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Richard Spencer tells Israelis 'White Nationalism' is akin to Zionism

The prominent white supremacist is given a platform on Israel’s top-rated news show, and the host doesn’t once challenge his anti-Semitism or hateful views.

By +972 Magazine Staff

Israel’s most popular prime-time television news show gave white supremacist Richard Spencer a platform to try and convince Jewish Israelis that White Nationalism is analogous to Zionism, adding that Israelis should relate to him and his ilk.

[If the video below doesn’t play, watch here or here]

“As an Israeli citizen, as someone who understands your identity, who has a sense of nationhood and peoplehood, and history and the experience of the Jewish people, you should respect someone like me, who has analogous feelings about whites,” Spencer told anchor Danny Kushmaro on Wednesday evening’s broadcast.

“You could say that I’m a white Zionist in the sense that I care about my people; I want us to have a secure homeland for us and ourselves just like you want a secure homeland in Israel,” Spencer continued.

The Israeli television host in any way challenge the comparison of white supremacist nationalism to Zionism or the attempt to get Israelis to relate to it. Perhaps more shocking, was that Kushmaro did not ask Spencer what his anti-Semitic ideology would mean for the millions of Jews in the United States.

When Kushamaro did confront Spencer about anti-Semitic chants and sentiments among the white supremacist groups in Charlottesville, he allowed him to treat it as a matter of free speech instead of addressing the anti-Semitism itself.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been roundly criticized for failing to address the gravity of such anti-Semitic and even neo-Nazi rhetoric and violence taking place in the United States, President Trump’s refusal to unequivocally condemn it, and express any concern for the world’s second-largest Jewish population. (By some counts, the U.S. has more Jews than Israel.)

The truth of the matter is that Netanyahu is relatively alone in his immensely disappointing response to the resurgent white supremacist movement in the United States. Ministers in his own government, politicians across the Israeli political spectrum, and others have been unusually outspoken on the issue.

This is not the first time that Netanyahu has shied away from criticizing the Trump administration’s attitudes toward hate crimes targeting American Jews. When Trump was confronted about his lack of condemnation of a series of bomb threats against...

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WATCH: This is what it looks like when Israel demolishes your home

Israeli authorities demolish homes, car repair shops, and businesses in four different East Jerusalem neighborhoods — in a single day.

By Eli Bitan

Hundreds of Israeli soldiers, police officers, and municipal inspectors made their way to the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya on Tuesday mornin, to demolish two large apartment buildings, an agricultural business, and a store.

Muhammad Abu Hummus, a resident of Issawiya and a member of the neighborhood’s popular committee, witnessed the demolitions. “Hundreds of soldiers arrived at 4 a.m. and evacuated the building. This is a building that has been standing for 10 years, and over the past few years has been negotiating with the Jerusalem municipality to retroactively legalize it. That didn’t work. At 6 a.m. they began demolition two buildings and a few stores.”

According to Abu Hummus, they left the ruins of the building on the road and around the neighborhood. “When I approached them and asked them to debris, they responded that ‘anyone who builds illegally should worry about cleaning up.’

Israel regularly demolishes homes built in East Jerusalem by Palestinians without a permit, yet approves less than two percent of all requests for building permits.

Israeli security forces carried out simultaneous demolitions in three other Palestinian neighborhoods. According to Israeli human rights NGO B’Tselem, the authorities demolished a home in Silwan, which housed eight people, including six minors. In Beit Hanina, they demolished a car sale lot, and in Jabal Mukaber security forces demolished a tire repair shop.

According to B’Tselem, Tuesday’s demolitions are part of a general incline. Sine the beginning of 2017, 62 homes have been demolished in East Jerusalem, including six homes that were demolished by their owners, so as not to pay fines and the cost of the demolition. Over 115 people, including 46 minors, have been left homeless. Authorities have also demolished over 80 structures, including fences, storerooms, agricultural structures, businesses, a mosque, and more.

Eli Bitan is a journalist in the ultra-Orthodox press in Israel and a blogger on Local Call, where this post was first published in Hebrew. Read it here.

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The ‘diplomatic tsunami’ that never came

Netanyahu blew a lot of hot air in a Trump-like speech to his party loyalists last week. He did speak one truth, however: the international community can end the occupation if it wants.

