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50 reasons to resist the occupation on its 50th year

Fifty reasons to join a growing coalition united in creating a more just future in the region, in order to make the 50th year of occupation its last.

By Talia Krevsky and Isaac Kates Rose

1. January 1: The onset of the 50th year of violating the Fourth Geneva Convention through Israel’s military occupation over Palestinian territories, would have been enough.

2. January 3: Demolition of 49 structures by the IDF’s Civil Administration on land belonging to the village of Khirbet Tana, would have been enough.

3. January 3: Withholding 20 percent of asylum seekers’ salaries until they leave the country, would have been enough.

4. January 4: Demolition of Palestinian water cisterns and farming structures in the village of Tuqu’, would have been enough.

5. January 4: Knesset legislation to annex the settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, would have been enough.

6. January 5: The stabbing of a Bedouin man in Ashdod by a religious Jewish man, would have been enough.

7. January 8: A truck ramming attack by a resident of East Jerusalem, killing four Israeli soldiers and wounding 13 others, would have been enough.

8. January 8: Settler violence against activists from the NGO Ta’ayush, would have been enough.

9. January 8: Netanyahu’s illicit deal with the publisher of the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, would have been enough.

10. January 10: The destruction of 11 homes in the Arab town of Qalansawa, would have been enough.

11. January 11: Preliminary approval of a Knesset bill to ban Israeli NGO, Breaking the Silence, from lecturing in schools, would have been enough.

12. January 18: Violent clashes in Umm al-Hiran that killed two and wounded leading Arab Knesset member, Ayman Odeh, would have been enough.

13. January 20: The inauguration of Donald Trump, who promised to unilaterally move the Israeli Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, would have been enough.

14. January 22: Construction approval for an additional 566 homes beyond the Green Line in Jerusalem, would have been enough.

15. January 25: Collective punishment in Jabal Mukaber through home demolitions, raids, arrests, and revocation of permits, would have been enough.

16. January 26: The High Court’s ruling that the Civil Administration may demolish Palestinian structures in Firing Zone 918, would have been enough.

17. January 26: The Shin Bet’s detainment and interrogation of three...

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Why the whole region is looking at Palestine's youth

Young Palestinians play an important role in the future of the region, and as their anger rises, so do the chances of renewed uprisings in the Arab world.

By Ronit Marzan

Approximately 1.4 million young people between the ages of 15-29 live in the West Bank and Gaza today, making up 30 percent of the Palestinian population (Arabic). Similar to the situation in other Arab countries, the Palestinians suffer from a fast-growing population which harms its economic growth.

Over the past two months a number of conferences have been held in Cairo, Istanbul, Tehran, Ramallah, and Doha to discuss the issue of young Palestinians and human rights. The locations of these conventions symbolize the geo-strategic struggle between the Arab nationalist world, represented by Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia on the one hand, and the Islamist world represented by Turkey and Iran on the other. In the middle is Qatar, which combines Arab identity, Islam, and a certain amount of pluralism.

Young Palestinians have a central role to play in the region, and as their anger increases, so do the chances of renewed uprisings in the Arab world. The Second Intifada that began in 2000 was a defining experience for young people who only a decade later would take part in the protests of the Arab Spring, breaking through the barriers of fear imposed by Arab regimes.

The conference in Cairo, under the banner “Our youth — our partners,” was replete with images of Yasser Arafat and Abu Ali Shahin, the founder of “Shabiba,” Fatah’s youth movement. Mohammad Dahlan, Mahmoud Abbas’ political rival, presented his political worldview to attendees, which includes a combination of resistance, striving for a final-status agreement, and an open internal political culture, emphasizing that Palestinians must stand firm against Israel. Dahlan critiqued Abbas’ exclusion of younger Palestinians, while Samir Masharawi warned young Palestinians against the national problem, instead being led astray by day-to-day problems.

Over 500 young people from Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, and Europe took part in the conference, which ended with a number of recommendations on how to increase youth political participation. These included raising funds and support for sports clubs and scouts, including for those with special needs and partnering up with civil society groups that educate toward pluralism, rule of law, and respecting basic freedoms. The partnership between the Egyptian leadership, Hamas, and...

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American Jews, which side are you on?

Rather than sit uncomfortably within the tired anti- or pro-Israel paradigm, we are building a reality in which American Jews who disagree with the occupation can take comfort in their Jewish identity.

