Two incidents in three days, in which Israel’s military was caught with its hand beyond its borders, raise questions of sovereignty and what it means to Israel. Sovereignty is a funny thing. Some countries claim more of it than they really have, some don’t have full control over their sovereign territory or airspace, and others willingly cede some of their sovereignty for a number of reasons. Two cases of Israel violating the sovereignty of its neighbors made headlines in the past few days. The first incident involved Israeli combat soldiers infiltrating Lebanon’s borders on Wednesday. Israeli violations of Lebanon’s airspace, maritime…Read More... | 13 Comments
Israel is now bombing the strategic interests not only of its preferred targets – Syria, Lebanon, Sudan, Iran or other vastly inferior military powers – but of Russia. When I think of Israel’s continual acts of military "preemption," I think of a cocky kid who believes he can run across the freeway, so he tries, and he makes it, which makes him even cockier, so he tries again, and he makes it again, and by now he thinks he’s invincible, he’s invulnerable, so he’s running across the freeway whenever he feels like it. He’s become the hero of his…Read More... | 18 Comments
A new survey by the BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, a non-profit organization that works to defend and promote the rights of Palestinian refugees, attempts to understand how youth of Palestinian heritage (third or fourth generation of displaced Palestinians) identify with their ancestry. BADIL conducted a survey focusing on identity and social ties among Palestinian youth residing in Mandate Palestine (West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and Israel), Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. The results reveal that between 55 to 70 percent of the respondents in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon regard themselves as Palestinians; 45 percent of Palestinian citizens of Israel regard themselves as…Read More... | 3 Comments
Muhammed Assaf's victory on 'Arab Idol' should be a reminder to Israelis that there is nothing to fear. On the contrary, when it comes to our Arab neighbors, there is plenty to be proud of. By Noam Shaul I only discovered Mohammed Assaf, a contestant on the "Arab Idol" reality show and resident of Khan Younis refugee camp in the Gaza Strip about a month ago. Last Saturday, Assaf won the competition after hard work that was visibly accompanied by the support and veneration of much of the Arab world. I happened upon him after a friend of mine posted…Read More... | 14 Comments
The Syria nightmare has gotten worse than imaginable, and now the only thing conceivably worse is what can be expected in the foreseeable future. In this awful environment, some interesting data has appeared about public attitudes from two important parts of the world: the U.S. and the Middle East. Here are a few thoughts about the findings. Please read this as not as a collection of cold statistics, but as a tally of how human beings assess the lives and value of other human beings, their responsibility to humanity and their fears and morals. U.S. on Syria: 45 percent of Americans…Read More... | 11 Comments
In their haste to unify Jewish youth in support of Israel, American Jewish institutions have bred an often unrecognized racism among the next generation of community leaders. By Roi Bachmutsky Demonstrations in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah have come alive again as of this past Friday, aiming to show solidarity with the Shamasneh family who have appealed the impending eviction from their home. Unbeknownst to many, the struggle in Sheikh Jarrah reaches far beyond the borders of Jerusalem. In fact, it affects ethnic tensions half a world away by influencing how American Jewish youth internalize the separation between…Read More... | 6 Comments
Yesterday morning's air strike in Syria was apparently the latest instance of Israeli aggression posing as self-defense. No Israeli public figure I'm aware of has spoken out against yesterday morning's attack on an arms convoy transferring weapons (reportedly not chemical ones) from Syria to Hezbollah, which, according to foreign news agencies, was carried out by the Israel Air Force. Everybody here is scared - look what's happening in Syria, there's chemical weapons up there, the country's breaking up. "The entire area is raging and we must be prepared and strong and determined in the face of any possible development," Netanyahu…Read More... | 74 Comments
