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Analysis

  • The mentality of conflict: Six steps to avoiding empathy

    From Protective Edge to the Jerusalem implosion, the mentality of conflict has been pushed under a microscope. During that time I’ve noticed a few axioms about how Israelis experience these wars. I imagine other sides in other conflicts may share them too, although they require pretty close scrutiny and insider knowledge – so I won’t venture to generalize. Here is what I’ve seen. “Our” in this case means “Israeli,” since I am one. 1. All our violence against their civilians is a matter of exceptions and anomalies, by bad apples and extremists. When they attack civilians, this represents the true…

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  • A House of God no more

    'I refuse to let my humanity be stripped away. I refuse to build my national aspirations on the blood of civilians.' By Talal Jabari The first thing I do every morning before getting out of bed is to turn off my phone’s airplane mode and read the news. There’s never any positive news, and I’m sure starting off the day this way probably isn’t healthy, but nevertheless, that’s what I do. On Tuesday, I woke up, as did many others, to this story: four dead Israelis in a synagogue shooting. Personally, I just can’t accept gunning down people who are…

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  • Punitive home demolitions are racist — and just plain wrong

    Law abiding societies do not exact punishment on uninvolved parties. And it certainly doesn't look good when the families of Palestinian terrorists are harmed while the homes of Jewish terrorists are left standing. One such punitive demolition leaves nine innocent people homeless Wednesday morning. “Do not discriminate between blood and blood,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday night, calling for international condemnation of a murderous attack inside a synagogue that morning. Moments later, he announced the steps he plans to take in response to the senseless bloodletting. “This evening I ordered the demolition of the homes of the terrorists…

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  • 'Draft dodger law' robs Israel's poor of higher education

    The vast majority of draft dodgers and deserters refuse to serve for economic reasons. Those youngsters, who already come from Israel's weakest communities, are the ones who will be harmed most by a new law that strips them of funds for higher education. By Sahar Vardi While clashes between in East Jerusalem took place surrounding the funeral of Yusuf al-Ramouni, and as the government was busy arguing about the ‘Jewish nation-state bill,’ the Knesset voted on the final approval of the "Draft-Dodgers Law.” The media coverage of the law, first proposed during ‘Operation Protective Edge’ this summer, primarily conveyed that…

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  • Welcome to Netanyahu's 'resolution' to the conflict

    Netanyahu, Bennett and Lieberman all promised Israelis quiet and prosperity without having to end the occupation. This is what we got instead. Following this morning’s horrifying terror attack, it's not so difficult to imagine how Naftali Bennett, Avigdor Liberman or Benjamin Netanyahu might describe the current government if they weren’t its leaders. You can almost see them showing up at the scene of the attack and screaming into the microphones denouncing the “wicked government,” recalling every last pogrom in Jewish history. But no dice. Netanyahu has been prime minister for five years now and Liberman and the settlers, his partners…

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  • Apartheid or not, separation is the reality

    After nearly 50 years of occupation, it has become impossible to differentiate between Israel's 'security concerns' and flat-out apartheid policies. By Hagai El-Ad "So far as the issue is security, these considerations are relevant and the role of the minister of defense indeed is to defend Israeli citizens. And I also realized that he said he did not give that kind of directive, so it's all okay [...] but I realized that it's the result of pressure from settlers who do not want to travel with Arabs on the bus. I read what was said at the Knesset committee discussion,…

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  • Is every Palestinian kid who throws stones a terrorist?

    In a reality where children aged 10 and 11 are arrested by 18- and 19-year-old soldiers who have been indoctrinated for military service since kindergarten, this kind of discussion seems completely out of place. A human rights attorney spends the day at one of the occupation's more bizarre PR events. By Smadar Ben-Natan “Involvement of Children in Terrorism.” That was the rather confusing name given to a conference organized by the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (IDC). What is the context for discussing the involvement of children in terrorism? What is meant by the word…

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  • Israeli petition to European lawmakers: Recognize Palestine

    Prominent Israelis call on European parliamentarians to formally recognize a Palestinian state. But what kind of impact can European votes have when the real power broker in Israel-Palestine relations is still the U.S.? Nearly 700 prominent Israelis, including former ambassadors, academics, IDF officers, top playwrights and poets, winners of the Israel Prize and Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman have signed a letter appealing to the parliaments of various European countries to recognize Palestine in upcoming votes. We the undersigned, Citizens of Israel who wish it to be a safe and thriving country, are worried by the continued political stalemate and by…

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  • ‘Pallywood’: A particularly ugly ethnic slur

    And a very popular one among right-wing Israelis and Diaspora Jews. I've been writing for years against the "Pallywood" theory – the right-wing notion that videos showing Palestinians getting killed by Israelis are really elaborate fakes meant to blacken Israel's name. Yet it's only this morning I realized that the term "Pallywood," which was coined by Boston University Prof. Richard Landes, is an ethnic slur, and a particularly ugly one. It not only mangles the name of an entire people, it does so in the most contemptuous context – it links the name Palestinian with the telling of lies, and…

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  • Kafr Kanna isn't Ferguson, it's much worse

    Imagine that at the peak of the Ferguson protests, President Obama — or any other American official — had issued a formal statement threatening to revoke the citizenship of African Americans who chose not to keep their mouths shut. By Seraj Assi and Lawrence McMahon Israeli police shot dead a young Arab citizen in the town of Kafr Kanna in the lower Galilee this past week. Numerous reports have suggested that the victim, Kheir Hamdan, was shot simply because he was an Arab. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seemingly conceded the same conclusion when, prior to any investigation whatsoever into…

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  • 'He should have been a hero, instead he's a murderer'

    The parents of Israelis, killed and killers, are crying because they have lost their loved ones. They were betrayed by the lies. Mother of a murderer?  A border policeman is arrested for shooting a Palestinian teen at a demonstration in Beitunia with live fire; he faces murder charges. On Wednesday his parents are interviewed. Faces blacked out, the unmistakable sounds of betrayal and anguish pour from the shadows. The mother’s voice shakes, then sobs. She pleads for the nightmare to end. “It’s tearing me to pieces. I can’t believe this is happening to me, to our family” she weeps. The…

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  • Investigation of Abu Khdeir murder tainted by racism, police incompetence

    Between shoddy work and a culture of racism toward Palestinians, it is no wonder that the police failed to prevent the brutal murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir. On Wednesday night, Israel's Channel 10 broadcast a one-hour investigative report that delves deeply into the circumstances surrounding the murder of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir. Last July three Jewish Israelis, a 29-year-old man and two teenage boys, abducted Abu Khdeir into their car from a main street near his home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood Shuafat, beat him and drove him to a nearby wooded area where they burned him alive. Arrested and interrogated by…

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  • Day of catastrophe for ‘Pallywood’ conspiracy theorists

    Naming and shaming. Following Wednesday’s arrest of a Border Policeman on suspicion of murdering a Palestinian teenager in a May 15 Nakba Day protest, here is a partial list of Israeli and pro-Israel figures who insinuated that the video of the shooting (which also showed the killing of another teenage protester) had been fabricated: Defense Minister Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon: “I’ve seen lots of films that were edited [to distort what had happened]. This film I’ve not yet seen, but I know the system.” IDF spokesman Maj. Arye Shalicar: “That film was edited and does not reflect the reality of the…

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