Continuing a pattern of retired security chiefs urging their government to stop making excuses for inertia on Palestine, former Mossad director Meir Dagan told the presidential conference that MidEast turmoil has created the need for Arab allies and Israel should start talks on the Arab Peace Initiative. Blair says Palestinians “should have a state not as a reward but a right.”
International attention has shifted from political negotiation to economic aid for Palestinians — as John Kerry tacitly acknowledged when he announced the large aid package at the World Economic Forum. This is something Israelis are willing to engage in and benefits the PA – and confirms the status quo.
Bill Clinton has added his voice to the small if eloquent stream of American voices urging Israel to get up and negotiate for its own survival. Nothing new in his argument, but the raised Israeli government voices against any two-state solution have convinced him of the urgency of some movement.
It would be wrong to ‘excuse’ antisemitism by blaming Israel – everyone has a responsibility to distinguish between that state’s policy and Jewish people. But the unjust status quo, enforced by Israel and supported by the US doesn’t help. TA Ridout on how emotions cloud and distort efforts to get justice for Palestinians and any sort of peace.
Ari Shavit and Rachel Shabi both note the scale of settlement building, the only driving force in this Israeli government, and point out that it kills off a two-state solution and international goodwill – if not the future of the Jewish state itself. For the more land Israel claims, the less of a stable and cohesive political entity it is.
From Gaza Youth Break Out, a fresh and energetic voice, pushing aside the stale declamations and sectarian conflict of their elders. They want, above all, an end to the occupation which deforms the lives of Palestinians and Israelis; they want freedom and dignity and their own voice which Fatah and Hamas deny them. They want support.
In this powerful article, Idan Landau writes that the soundtrack to the building of zionism is the rumble of destruction. Since its creation, the state of Israel has routinely smashed down the homes of Palestinians, leaving the families homeless, their belongings either broken or scattered. How is it that Israelis take this sound of the devastation of human life to be ‘normal’, not deserving a second look or a first question?
The Prawer/Begin plan to drive the Bedouin out of ‘unrecognised’ villages into permitted centres is a poor reward for these Israeli citizens. Bedouin, like the Druze, were regarded as loyal to the new state (at least, those staying in Palestine had no loyalty to any other state). No wonder treating them as subject to separate laws causes such disquiet even among loyal supporters of Israel.
Every infringement of the freedom of Palestinians is enforced by Israeli agencies in the name of security. Israeli security. A party of visitors from American universities sees instead policies to humiliate Palestinians and force them into the slow restricted lanes which an apartheid state demands. Freedom of movement is a universal right.
Here’s a peculiar thing about the JNF (Jewish National Fund). It always claims to be acting in the interests of the environment, or in honour of various Others, from Herzl to countries to individual ambassadors. Having gained its funds from thousands of humble Jewish homes it can thus bestow on its grandiose schemes and land seizures the simple idealistic hopes of many ordinary people. Two articles of protest.
Uri Avnery, an MK in 1967, looks back at the reasons for Israel’s preemptive strike against (a blustering and unprepared) Egypt, the hysterical triumphalism at the ease of his country’s victory – and the terrible curse that has handed down to both Palestinians and the younger Israelis who can’t imagine an Israel without its colony of defeated Palestinians.
The programme ‘Jerusalem: An Archaeological Mystery Story’ made by Israeli director Ilan Ziv, was pulled from the schedule at the last minute last April. The BBC said it did not fit editorially with its archaeology season. Although it is true that archaeology is a politically loaded subject in Israel/Palestine, the BBC knew this before it commissioned the film. Presumably someone higher-up had a fit of panic on actually seeing it. PSC leads the charge against the BBC. JfJfP signs the letter asking the BBC to explain its decision.
The image of a terrified Palestinian boy, cowering behind his father, has gone round the world – and done the work of making Israel a pariah state says Gal Beckerman. Even if all the witnesses – Mohammed al-Dura’s father, Palestinian cameraman and French Israeli director- are all lying, those iconic images cannot be destroyed.
British friends of Rabbis for Human Rights have sent a letter, signed by 65 rabbis from judaic communities in the UK, to PM Netanyahu protesting against his government’s plan to move Bedouin from the Negev and disperse them in towns. They have also produced a petition (see post) to be sent to Netanyahu.
It is testament to the impact Shlomo Sand’s rewriting of Jewish history has had that reviews are being written and reposted five years after the first volume of his trilogy was published (albeit pegged to the second volume). Richard Kuper and Daniel Lazare applaud his vigorous dismantling of religious-nationalist myth; but both question what he erects on flimsy evidence, sometimes just to fit his own iconoclasm.
Widely picked up and recirculated this week, a story that Britain’s Department of Business, Innovation and Skills has issued a report showing it had turned down many licences for ‘security’ equipment that the IDF wanted to buy. Well, not exactly. A spokesperson for BIS tells JfJfP that it has issued no such report but thought some clever person had logged into their website and trawled the data. We can’t compete with that level of industry, so here are a few excerpts from a compendium of reports from four committees responsible for scrutinising arms exports.
Despite its apparent promise of offering a much-needed ‘gender perspective’ of the occupation, Katharine Natanel’s article doesn’t provide one. Rather she says how useful it would have been in a rare American radio programme that explores how Israelis succeed in keeping control of Palestinian life. That is done by continuously observing, disrupting and fragmenting Palestinian life while maintaining a satisfactory normalcy of life for Israelis.
The publicity Dani Dayan has received this week for saying, in a meretricious and self-serving opinion piece, that there will never be two states is surprising. It is hardly news that this view has spread from right-wing settlers like himself to a large chunk of Israeli opinion. What is surprising is that committed two-staters have come up with nothing more forceful than asking Netanyahu, politely, to engage in negotiations with Palestinians.
In order to enforce their control over Palestinian lives and land the Israeli state has to send thousands of its young people to do the dirty work. Though the aim may be to humiliate and diminish Palestinians the effect is also to degrade and corrupt the Israeli soldiers who, interestingly, all seem surprised by what they see and what they are expected to do to maintain their ‘superiority’. Three women testify to what they saw and felt.
The news that the Superland playpark on the Israeli coast segregates its child visitors so that Orthodox Jews, other Jews and Arabs did not come within whistling distance of each other seems to have shocked many Israelis. What did they think was going on in their country? Throughout Israel deprivation and separation are raging says Gideon Levy, but the ‘the only place we want it to disappear is on the carousel’.