Analysis News

What do you call a politician who promises more war?

Election season is a time when most people expect to be presented with a hopeful vision for the future. In Israel, every single leading political figure is promising more of the same.

Israel’s election season officially went into full swing over the weekend as lists of candidates were finalized and the deadline for parties to merge came and went without any last-minute surprises.

While very few of the major parties have published official platforms for the upcoming elections, their leaders and senior officials are beginning to shape what voters can expect from them.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, head of the Israel Beitenu party, which is currently embroiled in a massive corruption scandal, is a subscriber of a two-state future of sorts. His vision centers on forced population transfer and the encouraged migration of Israel’s Palestinian citizens.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman (Photo by Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman. ‘A third Lebanon war is inevitable.’ (Photo by Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

Liberman on Sunday pivoted his campaign on something else: fear. Instead of offering Israelis hope for a better future, the strongman politician promised more war.

“A fourth operation in the Gaza Strip is inevitable, just as a third Lebanon war is inevitable,” Liberman told Ynet. He added that his party will never sit in a left-wing government, essentially shifting his two-state support into something far-off and unimportant.

His political foes aren’t offering anything more hopeful.

Tzipi Livni and Isaac Herzog, running together on a joint list they are calling the “Zionist Camp,” all but made the same promise — offering an identical path vis-à-vis Hamas in Gaza that the current government embarked upon, while deriding Netanyahu for compromising and reaching a cease fire.

Speaking near the Gaza border a day after announcing their joint ticket, Livni said: “Hamas is a terrorist organization and there is no hope for peace with it… the only way to act against it is with force – we must use military force against terror… this is instead of Netanyahu’s policy to come to an agreement with Hamas.”

Regarding the more mainstream idea of making peace with more “moderate” Palestinians in the West Bank, Livni and Herzog have used the word hope. But that hope lies entirely in the same framework for peace that has failed for over two decades. Good...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

The Israeli government's election gift to West Bank settlers

Netanyahu tells supporters at a settlement campaign event that Israel will continue to build in the West Bank, as his Likud party competes with more hawkish parties for settler votes. Erekat calls for boycott, divestment in response.

Construction of illegal settlement units at 'Elkana,' on the lands of the West Bank village of Masha, near Salfit, July 06, 2013. (Photo: Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

Construction of illegal settlement units at ‘Elkana,’ on the lands of the West Bank village of Masha, near Salfit, July 06, 2013. The latest construction tender calls for 156 new housing units in the settlement. (Photo: Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

Less than a month and a half before general elections, the Israeli government published tenders for 430 new settlement homes in the occupied West Bank on Friday.

The move could be interpreted as a gift of sorts to the right-wing electorate as the ruling Likud party fights for votes with the further-right Jewish Home party headed by Naftali Bennett. While Netanyahu has ruled out a withdrawal from the West Bank, which would necessarily preclude Palestinian statehood. Other prominent members of the Likud and the entire Jewish Home party outright oppose a two-state solution.

The settlement construction tenders are issued via the Housing and Construction Ministry, headed by Minister Uri Ariel of Jewish Home.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to continue settlement construction this week, speaking to young Likud supporters in the West Bank settlement of Ariel.

“We will not hesitate to stand up and say: we are here, we are staying here, we will build here and cultivate here,” Netanyahu said. “Ariel is a part of the State of Israel, that’s the way it was and that’s how it will be.”

The prime minister also ruled out handing over the central West Bank hill country to the Palestinians, warning of a “second Hamasastan.” Netanyahu put his refusal to withdraw from the West Bank in even clearer terms in July. “There cannot be a situation, under any agreement, in which we relinquish security control of the territory west of the River Jordan,” he said.

The plans include new construction in the settlements of Adam, Elkana, Alfei Menace and Kiryat Arba, according to AFP.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin is scheduled to attend a dedication ceremony Monday for a new community center in the settlement of Kiryat Arba,...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

American teen beaten by Israeli police is cleared of wrongdoing

The cousin of Muhammad Abu Khdeir’s videotaped beating by Israeli police in Jerusalem led to widespread outrage. He had been arrested and accused of participating in riots.

Tariq Abu Khdeir speaks about his beating at a CAIR panel in the U.S. (Screenshot, CAIR)

Tariq Abu Khdeir speaks about his beating at a CAIR panel in the U.S. (Screenshot, CAIR)

Palestinian-American 15-year-old Tariq Abu Khdeir, whose severe beating by Israeli police while he was in custody last summer was caught on video, has been cleared of all wrongdoing in Israel, the Jerusalem Post reported on Wednesday.