By Hagai El-Ad

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech to a cheering crowd of party loyalists last week was not geared towards an international audience: it was meant to rally his political base in the face of several high-profile corruption investigations into him and those closest to him.

The prime minister slung myriad false accusations against the media and “the left,” taken right from the scripts followed by U.S. President Trump and Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán. Mr. Netanyahu did state one essential truth, however: the world can bring an end to Israel’s occupation of Palestine.

In his speech, Netanyahu ridiculed former Prime Minister Ehud Barak (“an old man with a new beard”) for a warning he made in 2011 – when serving as defense minister under Netanyahu – that Israel was about to face a “diplomatic tsunami”: “There’s an international movement towards recognizing a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders… Israel’s delegitimization is on the horizon, even if the citizens don’t see it. It’s dangerous and requires action,” Barak said at the time.

Six years have passed since Barak’s warning – six years of more settlement building for Israelis and dispossession for Palestinians, six more years of impunity, violence, and oppression. And indeed – six more years without a diplomatic tsunami.

“What tsunami? What isolation?” Netanyahu said, mocking Barak last week. “Nonsense… Israel is enjoying an unparalleled diplomatic spring.”

Netanyahu’s entire strategy for the future of Israeli rule over the Palestinian people is the creeping advancement of Israel’s long-term goals in the occupied territories, while dodging the only thing that can get us out of this reality without violence: international consequences. In celebrating his accomplishment, the prime minister is also spelling out, for those who may still have doubts, how effective the international community could be if it finally decided to stop its acquiescence.

Perpetuating the occupation and paying no price for it – having it both ways – is Netanyahu’s single goal. Breaking the congruity of that mold is the biggest hope we have of finally ending the occupation.

But the longer international action fails to arrive, the longer we go without a “diplomatic tsunami” or even a hint of a passing rainstorm – the more...

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It's not Netanyahu — it's a country drunk on power

Even if Netanyahu’s corruption scandals force him out of office, Israeli politics will still be guided by the idea that Palestinians must be pummeled into submission.

By Marzuq Al-Halabi

It’s easy to understand the expressions of joy and hope emanating from the broad spectrum of Israelis who are fed up with the Netanyahu government and its misdeeds, particularly in light of the reports that police suspect the prime minister of fraud, bribery, and breach of trust. It’s also natural to nurture illusions imagining the possibility of this saga — of a racist, right-wing government, corruption, and discourse of hate — coming to an end.

Of course, any further examination leads us back to the feeling that the end of the Netanyahu regime won’t really change or lives or propel us into some utopia. I think we need to look beyond the names in the headlines, beyond the right-wing’s “fake news,” which has been trying to take advantage of Israel’s “strategic structure,” which engenders precisely this kind of government.

The victory of the Zionist enterprise

In order to understand the political reality, we must analyze the strategic structure between Israel and what we call the “Arab world” — including the Palestinians — which has developed here over the past few decades. The strategy is a balance of power after 100 years of conflict between the Jews who came to historic Palestine and the nations that lived in the region, including the native Palestinian people.

Israel’s strategic situation vis-a-vis the Arab world is the best it has ever been since the establishment of the state. It enjoys military and economic superiority, as well as an advantage in its non-military strength. Israel’s power is measured in its economic and social might, and its strategic strength is a result of alliances and understandings (both explicit and implicit) with regional actors, its place in the international system, and the fact that it faces no external existential threats. Israel surpasses its neighbors in all these aspects.

On the Arab side, we are witnessing a collapse: states are coming apart, and bloody civil wars have created millions of refugees and the destruction of major Arab cities. Major hubs of Arab life have ceased functioning, and their political significance has all but disappeared. In Syria and Iraq, entire armies have disintegrated.

Looking back over the past 100 years, one can safely say that the Zionist enterprise has defeated that of...

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Criminalizing support for Palestinian human rights

Progressive American senators are having a hard time explaining their support for a law that would criminalize support for the Palestinian boycott movement, BDS.

By James J. Zogby

It is fascinating to watch some U.S. senators tripping over themselves as they attempt to defend their support for or opposition to proposed legislation that would make it a federal crime to support the international campaign to Boycott, Divest, or Sanction (BDS) Israel for its continued occupation of Palestinian lands. What ties these officials up in knots are their efforts to square the circle of their “love of Israel,” their opposition to BDS, their support for a “two-state solution,” and their commitment to free speech.

