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Must Reads of the Week: Israeli-Palestinian Tensions, Rethinking Liberalism, and More

Author: CFR.org Editors
July 10, 2014

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"The Secret Fruit of the Peace Talks, a Future Point of Departure?"
By Barak Ravid
Haaretz

"Senior Israeli and American officials who were intimately involved in the talks say that even though the negotiations collapsed, the framework document remains relevant. The reason for this, according to all those involved, is that the document, though now in deep freeze, will be thawed out at some point before Obama leaves the White House and serve as a point of departure for future negotiations, or as the basis for an American peace plan that will be presented to the sides."

"Hamas and Israel at the Brink"
By Benedetta Berti
Sada

"Looking at the competing needs and interests of the parties, it still appears that they would benefit from preventing an escalation—in contrast with their own rhetoric and with attempts to 'square the circle' between domestic credibility and strategic interests. Yet the growing violence and the absence of a clear external broker place Israel and Hamas on the brink of yet another military confrontation."

A Palestinian man searches for belongings under the rubble of a house which police said was destroyed in an Israeli air strike in Gaza City July 9, 2014.(Photo: Mohammed Salem/Courtesy Reuters)
"Reclaiming Liberalism"
By Edmund Fawcett
Aeon Magazine

"Liberalism's aims and ideals remain what they always were: resistance to domineering power, faith in human progress and insistence on civic respect for people. None of those need changing or abandoning. However, liberals urgently need to rethink how those aims and ideals are to be pursued in bewilderingly novel conditions. How is market power to be tamed? Can 'good enough' replace 'ever more' as our gauge of progress? And how is respect for present and for future people to be squared?"

"Has GDP Outgrown Its Use?"
By David Pilling
Financial Times

"Gross domestic product has become a ubiquitous term. It is how we measure economic success. Countries are judged by how much they have of it. Governments can rise and fall according to how effectively their economies create it. Everything from debt levels to the contribution of manufacturing is measured against it. GDP is what makes the world go round. Yet what exactly does it mean? Outside a few experts, most people have only a shaky understanding."

"U.S. Energy: Overview and Key Statistics"
By Carl E. Behrens and Carol Glover
Congressional Research Service

"Renewable energy sources (except hydropower) continue to offer more potential than actual energy production, although fuel ethanol has become a significant factor in transportation fuel. Wind power has recently grown rapidly, although it still contributes only a small share of total electricity generation. Conservation and energy efficiency have shown significant gains over the past three decades and offer potential to relieve some of the dependence on oil imports."

"Iraq: A Divided Future"
By Borzou Daragahi
Financial Times

"Only Iraqis grasp how intimately the lives of the country's communities have been woven together, how intricately relations within clans and families have been entangled – and how tortured would be a sectarian divorce. Many tribes include both Sunni and Shia branches, and intermarriage continues to be common."

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