By Shira Yudkin Tiffany

Rows of police demarcated the sides outside the annual AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington D.C. Two human chains of protestors in matching t-shirts bound themselves together to the doorways to the Washington Convention Center. Beyond them were barricades and a sea of mostly young, largely unaffiliated Jews, cheering on the action in Hebrew.

These were not your average AIPAC protesters.

While the Jewish community has been puzzling over the antidote for the growing disinterest in Israel among American Jews, these protesters have found their own medicine. A thousand Jews from across the country came together on Sunday for a protest organized by the Jewish-American anti-occupation group, IfNotNow, against AIPAC’s continual support for Israel’s policies of military rule over millions of Palestinians in the occupied territories.

At first glance, there were two sides — the world inside AIPAC, and that outside of it.

At second glance, behind IfNotNow stood protesters from CodePink, Neturei Karta, and ANSWER. A cluster of beefy men wielding giant Israeli, American, and Kahanist Jewish Defense League flags sulked in the back in counter-protest, becoming particularly agitated at the sight of a Palestinian flag unfurled the length of a building. Once standing in front of the giant Palestinian flag with a cluster of Israeli flags proved futile, the JDL and their friends began beating two protestors with their flag poles.

The scene outside AIPAC conventions has historically been the same. Flag wars. Anger. But this year, the songs American Jews learned at Jewish summer camps — the ones that instilled values of social justice in an entire generation — became the soundscape for IfNotNow’s protest.

The loudest chants were Hebrew songs remixed with social justice standards. “Esh tamid tukad al hamizbeach” (“The eternal fire on the alter will never go out”) was alternated with “Which side are you on, my people?” a tune that originated with the United Mine Workers and was later adopted by the greater American Labor movement.

Some of the Israeli flag bearers chanted back at IfNotNow, “Which side are you on?” This sounded like a series of accusations. Are you on team Israel? Are you a Jew who falls in line? Are you a self-hating Jew?

IfNotNow is doing to AIPAC in the street what J Street did to them on...

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As an Israeli soldier, I played God with Palestinians

The occupation allows us to demand Palestinians show their identification cards at a whim. It allows us to slap, shove, or shoot them if necessary — even if they are the same age as our fathers or young enough to be our children.

By Alon Mizrahi

Only last night, once I sat down after a long day, did the memories come flooding back. It was probably a video of a police officer beating a middle-aged Palestinian truck driver in East Jerusalem, which had gone viral, that triggered it. A reminder of just one story — one out of millions that reflect the absurdity of the occupation.

It was a routine drive in the Gaza Strip, the summer of 1992. A reservist driver and a squad commander sat in the front of an open-air 4×4 military vehicle. I was in the back. I cannot remember why or where we were driving. By the time we headed back toward our the unit, darkness had fallen.

We were driving, and the atmosphere was light and fun. It felt nice to leave the company’s base for assignments that had nothing to do with late-night arrests. As we drove on the road, a large Volvo truck pulled up behind us, speeding up and closing in. It got closer and closer and closer until it was only a few feet from the bumper. Whether the driver had his high beams on was unclear; our driver was certainly having a hard time seeing.

I motioned to the truck driver to slow down. I grabbed something, maybe an apple, and threw it at his windshield. He immediately inches even closer to our vehicle. That’s when it got scary.

The truck started to accelerate, then slow down. Accelerate and slow again. Each time it looked like we were about to be hit. I cocked my weapon, wondering to myself whether I was really going to open fire into the windshield of a moving truck.

This continued for a few nerve-racking moments, after which we reached a junction and came to a stop. The truck parked behind us. We exited the vehicle and ordered the driver to step out of the car. He got out, looking like he had no idea what we were talking about. A 40-something-year-old man. And then: “Show us your ID card.” He immediately grabbed onto the door of the truck — a spitting image of the...

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Political poetry as a crime: Inside the surreal trial of Dareen Tatour

Arresting someone for publishing a political poem is extraordinary. Having to prove at trial that police mistranslated your poem is nothing short of surreal.

By Yoav Haifawi

It has been nearly a year and a half since Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour was arrested in her home for writing a poem. She spent three months in various prisons, including half a year under house arrest in the town of Kiryat Ono near Tel Aviv. Although she was able to return to her home village of Reineh, near Nazareth, she remains under house arrest as the trial comes to an end.

Tatour, 34, was arrested by Israeli police on October 11th, 2015 for a poem she had published on Facebook, along with a number of other Facebook statuses she posted at the height of recent wave of violence in 2015-2016. She was charged with incitement to violence and identifying with a terrorist organization — all because of her poem.