Following his beating, the American citizen was arrested and held under house arrest for nearly two weeks before being permitted to return home to Florida.

The incident took place after Tariq’s cousin, 16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir, was burned alive and murdered by Jewish extremists in a Jerusalem-area forest. Protests and heavy clashes took place in East Jerusalem after Muhammad’s murder.

Tariq said he was watching the protests, three days after his cousin was killed, and trying to get away from the violence between Israeli police and protestors when he was chased by three officers, beaten and arrested.

Israeli police said the 15 year old took part in the protests, resisted arrested and was carrying a slingshot to throw stones.

The American Consulate in Jerusalem told the Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that Tariq has been cleared of all wrongdoing and is free to return to Israel to visit his family in occupied East Jerusalem.

Tariq Abu Khdeir’s beating was caught on video, which shows the accused officer and additional officers arresting the boy, with one policeman apparently sitting on Khdeir to handcuff him while the accused officer is seen kicking and punching him repeatedly. A third officer is also seen helping drag Abu Khdeir toward a police vehicle, during which time the accused officer again kicks the boy who appears to be unconscious.

In September, one of the police officers was criminally charged with assaulting a minor.

An internal police investigation found evidence “supporting the guilt of the police officer suspected of severe violent crimes,” according to Israel’s Justice Ministry.

The teen, Tariq Abu Khdeir, said at a press conference in Florida at the time, he thinks the other two Israeli officers...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

Israeli soldiers killed in Hezbollah retaliation attack

Two Israeli soldiers are killed in a cross-border attack on an Israeli patrol road with anti-tank missiles. A Spanish soldier serving with UNIFIL is reportedly killed by Israeli retaliatory shelling. Israeli politicians call for harsh response. Israel killed a Hezbollah commander a week earlier.

File photo of Israeli soldiers patrolling the northern border. (Photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

File photo of Israeli soldiers patrolling the northern border. (Photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Two Israeli soldiers were killed in a cross-border attack on the Lebanese border Wednesday morning, for Hezbollah quickly took responsibility. A Spanish soldier serving with UNIFIL, the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon, was killed in Israeli retaliatory shelling.

The border attack comes a week after Israel assassinated a Hezbollah commander and an Iranian general in the Quneitra area of the Golan Heights in Syria. In the past 24 hours, two rockets hit the Israeli-occupied side of the Golan Heights and the IDF responded by striking Syrian military positions.

Read also: Air strike in Syria: Lies, aggression — at what cost?

Late Wednesday Wednesday Israeli army vehicles traveling on a patrol road along the Lebanese border fence near Shebaa Farms and the village of Ghajar, which is half in Israel and half in Lebanon, were hit by Kornet anti-tank missiles.

Photos and video obtained by Israeli media showed two vehicles along the border fence completely engulfed in flames.

 

A statement by Hezbollah taking credit for the attack said it had been perpetrated by its “Quneitra Martyrs unit,” a reference to last week’s Israeli attack in Syria.

In response to the attack, the Israeli military attacked southern Lebanon with artillery and air strikes, killing a Spanish UNIFIL soldier. An IDF Spokesperson said that the army’s response was not over.

A senior IDF source told Ynet that the Spanish UNIFIL soldier was hit “by one of the mortars we fired. We were immediately in contact with the UN, we regret the incident and will examine it. We will draw conclusions, we have no intention of harming UN forces.”

Israel and Hezbollah fought a month-long war in 2006 following a similar cross-border attack against a patrol jeep in which two soldiers’ bodies...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

'Zionist Camp' takes a lead in polls, but Bibi has upper hand

The top two parties are neck-and-neck and the number of political king-makers is growing. With a number of potential wild-cards ahead, it’s anyone’s election.

Tzipi Livni and Isaac Herzog announce a joint slate for the upcoming elections, December 10, 2014. (Photo by Activestills.org)

Tzipi Livni and Isaac Herzog announce a joint slate for the upcoming elections, December 10, 2014. (Photo by Activestills.org)

If elections were to take place today, the next prime minister of Israel could come from either of two directions: the Labor Party’s Issac Herzog or incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, of Likud.

The latest polls show that both men would have a decent chance of forming a coalition, although Netanyahu would probably have an advantage.

