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Why won't the Arab parties just unite already?

Raising the Knesset threshold was a game-changer, and now the Arab parties must find a way to unite in order to stay relevant. Will they put aside their egos and political differences for the sake of Israel’s Palestinian minority?

By Samah Salaime Egbariya

Hadash MK Mohammad Barakeh (left) speaks to Balad MK Jamal Zahalka in the Knesset chambers. (photo: Activestills)

Hadash MK Mohammad Barakeh (left) speaks to Balad MK Jamal Zahalka in the Knesset chambers. (photo: Activestills)

A war of attrition has been declared on the Palestinian minority in Israel, in the wake of endless discussions over the possibility of uniting the Arab parties to run in the upcoming elections. It turns out that Arabs are not really connected to realtime: with every passing week, simple folk such as myself (not to mention 60 percent of the Arab public) who are not active in any political party, are feeling more and more distant. Our trust is dwindling, our skepticism is increasing, and we cannot help but make fun of our leaders’ inability to find the perfect formula. Put simply: how the hell can they fit nine Arab men and one good Jewish man in the same list as a woman or two? You add four more candidates, one from each party, that’s how.

The only thing currently working is the tidal wave of names and descriptions ascribed to the arduous unity process: the term “united party” is no longer relevant; a “united list” may be a better fit. Or what about “strategic unity”; “a fictitious marriage” that will give birth to an “illegitimate child”; or the cherry on top: “the talks between the factions are akin to prostitution and an abandoning of principles.”

We’re getting carried away, if you ask me. It is as if we are talking about a historic agreement that will forever change the political map. We all know that the Arab parties (along with the Arab-Jewish Hadash party) are seen as one bloc anyway. So why break it up now? And how is it that every party seems to be providing its own polls that show that its power is only growing, and that the Arab public has chosen it to lead?

Barakeh’s strange comeback

The problem is that we are already past the stage of fruitless secret talks, and have now...

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A man who really saw people: A farewell to Noam Kaminer

Remembering the life of Noam Kaminer is a journey through the history and memories of the radical Israeli Left.

By Anat Saragusti (Translated from Hebrew by Matan Kaminer)

Noam Kaminer (Courtesy of the Kaminer family)

Noam Kaminer (Courtesy of the Kaminer family)

How often does one get the chance to participate in a non-political event in which people of different walks of life and circles of activity, young and old, Palestinians and Jews, congregate around a common denominator that is known and beloved by all? How many Israeli Jews have sat with Israeli Palestinians for an entire evening outside the context of a political event? How many of us Israeli Jews have Israeli Palestinian friends? Real friends, with whom we share social experiences?

This rarest of occurrences took place at a recent memorial for Noam Kaminer, who died of cancer a month ago. In a nutshell, the Noam we encountered during this evening is a charming epitome of the values of Israeli humanism, tied up with universal values of equality and fraternity across national lines – not clichés in his case. He was born on a kibbutz, grew up a communist, went to summer camp in the Soviet Union, enlisted in an elite commando unit in the Golani Brigade, participated in the legendary conquest of Mt. Hermon in 1973, was a port worker, earned a PhD in information science, and supported a son who refused to enlist in the IDF and went to prison.

I am writing from a personal perspective, because Noam Kaminer is also part of my own biography. We met in the seventh grade, in Jerusalem’s most elite school, the Hebrew University Secondary School. “He’s a Communist!” whispered well-wishers behind his back, and I — a young girl with little political knowledge, who had no idea what Communism was – went looking for his tail and horns. It was 1966, and everything behind the Iron Curtain was considered suspect. Years later, when I came to visit the Kaminers at their home in Kiryat Yovel, Jerusalem, I met a warm, friendly, and very ordinary family. No horns or tails to be seen.

Noam was born in 1953, a first child to parents who immigrated from the United States to Kibbutz Sa’ar. Upon joining the Communist Party, they were ejected from the kibbutz and settled in...

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How to purge racism from Israel’s public spaces

It’s impossible to convince racists not to be racists; the problem is the silent majority. Instead of delivering speeches against racism, we should get the authorities to eliminate it from the city streets. Here’s how.

