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
My Name is Rachel Corrie, a play based on the diaries and emails of Rachel Corrie, is now showing in Jerusalem. The play tells the story of Corrie, a young American woman who traveled to the Gaza Strip during the Second Intifada, who was crushed to death by a bulldozer as she was trying to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home. Although the play has received much praise, it has also caused a storm at the Khan Theater in Jerusalem. Jerusalem's Municipality even threatened to cut the Khan's budget should the play go on as planned, angering many actors.Read More... | 4 Comments
By winning the Arab Idol singing competition, Muhammad Assaf did what politics hasn't been able to: he united Palestinians. By Abeer Ayyoub GAZA - I have, in the past, witnessed Palestinians in Gaza rushing into the streets to celebrate various events. Once, it was after reaching a ceasefire that ended the eight-day Israeli offensive in November 2012. Another time was to celebrate the UN vote on upgrading statehood status for Palestine. But I don’t remember ever seeing them as happy as when Gazan competitor Muhammad Assaf won the title of Arab Idol. Like everyone around, I preferred to go watch…Read More... | 22 Comments
When even reporting an immoral act by a senior officer carries with it a serious price, it becomes clear that one cannot win against the army. Been there, done that. In July 1989, as a young, bored soldier in the IDF's main draft base in Tel Ha'Shomer, I asked my colonel to be transferred to the Civil Administration in the Gaza Strip. We were on friendly terms and he quickly made the arrangements, walking through my first sham court martial. I was in charge of running a small garden toolshed, which was broken into while I was on vacation -…Read More... | 23 Comments
Findings by a Palestinian human rights group paint a grim picture of imprisonment and torture under both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas regimes. One guest blogger holds that despite the Israeli occupation, these political groups can no longer act with impunity under the guise of liberators. By Talal Alyan “The image before the return of the PLO was the image of the freedom fighter/ Now here is that same freedom fighter (chained with the conditions of his enemies), exercising his direct authority on the ordinary citizen, on the old men, on the students.” - Mourid Barghouti Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces recently…Read More... | 18 Comments
Human rights organization B’Tselem published a report reviewing harm to civilians in Operation Pillar of Defense. The report provides statistics on the numbers of Palestinians and Israelis killed over the course of the operation, which lasted from November 14 to 21, 2012. The report challenges the common perception in the Israeli public and media that the operation was 'surgical' and caused practically no fatalities among uninvolved Palestinian civilians. Furthermore, the report finds that there was a significant difference between the first and the final days of the operation: of the uninvolved Palestinian fatalities, 80 percent were killed in the last…Read More... | 5 Comments
In Boston, the bombings brought out the most generous community spirit among strangers torn apart by violence. In Bethlehem, Israel restricted who could participate in the marathon. But as Gisha's Sari Bashi writes, dozens of Israeli runners expressed support for letting Gazans participate, emphasizing the hope and purity embodied in the marathon and speaking of their identification with people who challenge their human abilities by doing that amazing thing called 'running.' The first marathon was held in Bethlehem on Sunday, as my colleagues have reported (and photographed, beautifully). The marathon is moment of great personal achievement, but marathons also sometimes become a…Read More... | 10 Comments
Although the racism and hatred between Israel and its neighbors seems as entrenched as ever, many Mizrahi artists are connecting to their Arab roots. Does this trend portend a brighter future for the Middle East? By Mati Shemoelof and Ophir Toubul In an interview with Al Arabiya several years ago, popular Israeli singer Zehava Ben stated that she was interested in performing throughout the Arab world, and especially in Beirut and Gaza. Israel's security system forbade her entrance into the Strip, due to the fact that Hamas rules the territory. In a later interview, she said that her dream is…Read More... | 1 Comment
Using cold logic to explain the killings of civilians is an attempt to deaden our emotions and detach us from inexplicable tragedy. By Jake Meth When I was younger, I always hoped that my older self would have a great explanation for why innocent civilians kept getting killed in violent conflicts. But as Israel began another air campaign against the Gaza Strip last week, I suddenly realized that this explanation for which I had waited so long was nowhere to be found. I was 15 when the U.S. invaded Iraq, when it seemed as if every other headline in the…Read More... | 10 Comments
For the last five days, Gaza has come up in just about every conversation, Facebook status and thought I have encountered. Today, as the fourth daily siren rang out in Tel Aviv, the response of locals seemed much more fluid and far less fear-ridden than that of Thursday's unexpected alarm. Neighbors ushered each other towards basements and shelters, wondering aloud about how long it would be before the tell tale "boom" would sound. As a novice to situations such as these, I am filled with a wash of contradictory emotions. I feel frightened, not so much by the actual physical…Read More... | 10 Comments
I spent Thursday in Kiryat Gat, Kiryat Malachi, Ashkelon and Sderot--the Israeli cities under Hamas fire. I spoke to dozens of Israelis; support for Operation Pillar of Defense was unanimous, though no one thought it would bring lasting peace. Most felt it would bring temporary quiet; many believe that Israel needs to reoccupy the Gaza Strip. At a commercial center in Kiryat Malachi, a short walk from the apartment building where three Israelis were killed Thursday morning by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, an elderly man selects tomatoes at a small produce stand. The 74-year-old man, who immigrated…Read More... | 10 Comments
Wednesday, November 14: Israeli forces have just killed a four-year-old and a seven-year-old in Gaza. Two children. Jeffrey Goldberg tweets*, correctly, that the fighting won’t solve anything. But his phrasing embodies everything that’s wrong with the mainstream media. It also points at the Israeli attitude towards both the Palestinians and the region: Prediction: Assassination of Hamas terror commander will not even partially solve Israel's Gaza problem. Israel’s Gaza problem? The fatalities suggest it’s the other way around. According to B’Tselem, 6500 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces from the start of the Second Intifada in September 2000 until to September…Read More... | 11 Comments
The last few days of violence on the Gaza-Israel border are eerily reminiscent of the days leading up to Operation Cast Lead. A recent look at Israeli media points to a possible war. By Sol Salbe The escalation of fighting in the Gaza strip and southern Israel since Saturday is the top news item in the Israeli media. Over 100 rockets fired from the Strip have wounded three Israelis, and Israeli military strikes have killed at least five Palestinians and wounded dozens more. Haaretz analysts Amos Harel and Avi Issacharof foresee the next step: Gaza flare-up could lead to another…Read More... | 10 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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