The centrist parties — the Herzog-Livni Zionist Camp, Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party, newcomer Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu — and Meretz, the sole remaining Zionist leftist party, would have a combined 45 out of 120 Knesset seats, as predicted by poll aggregator Project 61.

The Right, consisting of Netanyahu’s Likud, Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home and Avigdor Liberman’s Israel Beitenu, also combine for 45 seats in the latest polls.

The latest aggregate poll results published by Project 61 on January 26, 2015. facebook.com/Project.61.IL

The latest aggregate poll results published by Project 61 on January 26, 2015. facebook.com/Project.61.IL

In such a situation, ultra-Orthodox parties United Torah Judaism (UTJ) and the Sephardic Shas party would likely return to their traditional role of political king-makers. However, if the ultra-Orthodox parties must choose between the Right or a left-leaning government that includes Yair Lapid — who after the previous elections refused to sit in any government that included UTJ or Shas — they will probably throw their weight behind Netanyahu.

The centrist parties, Yesh Atid and Kulanu, could also throw their weight behind Netanyahu for the right price — promises to advance their social agendas.

The combined list of Arab parties could also affect who is given a chance to form a coalition by throwing their support behind Labor and Livni, but they cannot be expected to actually join a government headed by a list that calls itself “the Zionist Camp.”

All of that said, it is far too early to begin making election predictions. There are nearly two months remaining before...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

The 'anti-Zionist' camp goes mainstream in Israeli elections

Both Netanyahu and Livni are leveraging their international influence for electoral gain: Netanyahu in Congress and Livni at the United Nations. And, will the real Zionist camp please stand up?

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu addresses a joint session of the U.S. Congress, May 24, 2011. (Photo by Avi Ohayun/GPO)

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu addresses a joint session of the U.S. Congress, May 24, 2011. (Photo by Avi Ohayun/GPO)

Elections are almost always referendums on the incumbent, and an incumbent always has an advantage against any challengers. One of those advantages is the ability to demonstrate leadership and to exploit platforms unavailable to his or her challengers, i.e. speaking before a joint session of Congress.

Such advantages tend not to be fair, or even legal in some cases. In Israel, for instance, there are laws that prevent public servants from using their official platforms to campaign. The most famous case was during Ariel Sharon’s 2003 campaign when the Central Elections Committee instructed Israeli media to cut away from a live speech by the prime minister because it was political, they said. Prime time television news literally cut away from Sharon mid-sentence.

Seven years earlier, when then-opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu was running against incumbent Prime Minister Shimon Peres, Netanyahu accused the latter, who was on a pre-election trip to the United States, of using the visit and his diplomatic ties for electoral gain.

“I can’t find an example of any previous Israeli government whose prime minister, on the eve of elections, made a cynical attempt to use relations between Israel and the United States as a party advertisement,” Netanyahu said at the time.

Fast-forward to 2015 and the tables are turned. This time, Netanyahu accepted an invitation to speak before a joint session of Congress just weeks before general elections in Israel. The criticism is two-fold. Firstly, that the Israeli prime minister is using the platform to augment the perception of his influence over the Republican party in Washington and to “move the Americans,” as he once described his ability to shape U.S. policy. Secondly, some are accusing Republican Speaker of the House Boehner of interfering in Israeli elections by giving him that stage — behind the back of the Obama administration, which claims it is staying out of internal Israeli politics.

But it turns...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

High Court demands a solution to East Jerusalem water crisis

Palestinian neighborhoods of Jerusalem have been suffering from a severe water crisis for 10 months.

A resident of Ras Shehada plugs the building's pipe to a pump to help the water pressure, East Jerusalem, March 15, 2014. The family of nine, living in the Ras Shehada neighborhood has been going 10 days without running water. (Activestills.org)

A resident of Ras Shehada plugs the building’s pipe to a pump to help the water pressure, East Jerusalem, March 15, 2014. At the time, the family of nine, living in the Ras Shehada neighborhood had been without running water for 10 days. (Activestills.org)

Israel’s High Court of Justice on Monday ordered the state to find a solution to the severe lack of running water in four East Jerusalem neighborhoods located beyond the separation barrier.

Despite their location within territory that Israel unilaterally annexed to its capital, the Palestinian neighborhoods of Ras Shehada, Ras Khamis, Dahyat A’salam and the Shuafat Refugee Camp have been suffering from a severe water crisis since last March, when residents went three weeks without any water supply.

PHOTOS: Weeks without water in East Jerusalem

They have since been forced to buy water bottles at a high cost, and must limit their consumption by using electric pumps and industrial containers.

