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  • Israel suspends talks, and Washington’s hypocrisy on Hamas

    By suspending talks over Hamas’s inclusion in the Palestinian leadership, Netanyahu is proving that he was never seeking either a legitimate partner, or a legitimate peace. The Israeli government announced that it is suspending peace talks with the Palestinians on Thursday as a response to the reconciliation deal signed a day earlier by Hamas and the Fatah-dominated PLO. In choosing to disconnect from the already flailing peacemaking process, Israel is demonstrating that it never intended to make peace with the Palestinians, but rather with the “good Palestinians.” Refusing to conduct peace talks with Hamas is one thing, but Netanyahu has decided…

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  • WATCH: IDF to jail ultra-Orthodox Jew for refusing to serve the occupation

    Uriel Ferera, a 19-year-old Haredi from Be'er Sheva, was raised on the values of social justice and peace. Now, the IDF has announced it will jail him for an undetermined period of time for refusing to serve. By Daniel Beller When Uriel Ferera was born in Argentina 19 years ago, democracy in the South American country was an established fact, and no one was being jailed for having left-wing views, not to mention being a pacifist. On April 27th, in Israel - a country that likes to call itself “The only democracy in the Middle East” - he will be…

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  • Abbas just shot the Palestinian cause in the foot

    He needs the world to win independence for his nation, and in the eyes of the world, Hamas, with whom he just joined forces, is anathema. I’m truly hoping that there’s some deep strategic genius on Mahmoud Abbas’ part that I’m missing here, because I keep turning it around and I can’t escape the impression that he has shot the cause of Palestinian independence in the foot by signing a reconciliation agreement with Hamas. And just when the Palestinians seemed ready to go on the march. The world, including even Washington, blames Israel for the failure of the Kerry peace…

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  • If you believe in peace, the Fatah-Hamas deal is good news

    Any agreement without Hamas would have failed miserably. The reconciliation can be seen as a breakthrough - that is, if the Israeli government was indeed interested in ending the occupation. Prime Minister Netanyahu must be feeling lucky today. With the deadline on the talks between Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the U.S. approaching, Netanyahu was finding himself increasingly cornered. Even Secretary Kerry, who did all he could to meet Israel's demands, ended up placing most of the blame for the impasse on the Israeli side, which refused to honor its commitment on the release of prisoners, and sabotaged the process with record-breaking settlement construction. But as…

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  • Why Fatah-Hamas reconciliation might just work this time

    Unlike previous efforts, the current Palestinian reconciliation agreement appears to have been cemented from within; and it might just offer a lifeline to Gaza. By Samer Badawi Just as word emerged early Wednesday of an imminent unity accord between rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seized upon the news to issue his Palestinian counterpart an ultimatum: Make peace with Hamas, and you can forget about peace with Israel. In lockstep, Netanyahu’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman immediately dubbed any intra-Palestinian reconciliation a veritable “termination of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.” If that was a…

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  • Unafraid: The new generation of Palestinian activists in Israel

    For decades, Palestinian citizens of Israel lived in fear of the internal security services. But the new generation of political activists are simply not that impressed by Shin Bet intimidation anymore.  By Ala Hlehel / 'The Hottest Place in Hell' (Translated from Hebrew by Dimi Reider) When I was in my second year of university and my father found out I became politically active, he was terrified. “The Shin Bet will snatch you in the middle of the night and throw you out to Lebanon!” he told me. The generation of my parents, who came of age in the shadow…

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  • ‘The Shin Bet was very nice, and therein lies their racism’

    Majd Kayyal, the Palestinian journalist from Haifa who Israel detained incommunicado when he returned from Lebanon, speaks to +972 about what it's like visiting Beirut as a Palestinian, his Shin Bet interrogation and why Israel wants to deter Palestinian citizens of Israel from visiting the Arab world. Text by Rami Younis Photos by Shiraz Grinbaum/Activestills.org He just sat there. I’d look at him occasionally, taking little sips from his cold beer, looking very peaceful, almost aloof from all the phones and commotion of activists around him. He’d give a piece of advice or share a joke with whoever was beside…

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  • Getting the facts straight on law enforcement in the West Bank

    Law enforcement in the West Bank is a complex topic. Those who attempt to analyze it better get the background right. In his recent piece for the new, explanatory journalism website Vox, Zack Beauchamp attempts to analyze some figures on law enforcement in the West Bank, obtained by The Associated Press. He divides the number of arrests of Israeli citizens and Palestinians in the occupied territory by the size of each population, and reaches a surprising outcome: it is Israelis that are more frequently arrested than Palestinians, not vice versa. To his credit, he does point out that "[i]t's unlikely…

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  • An updated list of Israeli demands from Mahmoud Abbas

    By Nir Baram The following is an updated list of Israeli demands from Mahmoud Abbas: Don’t resign. Fight terrorism. Speak about the Holocaust in a sad tone. Don’t speak about the Nakba. Don’t speak about 1948. Don’t support one state and “the destruction of Israel as a Jewish State.” Recognize Israel. Recognize Israel as a Jewish State. Seek the two-state solution. Join negotiations that lead nowhere. Support the two-state solution. Don’t promote a Palestinian state. Don’t start an intifada. Don’t turn to the international community on behalf of the two-state solution. Fight terror. Denounce terror. Don’t get offended when we…

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  • PHOTOS: On Easter, Palestinians resurrect their destroyed village

    The Palestinian village of Irqit was depopulated in the 1948 war and then almost entirely razed. Now new generations of its original residents are trying to resurrect the town and realize a decades-old High Court ruling recognizing their right to return. Text and photos by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org It would seem that Israeli authorities conspired to intertwine the story of Iqrit with the Christian narrative. As the season of Advent approached in November 1948, the Israeli military forced residents of Iqrit and the neighboring village of Kufr Bir’im—all citizens of the newly created state of Israel—to leave their homes near…

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  • Peace process: Only four options left

    Resolutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be reached either by agreement or evolution. As the peace talks stumble toward their formal end point, there are essentially four scenarios for political developments between the river and the sea, excluding resurgent violence: two states by agreement, two states by evolution, one state by agreement, or one sovereign entity by evolution. Policymakers should acknowledge these scenarios openly to assess what each one will mean for the future of the region. I recently proposed using basic values as a guideline to assess the desirability of such scenarios: reducing violence, realizing human and civil rights,…

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  • PHOTOS: Christians face barriers to Easter worship in Jerusalem

    Year after year, Palestinian Christians and international pilgrims face checkpoints and harsh treatment by Israeli police officers as they attempt to celebrate the Easter season in Jerusalem. Text and photos by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org Palestinian Christians and international pilgrims faced Israeli barriers and harsh treatment by officers as they attempted to celebrate the Easter season in Jerusalem this year. In scenes similar to previous years, thousands of worshipers were denied entry to the Old City of Jerusalem by police barricades as a heavy presence of security forces controlled access to the city. Despite VIP status, even Robert H. Serry, the…

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  • Settlers fear prisoner release deal, extension of talks

    Netanyahu has probably spent his Passover vacation trying to reach a deal that would enable the settlers to save face and stay in the government while peace talks continue. The Right is launching campaigns to convince right-wing politicians to vote 'no.' With a little more than a week left until the formal deadline for the Israeli-American-Palestinian talks, efforts to extend the negotiations still haven't produced a breakthrough. Nevertheless, a last-minute deal shouldn't be ruled out either; often times, the most productive political maneuvering takes place when no news is reported. On the Israeli side, the best indicators – as always – come from…

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