A year after the devastating war on Gaza, an activist visits human rights defenders still working among piles of rubble and roiling from trauma. By Jen Marlowe I crouched on the floor of the beat-up Mercedes yellow cab, so that I could film Yaser Abed Alkhafor at a better angle. We were driving slowly through Khuza’a, a town near the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younes. “We can see that the destruction in Khuza'a didn't target only one place, but it is mass destruction targeting the whole area,” Alkhafor said, pointing to the destroyed homes lining the road. Alkhafor,…Read More...
Small battles can be waged against the injustices of occupation while simultaneously fighting the bigger war against the occupation itself. A response to 'The case for dismantling Israel’s human rights organizations.' By Noam Rabinovich If I had a Euro for every time I was privy to a conversation about whether Israeli human rights organizations do more harm than good, I would have been able to single-handedly fund the entire Israeli human rights community, much to the chagrin of Israel’s current government. Snark aside, this question is one of the most poignant and loaded questions faced by human rights organizations in Israel.…Read More... | 9 Comments
By doing the army’s job for it, Israeli human rights organizations enable the IDF's ongoing dereliction of its obligation to protect the occupied Palestinian population. By Noam Rotem The Israeli human rights organizations operating in the West Bank are doing noble work. There should be no argument about that. They are on the front lines of injustice every single day. With varying levels of success, they attempt to deliver a modicum of justice to the robbed and beaten Palestinian population. These organizations invest massive resources into representing and advocating for Palestinians as they face Israeli authorities. From field workers who…Read More... | 2 Comments
A new report by human rights organization Yesh Din about how IDF soldiers act when offenses are committed by Israeli citizens against Palestinians in the West Bank. The phenomenon of "standing idly by" refers to incidents when soldiers witness violence by Israeli citizens against Palestinians and their property and do nothing to prevent the harm while the action is ongoing; refrain from detaining or arresting the perpetrators after the event; fail to secure the scene to allow the collection of evidence; or fail to testify about the event to the police. According to the provisions of international law as well…Read More... | 4 Comments
The precarious situation of surrogate mothers in Nepal carrying babies for Israelis, as well as the ethical questions surrounding surrogacy in the developing world, should be treated with the utmost seriousness. But what does Israel's interior minister do? He laughs at them. Saturday's horrific earthquake in Nepal has dominated the news here in Israel, not only because Nepal is a popular travel destination and around 2,000 Israeli backpackers were airlifted out of the area in recent days, but primarily because of the 100 or so surrogate mothers carrying babies for Israeli gay couples and single parents. [tmwinpost] Only heterosexual couples can…Read More... | 11 Comments
Certain rights should be inalienable — yet Israel refuses to grant them to Palestinians and the world continues to treat the country as a rights-based democracy. What does this absurdity say about human rights as a political tool, and about the powers, entities and institutions that speak in their name? Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee chairman MK David Rotem laid out some of his beliefs and world views in an extensive interview with Israeli financial daily Globes a few weeks ago. One of Rotem’s statements – which made the headline of the piece - was that “human rights are [reserved]…Read More... | 34 Comments
The two-state solution is not a progressive cause and neither is a single-state solution -- they are just possible means to an end. The only possible goal for progressive politics in Israel/Palestine can be full human, civil and political rights for everyone living on this land. Every now and then a comment on this blog attributes a position to me -- one I thought I had been very careful to avoid taking. A misunderstood writer should blame only himself and not the readers. However, there is a specific point I always have trouble getting across, maybe because of the way…Read More... | 51 Comments
Those who care about ending the occupation, in Israel and outside it, are faced with real, difficult choices. I believe these choices matter. That is why I oppose BDS. Larry Derfner's recent article in support of BDS is well-written, passionately argued and compelling. Nonetheless, I find myself in strong disagreement with its key assertions and conclusions. As I see it, the article rests on the following argument: first, the evacuation of settlements necessary to end the occupation would be very difficult for Israel. Second, Israelis do not currently incur any significant cost for the continuation of the occupation. Third,…Read More... | 70 Comments
Israel's High Court orders the government to upgrade representation of Palestinians in planning committees. But will the minor changes only serve to legitimize a system based on inequality? Israel’s High Court on Monday ordered the state to provide proposals for including Palestinian representatives in planning committees that govern development and land use in Area C (which makes up 60 percent of the territory in the West Bank). The interim decision was made following an appeal by the Palestinian village of Ad-Dirat-Al-Rfai’ya, together with human rights organizations Rabbis For Human Rights, the Israel Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), The Jerusalem Legal…Read More...
Over the past several years, Israel’s Ministry of Justice has found itself a new angle for engaging in public diplomacy: defending some of the worst pieces of Knesset legislation, while celebrating whatever outcome the court hands down when they are challenged. By Hagai El-Ad Human rights are neither a theoretical concept nor a distant vision: for human beings, human rights are either a foundation for a just life – or, more often, humans are deprived of them. In such realities, the enumeration of rights becomes an enumeration of grievances. For human rights organizations, that enumeration of grievances becomes a workplan.…Read More... | 8 Comments
Resolutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be reached either by agreement or evolution. As the peace talks stumble toward their formal end point, there are essentially four scenarios for political developments between the river and the sea, excluding resurgent violence: two states by agreement, two states by evolution, one state by agreement, or one sovereign entity by evolution. Policymakers should acknowledge these scenarios openly to assess what each one will mean for the future of the region. I recently proposed using basic values as a guideline to assess the desirability of such scenarios: reducing violence, realizing human and civil rights,…Read More... | 12 Comments
Instead of using the talks as a replacement for progress, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators would do well to define guiding values that should be the basis of both process and solutions. One of the problems with the flagging Kerry negotiations is that they are heavy on ‘process,’ and not much about ‘peace.’ That could be due to the fairly accurate cliché that the outlines of the two-state solution are “largely known.” Negotiations and civil initiatives from 2000 onwards – Camp David to the Arab Peace Initiative – overlap on the core issues, with differences of details. On the other hand,…Read More...
Alan Dershowitz published an op-ed in Haaretz on Wednesday giving his top 10 reasons why boycotting Israel is immoral. What if he wrote the same article in 1974 about the anti-Apartheid movement? It might look something like this. By Sol Salbe Ten reasons why the anti-Apartheid movement is immoral and hinders peace The anti-South African movement threatens the reconciliation process by promoting extortion rather than negotiation, and discourages blacks from agreeing to any reasonable peace offer. By Alan M. Dershowitz | Feb. 12, 1974 | 4:00 PM 1. The anti-Apartheid movement immorally imposes the entire blame for the continuing Apartheid and…Read More... | 14 Comments
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