What kind of democratic struggle excludes people based on their ethno-religious or national identities, and what kind of liberation is really possible when it concerns only one nation and its nationalism? By Benjamin Birely On the evening of May 1st, 1921 the Jaffa-based Socialist Workers Party (MPS), later the “Palestine Communist Party” and a forerunner of today’s Maki, organized a small, unauthorized march between Jaffa and Tel Aviv. Participants marched under a banner in Yiddish that triumphantly called for the establishment of “Soviet Palestine.” Arabic filers were distributed to onlookers. The march ran through Manshiyya, an Arab neighborhood erased literally…Read More... | 41 Comments
Resolutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be reached either by agreement or evolution. As the peace talks stumble toward their formal end point, there are essentially four scenarios for political developments between the river and the sea, excluding resurgent violence: two states by agreement, two states by evolution, one state by agreement, or one sovereign entity by evolution. Policymakers should acknowledge these scenarios openly to assess what each one will mean for the future of the region. I recently proposed using basic values as a guideline to assess the desirability of such scenarios: reducing violence, realizing human and civil rights,…Read More... | 12 Comments
The Israeli military has implemented positive developments in its juvenile court system in recent years, and yet, regular allegations of serious abuses persist. A look at what has been done and what still needs to take place. By Gerard Horton Since the establishment of Israel’s military juvenile court in September 2009, there have been some noteworthy developments in the way children as young as 12 are treated in Israel’s military legal system. The establishment of the court has led to several changes, including: a reduction in the time in which children must be brought before a military court judge for…Read More... | 1 Comment
The eponymous scene of On the Side of the Road, a documentary that explores Israeli attitudes toward the Palestinian Nakba, or catastrophe, occurs midway through the film on an unpaved road just outside the West Bank settlement of Ariel. Interrupted by a curious Israeli family out for a pastoral drive, director Lia Tarachansky stops to answer their questions about what she is filming (“what TV channel will it be on?”). As they drive on, the children waving and smiling their good byes, Tarachansky stands alone on the side of the road and suddenly bursts into tears. “I mean, everyone I…Read More... | 51 Comments
In the last week, things have changed between the U.S. and Israel. Kerry may have the guts to continue refusing to lie for Israel's occupation – which is all that’s needed to shake its foundations. This is no tiff. If it hadn’t happened on the same day, last Thursday, that the breakthrough came in the Geneva talks on Iran’s nuclear program, John Kerry’s joint interview on Israeli and Palestinian TV – and the chain reaction it would have set off – would still be dominating the news from the Middle East. Instead, it was a one-day story, overtaken by the chain…Read More... | 30 Comments
Mya Guarnieri confronts discrimination, identity politics -- and the occupation -- as she searches for an apartment in Bethlehem. Read her previous post, 'Reflections on one state from the West Bank.' Not knowing much about my background, the elderly landlord who doesn’t rent to Jews called and asked me to come sign a lease. Despite my reservations, I agreed. The landlord ushered me in and we sat on a couch on her large, enclosed balcony. “First, I must ask you,” she began. “What is your religion?” “I don’t see how that’s really relevant.” While I understand that she and her family have…Read More... | 26 Comments
The first time I went to my current sublease in Bethlehem, I noticed something strange on the floor — the Star of David. When I moved into the place and looked closer at the pattern, I noticed a menorah. Here I was, in the heart of a Palestinian city, and the floor was “Jewish.” My apartment is in a home that is at least 100 years old. Hand-painted floor tiles were common in wealthy homes — Christian, Muslim, and Jewish — throughout pre-state Palestine. While I know that the land wasn’t always divided, the current context makes it hard to…Read More... | 33 Comments
'My suspicious ethnic identity coupled with my criticisms of Israel were enough to get me banned from Israel and more importantly, barred from being able to tell stories from the West Bank.' By Anna Lekas Miller "Do you think we are some kind of joke? Do you think you can start over with us?” The Shin Bet officer looks at me across his desk, his eyes seeming to pop through his glasses like I was some kind of insolent teenager cum social pariah. I straightened my posture and tried to smile, although my eyes probably expressed more disgust than anything…Read More... | 36 Comments
The Palestinian, in whose head is engraved an image of the lands that were torn away from him, now faces an entirely different picture that clashes with the narrative and imagery of his grandparents' stories. Haifa of today is not the Haifa of Al-Shrak Cafe or the 1920s and 30s capital of Palestinian culture. An entry permit is a statement in and of itself: Here, you are permitted to enter once again, to have a good time, to pray. That is, as long as you behave yourself. By Fady Asleh One of the questions that came up during Ramadan last…Read More... | 11 Comments
If Netanyahu doesn't agree to negotiate on the basis of the 1967 border, the Palestinians' consent to negotiate with him will amount to surrender - which, until he proves differently, is what Bibi wants. The consensus seems to be that any Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are better than none, so Kerry is being congratulated for getting the two sides to agree to meet in Washington to see if they can then agree on a starting point for negotiations. A big step in the right direction, goes the mainstream view. And it will be just that - if Netanyahu agrees to…Read More... | 31 Comments
Israeli policy conveys that there is no Palestine, only two chunks of land divided by people, politics and culture. Some international actors and many Israelis are convinced. Are Palestinians? A recent New York Times report on the World Economic Forum held at the Dead Sea last month, carried the following headline: “Trying to Revive Mideast Talks, Kerry Pushes Investment Plan for West Bank.” The first paragraph of the article went on to explain: In an effort to revive the moribund peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, Secretary of State John Kerry announced a plan on Sunday to invest as…Read More... | 14 Comments
Every once in a while I get a comment on one of my posts along the lines of: 'Why don’t you do anything about Syria, huh? If you’re such a human rights activist, why don’t you care about places where people are suffering much more right in your neighborhood? Huh??' or 'You know, the Arabs have it much better in Israel than anywhere else! They should count their blessings!' And it makes me wonder... Ring, ring! Ring, ring! Operator: Atrocities Unlimited, how can I help you? Palestine: Hello, my name is Palestine. Operator: Hello Mr. Palestine, what can I do…Read More... | 61 Comments
The resignation of the Palestinian Authority's relatively popular but unsupported Prime Minister Salam Fayyad ends a story of frustration, progress and hope. Who killed the prime minister of Palestine? Well, no one killed Salam Fayyad, of course. But the idea of a prime minister of Palestine, the political leader of a someday-democratic state-coming-into being who would lead with cosmopolitan pragmatism, international credibility, and state-building savvy, seems now officially dead. After warnings and false starts, Fayyad has turned in his resignation and it has apparently been accepted by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas – according to reports. The resignation was precipitated…Read More... | 14 Comments
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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
Palestine advocates who condone anti-Semitism should not be speaking on behalf of Palestinians, says @YasmeenSerhan http://t.co/fBXTB86Xmo
How war brings out the best and worst in Israeli society http://t.co/mda4598bZ5