Three major laws were passed in the Knesset this week: One against the Palestinians parties, the second against the ultra-Orthodox, and the third against the prospect of peace. Netanyahu's coalition mobilized this week to pass its centerpiece legislation: the draft reform, the governance law and the referendum law. It's not a coincidence that those three laws are directly targeting those who are not represented in the government – the first takes aim at the ultra-Orthodox community, the second at the Arab citizens of Israel, and the third is meant to torpedo a future agreement with the Palestinians. The laws were…Read More... | 11 Comments
The diplomatic correspondent for IBA (Israeli public radio), Chico Menashe, stood next to Secretary of State John Kerry during the public part of the Obama-Netanyahu meeting at the White House on Monday. Check out his tweet: Obama in WH: "Kerry had productive meetings with BB". Kerry, standing in the back, told Biden : "Productive!?״ pic.twitter.com/w9bWCvUYH7 — chico menashe (@chicomenashe) March 3, 2014 Click here for +972 Magazine's full coverage of the diplomatic processRead More... | 4 Comments
Tom Friedman writes from Tel Aviv: The “Kerry Plan,” likely to be unveiled soon, is expected to call for an end to the conflict and all claims, following a phased Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank (based on the 1967 lines), with unprecedented security arrangements in the strategic Jordan Valley. The Israeli withdrawal will not include certain settlement blocs, but Israel will compensate the Palestinians for them with Israeli territory. It will call for the Palestinians to have a capital in Arab East Jerusalem and for Palestinians to recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. It will…Read More... | 12 Comments
The Israeli prime minister tells reporters he wouldn't 'uproot' a single Israeli. Netanyahu's office later explains that the object of the new demand is to score points against the Palestinian Authority by 'exposing its real face.' A couple of statements from Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu are adding to the confusion over the kind of solution he envisions, if he supports one at all. Answering a question from a reporter in Davos regarding the possible evacuation of Jordan Valley settlements – Israel seeks to keep IDF forces along the Jordan River even after any withdrawal – Netanyahu said that he “wouldn’t…Read More... | 25 Comments
With his attacks on Kerry, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon is positioning himself as the new leader of the Israeli right. I basically agree with those claiming that there is no daylight between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on the issues, only on style and timing. Netanyahu has surrounded himself with opponents of the two-state solution: his political circles are full of settlers, national-religious and other hawks -- and not only in the cabinet, but in his own bureau. As veteran political correspondent Shalom Yerushalmi noted in Maariv on Wednesday, for weeks these people have been running around saying…Read More... | 11 Comments
According to reports, the secretary of state has accepted Netanyahu’s demand that Israel be recognized as a 'Jewish state.' I added an important update to this post, see below. Haaretz's Barak Ravid reported Wednesday that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is demanding that Arab leaders pressure the Palestinians to recognize Israel as "a Jewish State,” or at least not protest if he can get Abbas to agree to such terms. This is yet another confirmation that the Obama administration has accepted the new demand posed by Netanyahu, and that it is intended to be a part of its proposal for a…Read More... | 32 Comments
By refusing to drastically amend its settlement guidelines, EU reopens debate on occupation within Israeli elites
The EU's new settlement guidelines, which were published last summer, put limits on loans to Israeli businesses operating beyond the Green Line and forbid EU financing of projects in settlements. Right-wing ministers are demanding that Israel reject the new terms, while centrists would like to avoid international isolation. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held two long cabinet meetings with senior ministers on Sunday regarding the difficulty in reaching an agreement with the EU over its new 'settlement guidelines' for joint projects with Israel, Israeli media reported. Netanyahu instructed Justice Minister Tzipi Livni to try and reach a deal that would end the impasse…Read More... | 16 Comments
A settler in the Jordan Valley was killed in his yard Thursday night. This is the third such incident in the West Bank in less than a month. A retired Israeli colonel was killed in his home last night (Thursday) in the Brosh Habika settlement in the Jordan Valley. The incident brings the number of Israeli casualties in the West Bank to three in less than a month. According to his wife, Seraiah Ofer was attacked with iron rods and axes in his front yard. She escaped through a hole in the back fence, while her husband was beaten to…Read More... | 34 Comments
A country can, at least in theory, be 'Israeli and democratic.' It cannot and will never be 'Jewish and democratic.' Early into his second term as prime minister, as he was presenting his conditions for negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a new demand for any final status agreement, one which was absent from every previous round of talks, both formal and informal. Unlike his predecessors, Netanyahu wasn't satisfied with Palestinian recognition of the State of Israel, something the PLO did in 1988, and once again as part of the Oslo Accords. He wants them to…Read More... | 44 Comments
This might be remembered as a key moment in determining the future of the occupation. In an effort to preserve the alliance with settlers and maintain its current settlement policies, the government will demand key provisions of the EU guidelines be changed or postponed. One of the most important rounds of talks on the future of the territories Israel occupied in 1967 is about to take place – and it’s not the meeting between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators this week. The Israeli government is seeking to modify the new guidelines set by the European Union, which will forbid cooperation with Israeli institutions…Read More... | 18 Comments
Several analysis are linking the resumption of the peace talks with Prime Minister Netanyahu's desire to legitimize a strike on Iranian nuclear facilities. Some even claim that the U.S. administration is in the loop. There were at least three articles in the Hebrew media this week speculating on the option of an Israeli strike on Iran. All pieces linked those scenarios to the peace process, and to the Wall Street Journal's report on reactor in Arak, which is due to become operational in the coming months and could be used for the creation of a plutonium bomb (those reports were already disputed,…Read More... | 13 Comments
To register their recent success, Secretary of State Kerry and the Obama administration destroyed whatever was achieved in the last two decades. For the first time since the 1991 Madrid Conference, the starting point for the negotiations are the positions of the Israeli right. The headlines celebrating the fact that “Israelis and Palestinians are talking again” were misleading. The Palestinian Authority is no more than a regional council in a territory controlled by Israel. Since the PA is completely dependent on Israel for almost all of its functions, Israelis and Palestinians are talking all the time, including on the political…Read More... | 14 Comments
Responding to the EU's decision to limit all joint projects at the Green Line, Prime Minister Netanyahu displayed a confrontational attitude, vowing not to let anyone 'harm' the settlers. UPDATE: This post has been updated with clarifications from an EU source regarding the nature of the new guidelines. Read the full guidelines here. The European Union’s decision to limit all joint projects with Israel beyond the pre-1967 borders accomplished what all of President Obama’s speeches and Secretary of State Kerry’s diplomatic missions have failed to – it put the occupation back as the top story on the Israeli agenda. The new…Read More... | 8 Comments
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