The arrest of journalist Majd Kayyal is a troubling example of Israel's fear of ties between its own Arab population and the Palestinian Authority, while claiming the right to have similar ties with Jews around the world. The main segment in the Shin Bet's (Israeli Security Agency) official comment on the detention of journalist and activist Majd Kayyal for nearly five days, without the possibility of meeting his lawyers and under a strict gag order, reads as follows: In his interrogation it became clear that [Kayyal] left for Lebanon in order to attend a convention of the Lebanese newspaper As-Safir,…Read More... | 3 Comments
The Palestinian leadership changed, the political circumstances shifted, administrations came and went, but every round of talks involving Netanyahu follows the same dynamic, and ends the same way. When talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators resumed last summer, a couple of pollsters asked Israelis whether they think Prime Minister Netanyahu actually supports the two-state solution – which, at least in theory, was the agreed-upon goal of the process. The results didn’t receive enough attention at the time: one poll, published on Channel 2’s website, found that 50 percent of the public didn’t think Netanyahu genuinely adopted the two-state solution, as…Read More... | 34 Comments
Politically, this is a moment of opportunity, but it carries a painful human price. The Palestinians have “won” the Kerry peace initiative: the Obama administration is blaming both sides for its likely failure, not just the Palestinian side, which is the most they could have expected. The New York Times editorial goes one better: it points the finger pretty squarely at Netanyahu, which is radical for a Times editorial. So the Palestinians, having the clear sympathy of Europe and the rest of the world as the aggrieved party, can go to the UN after the talks run out on April…Read More... | 64 Comments
Bethlehem's Aida refugee camp is located right next to the separation barrier and the massive Israeli checkpoint known as 300. As Aida is subject to frequent raids by both Israeli soldiers as well as Palestinian Authority forces, it sees regular clashes. A young woman who lives in Aida told me that last week, when Israeli forces entered the camp, she and other girls threw stones at the soldiers. Before the soldiers had a chance to arrest or shoot at them, the girls scattered, running into any house they could. The young woman told me that while an elderly woman let…Read More... | 23 Comments
A self-fulfilling prophecy is playing out in the north. After nearly eight years of quiet, Israel’s northern border got stormy over the past week. The culmination of the tit-for-tat violence was a bomb placed on the border with Syria that wounded four Israeli soldiers, one seriously, which was followed by an Israeli air strike on a Syrian military base that killed a soldier and wounded others. Amos Harel, Haaretz’s military affairs correspondent, wrote the following: There has been no such series of events in the north since the Second Lebanon War in 2006. The pace is starting to resemble the…Read More... | 69 Comments
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
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A look into the daily life of African refugees living in an 'open' detention center.
Kerry's peace process
Full coverage, commentary and analysis of the latest round of peace talks.
Plan to displace Bedouin
Will tens of thousands of Israeli citizens be evicted from their homes?
A series of striking infographics.
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