The main clause of her indictment was based on a poem that she had allegedly posted on YouTube under the title: “Qawem ya sha’abi, qawemhum” (Resist my people, resist them). Another main clause in the indictment relates to a news item, cited in a post on Tatour’s Facebook page, according to which “The Islamic Jihad movement calls for continuing the Intifada all over the [West] Bank…” The same post calls for a “comprehensive intifada.”

The prosecution wrapped up its arguments in September of last year, most of which were designed to prove that Tatour’s Facebook account indeed belonged to her, and that it was she who published the poem and the two Facebook statuses.

In November, Tatour testified and admitted that she had written the statuses. She explained that she was protesting the occupation, denouncing the crimes committed against Palestinians by the Israeli army and the settlers, adding that the police translation distorted her texts. Over three long days of cross-examination, Tatour was grilled by Prosecutor Alina Hardak, who attempted to push Tatour to admit her “support for terrorism” — to no avail.

Should poets be arrested?

On Sunday, March 19th, Tatour’s attorneys, Gaby Lasky and Nery Ramati, brought two expert witnesses to testify before Judge Adi Bambiliya-Einstein in the Nazareth Magistrates Court.

The first witness was Prof. Nissim Calderon, an expert on Hebrew literature. In his written expert opinion, Calderon stated that there are special rules concerning the expression of poets, describing a long tradition of poets who used harsh words to oppose oppression or injustice — sometimes going so far as to clearly call for...

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As Palestinian divisions deepen, Arab actors seek two-state alternative

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is worried that ‘regional peace’ would prompt normalization between Arab states and Israel, while sidelining the two-state solution. Yet increasingly, Palestinian and Arab actors are pursuing a number of alternative solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

By Ella Aphek

During Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s last visit to Washington, President Trump introduced a new formula for peace: “One state or two states, whatever both sides like.” Since then, Arab and Palestinian media coverage has acknowledged that not only Israeli policy, but also the failures of Palestinian leadership and ongoing conflicts between Fatah and Hamas, are to blame for the failure to realize peace. Moreover, a number of Arab and Palestinian journalists argue that the two-state solution doesn’t reflect the reality or public opinion of Palestinians.

The Egyptian intellectual Mustafa El-Fiki (a former establishment official) carefully articulates this shift in an article in the widely-read Arabic-language daily Al-Hayat, arguing that the split in opinion among Palestinians is no longer between various factions, but within each faction itself, focusing in particular on the Fatah movement. El-Fiki hints that in light of the tough situation in the Arab world, the ambiguous policy of the Trump administration, and Abbas’s lack of charisma, the Palestinian president should align with former Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan, who enjoys Arab, Western, and Israeli support.

El-Fiki’s colleague, Wahid Abd El-Magid, also a former member of the Egyptian establishment, made similar claims in an article in the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram. The two were joined by Palestinian poet and journalist Rassem al-Madhoun, and the Lebanese journalist Ahmad Jabar, who lamented the limited influence of the Left in Palestinian society in comparison to Iran, the latter of which has been successful in strengthening jihadist forces in Palestine.

Over the last few years, the Egyptian government has been fighting terrorist organizations in Sinai. Among other things, Egypt is seeking to sever the connection between these organizations and extremist elements in Gaza, while simultaneously moderating religious discourse amongst Gazan youth, and training youth with potential to take the reins of leadership in the future.

For the last four years, Egypt has hosted delegations of Gazan youth at the al-Ein al-Sukhna resort. One of these meetings was held at the beginning of the month, with lawyers, journalists, educators and other young professionals from Gaza invited to attend. The session was titled: “Renewing Religious Discourse in...

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American Jews must resist Trump and the occupation at the same time

Can American Jews’ relationship to Israel accommodate the truth that Palestinians deserve the same freedom and dignity that we want for ourselves as Jews and for our Muslim, immigrant, black and brown neighbors here in the United States?

By Emily Mayer

There is currently a surge of activism churning through the American Jewish community. Since Trump’s election in November, American Jews have been taking action against a president who received only 24 percent of their votes, the second-smallest proportion of any religious or racial demographic in the country, after African Americans.