The court ordered the Israeli national Water Authority, the private water company in Jerusalem “Hagihon,” the Jerusalem Municipality and the minister of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources to meet with representatives of the four neighborhoods within two weeks in order to find a solution to the water crisis. The Palestinian neighborhoods are represented by attorneys from the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI).

Member of the Swetti family pours water to a put from a plastic bottle, East Jerusalem, March 15, 2014. The family of nine, living in the Ras Shehada neighborhood has been going 10 days without running water. (Activestills.org)

A member of the Swetti family pours water into a pot from a plastic bottle, East Jerusalem, March 15, 2014. The family of nine, living in the Ras Shehada neighborhood went 10 days without running water in March, 2014. (Activestills.org)

Steps to upgrade the central water mains should be taken immediately, the court ruled, adding that the two sides in the...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

Is the ICC running against Netanyahu in Israeli elections?

It’s election season: Israeli politicians are peddling pure spin about the ICC and possible war crimes investigations.

(This analysis first appeared as part of another article, here.)

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon looks over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's shoulder at a military exercise, (Photo by Kobi Gideon / GPO)

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon looks over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s shoulder at a military exercise. (Photo by Kobi Gideon / GPO)

The Israeli government has gone on the offensive against the ICC since Palestine joined the international court. The attacks and misinformation have reached a crescendo since the ICC’s chief prosecutor announced a preliminary examination into the situation in Palestine last week.

What is “the situation in Palestine?” The ICC does not investigate specific complaints like police or a prosecutor would. When the ICC gains new jurisdiction, its prosecutors — “as a matter of policy and practice” — open an examination. They examine both sides and a multitude of events in the “situation.” The situation in Palestine covers everything that transpired between the river and the sea since June 13, 2014. The examination covers acts perpetrated by Palestinians and Israelis, by state actors and non-state actors, by uniformed soldiers, irregular fighters and the politicians who give them their marching orders.

But it’s election season, so you won’t learn that from any Israeli politicians. You won’t learn that Israel was one of the principle parties that helped write the treaty, and even signed it before backing out. You will not hear that the preliminary examination is years away from becoming a possible criminal investigation, let alone one that leads to an indictment. You will also not hear that the Israeli government-appointed Turkel Commission wrote a detailed playbook on how to avoid ending up in the ICC docket, which Israel has almost entirely ignored.

It’s election season, so context, clarity and truth are not high on the agenda. You will be told by the likes of incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, that “the ultimate folly” of the ICC is:

The irony of the ICC move, at least according to a popular view of Israeli politics, is that it will strengthen Netanyahu at the polls. This logic surmises that when Israelis feel under attack they look toward hardline leaders, or at least leaders who portray themselves as hardliners — in this case, Netanyahu and his...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

Retired Israeli general suggests Syria attack timed for election effect

As elections approach, Israeli politicians are misleading the public about war crimes probes, and according to one general-turned-politician, about war itself.

(This analysis originally contained a previous section called, ‘Is the ICC running against Netanyahu in Israeli elections?’ It has been published as a separate article here.)

OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant in 2010. Galant recently announced that he is running for Knesset in the ‘Kulanu’ party. (Photo by IDF Spokesperson)

OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant in 2010. Galant recently announced that he is running for Knesset in the ‘Kulanu’ party. (Photo by IDF Spokesperson)

“War is merely the continuation of politics by other means.” — Carl von Clausewitz

Retired Israeli army general Yoav Galant suggested that Israel’s assassination of a senior Hezbollah commander and an Iranian general in Syria on Sunday might have been timed with electoral politics in mind.

Appearing as a guest commentator on Israel’s Channel 2 News, responding to the air strike in Syria earlier in the day, Galant told a story from his time heading the IDF’s Gaza command.

“If you look at the previous elections, [the timing of the assassination of Hamas military commander Ahmed Jabari] wasn’t something that was possible only on that date.”

The Jabari assassination was the opening shot in 2012’s Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza, which left over 150 Palestinians and six Israelis dead. It took place two months before Israel’s most recent elections.

“I was the commander of the [Southern Command] for five years before that and there were many, many opportunities in which it would have been possible to do it and I recommended as much, and for some reason it didn’t happen on those dates,” Galant continued.

Speaking about the assassinations in Syria on Sunday, Galant, who recently announced his own candidacy, suggested that election politics may be playing a role in the political-military decision-making behind the latest Israeli attack.