By Ron Gerlitz

A few months ago I moved to the community of Srigim in the Elah Valley. I quickly noticed, and was bothered, that the sign at the entrance to Moshav Zekharya, which I pass every day, had been vandalized with the Arabic name of the community blacked out. I decided to do something. Not that I have an inexplicable passion for proper signage, but I felt that something very bad was going on here: the brutal and deliberate erasure of Arabic. Even worse was the silence of all those people and good neighbors who passed by it every day.

The Arabic on the road sign at the entrance to Zekharya was intentionally blacked out. (Photo by Ron Gerlitz)

The Arabic on the road sign at the entrance to Zekharya was intentionally blacked out. (Photo by Ron Gerlitz)

I photographed the sign and posted about it on the Kifaya website belonging to the Shutafut-Sharakah coalition, whose goal is to report incidents of racism and pressure authorities to take action to combat them. (More about the role and purpose of Kifayah can be read here in Hebrew).

I took a chance and wrote on my Facebook page at the time that it would only be a matter of time before the sign was fixed. It couldn’t possibly be left like that. And in fact that’s what happened. The energetic staff of Shutafut-Sharakah contacted the regional council and the National Transport Company, and after several reminders they sent out their teams and replaced the sign.

So what’s so important about that sign? It’s very important. We can’t convince racists not to be racists. We won’t succeed and it’s a waste of time. They, the racists, are a minority — noisy, active, organized and dangerous, but a minority. The problem lies with some of the politicians or leaders who incite and encourage racism, and the majority – us – who remain silent.

The sign at the entrance to Zekharya after Shutafut-Sharakah’s intervention. (Photo by Ron Gerlitz)

The sign at the entrance to Zekharya...

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If Herzog wants to lead, he'll need to bring the Arabs with him

The upcoming elections could provide a golden opportunity for the Palestinian minority in Israel to become power brokers in the political system. That is, if Labor leader and election frontrunner Isaac Herzog brings the Arab MKs into his coalition.

By: Thair Abu Rass

Labor chairman Isaac Herzog (Photo by Activestills.org)

Labor chairman Isaac Herzog (Photo by Activestills.org)

The upcoming Israeli elections are a historic opportunity for the Palestinian minority in Israel. For the first time ever they have the possibility of becoming the power brokers in any future coalition.

According to recent polls, a unified Arab slate consisting of the four major parties: Hadash (a joint Jewish-Arab party, where nearly 95% of its voters are Palestinians), Balad, Ta’al and Ra’am can achieve 15 seats, at least 4 more than the 11 they won in the previous election.

Palestinian citizens of Israel have historically been the least participative community in Israeli elections. This time, however, Arabs will participate in larger numbers, both out of fear and as a result of a very traumatic year. For the first time, Palestinians feel their citizenship is in jeopardy, especially due to the war on Gaza and its aftermath: Zionist ministers calling for boycotting Arab towns and business, harassing Arab employees in their work places due to their political beliefs and the idea to ban the Islamic movement are all reasons to motivate the Palestinians to defend their citizenship by heading to the polls.

The 2013 Israeli elections ended with a virtual tie between the center-left (59 seats) and the right-religious (61 seats) camp. A unified and enhanced Arab list in 2015 can surely keep the right wing at bay for the next four years. For example, most polls indicate that a unified Arab list can bring the center-left to the magical number of 61 (seats). A future coalition of Labor, Arabs, Meretz, Yesh Atid and Kahlon is more than plausible.

Read: Why are Palestinian citizens expected to be loyal to Israel?

For over 66 years the Palestinian minority has been excluded from any political power in Israel, an exclusion that has only intensified the institutional discrimination against Arabs in all walks of life. Labor PM candidate Isaac Herzog, the frontrunner against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has not explicitly...

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Israel's military prosecution presents: How to whittle away an investigation

A member of Israel’s security forces shot a bullet at Ashraf Muhammad Jamal Tufiq’s foot in 2009. The IDF’s investigatory bodies did their best to make sure they will never find the shooter.

By Yesh Din, written by Yossi Gurvitz

On Friday, January 16, 2009, someone – a member of the Israeli security forces – fired a bullet into the foot of Ashraf Muhammad Jamal Tufiq, from the West Bank village Bil’in. According to Tufiq, the shooting occurred without any provocation and came after the weekly demonstration ended. As a result of his injury, Tufiq had to undergo an operation and had to give up on being a professional a soccer player. On November 4, 2013, the prosecution of the Office of the Military Advocate for Operational Affairs closed the case, reaching the conclusion that it contains no evidence whatsoever.

