Attacks by Jewish hooligans on Arabs, unprecedented incitement by right-wing politicians and clashes between Israeli Police and Arab youth. We've been here before, but never like this. By Ron Gerlitz This article is written at the height of an extensive, violent escalation in the Jewish-Arab conflict, both within Israel and between Israel and the Palestinians in the territories and the Gaza Strip. Regarding the events inside Israel, it is important to note the dramatic difference between the events of October 2000 and those of the past week. In October 2000, it was Arab citizens of Israel confronting the police. In…Read More... | 6 Comments
Palestinian teenager killed in clashes in Jenin while Israeli Air Force strikes over 30 targets in Gaza. Hamas still denies involvement in the deadly kidnapping. In response to the murder of the three Israeli teenagers kidnapped two weeks ago, the Israeli Air Force struck 34 targets in Gaza Tuesday night, while four rockets were fired into southern Israel from the Strip. In the West Bank, the Israeli army killed 16-year-old Yusef Abu Zaga in Jenin after it entered the city to make arrests. Israel's High Court approved the destruction of the home of Ziyad Awad Tuesday morning. Awad is standing trial in military court…Read More... | 15 Comments
The slow crumbling of Netanyahu's political prestige reached its nadir on Tuesday, when his own heir apparent Gideon Sa'ar turned against him to elevate arch-rival Reuven Rivlin to presidency. Reuven Rivlin's victory in the presidential elections on Tuesday was a resounding one, but nowhere near as resonant as Benjamin Netanyahu's defeat - a domestic political defeat to match his 2013 failure to stop Iran-U.S. rapprochement, which yanked the rug out from under his foreign policy. Rivlin and Netanyahu weren't running against each other. Quite the contrary, Rivlin was the candidate of Netanyahu's own party, Likud, adored by the party's rank-and-file…Read More... | 6 Comments
Netanyahu, Bennett and Liberman used the most horrible sort of anti-Jewish attack as a shield against criticism of their anti-Palestinian policies. Right-wing Israeli leaders get away with such shameless political exploitation of Jewish tragedies, and no one calls them on it. Their use of the Holocaust is of course an old story; the new one is the way they've capitalized on the murders of four people, including a Tel Aviv couple, at the Jewish Museum in Brussels on Saturday. Prime Minister Netanyahu said the killings were caused by “ceaseless incitement against Jews and their state. On European soil, tales and…Read More... | 39 Comments
Raviv Drucker, a prominent journalist who co-hosts a well-known television magazine program on Channel 10, wrote a tough blog post in which he takes some of Israel's best known journalists to task for presenting a completely erroneous interpretation of the Palestinian position regarding a negotiated agreement for a two-state solution. I have translated his post with permission. By Raviv Drucker Ari Shavit has written another one of his fabulous treatises in his exemplary prose style that is, as his articles often are, completely detached from the facts. According to Shavit, Mahmoud Abbas is an intransigent negotiator who fails every time he…Read More... | 17 Comments
If Netanyahu was serious about talks, he would have used the first opportunity to rid the government of the settlers, before moving on to isolate the radicals in his own party. Until we see such a change, the peace process will remain mostly fake. Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth's released a poll on Passover evening examining the option that former Likud Minister Moshe Kahlon run on his own ticket in the coming elections. According to the poll results, Kahlon could win up to 10 seats, most of them from voters of Yesh Atid and Likud. This is the second election poll published…Read More... | 3 Comments
The leader of the Jewish Home party asks Netanyahu to convene the cabinet and discuss the formal annexation of the settlements and 60 percent of the West Bank to Israel. 'The peace talks are dead and I'm proposing an alternative.' Formal annexation of all Israeli settlements, as well as selected parts of Area C of the West Bank (under full Israeli control) - this is Naftali Bennett's response to the Palestinian bid to join 15 UN treaties and institutions. The proposal, based on the plan Bennett publicly championed before running for Knesset (outlined in the video below), claims that annexation…Read More... | 37 Comments
