Last Tuesday, it became official: the IDF (following approval from Defense Minister Barak) recognized the academic center in the settlement of Ariel as a full-fledged university. International condemnation soon followed. A UK minister, for instance, expressed disappointment regarding Israel’s decision, and labeled it an obstacle to peace. In response, Israeli Education Minister Gideon Saar (Likud) argued that “[o]ur connection to Ariel is at least as strong as the UK’s connection to the Falkland Islands.” This comparison is quite apt because Ariel, like the Falklands, is the product of a colonial enterprise, meant to place a metropolitan population amidst a weaker…Read More... | 19 Comments
The UK Minister for Middle East Alistair Burt (not to be confused with the actual Foreign Secretary, William Hague) has been visiting Israel and the West Bank last week. As part of his visit, he was taken to the hotspot of the fiercest clashes between Palestinians and the army in these post-Intifada days, Nabi Saleh. There, he offered the following statement: "From what I have seen the IDF have acted extremely strongly against peaceful protesters including chasing children and, in one instance striking a woman. We entirely defend people's rights to peacefully protest and the role of the international community…Read More... | 7 Comments
Last week I met and spoke to a small group of Orthodox Jews in London, about Israeli political and social developments. I expected a challenging crowd, although the meeting’s organizer Hannah Weisfeld – who is working tirelessly to start an organization inspired by J Street in the UK – assured me that the audience was broadly pro-peace and progressive. But the reality was much more serious. These committed, active, synagogue-attending Orthodox folks, representing a range of ages and professions, were positively impassioned with the need to support Israel by supporting peace and democracy. They hung onto my talk but jumped in…Read More... | 2 Comments
The British Labour party is now debating what the Israeli labor party refuses to acknowledge, the horrific treatment of Palestinians in Israeli military courts. I have covered the military court system extensively on this website in relation to the repression of the Palestinian popular unarmed struggle. Amira Hass’s article in today’s Haaretz points to positive developments in the UK that could raise international awareness and create pressure on Israel to start behaving like a civilized Western country. Another member of her faction(British Labour Party), Richard Burden, added: "I thought that the area (West Bank) had lost its capacity to shock…Read More...
Ardoyne Riot. Credit: Belfastgonzo, Flickr The Observer leads today with one of the weirdest stories I ever read: Irish terror groups target Conservative party conference in Birmingham Irish republican dissident groups are targeting the Conservative party conference this autumn, raising fears of a repeat of the 1984 Brighton attack that nearly killed the then prime minister, Margaret Thatcher. This certainly sounds alarming, and one expects to learn the sources and details on which this startling conclusion is based. Was it a briefing by the Police Service of Northern Ireland? Or by the power-sharing government at Stormont? Or maybe one of…Read More...
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