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Israel-Palestinian conflict

  • Is religion an obstacle to Israeli-Palestinian peace?

    Pew publishes surprising new data on religion in Israel, Palestine and the region. We often hear that Israelis and Palestinians are more religious than other national groups, or at the very least are becoming more religious. This, they claim, makes any solution to the conflict more difficult to reach. A new Pew Research Center report reveals some rather surprising results vis-a-vis religion in Israel and Palestine. Thirty-four percent of Israelis said that religion is "very important" in their lives, placing them at the top of the bottom one-third of countries listed, and — unsurprisingly — the lowest in the Middle…

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  • The world is letting Israel get away with it again

    The assault on Gaza has hurt this country’s image, and it doesn’t care. There’s no doubt that this past month of heavily televised overkill in Gaza – well, heavily televised everywhere but here – has hurt Israel’s standing in the world. The IDF has killed too many civilians, wiped out too many families, bombed too many UN shelters. Even Washington has used words like “indefensible” and “disgraceful” to describe some of Israel’s acts. And while the world’s powers-that-be don’t like Hamas, they do like the Palestinian Authority and its leader, Mahmoud Abbas, and they know very well that the Netanyahu government…

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  • Israel during wartime: Loving our soldiers to death

    War brings out the best in Israel, and the worst. But it’s the worst qualities that allowed this war to happen in the first place, and that are preparing the ground for the next one. I’ve always thought, and still think, that if I were in real trouble somewhere, if I were being mugged in Miami, say, and I could choose the nationality of the nearest bystander, I would choose Israeli. They are brave, and they don’t hesitate to help someone in danger, even at risk to themselves. It’s a worn-out cliché, and I’ve found it to be very true.…

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  • "We" speak Hebrew, "them" Arabic. Why negotiate in English?

    Many have argued that the US is no longer a neutral broker between the Israelis and the Palestinians. I'll take it one step further: is English even the appropriate mediating language? William Shakespeare famously asked, "What's in a name?" I (less famously) will ask, "What's in a language?" Today, I called the mobile provider Orange to argue about my bill. I was asked to provide them (again) with my email address. Me spelling it out went something like this... Me: “R” for Roee, Romeo, like the Hebrew letter “raysh” Orange agent: “M?” Me (thinking to myself): “How the #$%W#$ did…

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  • End of year poll updates: Israel and Palestine

    Here’s a summary of some of the top quality polling being done by Israelis and Palestinians, about Israelis and Palestinians. From masses of data, I’ve selected highlights addressing two main themes: the Israeli Palestinian conflict, and the state of democracy in both societies. All the data comes from sources I trust. I use names or abbreviations of the surveys, and full information about each is at the end of this post, with links where possible - there's plenty more on most topics that might interest readers of this post. Since I’m drawing from different surveys, the questions are not identical…

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