The bill in question, S720, was introduced on March 23, 2017 by Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD). S720 opposes calls by the United Nations to boycott or “blacklist” companies that support Israeli activities in the territories occupied in the 1967 war. The bill further prohibits any U.S. person from supporting this UN call to boycott and establishes stiff fines and/or imprisonment for Americans who violate this prohibition.

There are a number of problems with the legislation. In the first place, supporters of S720 grossly mischaracterize the intent of the UN approach as “anti-Israel.” In fact, as S720, itself, acknowledges, the UN Human Rights Council specifically targets only businesses that engage in activities in “territories occupied [by Israel] since 1967.” The UN target is not Israel, but Israeli actions that serve to consolidate its hold over the occupied territories.

Then there is the concern that by making illegal either the act of boycotting Israel, or advocating for such a boycott, S720 is criminalizing free speech and stifling legitimate peaceful protest.

Finally, the legislation continues to build on earlier Congressional legislation using slight of hand language in an attempt to erase the distinction in U.S. law between Israel and illegal Israeli settlements in occupied territories. While earlier legislation accomplished this by referring to “Israel and areas under Israel’s control,” S720 notes that its boycott prohibition applies to “commercial relations…with citizens or residents of Israel, entities organized under the laws of Israel, or the Government of Israel.”

Since S720 quickly gained 48 co-sponsors (35 Republicans and 13 Democrats) and has been supported by AIPAC and the Anti-Defamation League, one might have expected it to sail effortlessly through the Congress and be put on the President’s desk for his signature. That, however,...

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Israeli activists demand government publish BDS blacklists

Israeli human rights activists file an appeal to force the Israeli government to come clean on its so-called blacklists of foreign nationals who support the boycott movement.

By Yael Marom

A group of Israeli human rights activists filed an appeal to the Jerusalem District Court Thursday morning to try and force the Israeli government to reveal the so-called “blacklists” of foreign nationals, who are prevented entry into Israel due to their support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. The Israeli activists, represented by Attorney Eitay Mack, filed the petition after the Population and Immigration Authority refused to provide them with the information, claiming it is concerned about the privacy rights of pro-BDS activists and organizations.

The activists first filed a freedom of information request with the Population and Immigration Authority, asking to receive protocols, background information, and decisions that were made vis-a-vis people or organizations who have been blacklisted. The activists had hoped to gain access to information gathered by the Israeli government on these activists, as well as messages and correspondences with foreign entities — countries, airlines, security organizations — on the issue of blacklists.

Mack explains the background for the request in the opening of the appeal:

To the surprise of the Israeli activists, the Authority claimed that blacklists do not actually exist, and refused to hand over the information out of concern for the privacy rights of BDS activists and organizations.

In March, the Knesset passed a law that would forbid granting entry visas or residency rights to foreign nationals who call for economic, cultural, or academic boycotts of Israel or West Bank settlements. The law came in the wake of a pledge by Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan to form blacklists of pro-BDS activists who try to enter the country.

Let’s get one thing straight: the Israeli government does not really care for the privacy of those activists, since it is precisely that very privacy that is violated whenever it hands over information about them to various entities around the world. Only recent did German airline Lufthansa bar five BDS activists from a flight from the U.S. to Israel, claiming the Israeli authorities will refuse them entry upon landing. According to the criteria published by the Authority, activists who belong to organizations that “actively” support the boycott can be denied entry into the country.

How did the Population and Immigration Authority know that these five specific activists — who were supposed to visit as part of a group of over...

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Israel's empty threat to 'shut down' Al Jazeera

Communications Minister Ayoub Kara held a press conference at which he promised to ‘close’ Al Jazeera. He doesn’t exactly have that type of authority, let alone the ability.

By Moshe Ronen

Israel’s new communications minister, Ayoub Kara, declared this week that he would act to shut down Al Jazeera’s operations in Israel. Speaking at a press conference on Sunday, Kara explained that he is the only minister in the Israeli government whose mother tongue is Arabic, and therefore he is the only one who understands the channel’s Arabic-language broadcasts. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wasted no time praising Kara for working to shutter the station.

And so it was that Israel followed in the footsteps of four Arab states — Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates — who themselves shuttered Al Jazeera’s offices in their respective countries earlier this summer, after severing all ties with Qatar, where the station is headquartered.