Last month, 20 rabbis were arrested protesting the first iteration of Trump’s travel ban, also referred to as a Muslim ban, and 2000 more signed onto a statement supporting refugees. Major Jewish organizations such as the National Council of Jewish Women and American Jewish World Service added their names to the list of sponsors of the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. Even the Anti-Defamation League, which rushed to congratulate Trump on his win, has spoken harshly of the administration and its choices.

While American Jews seem united in their dissent, the boundaries of this new wave of “Jewish resistance,” as some have called it, are still undefined. Are American Jews just resisting certain policies of this administration? Or are they resisting Trump, and all he represents? And, most difficult of all, what does ‘resistance’ look like when it comes to the now 50 years of occupation, and this administration’s seeming support for its continuation?

Many leaders in the Jewish community would prefer to avoid this last question, and oppose Trump while supporting the current Israeli government. But such an approach is sure to fail. We must oppose Trump’s exclusionary, racist, and unjust policies.

But if we cannot muster equally vigorous opposition to Israel’s occupation, built on the same logic of racial discrimination and authoritarianism, we will render ourselves useless the struggles here at home. And that is why I and thousands of other Jews are bringing the Jewish resistance to the doorstep of the lobbying group American Israel Policy Action Committee’s annual policy conference in Washington, D.C.


Why AIPAC? Under a veil of bipartisanship and a message of neutral support for Israel’s current government, AIPAC has done everything in its power to maintain, strengthen, and perpetuate the occupation, even when it means...

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For first time in 13 years, IDF recognizes female refuser as conscientious objector

IDF releases Tamar Ze’evi after a total of 115 days in military prison, recognizing her as a ‘conscientious objector.’

By Yael Marom and Haggai Matar

After spending a total of 115 days in military prison, the Israeli army decided to release Tamar Ze’evi on Thursday, after formally recognizing her as a conscientious objector. This is the first time in over a decade that the IDF’s conscientious objectors committee has recognized that refusing to serve in the army over opposition to the occupation is a legitimate reason for exemption.

Ze’evi appeared before the committee last Monday alongside conscientious objector Tamar Alon, who is also in prison for refusing to serve in the army and has spent 118 days in jail. Unlike Ze’evi, however, the committee did not grant Alon an exemption, since it claimed her refusal was “selective.” Both Ze’evi and Alon were first jailed in November of last year for their refusal to serve.

In the run-up to her release, Ze’evi published the following statement:

Israeli law permits granting exemptions from military service for reasons of conscience. Over the years, military authorities granted these types of exemptions to almost every woman who asked for one. Men, on the other hand, were forced to prove that they were pacifists who oppose any and all types of violence, and not conscientious objectors who oppose the occupation. Since 2004, this policy has been expanded to include women.

Ze’evi was surprisingly granted an exemption, despite the fact that she is not a pacifist, while Alon was refused an exemption after the committee found that her refusal did not stem solely from personal reasons, but rather was driven by a desire to foment “popular revolt.” It must be noted that this is a new distinction on the part of the army.

In her request for a conscientious objectors committee, Alon wrote the following:

I believe that all humans must prioritize the value of life before all else, and must do everything to protect it. The Israeli occupation does not prioritize the lives of Palestinians. The oppression of the Palestinian people is a clear violation of the value of life. The army carries out the policies of occupation, and thus takes part in illegal activities, which my conscience will not allow me to take part in.

“I grew up in Jerusalem during the difficult days of the Second Intifada. I remember the monuments being erected...

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Did AIPAC help fund an Islamophobic group's attack-ad on J Street?

If an AIPAC spinoff did, in fact, help fund an attack on J Street it suggests the powerful lobby feels increasingly threatened by the upstart progressive Jewish group.

By Eli Clifton

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is going to have a challenging time at its annual policy conference this weekend persuading attendees and those watching at home that it has healed the partisan rift it opened by investing millions of dollars in opposing the Iran nuclear deal. Following Trump’s election, partisanship in Washington had reached an all-time high, making AIPAC’s role in currying bipartisan support for new Iran sanctions, opposing the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and securing billions in military aid for Israel all the more difficult.

That partisan rift may now run even deeper. During the 2015-16 battle over the Iran nuclear agreement, the organization appears to have contributed financially to the production and/or airing of a factually inaccurate attack-ad on J Street, the liberal pro-Israel group that increasingly threatens AIPAC’s historic hold on Democratic lawmakers and office-holders.

As in the past, AIPAC is touting this year’s conference as a strictly bipartisan affair that demonstrates steadfast support for Israel on both sides of the aisle.

