Has the seemingly permanent nature of Israeli control over the Palestinians rendered the legal term 'occupation' invalid? Last week I attended a one-day symposium in the Netherlands on the EU's role in Israel/Palestine, hosted by 'A Different Jewish Voice,' a local pro-peace group. You can read my notes from the event here. Below are comments delivered by Prof. Menachem Klein of Bar-Ilan University. Klein, who teaches political science, was a board member of the human rights organization B'Tselem and currently serves on the board of Ir Amin, an NGO monitoring Israeli policies in Jerusalem. Prof. Klein tackled the common view…Read More... | 111 Comments
It's not uncommon to hear Israeli leaders accuse the Palestinian Authority and its media outlets of inciting to violence against Israelis and Jews. But is it actually true? A closer examination of the evidence reveals that the habitual blaming of the Palestinian Authority is not only mostly unfounded, it is the product of a direct line between right-wing groups and the Prime Minister's Office. By Yizhar Be'er (Translated from Hebrew by Miriam Erez) John Kerry’s arrival in the region and the looming “threat” of a final-status agreement have compelled right-wing leaders to pull out the old canard of “Palestinian incitement.”…Read More... | 37 Comments
He's dealt a blow to Israel's prospects in the all-important blame game. By making Israel look like the rejectionist side in the peace process, and by doing so in a spectacularly galling way, Defense Minister Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon’s verbal attack on John Kerry has helped the cause of ending the occupation. It’s no mystery that the overriding goal of both Israel and the Palestinians in Kerry’s peace talks has been to avoid getting blamed for their inevitable failure. Now, after Ya’alon dissed Kerry and his diplomatic baby so thoroughly and contemptuously – and, even more to the point, without…Read More... | 3 Comments
It’s pretty difficult to pinpoint anything resembling a starting point for the latest violence; prior to last week, Israeli forces killed 19 Palestinians since July, compared to four Israelis who were killed. The violence is neither unilateral nor arbitrary. The latest escalation between Israel and the Palestinians has taken lives on both sides over the last week. The Israeli media is now describing the violence as a new “wave of Palestinian terror.” Commentators have said that it’s not clear yet whether this is a third Intifada, indicating an organized uprising, since the attacks appear to have been perpetrated by individuals.…Read More... | 13 Comments
The U.S. and Israel want to limit Palestinian sovereignty, to demilitarize their state, to prevent a Palestinian return and to implement any agreement in stages. But in order for the two-state solution to have a chance at working, they need to do the exact opposite. The deadlock in the peace talks has generated another American diplomatic push, one that seems like the first stage in the administration’s proposal for a final status agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (or, more accurately, the Ramallah-based half of the Palestinian Authority). According to reports, the American team led by Secretary of State John Kerry…Read More... | 16 Comments
Once again, the Obama administration hangs Abbas and the Palestinian Authority out to dry. Halfway through the scheduled nine-month Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, there's been a break in the action, or rather the inaction: the Obama administration, once again, has sought to end the deadlock by backing Netanyahu's illegitimate demands and hanging the Palestinians out to dry. Last Friday the Americans presented a "security plan" ("security" in the American lexicon means security for Israelis, not Palestinians) that calls for Israeli troops to remain in the Jordan Valley - in the West Bank, in a future Palestine, on the Palestinian side of their…Read More... | 12 Comments
The two parties haven’t met in almost a month, and Israeli politicians are now openly discussing the success of maintaining the status quo. Even the crisis with the European Union is over. Roughly halfway through the current round of negotiations, the talks between Israeli and Palestinians negotiators have hit a new low point. Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat told A-Shams Radio station that the two teams haven’t met since November 5th. He added that the talks are so futile that Palestinians are better off turning to the UN right away. Erekat also recently submitted his resignation to Palestinian Authority President…Read More... | 24 Comments
Nine years on, Yasser Arafat's death brings up more questions than answers. Speculation runs rampant as to the nature of his death, while the potential for a scientifically conclusive cause of death, let alone the identity of a possible perpetrator, fades away. By Marian Houk In "Killing Arafat," a recent Al-Jazeera documentary on the mysterious death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, former Palestinian Foreign Minister (and Arafat's nephew) Nasser al-Qidwa says that there is a reason why no autopsy had been conducted on the venerated PLO chairman. According to al-Qidwa, the Palestinians "would have seen with their own eyes a…Read More... | 3 Comments
The man in charge of Israeli security provides his expert opinion that violence against Israelis is a direct result of negotiations with Palestinians and thus anathema to Israeli security. Can't the same be argued regarding Israeli violence against Palestinians? Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon blamed the recent murder of Israelis in the West Bank on the peace process. By doing so, he instantaneously undermined the government's involvement in U.S.-brokered diplomacy with the Palestinians, and made it clear that he opposes negotiations. Speaking at a conference Sunday night, and reported thus far in Ma'ariv (Hebrew) and settler-outfit Arutz Sheva in English, Ya'alon added that the…Read More... | 4 Comments
For the past month, the Holy Land was the only place in the world where time zones are delineated not by geography but by ethnicity. As of this morning, for the first time in a month, all the residents of the Holy Land are living in the same time zone. In late September, the Palestinian Authority switched to winter time, but the West Bank's Israeli settlers continued living in line with Israel's clock, which only made the switch today. Thus, for one month, the West Bank became the only place in the world where time is not delineated by geography but…Read More... | 20 Comments
By Lisa Goldman and Dahlia Scheindlin (This article has been updated. See the addendum below.) In a recent New York Times op-ed, a prominent American academic posits that the time for implementing a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict is now past. Ian Lustick, a professor of comparative politics at University of Pennsylvania, argues that after 20 years of failed negotiations, the two-state paradigm is a proven failure. The Americans, Palestinian Authority and Israeli government cling to what he calls the “two state illusion” out of vested interests that have nothing to do with the facts on the ground. It…Read More... | 66 Comments
Disruptions in Israeli water supplies often earns bold headlines in the Israeli media. But when Palestinian communities are cut off from the water supply for days or weeks on end, it doesn't make the news. And while the Israeli government often supplies Israeli settlements with an infrastructure that guarantees water access, Palestinians must store their water in large containers, due to frequent shortages. This is the story of Al-Ma'asara, a village near Bethlehem that sees its water supply cut off sporadically for extended periods of time, and the inability of the Palestinian Authority to do anything about it. .Read More... | 7 Comments
I was sent to the Occupied Palestinian Territories on the day the Accords were signed, and got to spend the Oslo years in uniform. Twenty years ago I was in the final section of "advanced training” in my infantry unit, five months into my mandatory service in the IDF. We were about to go to Gaza - our first taste of active military assignments. The massive protests of the First Intifada had ceased by then, and service in the occupied territories was considered a relatively easy and risk-free mission. The real attention was given to southern Lebanon, where units like…Read More... | 4 Comments
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