But the honorable communications minister seems to have misunderstood a few things. A communications minister in a democratic country is not actually in charge of the media, and he or she cannot just “close” Al Jazeera, as some less-democratic neighboring countries have done. The state’s influence over Al Jazeera can be broken down into two areas: controlling the ability of its journalists to report inside Israel, and control over its broadcasts from within Israel’s borders.

Read +972 Special Coverage: Press Freedom & Censorship in Israel

Baseless declarations and zero authority

In practice, the State of Israel has no legal tools that allow it to limit Al Jazeera’s Israeli-citizen journalists to do their work as long as they don’t violate some other law. Walid al-Omari, Al Jazeera’s Jerusalem bureau chief, is an Israeli citizen.

With regards to foreign correspondents, Israel could in theory limit or reject their work visa applications. Journalists’ visas in Israel are generally granted to journalists who have Government Press Office (GPO) accreditation. The GPO, which has been taken to court over the matter no small number of times, does not just arbitrarily cancel press accreditations. There are regulations for these things. In general, GPO press cards are only canceled when Israel’s internal security service, the Shin Bet, declares a journalist to be a security threat. In rarer cases, the GPO has canceled accreditation to journalists for other reasons, like the case of Dutch journalist Derk Walters.

The GPO has not canceled...

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Why is Israel refusing to teach African asylum seekers Hebrew?

Israel’s ‘Holot’ detention facility for asylum seekers, which is intended to rob them of so much hope that they’ll leave the country, refuses to provide Hebrew lessons as part of its education program for detainees. The result is empty classrooms and a parallel, asylum seeker-run program.

By Omri Du-Nour

Israel’s desert detention facility for asylum seekers, “Holot,” has been controversial ever since it was first opened four years ago. The primary aim of the facility, as declared by then-Interior Minister Eli Yishai, who initiated its construction, was to drive African asylum seekers to a state of despair, so that they will choose to leave Israel voluntarily. Since then, Israel’s High Court of Justice ordered the facility to provide for the basic needs of those detained there, which includes the right to education.

Educational services at Holot are operated by the Israeli Education Ministry (through its department for adult education) but the programs it offers are rather limited and do not meet the most substantive needs of the detainees. The state is spending hundreds of thousands of shekels a year on educational and enrichment programs but it ignores the asylum seekers’ biggest and most critical need: Hebrew language studies. What’s so objectionable about a few thousand detainees learning Hebrew each year?

The answer is wrapped up in the policies Israel adopted ever since it began addressing the issue of African asylum seekers in a coherent manner: trying to get them to leave the country any way possible. The Holot detention facility is part of that effort. Israeli authorities believe that in order to advance that goal they should provide detainees with tools to help them “make it” in other countries — not in Israel. Therefore, the state opposes providing them with Hebrew lessons as part of the educational programs it runs at Holot. Instead, it provides them with English and mathematics courses — important fields of study, but not ones that meet the demands and basic needs of the detainees there.

The absurdity of the situation, which I have experienced over the past couple of years as a teacher in Holot, is that on the one hand Israel wants and expects the detainees to come to classes and participate in the educational programs it organizes for them. On the other hand, Israeli authorities systematically ignore the detainees’ desire to improve their Hebrew while at Holot, something that comes up over and over again...

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Demographic hysteria leaves Jerusalemites by the wayside

For 50 years, the Israeli government has treated Jerusalem as a national symbol instead of as a city. Its residents, both Palestinians and Jews, are paying the price.

By Efrat Cohen-Bar

As far back as the 1970s, the Israeli government set a goal to maintain a Jewish majority of at least 70 percent in its “united” capital of Jerusalem. The goal was set more or less in accordance with the size of the various populations that lived within the new expanded municipal boundaries of the city, established at the end of the war in 1967. Thus, from the first days of the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, every effort was made to achieve this demographic dominance.

Since then, for the past 50 years, urban planning in Jerusalem has been used as a tool in the service of maintaining demographic levels. On the one hand that planning restricts the development of Palestinian villages and neighborhoods, all while promoting building in Israeli neighborhoods and settlements beyond the Green Line.

Despite all this, the State of Israel has failed to achieve its vaunted demographic goals in Jerusalem. Israeli Jews make up only 60 percent of the city’s population today. Whenever Israel’s control over Jerusalem is compromised the country goes into a hysteric state. So it should be no surprise that we are now seeing a number of new initiatives to alter the city’s boundaries meant to ensure Israeli demographic dominance.

