The president's high-profile interview with Jeffrey Goldberg will make it extremely hard for the administration to blame the Palestinians for the expected failure of Kerry's peace initiative. Obama’s interview with the Bloomberg news agency on Sunday, in which he basically blamed Netanyahu and exonerated Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas for the intractability of the occupation, is a very important event, and very good news. With Netanyahu and Abbas jockeying to avoid the blame for the likely impending failure of Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace initiative, the Obama interview with Jeffrey Goldberg will make it very hard for the administration…Read More... | 49 Comments
When you believe your enemies hate you more than they love their children, as Golda Meir put it, there's no real deterrence against them; you have to keep bombing. Most people in the West, I’d say, think that if Israel gives up the occupation, it will be healed. It will no longer be a danger to others and itself. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, and additional proof of this came Monday night when Israeli jet bombers again struck Hezbollah in Lebanon. The attack was another reminder that even if Israel were to get out of the West Bank and adopt…Read More... | 56 Comments
On Saturday morning, Israeli Ta'ayush activists accompanied Palestinian residents of the village of Shweika in the South Hebron Hills to their grazing and farm lands in a valley near the illegal Eshtamoa outpost. According to Guy, a veteran activist and documenter, settlers and Israeli soldiers have been obstructing or preventing access to the land in recent weeks, despite the fact that Israeli authorities recognize the valley as private Palestinian land and have restricted any Israelis from entering it. Just before 11 a.m., 10-15 settlers came down from the outpost into the valley - most of them with their faces covered…Read More... | 43 Comments
As a rule, Palestinians working for Israelis in the West Bank hate the settlements and the occupation. But they have to feed their families, so they swallow their pride. Supporters of the occupation have found a new set of spokesmen: the Palestinian workers at the West Bank factory owned by the Israeli company SodaStream, of BDS and Scarlett Johansson fame. Reporters from The Christian Science Monitor, The Telegraph and other media outlets talked to some of the 500 Palestinians employed at the Mishor Adumim plant, and quoted them saying they were against the boycott. It was threatening their livelihood. They…Read More... | 23 Comments
'Liberman's proposals spoil the delicate fabric of relations between Arabs and Jews in Israel. They come from a man who paved his political path using right-wing statements, erecting barriers in the process of peace and leading us to fear and despair.' By Riad Kabaha I was born in the early 1950s as an Israeli citizen. I was raised and educated in Israel, where I acquired positive, beneficial things from Jewish society, such as: curriculum, language, clothing, sites around the country, academic studies, employment, Jewish friends, participation in Knessest elections, the ability to struggle for equality and rights, working together with…Read More... | 38 Comments
Israel’s national lore tends to prefer the image of an economic miracle, where Jewish spunk and pluck made the desert bloom and gave rise to an unbeatable hi-tech industry. The reality, however, reveals a far different picture. A tiny exclusive Tel Aviv chef restaurant posted a warm message of support on Facebook for its beloved Eritrean cook, who is on strike this week. Another trendy Tel Aviv eatery posted a sign asking its customers to understand why it is serving food on disposable plates. According to Israel's state-run Channel 1 news, on the third day of strikes and protests by African…Read More... | 20 Comments
The American Studies Association may be singling out Israel for boycott, but if you look at the serious, painful punishments the world metes out to oppressor nations, Israel is not being singled out, it’s being let off the hook. As of Friday at noon, a Google search of “human rights sanctions” turns up over 40 million results. There are human rights sanctions and other punishments against China, Russia, Iran, Syria, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Yemen, Belarus, Cuba, North Korea and lots of other countries. And these sanctions weren’t put in place by some minor academic group like the American Studies Association, but…Read More... | 46 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
A settler in the Jordan Valley was killed in his yard Thursday night. This is the third such incident in the West Bank in less than a month. A retired Israeli colonel was killed in his home last night (Thursday) in the Brosh Habika settlement in the Jordan Valley. The incident brings the number of Israeli casualties in the West Bank to three in less than a month. According to his wife, Seraiah Ofer was attacked with iron rods and axes in his front yard. She escaped through a hole in the back fence, while her husband was beaten to…Read More... | 34 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... | 35 Comments
SYRIA-TURKEY BORDER - Last week, my colleagues and I started a summer camp for hundreds of Syrian child refugees on the Syrian-Turkish border. While pundits and self-proclaimed "experts" are debating what to do in Syria, or whether the US should strike or not, we decided to act rather than talk. After all, over a 100,000 people have been killed and millions have been left displaced. Whether the US bombs Assad or not is not in my control, but being active to help those in need is. For the past few weeks we started fundraising for educational camps for Syrian children,…Read More... | 4 Comments
On Monday, a federal judge in New York ruled against the New York City Police Department’s “stop and frisk” practice (a policy not limited of course to New York). The judge found that the practice, as it has been applied, violates the constitutional rights of the plaintiffs. Why does this matter here? Because the ruling chips away at systems that look too strong, too entrenched ever to be moved. The situation of regular people with little power fighting a huge system that holds all the cards can creates immediate associations. In recent years, prominent African-Americans have sometimes asked me how…Read More... | 8 Comments
Second thoughts on the 'peace process' resuming tonight. Maybe I’m trying to make something good out of a bad situation – I’ve written (here and here) that the Palestinians were getting screwed in these peace talks – but now I’m thinking that Abbas may have done the right thing by agreeing to negotiate with Netanyahu, even without Netanyahu’s agreement that the baseline be the ’67 borders. Oudeh Basharat wrote a very wise column in Haaretz today, arguing that point: Abbas is conducting his policies with one eye on the national interest and the other on the needs of his population.…Read More... | 24 Comments
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