There were fireworks and festivities for Israel’s Independence Day celebrations. But mostly there were military displays, military honours, and the announcement from Joe Biden that Israel, alone in the MidEast, would get the US’s new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft. Asher Schechter finds nothing to celebrate.
Older Palestinians remember the days when commerce between the West Bank and Gaza Strip was commonplace. Since Israel enforced the separation and Hamas entrenched its rule people in the two areas have become strangers to each other, bolstering suspicion and hostile beliefs about the other.
This is a brief article which suggests the biggest questions: the creation of the Jews’ state is also the creation and crushing of the Palestinian need for their own state. AFP reports on the Palestinian response to Israeli celebrations.
It’s controversial but W.European countries, including the UK, accept asylum seekers from the militaristic regimes of Eritrea and Sudan. Not so in Israel; as Richard Silverstein reports, the Jewish state returns them to likely death at the hands of psychotic ISIL.
The heads of mission of EU countries have sent in their annual report advising that it must act more firmly to stop the causes of the violence seen in Jerusalem last autumn. Heavy-handed policing and continued settlement building are cited. The diplomats say there will be no 2-state solution if the polarisation gets more severe.
‘It is time, now, to recognise the state of Palestine’ said Scotland’s minister of culture, Europe and external affairs, concluding the MSPs’ debate on recognition. Which was the view of most who spoke. It was ‘shameful’, said a spokesman for the foreign ministry because it was held on the eve of Israel’s Memorial Day which commemorates all Israelis who have died in war, the day before Independence Day..
The laws Israel’s Knesset has passed, forbidding commemoration of the Nakba or any call for boycott are measures of panic but have been effective in closing down open debate. Though many Israelis, like the Supreme Court, will be compliant, some remain defiant about free speech.
An outpost can appear like a small pimple but left alone it will suck in more and more land, preventing Palestinians from reaching their land which can then be taken over by settlers. It then expands into a larger settlement and , by ignoring all legal judgments, becomes yet another fact on the ground. Landless, Palestinians are then the cheap labour for Israeli companies.
All modern armed forces have rules of engagement which specify that harm to civilians must be avoided at all costs. The IDF is not an exception. Except when it chooses to use a weapon which cannot be targetted and which fires high-explosive shells into population centres. If the military command really wanted to avoid civilian casualties, it would not use the Doher howitzer.
‘A grumbling, angry, scared, divided and hate-filled country is marking its independence today. A country without borders, with one foot stuck in the throat of another nation, is celebrating its success in reaching its 67th year.’ Zvi Bar’el finds nothing to celebrate.
The most fertile land in Palestine is in the Jordan Valley, Area C. It is effectively under martial law which means checkpoints controlling Palestinian access to the land and protection for Jewish settlers who want the land. Long used by Palestinian farmers for growing a variety of crops its appropriation by Israelis does severe harm to the Palestinian economy and is a major obstacle to their aim of a territorial state.
Some Palestinian officials are bitter at an internationally negotiated deal which strengthens Iran’s regional dominance and sidelines their own need for international engagement. Hope is resting in Obama wanting to add Palestinian statehood to his diplomatic legacy along with Iran, Cuba and Arab states.
Usually the shorthand for the Palestinian/Israeli relationship is ‘conflict’, colonialism or, in the case of Gaza, war or onslaught. All denote hot violence. But, argues Teju Cole, the expropriation of Palestinians is done through a massive, quasi-legal bureaucracy in which both old homes and new homes are ruled impermissible and permits are required for any movement.
Gush Shalom took the lead in responding to the Palestinian request for BDS against the Occupation. It led to a nasty new law forbidding anyone in Israel from calling for a boycott. Which led to “Avnery v. the State of Israel”. But, dangerous goods apart, a state cannot tell consumers what or what not to buy. Except in Israel with a newly supine Supreme Court.
In the week April 13th-19th, 2015, two of our signatories have a go at the Board of Deputies’ statement ‘A Better Way than Boycotts’. It is possible that the Deputies really do believe that they have a strategy for ending the Occupation and ensuring human rights, in the best Judaic tradition, throughout the lands that the […]
The Episcopal church in the USA (nearest relative, the Church of England) has been asked by its new group, the Episcopal Committee for Justice in Israel and Palestine, to adopt a policy of divestment from ‘companies that profit from Israel’s illegal occupation and colonization of Palestinian lands’. This is premised on the fact that Netanyahu has rejected the two-state solution and thus there is a new political landscape. There are several background documents here and a message from Bishop Tutu.
Janus Netanyahu came to France and told European Jews to move to Israel, the only place where they would be safe. He went home and told Israeli Jews that they were in constant danger of annihilation by Iran, hostile Arab states and the enemy within. A survey by New Majority explains why Jews voted in droves for the status quo and pinpointed where there is some room for manoeuvre.
There is something Biblical about the decision of Joint List leaders to walk the land from enclaves of excluded Bedouin in the south to a razed Palestinian village on the border with Lebanon. They are followed by a motley crowd of Arab Muslims, Christians and Druze and a handful of Jews. At the moment, new MK Ayman Odeh needs to be seen reclaiming land for Palestinians. He will find it hard to fulfil all the hopes that have been placed on him.
But, sings Sam Cooke, I know that if you love me, too, What a wonderful world this would be. Which seems a good epigram on American attitudes towards the mysterious world beyond its shores. Salman Masalha on the US’s lack of historical knowledge and Peter Beinart, in an effusive piece about Obama, deplores Netanyahu’s Israel-centric and ignorant view of the world.
Last July, a group of doctors and scientists wrote to the Lancet expressing dismay at the carnage in Gaza and Israel’s propaganda. Since its publication, Sir Mark Pepys, a leading light in the Jewish Medical Association has been protesting about the decision of Lancet editor Richard Horton to publish the letter and last month Pepys organised a letter of protest, under the name Concerned Academics for Editorial Ethics (sole functions, attack Horton, defend Israel), to publisher Reed Elsevier about Horton. This prompted a counter-letter and campaign, Hands off the Lancet. Read on.