From arrests to home invasions to airstrikes, the repercussions of Bibi's finger pointing are being felt throughout the West Bank and Gaza. Reports surfaced yesterday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considering "expelling" Hamas leaders from the West Bank, ostensibly as punishment for the alleged kidnapping of three Jewish teenagers. The scheme harkens to December 1992, when then Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin famously banished 415 Palestinians to what was considered a no-man's-land just over the Lebanese border. Literally dumped on a hilltop and stateless, these accused members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad set up camp in the harsh winter --…Read More... | 75 Comments
Majd Kayyal, the Palestinian journalist from Haifa who Israel detained incommunicado when he returned from Lebanon, speaks to +972 about what it's like visiting Beirut as a Palestinian, his Shin Bet interrogation and why Israel wants to deter Palestinian citizens of Israel from visiting the Arab world. Text by Rami Younis Photos by Shiraz Grinbaum/Activestills.org He just sat there. I’d look at him occasionally, taking little sips from his cold beer, looking very peaceful, almost aloof from all the phones and commotion of activists around him. He’d give a piece of advice or share a joke with whoever was beside…Read More... | 9 Comments
Majd Kayyal's right to travel and participate in a conference in Beirut is far more important than his right to fulfill his role as a journalist. That right belongs to him as a human being, an Arab and a Palestinian who has absorbed the cultural richness of Lebanon's capital. By Salah Mohsen The release of Majd Kayyal, journalist and web editor at Adalah, after five days of detention and complete isolation from the outside world - without the right to meet with an attorney or have his case heard due to a sweeping gag order - proves that his detention…Read More... | 26 Comments
A self-fulfilling prophecy is playing out in the north. After nearly eight years of quiet, Israel’s northern border got stormy over the past week. The culmination of the tit-for-tat violence was a bomb placed on the border with Syria that wounded four Israeli soldiers, one seriously, which was followed by an Israeli air strike on a Syrian military base that killed a soldier and wounded others. Amos Harel, Haaretz’s military affairs correspondent, wrote the following: There has been no such series of events in the north since the Second Lebanon War in 2006. The pace is starting to resemble the…Read More... | 69 Comments
Tens of thousands of Palestinians have languished for over 65 years in the Ein el-Hilweh refugee camp, waiting to return home. Now, through his documentary, Mahdi Fleifel reveals an essential side of Palestinian exile that is often forgotten: the human side. It was heartening that the Academy bestowed its highest honors this year to “Twelve Years a Slave,” a story about injustice and liberation, and recognizing America’s historic cruelty towards its people. Maybe it is the curse of the oppressed to achieve their greatest recognition only when the primary injury of oppression is long over, after it can really help. Palestinians…Read More... | 8 Comments
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... | 19 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
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Assault on Gaza
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NOW: Israeli air strikes pound #Gaza, day after militants kill five soldiers http://t.co/HvCgl5e367 by @edokonrad
RT @BBCWorld: #Gaza: Israel warplanes bombed home of former Hamas PM Ismail #Haniyeh, his son Abed wrote on Facebook via @Rushdibbc http://…
Is Israel really willing to prolong the fighting just so that Hamas' allies don't get credit for the ceasefire? http://t.co/jyM0Nh0h85
'Unprecedented' violence stalks anti-war demos across Israel http://t.co/kRiMNpMtLX
Why did Israel reject Kerry's ceasefire proposal? http://t.co/jyM0Nh0h85 by @Elizrael
Which countries are pulling the strings behind #Gaza ceasefire talks? What interests are at play? http://t.co/vmMvDP3g4a by @AzizAbuSarah
Despite the Israeli government's best efforts, Gaza and the West Bank will remain a single unit: http://t.co/JJXK50qOkF