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Ehud Olmert

  • The origins and politics of Israel's refugee debate

    An in-depth look at the historical and political developments that shaped Israel’s current African asylum-seeker crisis — and one way to resolve it that meets Israel’s own needs while doing right by those who most need its protection. African asylum seekers in Israel have brought their struggle into the limelight in recent weeks. Through acts of civil disobedience, public protests and a mass labor strike, the mostly Eritrean and Sudanese nationals are attempting to shift the public discourse surrounding their presence in the country, gain access to a credible process in which they can seek asylum, and challenge a new…

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  • Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon dies at 85

    Israel's former prime minister Ariel Sharon, who spent the last eight years comatose after a series of strokes, died on Saturday, January 11. He was 85 years old. A general, politician, statesman, and to many a notorious war criminal, Ariel Sharon was known to combine dogged personal ambition with strategic acumen and ruthlessness, which together shaped one of the most controversial and remarkable careers in Israeli political history. Born in the community of Kfar Malal in 1928, Sharon joined the Haganah in the mid 1940s, and first saw action in the run-up to the 1948 War, when his unit staged…

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  • Barring a miracle, Kerry's breakthrough is bad news

    If Netanyahu doesn't agree to negotiate on the basis of the 1967 border, the Palestinians' consent to negotiate with him will amount to surrender - which, until he proves differently, is what Bibi wants.   The consensus seems to be that any Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are better than none, so Kerry is being congratulated for getting the two sides to agree to meet in Washington to see if they can then agree on a starting point for negotiations. A big step in the right direction, goes the mainstream view. And it will be just that - if Netanyahu agrees to…

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  • Tzipi Livni joins the 'Israel apartheid' club

    Israel's justice minister follows former prime ministers Barak and Olmert in applying the term to this occupying country. The newest self-hating Jewish anti-Semite, according to right-wing Zionist standards, is Tzipi Livni, who on Monday suggested that one of Israel’s possible futures is that of an “apartheid state.” From The Jerusalem Post: During her Eilat speech, Livni said she was impressed that youth in the country protested against the government decision to export natural gas. “I appreciate the fact that they care and are thinking about the future, and obligating us to think about the future,” she said. “But the time…

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  • Who deleted Gaza?

    Israeli policy conveys that there is no Palestine, only two chunks of land divided by people, politics and culture. Some international actors and many Israelis are convinced. Are Palestinians?   A recent New York Times report on the World Economic Forum held at the Dead Sea last month, carried the following headline: “Trying to Revive Mideast Talks, Kerry Pushes Investment Plan for West Bank.” The first paragraph of the article went on to explain: In an effort to revive the moribund peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, Secretary of State John Kerry announced a plan on Sunday to invest as…

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  • Rightists say bring down the Wall, leftists say let's keep it

    Noted right-wingers call to demolish the separation wall. True, they are driven by a desire for annexation, but the Left finds itself in an unseemly position - defending one of the great injustices of the occupation in the name of the distant prospect of two states.  Former Defense Minister Moshe Arens yesterday told Ma'ariv he thinks the separation wall - which snakes its way around the West Bank and has been responsible for cutting tens of thousands of people from their livelihoods and from each other - should be torn down. "The wall is no longer of any use and it's only…

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  • The Israeli negotiator who thinks the two-state solution is still possible

    Veteran Israeli negotiator Shaul Arieli discusses the failure of the Oslo Accords, various Israeli prime ministers' commitment (or lack thereof) to ending the occupation, and the only solution he believes both sides could live with, however unsatisfied they might be with it.  Shaul Arieli is a man on a dual mission: educating Israelis about the conflict and diplomatic process with the Palestinians, and making the point that the two-state solution is both possible and necessary. His latest publication in Hebrew, A Border between Us and You (Yeditoth Ahronoth Books 2013), is a 500-page handbook to the history of the conflict, with an emphasis on…

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  • Soccer racism finally takes a hit in Jerusalem

    Over the violent protests of its fascist fan club, Beitar Jerusalem makes good on its promise to bring two Muslim players onto team. A small victory over racism, but a victory nonetheless.  Even if it's a drop in the ocean, it's a pretty big drop: the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team, symbol of Israeli racism at its rawest, has been integrated with Muslim players - and it was done, in a manner of speaking, over the dead bodies of the team's fascist youth movement, La Famiglia. The turning point came in the middle of the night last Thursday when arsonists torched…

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  • Lapid's platform: No compromise over Jerusalem, no settlement freeze

    On the Palestinian issue, the new leader of the Israeli center holds positions that take several steps back from ideas held by Israeli negotiators in the previous decade. The surprising success of Yair Lapid in the Israeli elections has led many people to believe that a new window of opportunity could be open for a settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. Lapid himself had said before the elections that he will demand a resumption of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Lapid did not, however, detail the policy principles which could reignite said negotiations. His party's platform – available…

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  • After the elections, the Palestinians must scare Israel into ending the occupation

    Our post-election depression comes from being reminded that an end to tyranny and inevitable war is as distant as ever. It's time for new ideas - or old ideas that haven't been tried. Well, that was fun. And now it's over, and who really cares whether Yair Lapid becomes minister of this or minister of that; the twin elephants of tyranny over the Palestinians and the inevitability of war are still in the living room, and if anything, the country seems more determined than before to pretend they aren't there. For those who do see those elephants, there's a sense…

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  • Olmert puts price tag on Iran war plan, estimates attack won’t happen

    Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert gave an interview on Friday night to Israeli Channel 2 in which he attacked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the latter's security spending and the way in which he approached a particular issue. Olmert didn’t say the word "Iran," but his message cannot be misunderstood: In the last two years we have spent more than 11 billion NIS (3 Billion USD) on security delusions that were not carried out and will not be carried out… it is a sum which is well beyond the multi-year budget […] Olmert added that he …believes that these moves will…

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  • Israel's major parties support a non-democratic one-state solution

    No matter what their beliefs about Palestinians’ aims and desires, the policy of Israel’s leaders does not accord with their stated support for a two-state solution or for a democratic and Jewish state. Following up on my post regarding the two-state solution (and some of the comments to that post), I would like to put forth a more general and formal version of my argument. Let’s say that you are stridently opposed to the idea of one state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean - one that would be undemocratic, and based on the explicit, formal and institutionalized supremacy…

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  • Meretz's peace plan: A challenge to liberal timidity

    The party's new proposal effectively says the unsayable: that on the occupation, Israel is wrong and the Arabs are right. There are so many people out there, in Israel and overseas, who know that this country has gone wrong and that Netanyahu and the right are leading it to hell. Yet they end up giving their tacit support to the worsening status quo because they don't have the courage to follow their thoughts to their logical conclusion: that Israel is at fault for the occupation, and that the occupation is at fault for the conflict with the Palestinians. Not Israel…

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