“This is an unprecedented time of political polarization, and we will have a rare bipartisan gathering in Washington,” an official of the lobby told the JTA’s Ron Kampeas about the March 26-28 confab. “One of the impressive aspects of our speaker program is that we will have the entire bipartisan leadership of Congress.”

But looming over the conference is the Trump presidency—which continues to push forward its highly partisan agenda on healthcare, tax reform, and its efforts to impose a ban on immigration from a number of Muslim majority countries. Then there’s AIPAC’s decision to take sides against the last Democratic president on his signature foreign-policy achievement, the Iran deal.

Last week, LobeLog reported that AIPAC’s spin-off, Citizens for Nuclear Free Iran (CFNI), contributed $60,000 to the Center for Security Policy (CSP), a far-right think tank headed up by anti-Muslim advocate and conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney. A flawed poll, commissioned by CSP and conducted by senior Trump aide Kellyanne Conway, was the primary source cited by the Trump campaign in its championing of a Muslim ban.

Neither CSP nor AIPAC responded to LobeLog’s requests for comment before publication of our...

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Echoes of a Black Panther's murder in killing of Palestinian activist

In societies conditioned to see Palestinians and blacks as terrorists and criminals, the media and public are often ready to believe state-sanctioned falsehoods about activists like Basel al-Araj and Fred Hampton.

By Bram Wispelwey

In the early morning hours of December 4th, 1969, Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, alongside several fellow Panthers, engaged in a fierce shootout with Chicago Police. Hampton and Mark Clark were killed, and multiple Panthers were wounded. The seven survivors were arrested and charged with attempted murder, while the police officers were touted as heroes.

The only problem with this story? All of it, as told by the police, was false. In reality, the police fired nearly 100 shots at the men who were sleeping, with only one shot fired from one of the Panther’s weapons in defense.

What emerged in the course of an eight-year legal battle confirmed the kind of organized conspiracy that the Panthers had always asserted: the FBI and the Chicago Police Department had collaborated to assassinate Hampton, as part of the covert operations by COINTELPRO, while falsifying evidence to make him appear as the aggressor.

As the real evidence eventually showed, COINTELPRO was designed to eliminate young black leaders who were organizing resistance and preaching revolution, leaving behind them a vacuum filled by nihilistic gangs.

Despite the intrepid work of bringing the true story of Fred Hampton’s murder to light, it is still not well known among Americans. Rather, it was the police’s sensational version that captured popular imagination by neatly fitting into racist preconceptions.

That very same practice of rapidly producing an “official lie” is replicated by oppressive institutions around the world. In the early morning hours of March 6, 2017, after months on the run, 31-year-old Palestinian Basel al-Araj was shot to death by Israeli forces in his apartment just outside of Ramallah. Israeli police contend that they came only to arrest al-Araj, and that he fired on them first, leading to a shootout in which not a single Israeli was wounded.

Al-Araj was a well-known and respected intellectual, activist, and community organizer who understood and acted on the conviction that theories of resistance must be put into practice. Among the belongings found in the post-raid wreckage were testaments to his leftist intellectual commitment, including books by Marxist philosopher and theoretician, Antonio Gramsci. Al-Araj had long worked to...

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A lifetime achievement award for normalizing settlements

David Be’eri won the state’s highest award for doing what decades ago would have seemed impossible: inspiring the Israeli people to identify with the settler enterprise.

By Yonathan Mizrachi

Following last week’s announcement that David Be’eri, the founder of the settler organization Elad, had won the Israel Prize for lifetime achievement, some who closely monitor Israel’s settlement enterprise wondered why a person whose activity is limited to a single neighborhood in East Jerusalem was selected? Why not, say, Ze’ev Hever (Zambish), the figure most closely identified with the settler movement, whose work encompasses the entire West Bank?

Be’eri, whose mission in life is to Judaize East Jerusalem, could not have won the Israel Prize for establishing a settlement of 500 Jews in the heart of Silwan, a Palestinian village numbering 40,000 residents. Although the impact of the settlement, which is scattered throughout Silwan, is undeniable, Be’eri won the Israel Prize for something far more substantial: inspiring the Israeli people to identify with the settler enterprise, an unthinkable task when he first began 30 years ago.

Be’eri understood what any marketing expert knows: that in order to sell, you have to appeal to emotion. Today, many visitors to the City of David archeological site in Silwan truly feel that this is “where it all began,” as per Elad’s slogan. Be’eri and Elad may as well write a patent for identifying the tremendous latent potential in archaeology as a means to advance the settler enterprise.

