With nuclear talks resuming Tuesday, the happy consensus is that the sanctions have forced Iran's regime to blink. But hardly anyone wants to think about the effect they've had on the country's 80 million people. If you Google "bringing the Iranian economy to its knees," you'll have a lot of reading to do. This is the new cliche regarding sanctions - they've brought the Iranian economy to its knees. And the United States, Europe and, of course, Israel are thrilled to hear it; to the leaders and no doubt the great majority of the public in the West (not…Read More... | 21 Comments
Whatever he tells the UN, Rouhani will not agree to give up nuclear weapons to please his country's nuclear-armed enemies. And when it's clear that he won't, it's his enemies who will face humiliation. I don’t believe Rouhani means it when he says Iran doesn’t want nuclear weapons. And even if he does, I don’t believe the supreme leader, Khamenei, would back him up, nor would the Iranian political/military establishment, nor would a very large proportion of the Iranian public, maybe a majority, maybe a large majority. Why shouldn’t Iran want nuclear weapons? Every major power and would-be major power wants…Read More... | 50 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
With a political process that consistently demands peace without justice, Palestinian children living in the occupied territories have been denied justice at almost every turn. By Brad Parker Israel seldom holds its officials and individual perpetrators accountable for violations of Palestinian human rights, particularly against children. The resulting impunity grants Israeli forces a license to expand, rather than curb, violations systemic to Israel’s 46-year-old military occupation. Just last week, five-year-old Wadi’a Maswadeh, a Palestinian boy from the West Bank city of Hebron, was detained for nearly two hours after reportedly throwing a stone at a passing Israeli settler car. Notwithstanding…Read More...
While the Israeli public and media failed to take any significant notice of a recent UN report criticizing Israel’s policy on children’s arrests and detention, some European officials and NGOs are speaking out about the abuses. By Galit Saporta (Edited by Ami Asher) It seems that yet another report, this time from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), regarding abuses that occur during arrest, interrogation and detention of Palestinian children by the Israeli army, has failed to generate any public attention in Israel. Only one article in Haaretz (“It’s only Palestinian children,” June 27, 2013) has…Read More... | 18 Comments
Imagine if a politician in another country had bragged about lowering a minority group's birthrate - like Netanyahu and his new ambassador to the U.S. did. Ron Dermer, who was named by Netanyahu yesterday to be Israel's new ambassador to the United States, is known as an even more right-wing Republican version of his boss. Haaretz's Barak Ravid wrote: Dermer's positions on policy are far more extreme than Netanyahu's. European and American officials have expressed shock by his positions on the settlement issue, on peace talks with the Palestinians, and on the principle of an independent Palestinian state. It gets…Read More... | 27 Comments
The U.S. secretary of state is pressuring the Palestinians to give up the one lever of power they have against the occupation. My fear is that Kerry will make good on his promise this week to return soon to Jerusalem and Ramallah, and that he will cajole Abbas into agreeing to talk “peace” with Netanyahu, on pain of being blamed for wasting the American secretary of state’s time and making him look foolish and impotent. Such an agreement would be a terrible setback for the Palestinians because not only wouldn’t they get anywhere with Netanyahu, but they would be…Read More... | 15 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
The last paragraph of the UN Human Rights Council-sanctioned report on Israeli settlements may lay the legal and practical foundations for a new, untried regime of economic and trade sanctions against Israel, or at least provide new tools to those already advocating BDS. The UNHRC-sanctioned International Fact Finding Mission’s report on Israeli settlements is by no means the harshest UN document on Israel. But its last paragraph introduces one element that previously existed only in small pro-Palestinian and human rights activist circles. Namely, it puts the “S” back in BDS. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign has had mixed, but…Read More... | 24 Comments
Palestinians throughout the West Bank gathered, first in anticipation, then in celebration of their bid for upgraded status at the United Nations. In a 138-9 vote, with 41 abstentions, the UN General Assembly voted to change Palestine's status from "nonmember observer entity" to "nonmember observer state." The landslide victory, including many European nations that changed their vote in the final days from opposing to supporting or abstaining, handed a major diplomatic triumph to President Mahmoud Abbas despite fierce opposition from the United States and Israel. The only other UN members who voted against the bid were Panama, Palau, Canada, Marshall…Read More... | 2 Comments
How is this Palestinian Authority UN statehood bid different from last year's? What's an observer state? What does it mean for Oslo, or for the settlements? The Association for Civil Rights in Israel has the answers. The Chairman of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, recently announced that on 29 November [today] he intends to turn to the United Nations General Assembly, requesting to upgrade the Palestinian Authority's status in the UN from an "observer entity" to a "non-member observer state." This initiative follows the Palestinian bid to the UN Security Council in September 2011, asking to admit Palestine to the…Read More... | 19 Comments
The Palestinian bid for statehood at the UN has Israel especially worried about one implication from the move - Israeli conduct on Palestinian territory becoming subject to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. By Noam Wiener Tomorrow is November 29, a day that in my childhood memories is associated with a static recording reading: “Afghanistan, no; Argentina, abstain; Australia, yes” and with black and white photos of people dancing in circles in the streets of Tel Aviv following the approval of the Partition Plan for Palestine. But children today will have a different memory. Obviously many Israeli opinion makers…Read More... | 24 Comments
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