As elections approach, Israeli politicians are misleading the public about war crimes probes, and according to one general-turned-politician, about war itself. (This analysis originally contained a previous section called, 'Is the ICC running against Netanyahu in Israeli elections?' It has been published as a separate article here.) “War is merely the continuation of politics by other means.” — Carl von Clausewitz Retired Israeli army general Yoav Galant suggested that Israel's assassination of a senior Hezbollah commander and an Iranian general in Syria on Sunday might have been timed with electoral politics in mind. Appearing as a guest commentator on Israel’s…Read More... | 33 Comments
operation pillar of defense
As evidence of Israeli war crimes mounts in Gaza, Netanyahu's latest escalation will only add to his country's increasing international pariah status. Just over 24 hours after reports emerged that Israel and the Palestinians – with American urging – had reached a deal to gradually end the Gaza blockade, Israel began targeting the very people with whom it had been indirectly negotiating. Following a reported assassination attempt on Hamas military wing leader Mohammed Deif, which instead killed his wife and young child, Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said she would "always support the targeted killings of terror leaders," adding unequivocally: "I do…Read More... | 20 Comments
With a ceasefire now in effect between Israel and Hamas, diplomacy can begin to take root. By Lolita Brayman A 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire between Israel and Hamas seems to be shakily holding, with a lull in rocket attacks and the deployment of the Israeli military to positions outside of Gaza. The IDF spokesperson officially announced on Tuesday that Operation Protective Edge’s goal – to destroy all known terrorist tunnels leading into Israel – was complete. What was looking like a unilateral Israeli withdrawal from Gaza a few days ago, a surprising move that forced Hamas to change its strategy and…Read More... | 10 Comments
Israel says that 'no country in the world' would agree to live under the threat of Gaza's rockets, but ignores its own culpability in its 100-eyes-for-an eye spiral of violence. Text and photos by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org One of the common talking points used to defend Israel’s pummeling of Gaza is that “no country in the world" would agree to live under the threat of rockets. (Robert Fisk gives at least one historic example to the contrary.) But thin as the argument may be, it begs the question: Why single out Israel for criticism? Here’s one guess: has any other self-declared…Read More... | 18 Comments
The kind of violence visited upon the people of Gaza is designed to strafe armies, not refugee camps or city blocks. In the aftermath of Israel's last major assault on Gaza -- nine days of round-the-clock bombing and shelling which began on November 14, 2012 -- I visited the scene of one of its most horrific tragedies. Here's the Human Rights Watch description of what happened: An Israeli airstrike that killed 12 civilians – the largest number of civilians killed in a single attack during the Gaza fighting in November – was a clear violation of the laws of war.…Read More... | 5 Comments
His antagonism to all Palestinians – to Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority no less than to Hamas – started and steadily fueled the chain reaction that led to the current misery. On Monday of last week, June 30, Reuters ran a story that began: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Hamas on Monday of involvement, for the first time since a Gaza war in [November] 2012, in rocket attacks on Israel and threatened to step up military action to stop the strikes. So even by Israel’s own reckoning, Hamas had not fired any rockets in the year-and-a-half since “Operation Pillar of Defense”…Read More... | 40 Comments
Israeli incursions in the West Bank are the largest since the Second Intifada, while airstrikes over Gaza continue for a fifth consecutive night. "The 'party' tonight is lasting longer than usual," says my friend from Gaza. He recently married, and he and his wife moved to the top floor of an apartment building with panoramic views of Gaza City. For the last five nights, those views have given him a reporter's vantage point on a sustained Israeli bombing campaign - the longest since Operation Pillar of Defense, the nine-day attack on the 25-mile-long strip in November of 2012. At the…Read More... | 32 Comments
The Israeli and Egyptian blockade on Gaza has led to ever-rising unemployment, construction skidding to a halt and water is becoming scarcer than ever. By Avi Blecherman Last week the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics published its most recent unemployment data in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The unemployment rate in Gaza jumped last quarter and now stands at 40.8 percent. That means that there are currently approximately 180,000 unemployed people in Gaza. That's a 30 percent jump from this time last year, and the highest since 2009. For the sake of comparison, the unemployment rate in the…Read More...
A year after 165 Palestinians and six Israelis were killed, political leaders have yet to conduct independent, impartial investigations into allegations of human rights violations. If neither side demonstrates the political will to protect all civilians, the cycle of violations will become a recurring nightmare. By Yonatan Gher On 21 November 2012, 13-year-old Mahmoud Abu Khousa was killed when he was struck by a missile fired by an Israeli drone as he walked to a shop down the road from his home in the al-Manara area of Gaza City. Delegates from Amnesty International's International Secretariat examined the site of the missile…Read More... | 22 Comments
While most Israelis were focused on the latest war on Gaza or the last election, verbal incitement, physical attacks, incarceration without trial and forced deportation of Africans continued unabated. A timeline of Israel's war on African asylum-seekers between November 2012 and May 2013. By David Sheen Last Thursday, May 23, 2013, marked exactly one year to the day when a thousand Jewish Israelis ran rampant through the streets of Tel Aviv, smashing and looting African-operated businesses and physically assaulting any dark-skinned person they came across. Sadly, the Israeli economic, political and religious establishment - who were in large measure responsible for…Read More... | 9 Comments
Human rights organization B’Tselem published a report reviewing harm to civilians in Operation Pillar of Defense. The report provides statistics on the numbers of Palestinians and Israelis killed over the course of the operation, which lasted from November 14 to 21, 2012. The report challenges the common perception in the Israeli public and media that the operation was 'surgical' and caused practically no fatalities among uninvolved Palestinian civilians. Furthermore, the report finds that there was a significant difference between the first and the final days of the operation: of the uninvolved Palestinian fatalities, 80 percent were killed in the last…Read More... | 5 Comments
An interview with a key Hamas figure in al-Monitor published Friday explores a pragmatic potential and a shift in tactics for the movement. ‘Pragmatic’ is certainly the word interviewer Shlomi Eldar, one of Israel’s top television reporters covering Palestinian affairs, wants readers to remember. His subject is Dr. Ghazi Hamad, currently Deputy Foreign Minister of the Hamas leadership in Gaza, heads the “pragmatic wing” of Hamas and the interview is all about the changes of policy, external relations, and possibly even ideology. Three specific points are worth noting, two internal and one related to Israel: First, in the context of…Read More... | 36 Comments
In my third post about publishing--or, rather, not publishing--my book about migrant workers and African refugees in Israel, I examine the role of violence in the media and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And then there was a ray of light. In the wake of the May 2012 race riot in Tel Aviv, the mainstream media was suddenly paying attention to African refugees in the Jewish state. My agent called to say that we might be able to ride the wave of violence to sell my book about migrants in Israel. There’s something wrong with an industry that only sits up and takes…Read More... | 10 Comments
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