By the mid-1990s, Be’eri and co. had understood that they were sitting on a gold mine that could bring about remarkable political change. In order to create this change, the foundation joined forces with the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA). While the latter transferred to Elad the rights to manage the City of David, the IAA became an excavations contractor, whose work at the archeological site reached unprecedented levels, especially considering that fact that we are talking about a relatively small area — 25 acres in the village of Silwan.

The positioning of City of David as the bedrock of Israeli identity rests on two central achievements: presenting the site as the capital of King David, the Biblical founding father of the Jewish nation, and the branding of the Roman street as a historical “pilgrim’s route” to the Second Temple. Thus, the City of David has taken on...

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An open letter to a future Israeli soldier

I honestly believe you want the best for this country, but if you care about the Israeli society, there are other ways to make a difference. Joining the IDF only perpetuates the status quo — one that is bad for Israel and much worse for Palestinians.

By Ido Liven

Congratulations. You are 18 years old today. We don’t know each other but your birthday is especially important to me. Let me explain. When you were born, I joined the IDF. I shouldn’t have.

Don’t get me wrong — it was a truly life changing experience. I met some of my best friends during my army service and have had some positive experiences. I even learned how to cook in some godforsaken outpost on the border with Jordan. And, ultimately, this crucial period of my life has undoubtedly influenced the person I am today — the person who now would have preferred not to be there.

I was told I was helping to protect my country. And I believed it. But it would be a lie to say that my participation in the occupation — or my service as a combatant in a Multiple Launch Rocket System unit, a weapon whose cluster munition has been banned by an international treaty since August 2010 — have made anyone safer.

Lies I told myself

I still would like to think I have made a difference, that someone else in my place would have done a much worse job; that I positively influenced my friends, maybe even my commanders, and helped prevent even worse things from happening; that perhaps I made life easier for some Palestinians. From the perspective of those days, it is possible. But all of this is completely insignificant in the broader picture, not only the army’s, but of my own service.

Yes, I lied to myself. Trying to bring about change from within in order to help end the occupation, at least in the army, is not possible even if you are the chief of staff. After all, the IDF is an executive body that carries out government policies (and in practice also perpetuate the justification for its existence), and the system is designed to co-opt each and every member.

So, yes, I would like to think that I have done some positive things as a soldier, but focusing on them in...

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Stop blaming sick Palestinians for Israel's healthcare problems

The attempt to blame ill Palestinians for the deficiencies of Israel’s healthcare system distracts from the fact that there is only one sovereign responsible for the state of medical care in the occupied territories.

By Ran Goldstein

A recent Israeli media investigation made headlines over the last few weeks after concluding that Israelis in the country’s periphery are losing out as a result of Israel’s providing medical treatment to Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip. But these conclusions are manipulative.

Let’s begin with what should be self-evident under international humanitarian law: Israel, as the entity that oversees the conditions that impact health in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank (such as water, electricity, and nutrition), is obligated to provide medical services in the event that the Palestinian Authority is unable to do so.

The standard and scope of these medical services should, as long as the Israeli government maintains the occupation, be equal to those in Israel. As such, treating Palestinians in Israeli hospitals does not constitute altruism and does not go above and beyond the letter of the law.

Yet most Palestinians from Gaza and the West Bank who receive exit permits for medical treatment are not admitted to hospitals in Israel. Rather, the permits largely allow them to be treated in hospitals in East Jerusalem, or in the West Bank if the patients are coming from the Gaza Strip. Some also go to Jordan or other countries.

Between 2013 and 2015 around 260,000 Palestinian permit holders seeking medical treatment entered the West Bank and Jerusalem, according to the Knesset Research and Information Center. Around 61,000 were admitted to Israeli hospitals.

The vast majority of those in the second group were treated in hospitals in Jerusalem and the center of the country, and not in hospitals in the periphery. The reason that Palestinians are admitted to Israeli hospitals in the first place is because the under-developed Palestinian healthcare system is unable to meet their needs. In Gaza, for example, cancer patients cannot generally receive the treatment they require.

The Palestinian Authority covers patients’ costs, and Israel uses its tax on the PA to recover its debts. The price Palestinians pay to Israeli hospitals is around five percent higher than that paid by Israeli health funds for the patients they insure. Between 2011 and 2015, Israeli hospitals took in...

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