How the occupation justice system saved face in the case of Samer Allawi In his influential book about the occupation circa early 1987, “The Yellow Wind,” David Grossman describes an unusual scene in a military court in the West Bank. The defense shows incontrovertible proof that the defendant cannot possibly be guilty of the crime attributed to him. This causes a problem, which Orwell first expressed in his “To shoot an Elephant”: Acquitting the defendant means the occupier can err, which may cause derision towards him; Convicting him, on the other hand, is a clear travesty which may cause unrest.…Read More... | 8 Comments
Neve Gordon argues that the 'boycott bill' is a turning point in the erosion of Israeli democracy, and part of the Knesset's greater strategy in which the next target is the Supreme Court By Neve Gordon Political change is slow. One doesn't go to sleep in a democracy and wake up in a fascist regime. The citizens of Egypt and Tunisia can attest to the fact that the opposite is also true: dictatorship does not become democracy overnight. Any political change of such magnitude is the result of a lot of hard work and is always incremental, indicating that there…Read More... | 5 Comments
By Mahdi Sabbagh Following the inspiring yet tragic events of May 15th, when many Palestinians in various countries demonstrated to mark Nakba Day, and the general build-up to that day, I have been attempting to make sense of the protests, Israel’s brutal response and the political connotations and media craze that followed; not so much from an ‘international relations’ political perspective but from a cultural-political perspective. The following reflection centers on the internal narratives and realities of the Palestinian people. It does not address the relationship between the Palestinian and the Israeli narrative; which would be a constructive exercise for…Read More... | 5 Comments
Robert Fisk on Al Jazeera English this morning recalls meeting Osama Bin Laden and pontificates on Al Qaeda's irrelevance in the current Arab world. h/t Antony LowensteinRead More... | 4 Comments
I had the pleasure yesterday to interview an Al Jazeera reporter stationed in Cairo, for the Hebrew foreign affairs blog I co-manage, Kav Hutz. Some of the questions were submitted by our readers. Was the reporter taken off guard by the events? Inspired? Is the opposition losing the masses? Is the military splitting? Are women playing a major role? And are the protesters resolved to continue? The reporter's name is withheld for security considerations. How surprised were you by what is going on? I don't think you can find many people who can tell you honestly that they expected anything like…Read More...
The so-called Palestine Papers, the first of which were released this week by Al Jazeera, have fallen into a trap seen all too frequently. Rather than dealing with the actual message and content, those affected by the leak instead have chosen to shoot the messenger One Palestinian official directly targeted the country that hosts and funds the Arab television network. Speaking in Ramallah on Monday, Yasser Abed Rabbo called the incident a political campaign directed by Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalida al-Thani. Another official – the main Palestinian negotiator – claims his life is now in danger. Saeb Erekat’s…Read More...
The Palestine Papers themselves are not that interesting or revelatory. However, the way they have been paraded in the media in the mere 24 hours since their release is. If you take a look at the vast amounts of coverage, reactions and commentaries, they are all framed in the discourse of a simple power struggle. In this discourse, the Palestinian Authority is the loser and Israel is the all-mighty winner. After all, it is the one in the position to make the offers and has been for quite some time. Regardless of how one interprets the papers, or Al Jazeera’s…Read More...
Last week Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu – via Israel's Government Press Office (GPO) – hosted a reception for international correspondents at Jerusalem's David's Citadel Hotel. I attended the event. The media were treated to an assortment of wine and hors d'oeuvres, a musical interlude performed by new immigrants, and then an address by the prime minister. In other words, it was a standard press event. But it ended up becoming an international scandal, dubbed 'Bragate' by the Israeli and international press, when several journalists walked out rather than submit to a security check that involved removing all their clothes. One…Read More... | 1 Comment
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