- geoning friendships. "They feel more independent of the United States than they have in the past that they can stand on their own two feet. "They also feel they have relationships in the Arab world that they never had before," Indyk added, noting that Egypt explicitly sided with Israel during the recent Gaza war, and that Saudi Ara- bia and several other Sunni- led countries did so tacitly. We need to talk about that thing Both leaders also need to address third rails--like the $3 billion in defense as- sistance Israel receives from the United States, Malka said. "There has to be an honest discussion about the sustain- about how that affects the relationship," he said. "Does Israel want to continue to be a dependent country, or does it want to graduate to a different kind of status?" Maybe we shouldn't talk at all The solution for the ani- mosity that Netanyahu and Obama have for one another is to keep them apart and have a fixer mediate, said Robert Danin, who specialized in the Middle East in high-ranking positions in the George W. Bush administration and assisted Tony Blair in his capacity as Middle East peace mediator. "President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu now have over five years of accumulated baggage, so I don't see how they are going to reconcile," said Danin, now a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. "What appears to be sorely lacking right now is a trusted and discreet private channel between the two leaders," he told JTA. "You need a trusted emissary who operates below the radar who can go back and forth between the White House and the Prime Minis- ter's Office. This person can quietly solve problems, clarify misunderstandings and serve to manage the relationship." Maybe everyone should just shut up Stop the leaks is the advice of Jonathan Schanzer, a vice president at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. "So much is flying back and forth that does not make either leader look competent lationship look solid," said Schanzer, whowas a terrorism finance analyst under Presi- dent George W. Bush. "It makes very little sense to me that this administra- tion has allowed for leaks given how tight their com- munications are,,' he said. "From the Israeli side, we know leaking is a contact sport. Netanyahu needs to do a better job of keeping his right flank in check." Natan Sachs, a fellow at the Brookings Center for Middle East Policy who focuses on Israel, said each side needs to better understand how leaks play out on the other. "In Israel, when a junior minister criticizes the United States, it's understood he's speaking for himself. In America, it's assumed that the government thinks that way," he said. "Israelis have to be much more careful the  way they speak. The converse is thatAmericans need to take it more with a grain of salt." Deal with Iran already The Iranian nuclear pro- gram issue is deeply distorting the relationship, Schanzer said. Dealing with Iran's suspected weapons program needs to come to a head. "Whatever tensions existed during this latest round of violence with Hamas, ten- sions would not have been as high without the backdrop of Iran nuclear," he said. "The fact that this has gone on for years without conclusion and the Israelis have been told and told to wait; it's pushed both sides to a place where we do not want tensions to be." By Uriel Heilman (JTA)--There's no short- age of images from the Gaza conflict. We've seen rubble, dead Palestinian children, Israelis cowering during rocket at- tacks; Israeli military maneu- vers and Israeli army footage of Hamas militants emerging from tunnels to attack Israeli Soldiers. What we haven't seen are practically any images of Hamas fighters inside Gaza. We know they're there: Someone's got to be launch- ing those rockets into Israel (more than 3,200) and firing at invading Israeli troops. But The images missing from the Gaza war so far the only images we've seen (or even heard about) are the Israel Defense Forces' videos of Hamas fighters us- ing hospitals, ambulances, mosques and schools (and tunnels) to launch attacks against Israeli targets or ferry arms around Gaza. Why haven't we seen jour- nalists' photographs of llamas fighters inside Gaza? We know Hamas doesn't want the world to see im- ages of Palestinian fighters launching rockets or using civilian havens like hospitals as bases of operation. But if we're able to see images from both sides of practically every other war--in Syria, Brad Goldberger Sales Consultant Cell: 407-697-8060 TOYOTA Central Florida Toyota - Scion 11020 S. Orange Blossom Trail Orlando, FL 32837 407-472-5200 Please call to schedule an appointment for a no-nonsense & hassle-free Sales experience No games No pressure in Ukraine, in Iraq--why is Gaza an exception? If journalists are being threatened and intimidated when they try to document Hamas activity in Gaza, their news outlets should be out front saying so. They're not. Last week, The New York Times published an account by photographer Sergey Pono- marev on what his days are like in Gaza. Here's what Ponomarev said: "It was a war routine. You leave early in the morning to see the houses destroyed the night before. Then you go to funerals, then to the hospital because more injured people arrive, and in the evening you go back to see more destroyed houses. "Itwas the same thing every day, just switching between Rafah and Khan Younis." If you're wondering whether the Times has assigned another photog- rapher to cover the Hamas aspect of the story it hasn't Looking through the 45 im- ages in four of the Times' recent slideshows on the conflict, there's not a single one of a Hamas fighter. Why not? After all, Hamas attacks against Israel are cru- cial to understanding what's underpinning this conflict. When I posed this question to the Times, here's what Ei- leen Murphy, the newspaper's vice president for corporate communications, told me: "Our photo editor went through all of our pictures recently and out of many hundreds, she found 2 very distant poor quality images that were captioned Hamas fighters by our photographer on the ground. It is very difficult to identify Hamas because they don't have uni- forms or any visible insignia; our photographer hasn't even seen anyone carrying a gun. "I would add that we would notwithhold photos of Hamas militants. We eagerly pursue photographs from both sides of the conflict, but we are limited by what our photog- raphers have access to." Now, I'm no war reporter. It's a risk I'm not willing to take, and I commend those who do. So I'm hesitant to question the work of reporters in Gaza right now. But here's what I don't get: With the hundreds of journalists there, including numerous photojournal- ists with experience covering bloody conflicts in Syria, Ukraine, Iraq and Afghani- stan, how is it that they aren't able to get any images of Pal- estinians fighting the Israelis? We know these images ex- ist-unless you believe the IDF is fabricating its foot- age of Palestinian fighters us- ing ambulances to transport rockets, firing from hospitals and mosques, and launching rockets at Israel. It's certainly important to show the human and struc- tural devastation in Gaza. But with more than 3,200 rockets fired at Israel thus far from Gaza, and plenty of other fighting there, you'd think media outlets would be able to document some of it. But they haven't. (Israeli news outlets are barred from Gaza;. so they get a pass,) Are they looking in:the right places? The Times is hardly the only offender. A Los AngelesTimes slideshow of more than 75 photographs from the conflict did not have a single image of a Hamas fighter either, according to the Committee Images on page 14A Hamas rocket fired from residential area captured on video Israel has been proclaiming since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge that Hamas has been storing and firing rockets in residential areas. It is nice to know that a news source outside of Israel, in this case India's NDTV, videoed Hamas militants assembling rockets for launch right outside of the television crew's hotel. NDTV's reporter Sreenivasan Jain stood beside the large window in his room with the camera filming the militants working under a blue tarp where it was easy to see that they were assembling rockets. "Israel has argued that these rockets are fired from civilian areas, and this is why its retaliatory strikes can result in civilian casualties," Jain said on camera. About an hour later, the entire crew saw a rocket being fired from that spot and captured it all on video. NDTV's Jain said the tent was set-up the day before and three Hamas mem- bers returned on Tuesday to assemble the rockets over the course of an hour before setting them off. After the rockets were launched, the NDTV crew packed up and left Gaza before posting the report. When the footage aired, Jain said, "This report is being aired on NDTV and published on after our team left the Gaza strip--Hamas has not taken very kindly to any reporting of its rockets being fired." He added that just "as we reported the devastating consequences of Is- rael's offensive on Gaza's civilians, it is equally important to report on how Hamas places those very civilians at risk by firing rockets deep from the heart of civilian zones." Visit to view the video of the report.