There are security needs and it should be assumed that those in charge are acting responsibly and seriously, he said. “However, you can learn from past events that sometimes the timing isn’t entirely unrelated to elections.”

Operation Cast Lead, which took place in Gaza between December 2008 and January 2009, also immediately preceded Israeli elections.

A full cast of former military officials and politicians came out to reject...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

U.S. Consulate desegregates security staff, Israeli guards quit in protest

Unnamed Israeli guards working for the American consulate in Jerusalem say it is irresponsible for the U.S. to train its Palestinian guards in tactical driving, weapons use, accuse it of ‘raising a Palestinian militia,’ Ynet reports.

Then American Mideast peace envoy George Mitchell exits an armored diplomatic vehicle at the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel, Gaza and Egypt, June 30, 2010. (Photo by ChameleonsEye/Shutterstock.com)

Then American Mideast peace envoy George Mitchell exits an armored diplomatic vehicle at the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel, Gaza and Egypt, June 30, 2010. (Photo by ChameleonsEye/Shutterstock.com)

A number of Israeli guards working for the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem quit in protest of a decision to arm and train Palestinian guards employed by the Consulate recently, according to Ynet.

Unnamed “sources,” presumably the disgruntled Israeli guards themselves, accused the Consulate’s chief security officer of “raising an armed militia of Palestinians,” according to the report.

The U.S. State Department has refused to directly address the reports, telling numerous Israeli news outlets that it “has complete faith in the professionalism of its staff.” State does not discuss the security of its diplomatic missions, it told the Times of Israel.

Based on the interviews with Ynet, it appears the Israel guards simply cannot fathom the idea that Palestinians can be trusted with defensive driving skills, let alone weapons.

“[The Palestinians are] trained in weapons use, Krav Maga and tactical driving,” the “source” told Ynet. “This is irresponsible. Who is ensuring that putting this weaponry in Palestinian hands will not lead to terror?”

Israel demands that armed non-American guards be IDF combat veterans, according to the report.

The American consulate, like a host of other countries’ consulates in Jerusalem, primarily serves the Palestinian territories and its officials regularly travel to Palestinian areas in the West Bank. (Because no country in the world recognizes Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem, foreign embassies are located in Tel Aviv.)

It’s not difficult to imagine why the consulate might be rethinking sending American diplomatic officials into Palestinian-controlled territories with armed Israeli army combat veterans. It would be logical for the consulate to employ Arabic-speaking Palestinian security officers and drivers for that work.

Earlier this month a U.S. consular convoy was attacked by stone-throwing Israeli settlers near the Palestinian village of Turmus Aya. The attack took place...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

Dozens of olive trees felled in suspected settler violence

 Two incidents in the West Bank leave upwards of 60 olive trees severely damaged, according to human rights organizations.

Vandalized trees in the West Bank village of Yasuf, January 11, 2015. (Photo by Zakariya Sadeh/Rabbis for Human Rights)

Vandalized trees in the West Bank village of Yasuf, January 11, 2015. (Photo by Zakariya Sadeh/Rabbis for Human Rights)

Dozens of Palestinian-owned mature olive trees were felled in a suspected settler attack Saturday night in the West Bank, according to two Israeli human rights organizations.

Villagers discovered the vandalized trees on lands belonging to the village of Yasuf, in the central West Bank in between the Israeli settlements of Rehelim and Kfar Tapuach.

Vandalized trees in the West Bank village of Yasuf, January 11, 2015. (Photo by Zakariya Sadeh/Rabbis for Human Rights)

Vandalized trees in the West Bank village of Yasuf, January 11, 2015. (Photo by Zakariya Sadeh/Rabbis for Human Rights)

Rabbis for Human Rights called on Israeli authorities to make every effort to quickly find those responsible and bring them to justice.

Over the weekend, Palestinians in the south Hebron Hills discovered that some 40 olive trees had been felled, presumably an act of vandalism by local settlers.

Israeli soldiers and Palestinian villagers inspect damage to olive trees in the south Hebron hills, January 9, 2015. (Photo by Lanser Nawajeh/B'Tselem)

Israeli soldiers and Palestinian villagers inspect damage to olive trees in the south Hebron hills, January 9, 2015. (Photo by Lanser Nawajeh/B’Tselem)

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), there were 329 incidents of settler violence against Palestinians and their property in 2014 — an average of six each week.