An ever-expanding city

There are two new initiatives on the table at the moment. One of them aims to reduce the Palestinian population by separating from the Jerusalem municipality neighborhoods located on the eastern side of the separation barrier, and establishing a separate municipal authority for them. The second initiative focuses on increasing the relative size of the Israeli population by expanding the municipality’s jurisdiction over areas with large concentrations of settlers in the West Bank, in order to create an umbrella municipality. According to the second proposal, the residents of those settlements will maintain municipal autonomy through independent regional councils and would vote in two elections elections: one for a Jerusalem municipal council, and the other for members of their local council.

Spatially these two initiatives do not change a thing, since settlers from Ma’ale Adumim, Givat Ze’ev, and Gush Etzion will not move to Jerusalem, while the Palestinians of Kufr Aqab, Ras Khamis, and Shuafat refugee camp won’t leave it. Everyone, in fact,...

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A disastrous outcome if Trump pulls out of the Iran deal

Trump seems determined to go forward with a very hostile program toward Iran, and, although a baseless U.S. pullout from the nuclear deal seems unlikely, even the so-called ‘adults in the room’ are looking for a pretext.

By Mitchell Plitnick

Donald Trump rarely tries to hide his intentions. When he intends to do something reckless that will seriously compromise not just U.S. security but that of the entire world, he is not shy about sharing.

The prime example of this is Trump’s determination to destroy the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the deal struck between the P5+1 and Iran to limit Iran’s nuclear program. He made it clear during the 2016 presidential campaign that he wanted to do away with the Iran deal, and he’s been clear that this is still his intention. But until now, his own advisors have been able to restrain him, and Trump has twice been forced to acknowledge that Iran has been complying with the deal.

Last week, however, Trump sent a clear message: the president of the United States is insisting that his staff find a way for him to de-certify the deal, even though Iran is not in material breach of the agreement and no one, even in the United States, has been able to make the case that it is. As Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian-American Council (NIACput it, “The tangible danger of Trump’s malice on the Iran deal—as well as the danger of the advice of the ‘adults in the room’—became further clarified this week as tidbits of the reality TV star’s plans began to leak.”

Those plans center around trying to get the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to demand access to non-nuclear military sites to look for evidence of Iranian non-compliance with the JCPOA. Access to those sites was an Iranian red line during negotiations, and the agreement to omit that access from the deal was an important component in getting the deal done.

No country would ever allow unfettered access to its military sites, of course. But, should there be evidence of suspicious activity at such sites, the JCPOA does include provision for the IAEA to either gain access to those sites or declare Iran in violation of the deal. The problem for Trump is that there is no such evidence.

Trump has signaled his intention to push for those extraordinary inspections. The...

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Dear Jewish community, let's stop being scared of the Palestinian flag

Parts of the Jewish community are up in arms over a harmless goodwill gesture to visiting Palestinian kids at a Jewish summer camp. My dear fellow Jews, is this really us? Are we really this scared?

By Rob Abrams

Camp Solomon Schecter, a Jewish summer camp affiliated with the Conservative Movement in Washington State decided to raise the Palestinian flag last week. The camp was playing host to participants of the Kids4Peace initiative, a Jerusalem-based project that brings together Jewish and Palestinian children in the hopes of fostering friendship and coexistence. Since a number of Palestinian children were to be spending a few nights with them, the camp directors believed that raising the flag might be a nice gesture and “a sign of friendship and acceptance.”

The reaction, however, was beyond imagination. Pamela Geller, best known in recent years for her Islamophobic New York City bus advertising campaign, compared the camp’s actions to a “Nazi flag flying over a German Jewish day school in 1938.” Other extremist groups piled on as well, encouraging public campaigns against the camp, which ultimately relented and apologized.

Let’s put things in perspective. Raising the Palestinian flag was a small gesture on the part of a pretty mild face-to-face meeting project. The flag is a symbol which represents the hopes and dreams of millions of people for freedom. You would think that more of us, the Jewish people, would be able to relate to that feeling.

I may get some fellow leftists scoffing at me for this, but how many of us as children, coming from the diaspora, stood in awe of the sight of a Magen David flying proudly on a flag for the first time? How many of us then spent god-knows-how-many retrospectively embarrassing years gawking at anything with that symbol on it? This is a common denominator for most people who grew up in diaspora Jewish communities and youth movements, regardless of what path they took later — whether they’re now a leftist or living in the West Bank settlement of Efrat.

