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  • Why it may be time to rethink Abbas

    There is great desire and momentum for change in Israel and Palestine, yet a dire lack of leadership to harness it. If given the international support he needs, could Mahmoud Abbas be the one to guide that change? By Abraham Gutman Last week, on my way to listen to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speak at Cooper Union, I was talking to my sister on the phone. I told her that I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to feel going into the speech. As an Israeli, I tend to automatically get defensive when it comes to issues of Israel and…

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  • Replacing the peace process with a civil rights struggle

    What would happen if Israeli progressives and their supporters demanded an end to the military court system, or called for freedom of movement for Palestinians? The answer: a lot. The two-state solution has long been transformed from a means (to solving the problem of the occupation) to an end. As I wrote here in the past, this change has had severe consequences as far as the Israeli political opposition is concerned. Those range from a de-facto acceptance of the status quo to a political alliance with the Right and support for all the latest rounds of violence. The excuses are always…

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  • What to expect from the Israeli Right after Protective Edge

    Progressive forces in Israel need to be prepared: The Israeli Right has yet to exhaust all of its options for dealing with the Palestinians. The alternatives to Netanyahu's status quo involve moves toward a Greater Israel and full segregation based on extreme nationalism and hatred. By Mati Shemoelof (translated by Rotem Nir) If there is one thing we should have learned from the past couple of months, it’s an appreciation of just how high the stakes are in Israel. The Israeli Zionist Left is not capable of leading this country to serious change; change will only come when the Right betrays its…

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  • War is the new system of governance (and five other Gaza takeaways)

    The status quo of the occupation has reached a new level of violence and destruction, but there is no political power in sight that can impose a change on the ground. 1. Israel paid more than it expected for a bit less than it wanted. Israel’s strategic goal in this war was to maintain the status quo on the Palestinian issue. Prime Minister Netanyahu outlined this notion from the first days of the war, when he presented his ceasefire formula: if Hamas stops shooting, we stop shooting. Israel got most of what it wanted, but at a greater price than expected,…

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  • No, Hamas isn’t ISIS, ISIS isn’t Hamas

    But equating the two is Netanyahu’s latest way of hypnotizing people into supporting the Gaza war. He gets away with it because people are afraid that if they challenge this idiotic slogan, they’ll be accused of ‘defending Hamas.’ Anybody who isn’t a shill for Israel can see through Netanyahu’s new slogan, “Hamas is ISIS, ISIS is Hamas.” It’s such a crude attempt to brainwash people, to put the most horrifying image in their minds and associate it with Gaza, thereby cleansing Israel of those images of Gaza’s agony. Like he’s been doing his whole career, Netanyahu is insulting people’s intelligence,…

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  • The West Bank may be on the verge of exploding

    Armed men roam the streets, enlisting people to the Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade, Fatah officials call for the end to security coordination with Israel and Mahmoud Abbas is seen as the enemy of the people. Is the explosion closer than we think? By Gershon Baskin I have just returned from a work visit to Ramallah. I am very concerned and disturbed by what I heard from friends and colleagues there. The calm appearance of the city hides the sizzling bubbling under the surface. The West Bank is on the verge of explosion. As an illustration of what I've heard from people…

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  • In ceasefire talks, Netanyahu is letting Hamas win Gaza war

    The great mystery is: Why? In the Cairo ceasefire talks, Netanyahu is snatching diplomatic defeat from the jaws of military victory. I have no explanation for why he’s doing this and I have yet to hear a convincing one. There must be something Netanyahu knows that no one else does. Otherwise his concessions at the Cairo talks, after blitzing the Gaza Strip for five weeks, leaving Hamas able to do no more than fire short-range rockets over the Israeli border, and being hailed in Israel as a warrior king, make no sense at all. Meretz leader Zahava Gal-On gave an…

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  • The time is ripe for a UN resolution on Gaza

    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…

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  • Protective Edge: The disengagement undone

    Israel's latest operation has brought about an end to the notion that Gaza can be separated from the rest of Palestine. The current war in Gaza demands we revisit the circumstances surrounding Israel’s “disengagement” from the Gaza Strip in 2005. Supporters of the war often claim that Israel left the territory and “got rockets in return.” The first rocket was fired from Gaza in 2001, but there is a more important point to be made here: one cannot evacuate a certain part of the occupied territories and expect the problem to be solved – at least in that particular area…

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  • Why Israel won’t sign any ceasefire that’s fair

    A fair ceasefire would bring major relief for Gaza, which would mean Hamas wins the war. The ceasefire that the world is now pushing for – one that, as UN chief Ban Ki-Moon put it, not only ends the fighting but also ends Israel’s “chokehold on Gaza” – is one that the Netanyahu government will not accept. It should accept it, because Gazans have the right to be free, but it won’t. Its rejection of John Kerry’s offer on Friday – which reportedly would have allowed the Israeli army to go on destroying Gazan tunnels even during a week-long ceasefire…

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  • The unfolding lie of Operation Protective Edge

    An Israeli leadership truly interested in a peace agreement would not have driven its partner to the point of lacking any leadership authority among his people. But that is exactly the point. Israel is not really interested in peace or in a partner who can bring about peace. By Idan Landau (Translated from Hebrew by Ofer Neiman) In January 2011 the winds of the Arab Spring blew through Gaza and the West Bank, and the four-year rift between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas came to an end. Reconciliation talks took three months, and were boosted by mass demonstrations of Palestinians…

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  • Why are there are no white flags in Gaza?

    Israel may think that bombing - and killing - innocents is a viable strategy. But there is a better option: to actually understand what has been driving Palestinian resistance for all these decades. Point out the barbarity of Israel's ongoing attacks against Gaza - as of this writing, more than 80 killed, a quarter of them under the age of 16 - and you're bound to hear a familiar rejoinder: but what exactly would you have Israel do? The question implies that the root cause of the current attacks is some - presumably innate - Palestinian propensity toward violence. "They"…

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  • Why I object to this military campaign, even as missiles fall on my city

     On prisoners, guards and misunderstandings. Even today, when rockets are exploding above the city I love most in the world, even when we rush into our apartment building's stairwell and march downstairs along with the neighbors to the bicycle room that has been turned into a makeshift bomb shelter. Even now, I oppose this military operation wholeheartedly. The sight of the IAF’s attack helicopters crossing the sky, going south along the Tel Aviv coastline does not fill me with pride or gratitude - it horrifies and depresses me. Even after operations such as Defensive Shield, Summer Rains, Cast Lead, Pillar…

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