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...
Hasan Safadi placed under administrative detention for six months, after being accused of affiliation with an illegal organization and visiting an enemy state. Israeli authorities placed a Palestinian prisoners' rights activist under administrative detention for six months beginning last Friday, 40 days after he was first detained and taken in for interrogation. Hasan Safadi, who works as media coordinator for Addameer, an NGO that supports Palestinian prisoners in both Israeli and Palestinian prisons, was set to be released from detention on June 10 by order of Jerusalem's Magistrate's Court, after paying NIS 2,500 in bail and obtaining third-party guarantees. Later…Read More... | 1 Comment
For Palestinian citizens of Israel, especially those from the Haifa area, Beirut holds near mythical stature. The two cities share near-identical Arabic dialects, cuisine and the cultural elements, and just a few decades ago traveling between them would have been a mere two-hour drive. Today that is almost unimaginable That disconnection between the Arab Palestinian citizens of Israel, or “’48 Palestinians” as they are sometimes called, and the wider Arab world has been a source of pain and resentment ever since the borders slammed shut in 1948. The majority of Palestinians were locked outside, but over 1 million live in…Read More... | 14 Comments
He was an officer in the IDF, a supporter of a bi-national state, and fundraised money to build a school in a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon. Until his very last day, Dov Yermiya remained a man of contradictions. By Avi Dabach Dov Yermiya, who passed away two weeks ago at the age of 101, was a man of contradictions. One of the one hand he was a venerated fighter of the 1948 War, on the other hand he exposed war crimes. One the one hand a tzabar who grew up in the heartland of Zionism, on the other hand…Read More... | 19 Comments
Twelve-year-old Fares al-Khodor sold roses in West Beirut for five years until he was killed in an airstrike during a visit to his hometown in Syria. Touched by the massive outpouring from people who knew him in Lebanon, artist Yazan Halwani brought his memory all the way to Germany. By Avi Blecherman Yazan Halwani, a Lebanese street artist known as “the Banksy of Beirut,” went all the way to Dortmund, Germany in order to paint a portrait of Fares, a refugee Syrian child who was killed recently in the ongoing war. Fares al-Khodor, 12, charmed business owners and passersby with…Read More...
Despite highly destructive counter-revolutionary forces like a-Sisi in Egypt and ISIL in Iraq and Syria, there are grassroots movements across the region demanding governments that serve the people — all of the people. By Yoav Haifawi* On Friday, August 28, 2015, demonstrators in southern and central Iraq (those parts of the country not under “Islamic State” control) held their fifth consecutive “Friday protests” against government corruption, lack of basic services and the sectarian structure of power sharing. On Saturday, August 29, Lebanon’s “You Stink” movement held its largest demonstration yet in “Martyrs’ Square” in the middle of Beirut – undeterred…Read More... | 4 Comments
The IDF is developing new technology that will eventually cut down on the need for soldiers to go to the front lines. What does this mean for the Palestinians whose lives will hang on the decision of a machine? The Israeli army is optimistic that there will be no need for soldiers to be stationed on Israel’s borders in the future. Not because there will be peace, and not because there will be no need to maintain militarized borders. Rather it is because they are working towards unmanned, weaponized patrol vehicles that will do the job instead. A blog post on…Read More... | 13 Comments
If you're going to publish ominous warnings portending the killing of scores of civilians, shouldn't you verify the grounds and ask why? In an article published on the New York Times website today, Israel sells the author, Isabel Kershner, the pretense for its next war: its claims that Hezbollah has dramatically beefed up its military infrastructure along Israel's northern border. [tmwinpost] Those claims on their own don’t come as much of a surprise. It’s been widely acknowledged that Hezbollah has increased its capabilities in southern Lebanon. Nor is the overt battle cry the most ominous part of the piece. What's most concerning is Israel’s…Read More... | 37 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 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
With Palestinian children in Gaza bearing the brunt of Israel's offensive on the Strip, this is what one little girl may have written to us – had she the chance. By Sam Bahour As the latest horrific obscenity of Israel’s aggression against the Gaza Strip continues, the death toll mounts. Palestinian children are paying the highest price, both those who are killed and wounded, and, maybe even more so, those who survive. Since I have written for decades about how Israel’s prolonged military occupation and endless violations of international law – let alone its blatant disregard for its very own…Read More... | 5 Comments
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