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Israel

  • Why Israel picks fights with Hezbollah

    And why it will probably pick another one before too long. After Hezbollah’s fatal attack on Israeli soldiers Wednesday, the two enemy sides are in a rare configuration: they’re even. Israel killed six Hezbollah guerrillas and an Iranian general on January 18, so Hezbollah killed two Israeli soldiers and wounded seven more, and now they’re quits, for the time being. They each told UN peacekeepers in south Lebanon that they didn’t want to escalate things anymore, they wanted calm, and that clearly seems to be the case today. What an opportunity. From this point forward, Israel and Hezbollah could start…

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  • Netanyahu on how his old U.S. high school ‘changed’

    More evidence that his racism doesn’t stop at Arabs. I’ve never written about a particular comment Bibi Netanyahu made when I interviewed him in the summer of 1993, because as objective evidence of anti-black racism, it’s not exactly slam-dunk. But this weekend Netanyahu accused Israel’s friendliest, most unthreatening Arab public figure, broadcaster-turned-candidate Zohair Bahloul, of “praising Hezbollah” in a court testimony. What Bahloul actually said was the exact opposite. For Netanyahu this was a personal low in terms of anti-Arab racism, which takes some effort. And recently I saw a Washington Post account of the blatant anti-Hispanic racism Netanyahu showed…

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  • Israeli air strike in Syria: Lies, aggression — at what cost?

    From close up, the assassination of a Hezbollah commander and an Iranian general was probably preemption. In the big picture, it was definitely aggression. During the Second Intifada, (late 2000-2004) Israel made a habit of carrying out “targeted assassinations” of Palestinian militant leaders. The Palestinians, in turn, had a predilection for blowing up buses and cafes. After an assassination of a high-up Hamasnik or Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades man, some Israelis and many foreigners would question whether it was a good idea, whether it was worth the risk, given the likelihood that the Palestinians would be out for revenge. The routine…

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  • No, Mr. Netanyahu, answers to terrorism are not all the same

    The prime minister compares Israel’s predicament with the Palestinians to France’s current one with jihadists, but the true comparison is to France’s struggle with Algeria in the 1950s and early 1960s. In Paris early this week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu drove home a message he’s been delivering for decades: "Israel supports Europe in its fight against terrorism, and it's time Europe support Israel in the same exact struggle." But he’s wrong. Europe and Israel are not caught up in the same struggle. They don’t face the same terrorism, either. Despite Netanyahu’s claim, which he says was only reinforced by the…

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  • Israeli petition to European lawmakers: Recognize Palestine

    Prominent Israelis call on European parliamentarians to formally recognize a Palestinian state. But what kind of impact can European votes have when the real power broker in Israel-Palestine relations is still the U.S.? Nearly 700 prominent Israelis, including former ambassadors, academics, IDF officers, top playwrights and poets, winners of the Israel Prize and Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman have signed a letter appealing to the parliaments of various European countries to recognize Palestine in upcoming votes. We the undersigned, Citizens of Israel who wish it to be a safe and thriving country, are worried by the continued political stalemate and by…

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  • ‘Pallywood’: A particularly ugly ethnic slur

    And a very popular one among right-wing Israelis and Diaspora Jews. I've been writing for years against the "Pallywood" theory – the right-wing notion that videos showing Palestinians getting killed by Israelis are really elaborate fakes meant to blacken Israel's name. Yet it's only this morning I realized that the term "Pallywood," which was coined by Boston University Prof. Richard Landes, is an ethnic slur, and a particularly ugly one. It not only mangles the name of an entire people, it does so in the most contemptuous context – it links the name Palestinian with the telling of lies, and…

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  • No one left for Bibi to blame – except, of course, Abbas

    Israel is in a crisis – the heaviest Palestinian street violence in a decade, the threat of a full-blown third intifada – and here’s how Netanyahu is managing it: by seizing on the last available scapegoat. Outside of the Netanyahu government and its supporters, does anyone believe that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) is inciting the rioting and terror in East Jerusalem? Does anyone think the gunmen and killer drivers and adolescent stone-throwers are taking their cues from Ramallah’s 79-year-old bureaucrat-in-chief? Conversely, does anyone think that if Abbas were to call publicly and repeatedly for an end to…

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  • The Kurds must not be abandoned again, this time to ISIS

    If there are any people on earth who deserve the world’s protection from slaughter, it is the Kurds. Despite the stereotype of Mizrahi Jews in Israel resenting Arabs because of the way they were treated in the old country, there are plenty of Mizrahim who have good memories of their relations with their former Muslim neighbors. However, there is no Mizrahi community in Israel that feels a kinship with their Muslim former countrymen like the Kurdish Jews do. Today ISIS appears to be on the verge of slaughtering the people in the town of Kobani, the heart of a Syrian…

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  • One or two states, Israelis and Palestinians are bound together

    Whether the conflict here is resolved through one, two, three or ten states, Israel will still never be homogenous. Ethnic homogeneity is a nasty and dangerous sham. As the referendum over the future of Scotland approaches, poll numbers for the “YES” (pro-independence) have suddenly spiked. Many Brits are now panicking that Scots may really decide they are not “Better Together,” as the cheerful “NO” (or polite, “No, thanks”) campaign has tried to portray. I am reminded of the ubiquitous OXI (NO) posters that blanketed the Greek side of Cyprus prior to the ill-fated 2004 referendum to reunite the island. Although the Annan Plan…

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  • The victors of the Gaza war were also the losers

    Who came out of the Gaza war the victors, and who were the losers – or, rather, who lost more and who lost less? By Talal Jabari Another ceasefire between Israel and Hamas-led Gaza ­– this time costing more in terms of life and property than the last time. It will probably cost less than the next time; 2016 if the trend stays constant. At the end of any battle, it makes sense to step back and look at the bigger picture. You want to assess who won and who lost – or at least who lost more and who…

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  • A week in photos: Beyond ceasefire

    Palestinians in Gaza celebrate after Israel and Hamas declare a long-term ceasefire to end 51 days of fighting that left at least 2,104 Palestinians and 68 Israelis dead, as well as one Thai national working in Israel. While both Hamas and Israel have declared victory, those most affected by the war are left homeless and mourning. Related: Did Gaza win the war? PHOTOS: Losing your home twice in one war

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  • Did Gaza win the war?

    The terms of Tuesday's ceasefire declaration matter less than the new leverage, measured in international will, with which Palestinians now approach the negotiating table. As a much-anticipated ceasefire took hold Tuesday, punctuating Gaza's horrifying stretch without sleep or succor, spontaneous celebrations erupted throughout the Arab world. But the most jubilant displays were, of course, in Gaza itself, where residents shed the anxiety of a 50-day Israeli war for the simple pleasures of an evening outside. It had too long been a pleasure denied. For most of Gaza's 1.8 million Palestinians, the right to congregate, to walk the streets without the…

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  • No, Hamas isn’t ISIS, ISIS isn’t Hamas

    But equating the two is Netanyahu’s latest way of hypnotizing people into supporting the Gaza war. He gets away with it because people are afraid that if they challenge this idiotic slogan, they’ll be accused of ‘defending Hamas.’ Anybody who isn’t a shill for Israel can see through Netanyahu’s new slogan, “Hamas is ISIS, ISIS is Hamas.” It’s such a crude attempt to brainwash people, to put the most horrifying image in their minds and associate it with Gaza, thereby cleansing Israel of those images of Gaza’s agony. Like he’s been doing his whole career, Netanyahu is insulting people’s intelligence,…

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+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

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