It is not momentum or errors or personality quirks which have sustained the occupation, but a clear determination by Israel’s elite to maintain control of the West Bank and Gaza. Those who are willing to openly examine how Israel – and the pre-state Zionist Jewish community in the Holy Land – conducted itself prior to 1967, can only view the occupation as part of a natural continuum. Cursed Victory: A History of Israel and the Occupied Territories. By Ahron Bregman. Allen Lane; 416 pages; £25. I received my copy of Cursed Victory – Ahron Bregman's history of the occupation – on the…Read More... | 9 Comments
The Israeli government uses the pretext of the two-state solution’s inevitability to justify building settlements on Palestinian land, all without ever earnestly seeking a two-state solution. Imagine that the Palestinian Authority announced that based on an offer made by Israel in past peace negotiations — and irrespective of the result of those negotiations — it was launching a program to send Palestinian refugees to resettle inside Israel proper. Indeed, there is documentation that former prime minister Ehud Olmert made a concrete offer to absorb 10,000 Palestinian refugees as part of a two-state agreement. The only problem, Israel points out, is that…Read More... | 41 Comments
The two-state solution is not a progressive cause and neither is a single-state solution -- they are just possible means to an end. The only possible goal for progressive politics in Israel/Palestine can be full human, civil and political rights for everyone living on this land. Every now and then a comment on this blog attributes a position to me -- one I thought I had been very careful to avoid taking. A misunderstood writer should blame only himself and not the readers. However, there is a specific point I always have trouble getting across, maybe because of the way…Read More... | 51 Comments
Without Hamas, there will be no interim agreement and no long-term solution. The notion of the 'moderates' reaching an agreement between themselves while the 'fundamentalists' are ignored or even dealt with forcefully is a dangerous illusion. For the past week Israel has been negotiating with Hamas in Cairo. While the Palestinian delegation to the talks includes a representative of Mahmoud Abbas, and while the Egyptians are the ones carrying the messages back and forth between the two parties, everyone knows exactly what this is all about. These are no longer talks about prisoner exchanges, but rather a first attempt to touch…Read More... | 27 Comments
The Gaza war should be seen as part of Israel's overall strategy, which aims to maintain the current status quo in the Palestinian Territories. One of the Israeli Right’s greatest political achievements was convincing the public that “we tried the Left’s ideas, and they failed.” Some even say that the current reality is the outcome of “the Left’s ideas.” Naturally, this claim comfortably avoids the responsibility that the Right had in torpedoing any attempt for peaceful reconciliation, from 1987’s London Accord to Netanyahu’s unilateral decision in 1996 to stop implementing Oslo. (For some reason, the video in which Netanyahu boasted…Read More... | 36 Comments
When Abbas joins the next UN body and signs the next international treaty or makes his next move aimed at advancing statehood, remember why he is doing so. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday put to rest any lingering speculation or hopes that the long-comatose two-state solution might ever be revived. All of a sudden, the prime minister’s refusal to discuss borders or maps in negotiations with the Palestinians makes sense. After all, why negotiate over a map you have no intention of ever compromising on? “I think the Israeli people understand now what I always say: that there…Read More... | 32 Comments
A former J Street leader explains why he became a supporter of BDS. By Seth Morrison Many of us have friends or family who suffer from addiction, and all too often it is only when we cut them off and stop enabling their negative behavior that things can actually change. It is that model of tough love that led me to become a BDS supporter. Unfortunately the Middle East peace talks started with the best of intentions by President Obama and Secretary Kerry are dead – a victim of Israel’s unfettered development of illegal settlements and Netanyahu’s decision to go…Read More... | 30 Comments
MK Mitzna adds that he hopes the departure of his party from the coalition will lead to its downfall. Amram Mitzna, former head of Labor party and currently number two in Tzipi Livni’s Tnuah party, called on his fellow party members to leave Netanyahu’s government due to the prime minister’s lack of commitment to the peace process. “I don’t believe Netanyahu anymore that he is interested in a settlement with the Palestinians,” said Mitzna in a public political event in Kfar Saba. Mitzna added that he hopes the Tnuah’s departure from the coalition will make the government fall. Netanyahu’s…Read More... | 2 Comments
The EU's measures on settlements, limited as they were, remain a source of serious concern in Jerusalem. Some in the Israeli Right hope that the rise of the 'Euro-Skeptics' will rid Israel of the problem. The year 2013 was a turning point with regards to the European Union's role in Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Until then, one could hardly speak of any European political involvement that transcended the role of banker for American-led efforts and various civil society initiatives. The working assumption was that the Americans will create the solution, the Europeans will pay for it, and that's it. In fact, until…Read More... | 3 Comments
What is it that is making Israeli leaders (Netanyahu and Barak among them), think tanks and pundits talk more about a 'unilateral solution,' and what would such a plan look like? Details below. I published the following post on my Hebrew blog earlier this week. Yesterday, in an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, Prime Minister Netanyahu said: “it’s true that the idea of taking unilateral steps is gaining ground, from the center-left to the center-right. Many Israelis are asking themselves if there are certain unilateral steps that could theoretically make sense.” While don't I think that Netanyahu is planning such a move…Read More... | 62 Comments
The details of the unprecedented offer Israel got from the Palestinian leadership have been revealed – along with the Israeli response. Still, if you only listen to the Israeli media, you might think it was Abbas who got cold feet. A new theory is taking shape in Israel these days: according to some heavyweight analysts and politicians, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indeed went through a “personal transformation” in the months leading to the peace talks, and it was PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas who got cold feet at the last moment, turning instead to unilateral moves like his request to join…Read More... | 19 Comments
Israel's High Court orders the government to upgrade representation of Palestinians in planning committees. But will the minor changes only serve to legitimize a system based on inequality? Israel’s High Court on Monday ordered the state to provide proposals for including Palestinian representatives in planning committees that govern development and land use in Area C (which makes up 60 percent of the territory in the West Bank). The interim decision was made following an appeal by the Palestinian village of Ad-Dirat-Al-Rfai’ya, together with human rights organizations Rabbis For Human Rights, the Israel Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), The Jerusalem Legal…Read More...
President Obama and Secretary Kerry’s statements on Thursday are the most important - and positive - development to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in decades. Now we’ll have to see if they leave the stage for good. After we all dealt with the surprising Hamas-Fatah unity deal for the past few days (is it good, is it bad?), the U.S. on Thursday gave the most important statement in President Barack Obama’s presidency concerning Israel/Palestine. Not only is it the most important, it’s probably the most positive development this region has seen since the Oslo Accords were signed. It is the beginning of…Read More... | 5 Comments
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Assault on Gaza
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