Hold on, you say, you’ve made an error. You’re saying the shooting took place on January 2009, but the case closed in November 2013. That’s more than four years between one event and another. You must have made a mistake.

Israeli security forces arrive at a tree-planting demonstration marking Land Day in the West Bank village of Bil’in, March 27, 2014. (Photo by Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

Israeli security forces arrive at a tree-planting demonstration marking Land Day in the West Bank village of Bil’in, March 27, 2014. (Photo by Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

No mistake. This is the heart of the issue. I’ll present the chronology of events based on the work of Adv. Emily Schaeffer Omer-Man. But before we start, we should note that Tufiq’s testimony is not bereft of problems, and that at certain points he even contradicts himself. The fact, however, is that he was shot and became a cripple. A quick investigation might have found out what actually took place. But, as we can see from the flow of events below, that did not exactly happen.

January 16, 2009 – A Friday demonstration in Bil’in, and it’s more violent than usual. The soldier in question will later remember the events because, unusually, another soldier was wounded. After the demonstration, a member of the security forces shoots Tufiq. He is taken to a hospital and, with our aid, submits a notice (the equivalent of a complaint to the police) to the Military Police Criminal Investigation Division (MPCID).

May...

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How jailed asylum seekers are taking over Israeli Facebook feeds

As part of a new online campaign Israelis are giving voice to African asylum seekers who have been silenced, locked up and forgotten.

By Avi Blecherman

African asylum seekers jailed in the Holot detention center protest behind the prison's fence, as other asylum seekers take part in a protest outside the facility in Israel's Negev desert, February 17, 2014. (Photo by Activestills.org)

African asylum seekers jailed in the Holot detention center protest behind the prison’s fence, as other asylum seekers take part in a protest outside the facility in Israel’s Negev desert, February 17, 2014. (Photo by Activestills.org)

If you’re a Hebrew speaker you’re probably asking yourself how your Facebook feed suddenly filled up with quotes from asylum seekers in the “Holot” detention facility. Well, it’s because a new online campaign called “Voices from Holot” launched Sunday, allowing you to to share any number of quotes collected from interviews with asylum seekers from Eritrea and Sudan, all of whom are imprisoned in the “Holot” and “Saharonim” prisons.

A number of human rights organizations are behind the campaign, among them the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, the Association of Civil Rights in Israel, Physicians for Human Rights, Amnesty International and Assaf. The campaign is scheduled to go on for a week, and it has been taking off so far. Hundreds of people have already shared statuses from asylum seekers. Among those sharing have been Israeli celebrities and writers.

Read +972′s full coverage of asylum seekers in Israel

“The Israeli public has frequently been exposed to discussions about asylum seekers, but almost never do they hear their feelings, thoughts and points of view,” Anat Ovadia of the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants explained to +972’s Hebrew-language sister site, Local Call.

“The goal is to expose the personal stories, the thoughts and daily experiences of the detainees, with the assumption that it’s more difficult to hate and fear or continue to be apathetic toward them when you read their testimonies in the first person,” she continued.

Those behind the project hope that the thousands of people currently being incarcerated without trial, and who have been effectively silenced, “will be heard and not forgotten.”

Speaking by telephone from Holot, Anwar Suliman said: “This project is important to us. It is one part of the actions we asylum seekers...

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Palestine's ICC bid is only as threatening as Israel makes it

Instead of reviling Palestinian accession to the International Criminal Court as an effort to delegitimize and isolate it, Israel would be better off focusing inward.

By Emily Schaeffer Omer-Man

One of the more ironic aspects of Israeli opposition to Palestinian accession to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is its deep involvement in the court’s establishment. Not long before Israel joined the ranks of the U.S. and Sudan in “unsigning” the statute, it was one of its chief proponents and architects. In signing the treaty in 2000, Israel professed its support for the court, despite its concerns about certain “politically motivated” provisions – namely, the inclusion of settlements as a war crime (note: they were at the time, and remain, a clear violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and a grave breach of Additional Protocol I).