Remember that feeling. Then try, if you might, to put yourself in the shoes of the Palestinian child who was held up at countless checkpoints and by endless and humiliating military bureaucracy just to make it to a nice leafy American summer camp. Upon arrival, they found that one of the only symbols by which they...

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The Palestinian women's uprising that electrified Jerusalem

Religious Palestinian women are taking in active role in the protests at the Temple Mount, shattering stereotypes of Muslim women as docile and subservient. 

By Elhanan Miller

In the struggle of the Palestinian religious factions against Israel, the place of women has been missing from the battle. As opposed to Fatah and the left-wing factions, in which women often take an active role, religious Palestinian women are often left behind the scenes. The events of the last few weeks teach us, however, that the struggle over al-Aqsa is an exception.

In September 2015, former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon declared the Murabitat, a group of Muslim women activists at Al-Aqsa, a proscribed organization. After they were removed from the site, the women were quiet for some time, yet the women returned to play a central role in leading Palestinian resistance to Israel around the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, and in the refusal to accept any change in the status quo around the site, including installing security measures.

Hamas’ news outlet, Al-Resalah, dedicated an article to activist Zeinab Amar, who claimed that the security cameras Israel is planning to install — after it removed the metal detectors — will allow it to control the entire area, effectively wresting control from the Jordanian Waqf. Amar insisted that Israel intends on changing the nature of the Mount in order to establish a synagogue “for settlers” on its eastern side. She added that the women will not halt their protest at Lions Gate until Israel reverses the steps it has taken.

Maha Younis, a resident of the village Arara in northern Israel, said similar things to Arab48, a news outlet associated with the Balad party. “The Murabitoun have patience in this battle. Our steadfastness is stronger than that of the occupation,” she said. “They may have installed metal detectors, but they exposed the true essence of the Palestinians and their love for Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

The television station Al-Ghad, which broadcasts from London through funding from the United Arab Emirates, published an article on July 25 under the headline: “The Jerusalemites are standing at the front lines with the occupation,” accompanied by a photograph of an Israeli soldier pointing his weapon at a woman in a hijab. “The role of the Jerusalemite Palestinian woman […] serves as a model in the national struggle, since she stands alongside the man before challenges and dangers.”

Photos...

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Netanyahu's new plan: Getting rid of Israel's Palestinians

Netanyahu’s proposal to revoke citizenship from tens of thousands of Arab citizens is yet another calculated move meant to absolve Israel of responsibility for the fate of its native population.

By Marzuq Al-Halabi

The idea of territorial or population swaps as part of a final-status agreement with the Palestinians is not new. Many have previously propounded it, whether as part of an honest effort at resolving the conflict, or as a way to whitewash population transfer. A new proposal put forth by Prime Minister Netanyahu would transfer the Arab villages of Wadi Ara — adjacent to the northern West Bank — to the Palestinian Authority, in exchange for annexing the settlements to Israel. A typical Bibi-esque response to weighty political questions.

One can easily dismiss the proposal as an attempt by the prime minister to placate the Israeli public, in light of the mass funeral for the three men from Umm al-Fahm (in the Wadi Ara area) who killed two Border Police officers at Al-Aqsa two weeks ago — an act that, in their eyes may have earned them a ticket to heaven, but left behind a nightmare of violence, confusion, and embarrassment. It is possible that Netanyahu, as opposed to his minister Tzahi Hanegbi, did not want to threaten the Palestinians — even those in Israel — with a third Nakba, and thus decided on the more sophisticated route of territorial swaps, in which Israel will give up on sovereignty in the Wadi Ara area (known as “The Triangle”), including Umm al-Fahm.

Netanyahu’s idea needs to be viewed as part of his search for an outlet for the current tensions, and as part of the public discussions on a final-status arrangement and a range of “creative” ideas that will pave the way out of the current strategic tie-game between Israel and the Palestinians: Jews are unable to make the Palestinians disappear, while the Palestinians cannot return to their lost paradise while ejecting the Zionist crusaders from Palestine. I tend to see it as another Israeli idea whose goal is to overcome this international tie, from the point of view of the demographic reality between the river and the sea.

In light of developments in Israeli politics since the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, one can safely establish that the right-wing elites in Israel do not want any further Palestinian participation in Israeli politics. This has become all the more...

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