The United Nations today confirmed "multiple dead and injured" at its shelter in Beit Hanoun, where Gazan families had sought refuge from non-stop Israeli shelling that has killed more than 700 Palestinians, most of them civilians. Chris Gunness, a spokesperson for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestine refugees, said via Twitter that the agency had earlier today passed the shelter's "precise coordinates" to the Israeli military. Fearing an attack, UNRWA had "tried to coordinate with the Israeli army a window for civilians to leave," but "it was never granted," said Gunness. As reported by AP, the attack…Read More... | 21 Comments
Netanyahu is no hero, and the tragedy is our own. Prime Minister Netanyahu fired Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon on Tuesday, after the latter criticized Netanyahu for holding fire, and even called him "a lefty," which is probably the worst thing you can say to someone in the current political atmosphere. Sacking Danon is not a risky move (Danon is a far-right politician with little parliamentary support), but firing him helped Netanyahu present himself as “moderate” and “restrained” leader. Yossi Verter says similar things in Haaretz, as does Ron Ben-Yishai in Ynet; even I wrote a few good things about this aspect of Bibi's…Read More... | 14 Comments
When a minority consistently feels disenfranchised and excluded, it retreats from civil society. Now is the time to ensure that Israel’s Palestinian minority and its elected representatives no longer take that route - for the sake of all citizens. By Ilan Manor Following the shameful presidency of convicted rapist Moshe Katzav, most Israelis felt that only Nobel Prize laureate Shimon Peres could restore dignity to the office of president. In the past six-and-a-half years in office, Peres not only rehabilitated the presidency, he also revitalized it and its influence. There is no greater testament to his success than the fact that…Read More... | 20 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
Bibi says it's the expense, Peres says it's a flu he can't kick. More likely it's two other reasons: Israel's past and present. Nelson Mandela’s death brought up some inconvenient memories for Israel and the Diaspora Jewish establishment: Israel’s extremely fruitful alliance with apartheid South Africa until the very, very end; the anti-Mandela stance of right-wing Zionists because of his support for Arafat and the PLO (as well as for Gadhafi); and mainstream South African Jewry’s comfort with the apartheid regime (notwithstanding the brave opposition by a greatly disproportionate number of the country’s Jews). Then there’s the present-day, ongoing…Read More... | 16 Comments
Israeli politicians have begun updating their Facebook pages with eulogies for the late Nelson Mandela. What do statesmen of the Jewish state - one of the last western countries to support the South African apartheid state and which today practices apartheid-like policies between the river and the sea - have to say about the man who brought racism to its knees? Here's your definitive list (which may expand - I'll update as the day goes on) 1) Naftali Bennett - Leader of the Jewish Home settler party "Nelson Mandela ** With his willpower he changed the world. May his memory…Read More... | 37 Comments
When a country accepts responsibility for such a significant event in its past, one might expect it to erect a monument to the victims, to sponsor the annual memorial ceremony and to honor the memory of those murdered rather than leave the matter to the families left behind, as if it were their problem alone. By Shirley Racah and Abed Kannaneh For most citizens of Israel, the 29th of October was just another day. But not for Israel's Arab citizens. On this date in 1956, 57 years ago — the first day of the Sinai Campaign (the coordinated attack on Egypt…Read More...
And nobody objects. I was listening on the radio to the prime minister's speech in the Knesset on Wednesday for the 18th anniversary (on the Hebrew calendar) of the Rabin assassination, and it just struck me how far we’ve come in this country. Bibi Netanyahu is now preaching to Israel the lessons of Rabin's murder. And nobody says anything. Members of the Rabin family sitting in the Knesset, whatever they were thinking, didn’t say a word. Neither did the MKs of the Labor Party or Meretz, or MK Ahmed Tibi or anybody else who lived through that time and understands…Read More... | 11 Comments
Netanyahu publicly placed his reputation and his country’s pride on the line in order to appease Obama and improve relations with Turkey; by ignoring its already agreed upon terms, Erdogan will make the Israeli people less likely to support another far-reaching agreement. By Aaron Magid At the end of a much-anticipated trip to Israel in March, US President Barak Obama achieved a major diplomatic breakthrough. Following years of tension between Turkey and Israel -- two key American allies in the region -- Obama orchestrated a reconciliation agreement between the two sides, which promised to reduce animosity. Although Israeli Prime Minister…Read More... | 25 Comments
And this time, it's hard to see who will be able to stop him. Netanyahu hasn’t said anything publicly, but the consensus here is that the lesson he’s taking from Obama’s refusal to bomb Syria straight away, and instead to turn to Congress for approval, is that the U.S. president can’t be trusted to keep his word about preventing Iran from going nuclear - so he, Netanyahu, must prepare to carry out the task alone. And the consensus seems to be that this is the correct conclusion, too. “Netanyahu was right when he sought to act [against Iran in…Read More... | 10 Comments
Israeli President Shimon Peres' 90th birthday was the central show aired on all three Israeli TV channels Tuesday night. A look into who paid for the extravagant bash? It was an 11-million shekel production dubbed by many as a "North Korea-style event" for the man who brought 'The Bomb' to Israel, tried to offer it to Apartheid South Africa when the rest of the world was already boycotting it, was an active partner in promoting some of Israel's more aggressive wars and one of the architects of the Israeli neo-liberal economy of privatization. In a film made in honor of…Read More... | 17 Comments
An example of distinctively Israeli, stone-blind hypocrisy. There seems to be a bit of a double standard in this country on the subject of BDS. For instance, we're all supposed to be sneering in triumph over Alicia Keys' decision to resist calls to cancel her Tel Aviv concert next month. No sane Israeli can support a boycott of this country, can he? Over what, the occupation? Out of the question. But at the same time, no sane Israeli is supposed to oppose the UN sanctions on Iran, unless of course he thinks they're too lenient or that they're delaying the bombing…Read More... | 29 Comments
Instead of a budget that slashes money for important environmental projects, an Israeli “Green New Deal” will bring hope for economic growth and advance the wellbeing of all echelons of society. By Mossi Raz A threefold crisis has developed in Israel in recent years. The most prominent crisis, most often featured in the media, is economic: manifested mainly in the state budget’s shortfalls. Israel is facing a budget deficit caused by a decline in the state’s income from direct taxation, a just method in theory, but not when implemented through Netanyahu’s misguided policy of reducing corporate tax payments, as a…Read More... | 2 Comments
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