As a fundamental human desire and right, peace traverses time and context. However, if it is to be realized it must be adjusted to political and social realities. By Nadia Naser-Najjab In a period degraded by extremes of violence and dehumanization, the sight of 10,000 Israeli protestors taking to the streets of Tel Aviv last Saturday to protest against their own government’s actions in Gaza appeared as a welcome chink of light illuminating unremittingly bleak skies. Despite being smaller in scale, the demonstration recalled the early 1990s, when large numbers of Israelis demonstrated in favor of peace, and the possibility…Read More... | 9 Comments
Under a coalition of Israeli left-wing political parties and organizations, thousands gathered in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square in the largest anti-war demonstration since the outbreak of violence in Gaza. (Moriel Rothman-Zecher and Haggai Matar contributed to this report) Some 10,000 Israelis flooded Tel Aviv's Rabin Square under the slogan “Changing direction: toward peace, away from war” in the largest anti-Gaza war demonstration in Israel since the outbreak of hostilities more than one month ago. The protest was scheduled to take place last week, but was postponed after the police and Home Front Command revoked its permit, ostensibly to stop large gatherings during…Read More... | 63 Comments
On Saturday evening, another anti-war demonstration was held in Tel Aviv. A few hundred people marched and chanted and hoped that rumors of a drawdown were true. With minimal numbers and attention, the demonstrations have had little impact. But there doesn’t seem much else that those opposed to the war can do. Soldiers and reservists have another option: civil disobedience, refusal to participate. It is a huge taboo. The idea of avoiding IDF service in a society whose mythical founding narrative is about protection from existential destruction is anathema even in normal times. To refuse a draft order in wartime…Read More... | 61 Comments
Clashes between settlers and Israeli forces left several border policemen hospitalized Tuesday morning. While the mainstream media was quick to condemn the settlers' behavior, it missed the bigger story. We have been asking here for some time why the so-called "price tag" attacks don’t get the media attention they deserve. For those unfamiliar with the term, price tag attacks refer to attacks by radical settler groups – “hilltop youth” and others, mostly from the settlement outposts – on Palestinians and their property, including: beatings, arson, graffiti on mosques, and most frequently – the destruction of olive trees. The name “price…Read More... | 7 Comments
The woman who made human rights the central issue of the left's political agenda has died at 86. Fearless and true to her values, Aloni stood up to Israel's generals and rabbis until her very last days. Shulamit Aloni, founder of leftist Meretz party, former minister of education and the legendary mother of the Israeli civil rights movement, died Friday at the age of 86. Aloni served 28 years in the Knesset. She was elected for the sixth Knesset with Labor, but later left the party and established Ratz, an avant-garde party focused on civil rights. In 1984 Ratz became…Read More... | 22 Comments
Israeli authorities aren't merely incompetent when it comes to defending the rights of Palestinians in Area C - they are part and parcel of a process dedicated to the area's annexation. By Yesh Din, written by Yossi Gurvitz Last week, IDF forces removed, with hardly any noise, settlers from the lands of Muhammad Ibrahim 'Ali Shabana, a resident of the village of Sinjil in the West Bank. The removal took place after the invasion by settlers Yonathan Rothschild and Yehuda Elitzur. Thus ended a long legal saga which proves, yet again, the incompetence of the Israeli authorities when it comes…Read More... | 3 Comments
Europe says it doesn't want its largesse to be funneled over the Green Line - Israel screams anti-Semitism. Despite all the outrage and charges of Nazi-style behavior (here and here) that Israeli patriots are leveling against the European Union, the EU's new guidelines concerning the occupied territories don't take anything away from Israel; they just place conditions on the EU's enormous charity to this country. The EU isn't saying it's going to stop buying from Israeli businesses or bar Israeli ships or planes from entering European territory; it's saying that when it gives grants, prizes, awards or support to Israelis…Read More... | 9 Comments
Despite the 2011 tent protests, housing construction has actually decreased over the last year in Israel. At the same time, the West Bank registered a national high in new construction projects for Jewish settlers. According to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, new construction projects in West Bank settlements have grown by 176 percent (!) compared to the same period last year (January-March 2012). This is a 355 percent increase, when compared to the final quarter of 2012 (October-December). Currently, construction projects for Jews in the West Bank make up eight percent of all construction projects in Israel (not including…Read More... | 27 Comments
Noted right-wingers call to demolish the separation wall. True, they are driven by a desire for annexation, but the Left finds itself in an unseemly position - defending one of the great injustices of the occupation in the name of the distant prospect of two states. Former Defense Minister Moshe Arens yesterday told Ma'ariv he thinks the separation wall - which snakes its way around the West Bank and has been responsible for cutting tens of thousands of people from their livelihoods and from each other - should be torn down. "The wall is no longer of any use and it's only…Read More... | 45 Comments
The settlement movement registered major victories this year on various fronts. Its representatives are reaching new heights in politics, the judiciary and the media. One out of five residents east of the Green Line is a settler. The expansion of settlements continues unabated, and - most importantly - settlers are in full control of the Israeli national narrative. In 2012, as more and more observers declared the death of the two-state solution, the settler became the new normal. By Lisa Goldman and Mairav Zonszein For decades, the settler movement and Israel’s secular, largely Ashkenazi urban elite have been playing a game of…Read More... | 37 Comments
The question is whether Israel will ever realize that regardless of the somersaults it does to try and establish legitimate claims to to the land, its power will one day run out. So, Migron, the little illegal outpost that made big headlines in recent months, was finally evacuated in its entirety on Sunday, after years of legal battle and media commotion made over 50 families. News outlets made sure to report that the evacuation was carried out peacefully and with little resistance. Today's Haaretz editorial chose to point to the fact that although the affair is a "badge of shame for Israel," it…Read More... | 11 Comments
Over 30,000 people are expected to attend the opening concert of Madonna's world tour "MDNA" tonight (Thursday) in Israel. The concert is being billed as a "peace concert" and costs more than NIS 15 million to produce. One of Madonna's dancers, a Palestinian named Ali Ramadani already made headlines after tweeting about his visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque: “At the amazing Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. I don’t want to say it’s in Israel, but Palestine, strength and honor.” A few Israeli newspapers are already reporting it as a "controversy." Madonna invited a variety of progressive and left-wing groups to come to…Read More... | 35 Comments
This week she lost the leadership of Kadima, but Livni lost her voice when she supported Operation Cast Lead - and she wasn't alone. In the euphoria immediately after Obama's election night in 2008, and with Israel's own election four months away, I wrote that "if there's any Israeli candidate who can catch the fire he lit, it's Livni." While granting that she wasn't a true "peacenik," meaning she didn't seem too bothered by the immorality of the occupation, I called her "a woman of integrity, a woman of justice...[and one] who appears sincerely eager to make peace with the Arabs." My opinion was based on Livni's having been the only member of Olmert's cabinet…Read More... | 13 Comments
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