The Obama administration and PM Netanyahu are so angry with each other their staff no longer bother with the smooth talk that usually glosses over disagreements. The US government says Bibi has broken the bipartisanship on which US support for Israel rests. In the short term it might not matter as Bibi is relying on a Republican Congress to give him all the support he wants. Democrats might not forgive him.
The preferential EU Israel Association Agreement has been controversial since it was signed in 1995. There has been a variety of protests since against treating Israel as a European country and the only colonial power with which the EU has a formal trade agreement. Now 63 MEPs have called for the agreement to be ended, or at least for ‘restrictive measures’ to be imposed, as the EU was quick to do with Russia.
Despite their highly sophisticated military systems, Israel doesn’t do ‘smart’ bombing. Instead, it follows the Dahiya doctrine established in the 2006 attack on Lebanon. This is that ‘We will apply disproportionate force on [any place from which anything is fired] and cause great damage and destruction there. ‘
Someone took a video and posted it on Youtube showing what presumably passes for normal in Israel: an outburst of petulant, obscene and racist remarks uttered by passengers who couldn’t wait for a bar of chocolate. Decades of customary racism seems to have stripped some Israelis of all civility.
Our younger sister, Independent Jewish Voices, is holding a two-day conference on how far pursuing equal rights can cut to the chase while diplomats and politicians get nowhere (even when they want to). All the people you want to hear.
The rate of Israeli building on Palestinian land increased by 40% last year says Peace Now in a new report. The PA condemns the construction as a ‘war crime’ but most Israeli parties know there are no votes in ending this means of providing cheap housing for Jewish citizens.
In the last decade, the EU has edged towards making trade with Israel conditional on its reaching an agreement with Palestinians, while Israeli politicians regard Europe as the bad old past which must be left behind. Now a group of academics has advised that Europe is not nearly as hostile as many Israelis think and it is in Israel’s interest to get to know the EU better and establish better relations with its biggest trading partner.
Police and Jerusalem city council have reported that they have successfully re-asserted their authority and the city is calm. Ynet finds this is an illusion – stone-throwing, firebombs and firework attacks continue to occur on a daily basis. No surprise there.
Since last December Israel has not handed over the tax revenues it collects for the PA. Forcing the PA into insolvency is a punishment for joining the International Criminal Court. PM Netanyahu fears he’ll look soft to the right wing if he authorises the fiscal transfer. John Kerry and IDF strategists have warned that the collapse of the PA is in no-one’s interest.
When Bibi made his dramatic announcement to the UN in September 2012 that Iran was on the threshold of making nuclear weapons he knew that the state intelligence agency, Mossad, disagreed with him. That did not act as a deterrent to his war-mongering.
This week. February 16th – 22nd, 2015, we have our second Signatories Blog, from Prof. Lynne Segal How Israel tries to instil despair, on the importance, but difficulty, of not succumbing to despair when the power you’re opposing, for example Israel’s over the Palestinians, takes many forms and many routes. This space is open to […]
Netanyahu’s hectic attempt to make the international headlines are souring his relations with many national leaders. He has broken the bi-partisan support for Israel in the US by accepting a Republican invitation to speak to Congress – but upset many by his rudeness to Americans’ President. He is insulting leaders of European nations by suggesting they cannot protect their Jewish citizens and indeed suggesting Europe should be ethnically cleansed of all Jews – in their own interest of course. He is banking on all this pleasing Israeli voters.
Perhaps for psephological wonks, assessments of the polls on how Israelis will vote in the March election. As we have posted before, only the Joint List makes racism and the treatment of Palestinians its prime issue, but because Likud is so identified with Netanyahu, his slow drift from grace will have effect. Polls which ask what issue is most important get the result ‘the economy'; polls which ask about Palestinians get the result – outside intervention needed.
In 2015, seven Jews (2 at Charlie Hebdo, 4 at the Hyper-Cacher supermarket, 1 in Copenhagen) were killed by Islamists. The number of non-Jews killed in the same attacks was far higher. In Israel, the number of Jews killed in 2014 by Palestinians was 46. Uri Avnery, doubting the claimed rise in antisemitism, asks why Bibi is making hay out of Jew-killing in Europe and insisting that Israel is their only safe haven.
In the second of our SIgnatories’ blogs, Prof. Lynne Segal takes a wide view of the strategies used by the Israeli state to make people feel Zionism is the only answer, and the psychological strategies employed by many dissidents to sustain their morale in the face of an implacable force.
This is a thorough al-shabaka analysis of the many moves by Israeli government, Jerusalem council, police and IDF to to make Jerusalem a place where Palestinians cannot exist – and never have. Though the young fight back, the PNA has effectively washed its hands of the enflamed city.
There is a maxim that no country should intervene in another’s election – but recent polls suggest Israelis would welcome an American intervention by producing a framework for a final status agreement. The poll finds a concern about a 2-state solution on which most Israeli parties are silent.
The Jerusalem Gate peace camp, to protest the forced removal of Bedouin from their land, is one tent near Jerusalem. So far it has been knocked down nine times. Five activists have been arrested – and two of them are still being held. A British volunteer describes brutal treatment by the police.
Israel’s new governance law, which raised the electoral threshold to a point where no Arab parties would get a Knesset seat has in fact produced the Joint List, the Arab-led coalition which, it is now predicted, could get 12 seats. Daoud Kuttab interviews its head.
The only option for young, fit Palestinians in Gaza is now escape – by any means to anywhere. In effect, this means either scaling the barricade into Israel or putting oneself into the hands of people smugglers for the sea-crossing to Europe. Some tales of desperation and disappearance.