Statements by Israel's prime minister give insight into the -- problematic -- way he views peace talks with the Palestinians. And Naftali Bennett's emptiest threat yet. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday reiterated one of the most problematic views that he and his government hold -- that any future Palestinian state, if there ever is one, will be a painful, albeit generous gift from him to the Palestinian people. Responding to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s intent to accede to 15 international treaties and conventions, Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting: “[The Palestinians] will achieve a…Read More... | 22 Comments
Jewish Home leader and Economics Minister Naftali Bennett could not stand it when European Parliament President Martin Schulz criticized Israeli policy earlier this week. But what ticked him off even more was that Schulz told “lies,” such as that Palestinians have less water than Israelis - and in German! Apparently, Mr. Bennett can’t bear to hear facts, let alone in the German language. But to make sure, I met with the minister in the Knesset for a quick interview to check this thesis, with the help of Google Translate. The following is the transcript of our (imaginary) meeting: Ami Kaufman: Mr.…Read More... | 7 Comments
Knesset Member Zvulun Kalfa, of the pro-settlement Jewish Home party, is calling for Israel to annex the West Bank and allow Palestinians to participate in Israeli general elections. "Palestinians should get full citizenship rights, equality, investment in infrastructure [in their] communities and voting rights to the Knesset," Kalfa told the Israel Hayom daily. According to Kalfa, this is the only way to dismiss for good the claim that Israel is discriminating against Palestinians or that it is an Apartheid state. "I am for a single state for everyone." Kalfa estimates that Jews will be able to remain a majority in the…Read More... | 10 Comments
Prime Minister Netanyahu is fanning the flames of a confrontation with Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett. For now the public rift serves both sides. Concern is growing among the settlers over Kerry's peace initiative. I heard a person close to the Yesha Council – the settlers' main advocacy and lobbying organization – say that at the council’s most recent general assembly, people used terms that haven't been heard since Oslo days. Naftali Bennett, head of the Jewish Home party (formally the National Religious party) attacked Prime Minister Netanyahu earlier this week for floating the idea that Israeli settlers would remain…Read More... | 9 Comments
With his attacks on Kerry, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon is positioning himself as the new leader of the Israeli right. I basically agree with those claiming that there is no daylight between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on the issues, only on style and timing. Netanyahu has surrounded himself with opponents of the two-state solution: his political circles are full of settlers, national-religious and other hawks -- and not only in the cabinet, but in his own bureau. As veteran political correspondent Shalom Yerushalmi noted in Maariv on Wednesday, for weeks these people have been running around saying…Read More... | 11 Comments
Featured prominently in headlines this year were diplomatic initiatives that averted wars and lowered nuclear tensions, boycott victories, Israeli labor organizing, settlers settling in to mainstream politics, human rights defenders and at least one ruthless dictator. +972 bloggers pick the people who, for them, defined Israel, Palestine and the wider region in 2013. Read why +972 bloggers voted Edward Snowden as 2013’s person of the year. Hassan Rouhani, president of Iran Hassan Rouhani and the dynamic he generated in the few short months since becoming Iran's president are a perfect example of how established regional patterns can change when you…Read More... | 4 Comments
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'Both Israel & Hamas are guilty of violating int'l law but yesterday's attack on UNRWA school cld be a game changer' http://t.co/5QswEeDUzV
'The largest West Bank protest in decades' http://t.co/5XChYlD9SA
2 Palestinians killed in clashes with Israeli forces as thousands march from Ramallah to Jlm in support of Gaza http://t.co/4QEDddxQAj
NOW: Thousands of Palestinians marching in West Bank, E. Jlm against Gaza assault; 2 reportedly killed @activestills http://t.co/t7bSoRGfFF
RT @MaanNewsAgency: Palestinian killed by Israeli fire in protest march near Ramallah http://t.co/EMHtTQx2wV #palestine