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
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
Ari Shavit, one of Haaret'z most renowned columnists, has been warning Israelis of the coming apocalypse from time immemorial. But whether he is talking about the Iranian nuclear program or a future Palestinian state, not one of Shavit's nightmare scenario's come true. Perhaps it is time we stop taking him seriously. By False Prophet Blog (translated by Jordan Michaeli) Should Ari Shavit be taken seriously? We are, after all, talking about a senior commentator from Haaretz here. When a significant event takes place, the newspaper's editors almost always decide to publish his commentary. Apparently, serious people see Shavit as an…Read More... | 9 Comments
And this time, it's hard to see who will be able to stop him. Netanyahu hasn’t said anything publicly, but the consensus here is that the lesson he’s taking from Obama’s refusal to bomb Syria straight away, and instead to turn to Congress for approval, is that the U.S. president can’t be trusted to keep his word about preventing Iran from going nuclear - so he, Netanyahu, must prepare to carry out the task alone. And the consensus seems to be that this is the correct conclusion, too. “Netanyahu was right when he sought to act [against Iran in…Read More... | 10 Comments
If Netanyahu doesn't agree to negotiate on the basis of the 1967 border, the Palestinians' consent to negotiate with him will amount to surrender - which, until he proves differently, is what Bibi wants. The consensus seems to be that any Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are better than none, so Kerry is being congratulated for getting the two sides to agree to meet in Washington to see if they can then agree on a starting point for negotiations. A big step in the right direction, goes the mainstream view. And it will be just that - if Netanyahu agrees to…Read More... | 31 Comments
Israel's justice minister follows former prime ministers Barak and Olmert in applying the term to this occupying country. The newest self-hating Jewish anti-Semite, according to right-wing Zionist standards, is Tzipi Livni, who on Monday suggested that one of Israel’s possible futures is that of an “apartheid state.” From The Jerusalem Post: During her Eilat speech, Livni said she was impressed that youth in the country protested against the government decision to export natural gas. “I appreciate the fact that they care and are thinking about the future, and obligating us to think about the future,” she said. “But the time…Read More... | 10 Comments
In the beginning of his 2004 book on the psychology of world leaders, political psychologist Jerrold M. Post explains his guiding question: When does the personality of the leader affect political behavior? According to Matthew Kalman and Matt Rees, the self-anointed (and self-published) maverick authors of the e-book Psychobibi (DeltaFourth, 2013) the answer is simple: always. Ever wonder why Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seems to contradict himself, take steps that sabotage his own success, or behaves in a way guaranteed to earn the wrath of critical allies, mirth of the press, contempt of the public? For those unsolved enigmas…Read More... | 1 Comment
Despite the wishes of many -- if not most -- of the people in the streets, the masses who identify with the 'social protest' are callous to those whose complaints are so much more urgent than theirs. Even though I've always agreed with the stated goal of the "social protest" - to redistribute Israel's wealth more equitably - I can no longer sympathize with it. While many if not most of the people in the streets would like to turn the movement against the occupation and not only against "swinish capitalism," this hasn't happened after two years of protest.…Read More... | 17 Comments
Israelis are more willing to discuss and accept their country's role in the Palestinian Nakba - until the historical events are portrayed as the story of the founding of a rival nation, and acknowledging those facts means legitimizing the other side's fundamental beliefs. In 2008, a fascinating, little-known study asked 500 Israeli Jews about Israel's behavior throughout the history of the conflict. The study was conducted by Rafi Nets-Zehngut, at the Teachers College of Columbia University and Daniel Bar-Tal of Tel Aviv University's School of Education. Bar-Tal is an internationally regarded expert in political psychology. Some of the findings were…Read More... | 35 Comments
Former Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak was spotted at an Istanbul airport this morning (Saturday). Barak was accompanied by his wife and a security guard. The trio was in transit and spent four hours in an airline lounge. Barak served as defense minister during Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009 and the 2010 flotilla offensive, in which nine Turkish nationals were killed by Israeli commandos onboard the Mavi Marmara. Both events led to a severe deterioration in Israeli-Turkish relations, which were partly mended recently when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for the incident. Negotiations over…Read More... | 6 Comments
Noted right-wingers call to demolish the separation wall. True, they are driven by a desire for annexation, but the Left finds itself in an unseemly position - defending one of the great injustices of the occupation in the name of the distant prospect of two states. Former Defense Minister Moshe Arens yesterday told Ma'ariv he thinks the separation wall - which snakes its way around the West Bank and has been responsible for cutting tens of thousands of people from their livelihoods and from each other - should be torn down. "The wall is no longer of any use and it's only…Read More... | 45 Comments
Fallout from Amira Hass’s article on Palestinian stone-throwing shows that as far as Israelis are concerned, any and every form of resistance against the occupation is illegitimate. The Yesha Council – the regional council for West Bank settlements, which operates also as the settlers’ political and lobbying arm – filed a complaint with the Jerusalem Police against the Haaretz daily newspaper and its reporter in the occupied territories, Amira Hass. Hass this morning published a piece discussing the logic of stone-throwing and persecution in the occupied territories. Quotes: Throwing stones is the birthright and duty of anyone subject to foreign rule. Throwing stones…Read More... | 74 Comments
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