The problem with Lebanese electoral politics is far less sectarian than we are often led to believe. And you thought the American elections were a headache? By Aurélie Daher At last! The Lebanese parties finally decided on October 31 to give the country a new president, after the position had been vacant since the last president, Michel Sleiman, left office in May 2014. The country thus had remained headless for no less than 29 months — to the point where some started to wonder whether the job itself had any significance or use. Michel Aoun, the successful candidate, had probably…Read More...
Ehud Barak isn't the 'only hope' to defeat Netanyahu. He is, however, the most dangerous prime minister Israel has ever had. It seems Ehud Barak is planning a return to politics: posters have appeared calling on him to “run” (where exactly is unclear), and now even Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy reluctantly voiced the opinion that for all his faults, Barak is “the only hope” to defeat Netanyahu because he is “so much more brilliant than his politician peers." But before the buildup of yet another great white hope commences, a reminder might be in order. [tmwinpost] Barak was arguably the…Read More... | 19 Comments
In Israel the question of whether Hezbollah is a terrorist group or an army boils down to the racist idea that Arabs do not have the right to defend themselves. Even asking is considered treasonous. By Lilach Ben-David The Balad (National Democratic Assembly or A-Tajamou') Hadash and Hadash (Democratic Front for Peace and Equality or Al-Jabhah) parties, the respective liberal-nationalist Palestinian and socialist parties in Israel’s parliament, publicly condemned a GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) decision to define Hezbollah a “terrorist organization” last week. [tmwinpost] The announcement gave the Israeli media another chance to join the merriment of incitement and lies…Read More... | 18 Comments
Seven leading Israeli news outlets went to the same briefing with a senior defense official, and wrote six entirely different stories about it. In an era when few people read beyond the headlines, how we understand the world around us is increasingly polarized. Most people do not read past the first few sentences of online news articles. Even more don’t read past the headline at all. And yet, a large percentage of those who read only the headline nevertheless go on to share that article on social media. (You can read more about that here and here.) [tmwinpost] I mention that because the…Read More...
Should Iran and the West fail to come to an agreement, the battle will no longer be between the right and left, but rather between democratic forces and totalitarian ones. By Ahmad Rafat There is no doubt that the negotiators, whom these days are working to achieve a comprehensive deal on Iran's nuclear plan, do not want to drive a stake through these talks. Even France, which has been playing "bad cop" to the U.S.'s "good cop" in these meetings, is interested in reaching an agreement. It seems that the only country that stands nothing to gain is Russia (which…Read More... | 6 Comments
In this country, looking at things differently can really get your head spinning. Part 13 of 15. To read the rest of the series, click here. And so the project took a real conceptual shift. There was no denying it: this was the same shift my own political views took in recent years. Once I strongly believed in the dichotomy, and consequently in a two-state solution. Here is how I saw the map: west of the Green line, folks should sing Lorde in Hebrew. East of it: in Arabic. By now, however, and due to more developments and learning than I…Read More... | 3 Comments
And why it will probably pick another one before too long. After Hezbollah’s fatal attack on Israeli soldiers Wednesday, the two enemy sides are in a rare configuration: they’re even. Israel killed six Hezbollah guerrillas and an Iranian general on January 18, so Hezbollah killed two Israeli soldiers and wounded seven more, and now they’re quits, for the time being. They each told UN peacekeepers in south Lebanon that they didn’t want to escalate things anymore, they wanted calm, and that clearly seems to be the case today. What an opportunity. From this point forward, Israel and Hezbollah could start…Read More... | 35 Comments
Two Israeli soldiers are killed in a cross-border attack on an Israeli patrol road with anti-tank missiles. A Spanish soldier serving with UNIFIL is reportedly killed by Israeli retaliatory shelling. Israeli politicians call for harsh response. Israel killed a Hezbollah commander a week earlier. Two Israeli soldiers were killed in a cross-border attack on the Lebanese border Wednesday morning, for Hezbollah quickly took responsibility. A Spanish soldier serving with UNIFIL, the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon, was killed in Israeli retaliatory shelling. The border attack comes a week after Israel assassinated a Hezbollah commander and an Iranian general in the…Read More... | 2 Comments
From close up, the assassination of a Hezbollah commander and an Iranian general was probably preemption. In the big picture, it was definitely aggression. During the Second Intifada, (late 2000-2004) Israel made a habit of carrying out “targeted assassinations” of Palestinian militant leaders. The Palestinians, in turn, had a predilection for blowing up buses and cafes. After an assassination of a high-up Hamasnik or Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades man, some Israelis and many foreigners would question whether it was a good idea, whether it was worth the risk, given the likelihood that the Palestinians would be out for revenge. The routine…Read More... | 14 Comments
The twisted logic of Peres' Grapes of Wrath operation was all about hitting civilian targets. That was the reason refugees sought shelter in Qana's UN base in the first place. Yigal Sarna, a journalist for Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, published a dramatic and serious accusation over the weekend against Naftali Bennett, the head of the Jewish Home party. Bennett was the commander of a small IDF unit that operated inside the “Security Zone” that Israel occupied in South Lebanon during the 1996 military operation Grapes of Wrath. According to Sarna, Bennett decided on his own to diverge from his orders, got his soldiers…Read More... | 17 Comments
The catastrophic outcomes of another Israeli-Hezbollah conflict for both sides is likely deterring escalation into all-out war. By Aaron Magid Since the Gaza war ended, Israeli media quickly shifted its focus to the next conflict - with Hezbollah. Channel 2 aired an extensive interview with a senior Israeli military officer under the headline “The 3rd Lebanon War” detailing the immense costs such a clash would incur, as if another conflict with Hezbollah is a pre-determined fact. Referring to the threat, longtime Israeli journalist Ben Caspit warned, “not since the War of Independence has the sovereignty of the Jewish State been in such peril.” Ironically…Read More... | 6 Comments
Armed men roam the streets, enlisting people to the Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade, Fatah officials call for the end to security coordination with Israel and Mahmoud Abbas is seen as the enemy of the people. Is the explosion closer than we think? By Gershon Baskin I have just returned from a work visit to Ramallah. I am very concerned and disturbed by what I heard from friends and colleagues there. The calm appearance of the city hides the sizzling bubbling under the surface. The West Bank is on the verge of explosion. As an illustration of what I've heard from people…Read More... | 15 Comments
With a ceasefire now in effect between Israel and Hamas, diplomacy can begin to take root. By Lolita Brayman A 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire between Israel and Hamas seems to be shakily holding, with a lull in rocket attacks and the deployment of the Israeli military to positions outside of Gaza. The IDF spokesperson officially announced on Tuesday that Operation Protective Edge’s goal – to destroy all known terrorist tunnels leading into Israel – was complete. What was looking like a unilateral Israeli withdrawal from Gaza a few days ago, a surprising move that forced Hamas to change its strategy and…Read More... | 10 Comments
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