The time has come to allow ourselves to see this country not only as the battleground of a national struggle but as a shared homeland, which with painful concessions and tremendous confidence-building efforts on both sides, we can turn into a good place where our children will want to live. By Ron Gerlitz As Israel’s Jewish citizens celebrated the Passover holiday last month, its Arab citizens commemorated Land Day. Land Day is a commemoration of the death of six Arab demonstrators in 1976 while protesting massive government land expropriations in the Galilee for the purpose of building new Jewish communities.…Read More... | 1 Comment
Palestinian Citizens of Israel
One Palestinian journalist's meditation on being forced to pay for Haaretz, the only paper he can rely on, but one that also espouses a nationalist ideology he cannot accept. 'I'm fated to be a reluctant reader -- and a reluctant citizen.' By Hakim Bishara It’s morning and I desperately need the news. Where I live, one needs to know what awful things to expect outdoors before leaving the house. I often think of those people who have a favorite newspaper of choice. They develop an easy kinship to the paper: “Have you seen my newspaper?”, they ask around the house;…Read More... | 18 Comments
Many Palestinians — on both sides of the Green Line — see the rise of the openly fascist right wing as a positive development, because eventually it will work to sever the umbilical cord of support to Israel from the world. As Israelis go to the polls to cast their ballots for the Knesset, many Palestinian citizens will not be voting in this round of elections. In a recent New York Times article, correspondent Jodi Rudoren expounds as to the many reasons why this is the case, save one. On a recent trip to the country I spoke with many…Read More... | 143 Comments
Israeli society's neglect of the Arab community over the past 20 years has left many Arab citizens with feelings of antagonism or apathy towards the “only democracy in the Middle East.” By Thair Abu-Rass With the Knesset elections only a day away, speculation about the final outcome is at its peak. Most analysts agree that these elections are unpredictable, with the exception of two facts: Bibi Netanyahu will be elected as prime minister, and there will be a considerable boycott of the election among the Palestinian Arab community in Israel. A Haifa University study conducted last month claimed that only 50.7…Read More... | 14 Comments
The absence of the occupation - the single most important issue which dominates life of Jews and Palestinians in this country - from the Israeli election campaigns, reflects a national existential crisis, and could render the entire democratic process meaningless. Israelis will go to the polls in four days to determine their future, along with that of several million Palestinians who are under Israeli control. This is the inherent paradox in the Israeli system: a majority voting again and again not to allow a very large minority to participate in its political system. One can view Israel as a democracy…Read More... | 17 Comments
Earlier today I posted a short Item regarding today's Haaretz's editorial - urging Arabs to participate in the Israeli elections - which was printed in Arabic as well. I received a lot of responses (most of them negative), so I am posting here a translation of a longer explanation which I posted in Hebrew on my Facebook wall. Even if the best of intentions were behind this editorial, it seems to me like a patronizing act which reflects many of the problems of the Israeli left. First, there is something absurd about making a plea to the Palestinians only when something…Read More... | 7 Comments
Underneath a new Knesset election poll published today by Haaretz, there was a surprising disclaimer: "due to lack of time, the Arab parties weren't surveyed." The reference is to the three non-Zionist and mostly Palestinian Knesset parties: Ra'am-Ta'al, Balad and Hadash, which were nowhere to be found in the charts Haaretz published. Together, they have 11 Knesset seats, including one held by a Jewish member of Hadash. Some polls published in the Israeli media tend to group those parties into one entry, titled "Arab parties." At other times, they ignore them completely. Often pollsters do include Palestinian citizens in their surveys…Read More... | 10 Comments
Wednesday, November 14: Israeli forces have just killed a four-year-old and a seven-year-old in Gaza. Two children. Jeffrey Goldberg tweets*, correctly, that the fighting won’t solve anything. But his phrasing embodies everything that’s wrong with the mainstream media. It also points at the Israeli attitude towards both the Palestinians and the region: Prediction: Assassination of Hamas terror commander will not even partially solve Israel's Gaza problem. Israel’s Gaza problem? The fatalities suggest it’s the other way around. According to B’Tselem, 6500 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces from the start of the Second Intifada in September 2000 until to September…Read More... | 11 Comments
The New York Times published a laudable, bold editorial this weekend that highlights a number of creeping threats to Israeli democracy. The article is vital for reaching audiences who really care about Israel's future. After three years of onslaught on Israel's democratic foundations (which were already deeply flawed), the situation is now urgent. Every day, truly scary signs of under-the-radar McCarthyism can be seen – just this morning Haaretz reported on the attempt to oust an official (Hebrew) in the Education Ministry responsible for civics education, who has come under a right-wing witch-hunt, despite protests by both left- and right-leaning colleagues. The legitimization…Read More... | 9 Comments
By Issa Edward Boursheh In late March, before elections were announced, Cabinet Secretary Zvi Hauser revived an earlier effort to grant Israeli citizens abroad the right to vote. The argument in support of such a bill is that it could increase the level of overall voter participation. But there is every reason to believe that this is not the true concern of the current government and its leaders. The new proposal under consideration, Haaretz reported, was commissioned by Hauser from the Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI), and will enable Israelis to vote in the next Knesset election within four years…Read More... | 20 Comments
The Knesset committee in charge of organizing the torch-lighting ceremony for Independence Day has come up with this year's list of participants--and it doesn't include any Arabs. While Knesset members criticized the exclusion of minorities, the move reflects reality of life in Israel. According to Ynet, a Knesset committee's exclusion of Palestinian citizens of the state from the torch-lighting ceremony that takes place on Jerusalem's Har Herzl and marks Israel's independence drew sharp criticism from a number of Knesset members. Reuven Rivlin, Speaker of the Knesset and a member of the Likud party, remarked: In Israel, there are groups that…Read More... | 11 Comments
The following op ed in Haaretz [Hebrew only] revisits the theme of how unpleasant it can be for an Arab citizen, native-born in Israel, to use his or her national airport to travel freely. Many people have heard this theme before; my colleague Aziz Abu Sarah has written about it thoughtfully, and I reported on a potentially positive Supreme Court ruling a year ago. At the time, I quoted my friend Adeeb Awad and a few others about their experiences. In his op ed this week, Adeeb expands his thoughts about an experience not often discussed: That of an Arab…Read More... | 14 Comments
By Fady Khoury In an earlier post, I argued that the expectation for Palestinian citizens of Israel to serve in the army or in any alternative service lacks moral justification. I will elaborate on this argument here. It goes as follows: If (1) national service is an alternative to military service; And (2) there is no moral basis upon which Palestinians can be expected to serve in the army; Then (3) there is no moral basis upon which Palestinians can be expected to serve in national service. Going forward, I will attempt to prove the first two statements of my…Read More... | 30 Comments
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Reports, maps, infographics and other documents on human rights and democracy.
Children under occupation
The effects of occupation on minors.
On the challenges facing a growing population of asylum seekers and refugees in Israel.
A series of striking infographics.
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