Netanyahu is no hero, and the tragedy is our own. Prime Minister Netanyahu fired Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon on Tuesday, after the latter criticized Netanyahu for holding fire, and even called him "a lefty," which is probably the worst thing you can say to someone in the current political atmosphere. Sacking Danon is not a risky move (Danon is a far-right politician with little parliamentary support), but firing him helped Netanyahu present himself as “moderate” and “restrained” leader. Yossi Verter says similar things in Haaretz, as does Ron Ben-Yishai in Ynet; even I wrote a few good things about this aspect of Bibi's…Read More... | 14 Comments
As Israel and the Palestinians descend further into open violence, concerned Israelis challenge their fellow citizens in an attempt to forge a joint Israel-Palestinian resistance to violence. (Translated from Hebrew by Idit Arad and Matan Kaminer) Our hands shed this blood, our hands set Mohammed Abu Khdeir on fire, our hands fanned the flames. We have been living here for too long to claim that we did not know, we did not understand, we were not able to foresee. We witnessed the actions of the vast machine of incitement to racism and revenge operated by the government, the politicians, the…Read More... | 4 Comments
Not even Ben-Gurion would be able to rally the political support necessary to displace masses of settlers as long as there is no price to be paid for the occupation. So how much longer can liberal Zionists sit and watch the status quo remain static? If instead of trying to persuade Israel to change, two-state supporters started holding it responsible for refusing to change, it could have a jarring psychological impact on the country and its leaders. Now that the Kerry peace talks have failed and everyone has given up hoping that Netanyahu will change, what's the new plan for…Read More... | 18 Comments
Israel’s doves may have a Palestinian partner, but they lack a locomotive to pull the peace train to its destination. Read part one: What does the future hold for Israel’s military politicians? By Thomas G. Mitchell From the 1960s until the outbreak of the al-Aqsa Intifada in late 2000, which led to the collapse of the Labor Party and an end to it as an alternative to the Likud in heading coalitions, there have been six major military politicians who had an influence on Israeli policy toward the Palestinians and Israel’s neighbors. These six were: Yigal Allon, Moshe Dayan, Ezer Weizman, Yitzhak…Read More... | 5 Comments
Could the Jewish state ever be lead by a class of non-military politicians? Until there is a peace agreement with the Palestinians, it seems unlikely. And even then, who knows? By Thomas G. Mitchell Historically there have been two types of Israeli leaders who have been willing to give up territory to the Arabs in exchange for peace. The first type consists of conservative civilian politicians who distrust and fear the Arabs, but who, because of foreign pressure or opportunity, are willing to make peace under the right circumstances. Examples of these are Golda Meir in 1974, Menahem Begin in 1977-79 with…Read More... | 12 Comments
To get out of the West Bank Israel needs a politician with the energy and reputation of Sharon and the political skills of De Gaulle. Whether such a figure exists is a different story. By Thomas Mitchell Ariel Sharon was Israel’s most politically successful military politician. His political career was a full decade longer than those of Yitzhak Rabin, who entered the Knesset at the same time as Sharon, and Dayan, and a half-decade longer than those of Yigal Allon and Ezer Weizman. But what have Sharon and Israel to show for it? Sharon’s political career had four major accomplishments in…Read More... | 5 Comments
He's dealt a blow to Israel's prospects in the all-important blame game. By making Israel look like the rejectionist side in the peace process, and by doing so in a spectacularly galling way, Defense Minister Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon’s verbal attack on John Kerry has helped the cause of ending the occupation. It’s no mystery that the overriding goal of both Israel and the Palestinians in Kerry’s peace talks has been to avoid getting blamed for their inevitable failure. Now, after Ya’alon dissed Kerry and his diplomatic baby so thoroughly and contemptuously – and, even more to the point, without…Read More... | 3 Comments
From the Qibya massacre, to Sabra and Shatila and the dirty tricks, lies and deceptions that made the West Bank settlements what they are today, Ariel Sharon has caused unimaginable damage to Israel, its army, morality, and political life. (Translated by Sol Salbe) On Saturday night, as soon as Ariel Sharon's death became known, our hyperactive education minister, Shai Piron, rushed to announce that teachers would devote part of the following day's lesson to Sharon's legacy. These classes would be based on prepared outlines which were supposed to be distributed in the morning. You can get a really good idea of what…Read More... | 18 Comments
For Lisa Goldman, the memory of Ariel Sharon evokes images of civilian massacres, suicide bombings, bloody curfews and a political shift in Israeli society to the right. My earliest memory of Ariel Sharon involves vivid color photographs of corpses. I was just waking up to the world and intensely interested in current affairs, so I spent quite a bit of time in the library of my quiet, Canadian all girls' school, thumbing through newsmagazines like Newsweek, Time and Life. Which is how I learned about the massacre of of Palestinians at Sabra and Shatila and saw those gut-churning images of…Read More... | 21 Comments
If Israel ever does take down the occupation and make peace with the Palestinians, Ariel Sharon’s disengagement from Gaza will stand as a crucial stepping stone on the way. The single greatest demonstration of political leadership I’ve ever witnessed in my 62 years in America and Israel was Ariel Sharon’s disengagement from Gaza. No other Israeli politician could have done it – nobody else could have defeated the settler movement and its hardcore allies. Anyone from the left would have had the entire right wing, moderates and radicals, against him, which would have scared the Israeli mainstream stiff, and a…Read More... | 22 Comments
Israel's former prime minister Ariel Sharon, who spent the last eight years comatose after a series of strokes, died on Saturday, January 11. He was 85 years old. A general, politician, statesman, and to many a notorious war criminal, Ariel Sharon was known to combine dogged personal ambition with strategic acumen and ruthlessness, which together shaped one of the most controversial and remarkable careers in Israeli political history. Born in the community of Kfar Malal in 1928, Sharon joined the Haganah in the mid 1940s, and first saw action in the run-up to the 1948 War, when his unit staged…Read More... | 11 Comments
If a militant nationalist wants to get elected prime minister of Israel, he has to repeat the word 'peace' over and over. Unlike a lot of other leftists in despair over Liberman's acquittal on Wednesday, I don't think it's a foregone conclusion he's going to succeed Netanyahu as prime minister. I agree that he may do it, it's definitely a possibility, but first he has a problem to overcome: as a candidate, he's scary to a lot of Israelis, maybe most Israelis, especially women. On the "Eretz Nehederet" ("Wonderful Country") TV news satire, he's portrayed as a KGB liquidator.…Read More... | 4 Comments
Israeli policy conveys that there is no Palestine, only two chunks of land divided by people, politics and culture. Some international actors and many Israelis are convinced. Are Palestinians? A recent New York Times report on the World Economic Forum held at the Dead Sea last month, carried the following headline: “Trying to Revive Mideast Talks, Kerry Pushes Investment Plan for West Bank.” The first paragraph of the article went on to explain: In an effort to revive the moribund peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, Secretary of State John Kerry announced a plan on Sunday to invest as…Read More... | 14 Comments
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