What does the possibly-revived peace process John Kerry announced on Friday have going for it? - “Diplomatic Tsunami” – a catch-phrase that stands for high-level global isolation of Israel as punishment for its policies is the great fear on everyone’s mind in Israel this week. Israel is smarting from a recent spate of symbolic blows highlighting international opprobrium in new and painful ways: Stephen Hawking refusing to attend the President’s conference, and the new EU guidelines are two very significant examples of very mainstream figures increasingly putting actions behind words Israel has come to ignore. - Palestinian power play. The…Read More... | 11 Comments
An interview with a key Hamas figure in al-Monitor published Friday explores a pragmatic potential and a shift in tactics for the movement. ‘Pragmatic’ is certainly the word interviewer Shlomi Eldar, one of Israel’s top television reporters covering Palestinian affairs, wants readers to remember. His subject is Dr. Ghazi Hamad, currently Deputy Foreign Minister of the Hamas leadership in Gaza, heads the “pragmatic wing” of Hamas and the interview is all about the changes of policy, external relations, and possibly even ideology. Three specific points are worth noting, two internal and one related to Israel: First, in the context of…Read More... | 36 Comments
Hundreds of thousands of supporters of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement turned out for an anniversary rally in the Gaza Strip. It is the first such celebration that Hamas officials in Gaza have allowed since the two factions split nearly six years ago. It was a sea of yellow in the streets of Gaza City, as thousands upon thousands of Palestinian supporters of Fatah came out to mark the organization's 48th anniversary. And, for the first time in more than half a decade, were allowed to display that support publicly. Fatah's yellow flags are a rarity in Gaza nowadays.…Read More... | 4 Comments
In spite of the headlines, the international media attention, and the flow of pictures showing celebrating Palestinians waving flags – the UN resolution sparked little excitement or joy in the streets of Ramallah, which is still surrounded by walls and settlements on all sides. If anything, it was an evening of sadness and despair. Traveling to Ramallah for the late-night public screening of Palestine's UN bid, I was not expecting much. Journalists who spent the day in the West Bank had already reported that very little was going on, that PA sponsored rallies had attracted only few people in the…Read More... | 8 Comments
If you follow Israeli and American mainstream logic, all it takes for the occupation to end are a few nice words from Palestinian leaders. We have been asking the wrong questions: A popular debate in the days following the military escalation between Israel and Hamas had to do with the prospect of negotiations with Hamas, and whether the organization "has moderated." In this conversation, evidence is tossed around from both sides in the forms of quotes from political figures, militants, supporters and spiritual leaders, followed by heated arguments over their meaning, context, quality of translation, status of the person…Read More... | 37 Comments
Hakem* believes that armed struggle and the strategic use of violence is the only way to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He calls BDS 'silly' and says Hamas has gone soft. He calls Israel 'the entity' and says it must be dismantled. After that, Hakem adds, Jews are welcome to stay. The situation in the West Bank is increasingly hopeless. The cost of living is spiraling out of control. Steady work is hard to find. Israeli settlements keep growing. And with the West Bank carved up by the Oslo Accords and Gaza under blockade, a Palestinian state seems more out of…Read More... | 57 Comments
A new report by Human Rights Watch documents human rights violations by the Hamas authority in Gaza. Many of the violations of prisoners rights were committed against Fatah members, sometimes in 'retaliation' for the persecution of Hamas members in the West Bank. Human Rights Watch issued last week an important report on Hamas-run courts in Gaza. +972 posted the report in its entirely yesterday. You can read it in PDF format here. HRW interviewed 15 people, including inmates and lawyers who have been tortured by Hamas security forces. Altogether, there have been 112 complaints of torture of Palestinians in Gaza during 2011. As…Read More... | 7 Comments
Israeli exceptionalism continues. Iran is not allowed to go nuclear but it is perfectly okay for Israel to remain nuclear: that's the message Israel sends the world as it opposes a U.S.-backed conference about a nuclear-free Middle East. Here's what I wrote in March about the issue in The New York Times' Room for Debate: Might Israel attend the meeting about a nuclear-weapon-free Middle East in Finland? Certainly. Just like it has "participated" in the peace process — with no real intention of making concessions. In both cases, there are no consequences for Israel sticking to its agenda. So why would…Read More... | 10 Comments