Yet, since the Palestinian Authority’s first attempt to invoke ICC jurisdiction in 2009 following Cast Lead, Israel has treated any Palestinian move toward joining the same legal body it helped erect as anathema – final proof that there is no partner for peace. In addition, the move has provided Israel another opportunity to deflect blame from its own actions by accusing the Palestinians of being the real war criminals.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the swearing in ceremony for the new unity government, Ramallah, June 2, 2014. (Photo: Mustafa Bader/Activestills.org)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Israel has treated any Palestinian move toward joining the ICC as anathema. (Photo: Mustafa Bader/Activestills.org)

What is beyond ironic here, and in fact cause for concern, is that the Palestinian bid to the ICC would pose no threat to Israel if the latter were to meet the complementarity requirement under the court’s statute. According to the Rome Statute, state actors over which the court has jurisdiction by virtue of the said state being a party to the treaty, or the complaint having been launched by a state party, may only be prosecuted if it can be shown that the same state is “unwilling or unable” to carry out a genuine investigation and prosecution of the alleged war crime.

Israeli human rights NGOs have long pointed out numerous structural and substantive failures in the Israeli military justice system such that it falls short of nearly all of the requirements enshrined in international law:...

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New name for an old crime: Police get creative with 'honor killings'

Israeli police, it seems, have finally learned not to use the infuriating term ‘honor killings’ to describe the murder of Arab women. Unfortunately, their replacement is far worse.

By Samah Salaime Egbariya

The good news is that the police arrested suspects in the murder of Bisan Abu Ghanem, and that authorities have apparently learned not to stop calling such murders “honor killings.” The bad news is that the new explanation for women’s murder is worse yet: their “independent conduct.”

Please insert the new phrase into your lexicon: “murdered on grounds of her independent conduct.” This new excuse for murdering women proudly joins others in an illustrious list: “romantic,” “family-crisis,” “honor,” “cultural,” the good old “crime of passion” and more.

This new masterpiece of nomenclature was first cited in a police press report of Tuesday, Dec. 9, announcing that the murder case of Bisan Abu Ghanem – the last and tenth murder victim in her family, killed on October 25, 2014 – has been solved.

Bisan Abu Ghanim, the tenth woman to be murdered in her family.

Bisan Abu Ghanim, the tenth woman to be murdered in her family.

Ostensibly, we as women and activists have been waiting for the commendable moment when the murderers of Arab women are indicted, something that does not happen often enough. Indeed, I could not conceal my satisfaction regarding the efficacy and speed of the labyrinthine investigation, which led to the arrest of six suspects; nothing of the kind took place after the murder of Bisan’s stepmother in 2000, or after the murders of her sisters several years later. I even allowed myself to imagine that once the perpetrators are brought to court, we may see further indictments in cases that had gone unsolved.

So the central investigator in this case certainly deserves tribute. But whoever wrote the press release in Hebrew really must have struggled with the ban on the term “honor killing” as the grounds for this horrific crime. Clearly the writer knew that the term is a red flag for furious women’s organizations, and since nothing in the list above was quite suitable, and some sort of “grounds” must be found, the new phrase “independent conduct” was invented. This is in fact an umbrella that covers everything — behavior, dress-style, speech, aspirations and plans for the future, legal battles with an...

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Why Israelis should welcome Palestine's ICC bid

All Israeli citizens who hold human rights and democratic values dear should not only support Palestine’s bid to join the International Criminal Court, they should be disheartened by their own government’s response.

Dr. Ishai Menuchin

These days the government of Israel is once again warning the Palestinian Authority not to join the International Criminal Court (ICC), threatening it with an immediate and severe response. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, stated Wednesday that the PA should be the one to feel threatened by the International Criminal Court in The Hague for “maintaining an alliance with a terrorist organization, Hamas, which commits war crimes,” and that the Israeli government “will take steps and protect soldiers serving in the IDF – the most moral army in the world.”

The Security Council votes on a draft resolution submitted by Jordan on the establishment of “a sovereign, contiguous and viable State of Palestine” within 12 months, December 30, 2014. (UN Photo/Loey Felipe)

The Security Council votes on a draft resolution submitted by Jordan on the establishment of “a sovereign, contiguous and viable State of Palestine” within 12 months, December 30, 2014. (UN Photo/Loey Felipe)

If this is the case – if Netanyahu truly believes his own assertions – a ruling by the ICC should be of no concern. Nevertheless, successive Israeli governments has not joined the ICC, and have repeatedly gone through great trouble to prevent Palestine’s membership in the court. This has included comprehensive diplomatic efforts, national public campaigns reiterating that the “world is (once again) against us” and explicit threats directed at the Palestinian government.

