Attendants at a conference on the peace process in Brussels couldn't believe their ears after what the representative of Israel's settler party had to say. The European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) and MP Marietje Schaake of the Netherlands hosted an event in the European Parliament in Brussels on the European Union's role in the Israel/Palestine question. I participated in the first of two panels - below are some of my impressions from the day's events: This was the third discussion of this sort that I took part in within just three weeks. In that sense, I think that 2013 was…Read More... | 67 Comments
An expanded panel of nine justices of the Israeli High Court of Justice will hear a petition against the "anti-boycott law" Sunday morning, which several NGOs are arguing silences debate on one of the most important and divisive issues in Israeli society. Passed by the Knesset in 2011, the law, formally known as the "Law for Prevention of Damage to State of Israel through Boycott," allows those who feel they have been harmed by a boycott - whether against Israel or an Israeli institution or territory (i.e. the settlements in the West Bank) - to sue the person or organization who…Read More... | 13 Comments
The two parties haven’t met in almost a month, and Israeli politicians are now openly discussing the success of maintaining the status quo. Even the crisis with the European Union is over. Roughly halfway through the current round of negotiations, the talks between Israeli and Palestinians negotiators have hit a new low point. Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat told A-Shams Radio station that the two teams haven’t met since November 5th. He added that the talks are so futile that Palestinians are better off turning to the UN right away. Erekat also recently submitted his resignation to Palestinian Authority President…Read More... | 24 Comments
A total of 114 members of the European Parliament signed and delivered an open letter to European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton Thursday to ensure she implements the EU guidelines on Israeli settlements, scheduled to take effect next month, January 2014. The guidelines stipulate that any Israeli entity that wants to receive funding and loans, participate in a project or compete for grants or awards given by foundations or agencies of the EU will have to submit a statement declaring that they have no direct link to the West Bank, East Jerusalem or the Golan Heights - all territories Israel…Read More... | 11 Comments
Israel says allowing organizations to visit Gaza inherently 'strengthens Hamas,' even when no visits with Hamas officials are planned. Couldn't the same logic be used to argue for a boycott of Israel, considering Israel's occupation regime? Israel blocked a European Parliament humanitarian delegation from entering the Gaza Strip through Israel last week, claiming that the visit would "strengthen Hamas." The draft program of the trip, seen by +972, was scheduled to take place this week, October 27-30. The delegation was expected to enter Gaza through Israel's Erez Crossing on Monday morning after spending the night in East Jerusalem and leaving…Read More... | 18 Comments
On both sides of the Atlantic, the consensus on the need to avoid and resolve confrontations with Israel at all costs guarantees that diplomacy will not change the trends on the ground in the foreseeable future. There are more and more signs that Israel and the EU are about to resolve the mini-crisis created by the publication of a commission notice that would have limited EU loans to Israeli entities that operate beyond the Green Line and set stricter rules regarding the use of EU grants and prizes. Some initial media reports (including on this site) were not accurate in…Read More... | 18 Comments
The European Union says that contrary to reports, its new settlement guidelines don't require Israeli entities to stop operating beyond Green Line. The EU delegation in Israel sent me a response to my item (and the Maariv piece I quoted) regarding changes to the new guidelines on ties with Israeli institutions that operate beyond the Green Line. In short, the claim is that the original guidelines were never meant to limit activities beyond the Green Line - only to make sure that European grants and prizes are not part of such projects. The demand from Israelis entities not to operate…Read More... | 3 Comments
Israeli and European officials are reportedly nearing an agreement that would allow Israeli institutions to continue operating freely in the West Bank while enjoying EU grants. In coordination with Israeli officials, the EU is about to introduce a solution that would allow Israeli institutions -- which are invested in or profit from the occupation -- to enjoy EU grants, according to a report in the Israel's Maariv newspaper (Hebrew). The new directives will enable Israeli companies and institutions to divert money into investments in the settlements and in Jewish enterprises beyond the Green Line through subsidiaries or divisions, all while…Read More... | 58 Comments
A lie travels around the world while the truth looks for a Wi-Fi connection. Sometimes, it finds it. This blog's favorite fibber organization, NGO Monitor - you may remember them from such classic favorites as distributing Hasbara lies about the UN Human Rights Commission, using a Trojan horse inside Wikipedia, as well as just stupid negligence - pounced on the tunnel that was found this week near Ein Hashlosha. The organization quickly took to twitter, saying "So, #Hamas terror tunnel was built w/concrete from #Israel, sent b/c of UN & NGO pressure. Thanks @Gisha_Access". Lies have the speed advantage: in a…Read More... | 25 Comments
Whatever he tells the UN, Rouhani will not agree to give up nuclear weapons to please his country's nuclear-armed enemies. And when it's clear that he won't, it's his enemies who will face humiliation. I don’t believe Rouhani means it when he says Iran doesn’t want nuclear weapons. And even if he does, I don’t believe the supreme leader, Khamenei, would back him up, nor would the Iranian political/military establishment, nor would a very large proportion of the Iranian public, maybe a majority, maybe a large majority. Why shouldn’t Iran want nuclear weapons? Every major power and would-be major power wants…Read More... | 50 Comments
Israel's defense minister orders a halt to cooperation with the European Union-funded humanitarian aid projects benefitting West Bank and Gaza Palestinians. Israel’s defense minister launched a massive 'price tag' attack last week. In response to an EU directive that will help ensure European funding does not benefit Israeli settlements, Moshe Ya’alon ordered a halt to cooperation with European humanitarian efforts benefiting Palestinians in Israeli-controlled areas of the West Bank. "We are freezing the relationship on everything," an Israeli official told The Guardian. "We did this as soon as we heard [about the directive]. We can't act like nothing happened." Price…Read More... | 34 Comments
Europe says it doesn't want its largesse to be funneled over the Green Line - Israel screams anti-Semitism. Despite all the outrage and charges of Nazi-style behavior (here and here) that Israeli patriots are leveling against the European Union, the EU's new guidelines concerning the occupied territories don't take anything away from Israel; they just place conditions on the EU's enormous charity to this country. The EU isn't saying it's going to stop buying from Israeli businesses or bar Israeli ships or planes from entering European territory; it's saying that when it gives grants, prizes, awards or support to Israelis…Read More... | 9 Comments
The absurd contradiction between advancing bills with paranoid, dictator-style accusations of 'foreign meddling,' while throwing temper tantrums over the loss of that meddling for the sake of strengthening the occupation is deeply disheartening. Knesset members from two right-wing parties in Knesset have revived a bill to limit foreign government funding of left-wing Israeli NGOs. The original legislation was halted by the previous Knesset following both domestic and international criticism, including from Israel’s Attorney General. The current version of the bill is being described as “softer,” version but as a fine op-ed in Haaretz by Amir Fuchs of the Israel Democracy…Read More... | 21 Comments
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A look into the daily life of African refugees living in an 'open' detention center.
Kerry's peace process
Full coverage, commentary and analysis of the latest round of peace talks.
Plan to displace Bedouin
Will tens of thousands of Israeli citizens be evicted from their homes?
A series of striking infographics.
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