Palestinian politician on his version of events from Land Day, the ineffectiveness of the United States and why Israelis themselves will not be free until the Palestinians are free. By Elsa Rassbach On March 20th, I interviewed Dr. Mustafa Barghouti about the plans for a new international initiative for Land Day, March 30th: a Global March to Jerusalem, to bring together in one nonviolent action all of the Palestinian political parties and civil society organizations in historic Palestine as well as in the diaspora, with supporting actions around the world. Then on March 27, Mustafa's distant cousin, Fatah leader Marwan…Read More... | 60 Comments
Islamic Jihad or Fatah, terrorists or guerillas, post-Oslo or pre-Oslo, the Palestinians have no right to resist our control, which we impose by full right. Here we are again, fighting for our survival, fighting in self-defense, killing Islamic Jihad terrorists who deliberately fire rockets at innocent Israeli civilians, and all this after we got out of there completely, and after all the peace offers we made since Oslo that they rejected. You see? We have no choice. The above is the Israeli narrative for our current targeted assassination campaign, the same one we used for Operation Cast Lead and every other onslaught we’ve visited on the Strip over the last decade: Our enemies are jihadists who won’t accept anything less than our deaths; they target innocent civilians,…Read More... | 93 Comments
By Alexis Thiry Sometimes accused of being an apparatus composed only of old figures, Yasser Arafat’s political formation, Fatah, also includes young personalities. Husam Zomlot, the executive deputy commissioner for Fatah's Commission for International Affairs, embodies the party’s new generation. Fluent in English, he is frequently interviewed by the western media. He talks in a structured manner with passion and determination. He is a recognized scholar both in Palestine and the West, and was part of the delegation presenting the Palestinian statehood request at the United Nations in September 2011. He has agreed to speak about this diplomatic initiative in an…Read More... | 13 Comments
With the Palestinian political horizon looking grim, reconciliation, elections and reform may be the only hope. News of a major development in Palestinian politics was reached today in Cairo between leaders of various Palestinian factions. A committee established by the reconciliation agreement signed in May 2011 to advance PLO reform has agreed to push for direct elections to the Palestinian National Council (PNC), the PLO’s parliament and highest legislative body, once polling and a mechanism can be reached. PNC elections, if held, would be a landmark accomplishment for Palestinian politics and pave the way for a representational government including Palestinians…Read More... | 10 Comments
With all these post-Schalit deal shifting alliances between Hamas, Fatah and Israel, it seems that what the three parties really need is a common enemy. By Joel Silberman A pernicious threat is gathering for the Middle East, a danger that jeopardizes Palestinians and Israelis alike. Though rarely addressed publicly – not in the Knesset or the Muqata, the UNGA or the blogosphere – its looming peril is real. This menace does not differentiate between Muslims, Christians or Jews and, if left unchecked, it promises to push everyone from Jericho to Tel Aviv into the sea. I speak, of course, of Estonia.…Read More... | 27 Comments
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On the challenges facing a growing population of asylum seekers and refugees in Israel.
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Plan to displace Bedouin
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Palestinians go three days without water in united Jerusalem, by @MairavZ: http://t.co/wVo0X1GhXx
On Int'l Women's Day, meet the Israeli women who have stood up to the occupation for 26 years: http://t.co/6gqhfVUalz http://t.co/BYOMVadhIb
PHOTO: Hebron's settlers declare, 'Palestine never existed,' by @activestills http://t.co/yCAqGMphn1 http://t.co/XQRiY97VoF
Israeli govts have argued for years that settlements are not an obstacle to peace. The data tells a different story: http://t.co/PSfkgirYJr
Israeli prime ministers say 'settlements aren't obstacle to peace' while tightening grip on occupied territory: http://t.co/PSfkgirYJr
Figures show: Peace talks and settlement construction go hand in hand, by @nsheizaf http://t.co/PSfkgirYJr
Why have 50,000 Jerusalem Palestinians gone without water since Tuesday? http://t.co/wVo0X1GhXx