Most of those cases go unsolved by Israeli authorities. Only 7.4 percent of investigations into settler attacks on Palestinian property result in indictments, according to data from human rights group Yesh Din. Many more incidents are never investigated.

Two extremist settlers were, however, sentenced to a record 30 months in prison last month for setting Palestinian-owned cars on fire.

In that case, the Israeli military declared the two to be members of an “illegal association,” which allowed interrogators to deny them access to...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

Stop giving Israelis a pass: What Dennis Ross could have said

Former U.S. ambassador and Mideast peace process envoy Dennis Ross penned a ‘New York Times’ op-ed titled, ‘Stop Giving Palestinians a Pass.’ In it, he calls out European diplomats for supporting international efforts to end the occupation while not demanding more of the Palestinians. Below is a duplication of Ross’s op-ed, almost word for word, but this time calling out former American diplomats for disparaging international efforts at ending the occupation while not demanding more of the Israelis.

Read Ross’s original op-ed here.

American diplomat Dennis Ross (Nrbelex/ CC-BY 2.5)

American diplomat Dennis Ross (Nrbelex/ CC-BY 2.5)

The prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, rebuffs international consensus about ending the occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem and refuses to stop building settlements that have scuttled any chance of a negotiated two-state solution. In response to Palestine turning to the International Criminal Court, Mr. Netanyahu has now announced that he will empty the coffers of the Palestinian Authority — an oft-repeated and cliched punitive move that will produce Palestinian suffering but not alter the reality on the ground.

A former American official I read recently expressed sympathy for Israeli opposition to the Palestinians’ pursuit of a Security Council resolution. I responded by saying that if he favors Palestinian statehood, it’s time to stop giving the Israelis a pass. It is time to make it costly for them to focus on rhetoric rather than substance.

Since 2000, there have been three serious negotiations that culminated in offers to resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict: Bill Clinton’s parameters in 2000, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s offer in 2008, and Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts last year. In the first case the proposal was on Israel’s terms alone; in the second, the proposal was made by a prime minister on his way to prison, and who would be replaced by Mr. Netanyahu himself; in the third, Mr. Netanyahu consistently obstructed progress with settlement construction and destroyed the talks by breaking his pledge to carry out agreed-upon and scheduled good-will gestures. Israel determined that stalling and blaming the Palestinians was enough, and that it could live with the status quo.

Israeli political culture is rooted in a narrative of victimhood, its cognitive dissonance about its colonialist nature and its ethnocentric values treat concessions to the Palestinians as foolish....

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article

Israel's top court gives temporary reprieve to Palestinian UNESCO site

In rare move, Israeli Nature and Parks authority supported the petition against the wall; the court’s decision largely hangs on Defense Ministry admitting the contested section of wall isn’t a priority.

A general view of the unique environmental and agricultural system in the West Bank village of Battir, November 13, 2012. (Photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

A general view of the unique environmental and agricultural system in the West Bank village of Battir, November 13, 2012. (Photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Israel will not build a section of the separation barrier through the UNESCO recognized village of Battir in the West Bank anytime soon.

Israel’s High Court of Justice on Sunday dismissed without prejudice a petition against construction of the section of the West Bank barrier’s route that would pass through the village’s ancient agricultural terraces.

The decision was largely based on the Israeli Defense Ministry’s assertions that constructing the section of the barrier was not a priority — either from a security or budgetary standpoint — and that there were no current plans to carry out further construction.

Read more on Battir and the wall here

The justices, however, ordered the state to notify the village 60 in advance if they do plan to begin construction in the future, allowing legal proceedings against it to begin once again.

In effect, the court closed the door to any construction without its further intervention.

A general view of the unique environmental and agricultural system in the West Bank village of Battir, November 13, 2012. (Photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

A general view of the unique environmental and agricultural system in the West Bank village of Battir, November 13, 2012. (Photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

“To make any changes to the decision the Israeli occupation will have to start new procedures from scratch that will take several years,” head of Battir’s local council told Ma’an news, calling the ruling a “a victory for Palestine as a whole.”

“The direct implication of the ruling,” according to Attorney Michael Sfard, who represented Friends of the Earth Middle East in the petition, “is that if and when the state is ready to go ahead with construction, litigation will be re-launched from scratch.”

“Though not strictly prohibiting future construction of the fence,” Sfard...

Read More
View article: AAA
Share article
© 2010 - 2015 +972 Magazine
Follow Us
Credits

+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.

Website powered by RSVP

Illustrations: Eran Mendel