It's not what the Jewish majority likes to believe. A common Jewish Israeli criticism of Arab Knesset members is that they do a disservice to their constituents by focusing on high politics, mainly the Palestinian issue, instead of dealing with bread-and-butter economic issues that would really help them. (There may be something self-serving about this line of criticism, but who knows?) Last week I went to Jedeida-Makker, an Israeli Arab village a couple of miles inland from Acre, to hear Balad MK Haneen Zoabi give a campaign speech. The residents, including the local council head, indeed told her that she…Read More... | 42 Comments
+972 Magazine's Haggai Matar was recently awarded the 2012 Anna Lindh Mediterranean Journalist Award in the Online Media Category for his 12-part series "The Wall, 10 years on," which was first published on +972. The series surveys Israel's separation wall in the West Bank, or what Haggai calls the "biggest, most expensive and most influential construction project in Israel’s history." Haggai shared the 5,000 euro prize with Sophie Chamas (Lebanon), whose piece also won. Click here for the entire project: The Wall: 10 years on / Haggai Matar The award was first launched by the Anna Lindh Foundation in 2006 to recognize the role…Read More... | 7 Comments
On the 30th anniversary of the Sabra and Shatila massacre, a Jewish American nurse who provided humanitarian aid in a Beirut hospital recalls her first encounter with IDF soldiers. Today, she asks them to take a few moments during the Jewish New Year to remember. To the IDF soldiers who were at Sabra and Shatila, September 2012 will mark the 30th anniversary of the massacre at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Beirut. In 1982, the first day of Rosh Hashanah coincided with the final hours of that horrific event. This year, the first day of the Jewish New Year, September 16,…Read More... | 4 Comments
Israelis are ever so sensitive to threats from "the other side," be it Palestinian militant groups or Iran's leaders. It's understandable; nobody likes vows to wipe his or her country off the map. Yet for some reason, the same people become tone-deaf when it's Israel that threatens its neighbors. A well-known example is Israel's current foreign minister's offer - made in a meeting with foreign ambassadors! - to bomb the Aswan Dam in case of a confrontation with Egypt, causing the flooding of vast areas around the Nile. Except for some feeble condemnations, Lieberman paid no political price for his words, and Binyamin…Read More... | 98 Comments
When "Yossi and Jagger" appeared 10 years ago, I found it both heartrending and groundbreaking. Opening up the still-taboo subject of homosexuality in the army, the film provided a sharp critique of the militarist-machoist complex that reigns over Israeli society in general. It exposed simply but precisely how that complex is the source of various social ills that touch the lives of many ordinary Israelis. The central plot revolved around the secrecy of gay life, but the film smoothly incorporated low-volume sub-plots that exposed the other sinister consequences: the exploitation and abuse of women, the alienation of parents from their…Read More... | 5 Comments
From Haifa to the Lebanese border, but I mean all the way to the border, via two self proclaimed republics and a Persian paradise. The train rolls north from Haifa, through an industrial hell I'd rather not describe, and I anyway already did, when passing here on the September Journey). I'm not staying here, I'm headed for a pretty place. Outside the ancient city of Acre is the tomb of Bahá'u'lláh, the Persian-born founder of the Bahá'í faith. Bahá'u'lláh was brought to Acre as prisoner by the Ottomans and kept in a cell in the city's grand crusader castle. He…Read More... | 22 Comments
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RT @MairavZ: Report: Arab parties threaten to resign from the Knesset if new law is passed raising threshold http://t.co/BTol8NKhNZ
PHOTOS: Visiting the last standing Nakba village of Lifta http://t.co/1jGvEzd5yV by @activestills http://t.co/9IwSovBH6W
Check out @activestills’s photos of the week http://t.co/59laZqlEp2 Below: Animal rights activists arrested http://t.co/DQJ3pdG1Sd
What 'painful concessions' are there left for Palestinians to make? http://t.co/ZpasFG8F8I
Get ready for @activestills’s photos of the week. This week: Climbing the wall in Bil’in http://t.co/59laZqlEp2 http://t.co/OgZnkbSSnM