In 2000 the Israeli government declared that “as one of the originators of the concept of an International Criminal Court […] its representatives, often carrying personal memories of the Holocaust – the most heinous crime to have been committed in the history of mankind – enthusiastically contributed to all stages of preparation of the Statute with sincerity and seriousness.” Not long after this declaration was made, however, Israel withdrew from the Rome Statute, and the “enthusiasm” and “seriousness” of its representatives were directed elsewhere.

Human rights vs. national values

Fifteen years later and all we have are two contradictory political positions on the ICC and its universal values. For the past few years we have been witnessing an ideological struggle among the Israeli public...

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The world's obligation to end the occupation

Israeli-Palestinian relations do not solely belong to Israel. The international community has a right and an obligation to intervene.

By Ilan Baruch

The Security Council voted on a draft resolution submitted by Jordan on the establishment of “a sovereign, contiguous and viable State of Palestine” within 12 months. The result of the vote was 8 in favour, 2 against (Australia and United States) and 5 abstentions (Lithuania, Nigeria, Republic of Korea, Rwanda and United Kingdom). Having failed to gain the requisite 9 votes in favour -- and given the veto by the United States -- the draft resolution was not adopted. (UN Photo/Loey Felipe)

The Security Council voted on a draft resolution submitted by Jordan on the establishment of “a sovereign, contiguous and viable State of Palestine” within 12 months. The result of the vote was 8 in favour, 2 against (Australia and United States) and 5 abstentions (Lithuania, Nigeria, Republic of Korea, Rwanda and United Kingdom). Having failed to gain the requisite 9 votes in favour — and given the veto by the United States — the draft resolution was not adopted. (UN Photo/Loey Felipe)

Right-wing propagandists have been quick to take credit for the outcome of the UN Security Council vote on Tuesday, which rejected the Palestinians’ resolution to unilaterally end the occupation, rather than through negotiations. The resolution won the support of eight out of 15 members of the Security Council — just shy of passing.

However, a closer look at the votes shows that there were neither winners nor losers in New York. The Palestinians won the support of the majority of Security Council members, while a minority of states opposed the resolution (eight yes votes and two no votes); a total of 13 states supported the resolution or abstained, while only two, the U.S. and Australia, opposed. Out of the five permanent members of the UNSC, three supported the resolution (Russia, China and France) while one abstained (Britain). The Palestinian failure, therefore, stems not from the fact that the majority of countries, including the United States, wish to see an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, but rather from the Security Council’s procedures themselves (which require a majority of nine states to pass resolutions).

It seems that the Security Council may return and discuss the French...

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Beyond Gaza: Runners-up for 2014's 'Story of the Year'

The Gaza war was a clear choice for +972′s selection as story of the year (read it here). But the other nominated stories need to be told, too. +972 bloggers explain why they made their nominations. From the kidnappings to a new paradigm for Jewish-Arab relations to a growing opposition among U.S. Jews.

The kidnap-murder of three Israeli teenagers

By Larry Derfner

Family and friends of Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Fraenkel, three Israeli teenagers who were abducted and killed in the West Bank, take part in their funeral in the city of Modi’in, Israel, Tuesday, July 1, 2014. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Family and friends of Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Fraenkel, three Israeli teenagers who were abducted and killed in the West Bank, take part in their funeral in the city of Modi’in, Israel, Tuesday, July 1, 2014. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

As of June 12, Hamas had not fired a rocket into Israel for more than a year-and-a-half. Since the start of 2014, one Israeli had been killed in a Palestinian attack in the West Bank, while 22 Palestinian protesters and bystanders (not counting armed militants) had been killed by Israeli troops. The big political story was the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation, a Palestinian political triumph that the world cautiously welcomed and that Netanyahu was unsuccessfully using to try and shift the blame for the failed Kerry talks from himself to Abbas, and to hold off the expected Palestinian diplomatic onslaught in the UN. As of June 12, Mohammed Abu Khdeir was alive. The streets of Galilee and East Jerusalem were quiet, while those of the West Bank and Gaza Strip were about as quiet as they get.

At 10:15 that night at a West Bank bus stop, two Palestinians in a car gave a lift to three hitchhiking Israeli teenagers, Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaer and Eyal Yifrah, and everything changed. Blaming Hamas for the abduction (though Israeli officials later acknowledged that Hamas leaders in Gaza didn’t know about the kidnapping in advance, and that it was carried out by a renegade, Hebron-area Hamas cell known for its independent acts of terror), Netanyahu ordered the army to lay siege to Hebron and the vicinity. Abbas’ Palestinian Authority troops cooperated. Several Palestinian protesters were killed and hundreds of Hamas members were arrested, including some 60...

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Israel must ratify the Arms Trade Treaty

Israel signed the treaty at the last possible moment before it came into effect, granting it rights but not requiring any concrete action. Now Israel needs to ratify to prove its commitment to the principle of denying arms to those who might use them for committing human rights violations or war crimes.

By Yonatan Gher

Israeli soldiers unload supplies from a C-130 cargo aircraft. (Photo: IDF Spokesperson)

Israeli soldiers unload supplies from a C-130 cargo aircraft. (Photo: IDF Spokesperson)

Last week we celebrated a day of historical significance: following over 20 years of campaigning by Amnesty International, the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) went from being a distant fantasy to a legally binding reality, upon finally coming into force on December 24th.

At least half a million people die every year on average and millions more are injured, raped and forced to flee their homes as a result of the poorly regulated global trade in weapons and munitions. The arms trade is shrouded in secrecy, but the recorded value of international transfers is approaching $100 billion annually.

The group of 128 countries who have signed the treaty were joined last by Israel, just before it came into force. The Israeli section of Amnesty International has been running a campaign for 3 years now, to reach this signing: hundreds have signed petitions, numerous demonstration and events were held, including the projecting of a live Facebook page on the wall of the Chinese embassy to protest the Chinese arm trade, and a demonstration of Sudanese asylum-seekers in front of the Russian embassy protesting Russian arms transfers to the Sudanese government, which are being used to fuel the ongoing massacre in Darfur. We stayed in touch with the Israeli Foreign Ministry, and Israel’s statements in favor of the treaty were like music to our ears. “Israel supports the principles and goals of the treaty, and was an active partner in shaping it throughout the years of negotiation”, the Foreign Ministry stated. Amen.

But Israel bought its place on the treaty in what feels like as an end-of-season sale. Israel enjoys several benefits by signing the treaty now, as opposed to joining after the treaty came into force. The first being that had it not signed now, it would have needed to both sign and ratify to get a place at the table in...

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+972's Editor's Picks of 2014

As 2014 comes to a close, +972 Magazine’s editors and bloggers took time to look back at the year that was, and share the articles that most resonated with them – in no particular order.

 

Israel’s watershed moment that wasn’t

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon. (Photo by Kobi Gideon / GPO)

Israeli Prime Minister  Netanyahu with IDF Chief of Staff  Gantz and Defense Minister  Ya’alon. (Photo by Kobi Gideon / GPO)

The Gaza war was perceived very differently in Israel and abroad, even among some of this government’s supporters. Specifically, we heard references to the type of atmosphere that prevailed in the Jewish community during the First Lebanon War and the First Intifada — feelings of shock, after which nothing could possibly be the same. Foreign journalists and diplomats expressed similar impressions. But things couldn’t have been more different in Israel, where the political system, the media and most of the public went back to a “business-as-usual” mood the moment the fighting ended, as no lessons learned or policy changes were required after this war. Larry Derfner’s article came at this exact moment, and it captured very early on the complete failure of the Israeli establishment to deal with Gaza — perhaps the most troubling discovery of the post-war period.

The burden, and wall, of Zionism

Israelis participate in the march of the Flags on May 20, 2012, Jerusalem (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Israelis participate in the march of the Flags on May 20, 2012, Jerusalem (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Inside Israel, any answer other than “I am a Zionist,” has become akin to being un-American in the 1950s. To Israelis, Zionism is a litmus test of nationalism and love of country; for Palestinians it is racism. But in over a century of the modern usage, the term has never meant one thing alone. Its myriad tributaries merged and parted like the waters of the world’s great rivers, Dahlia Scheindlin wrote, tackling an issue that more and more progressive Jews are avoiding, even as they become more and more openly critical of Israel. “Zionism has been reduced to a wall: a ghetto wall separating Jews from other Jews, that we...

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+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

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