In 2011, the Knesset passed an Admissions Committees Law allowing such local groups to be set up with the authority to decide on who should not be allowed to live in their community. This week, the Supreme Court ruled this lawful, thus making apartheid neighbourhoods and towns official. Excluding Palestinians is the main aim, but the religious could exclude the secular, ashkenazi the sephardi etc thus making concrete the many rifts in Israeli society.
Having created its role as the US’s first partner in the Middle East and the leading warrior against fanatical Islamic terrorism (i.e. Hamas) Bibi can’t hide his distress at not being allowed to take part in the gang. Obama’s reasoning is that the coalition would break down if it did. The US now has more useful friends in the region. So what did all the ‘strategic edge’ money buy for the US?
The latest estimate for the weight of the rubble into which Gaza’s buildings have been rendered is four million (American) tons. Before anything can be rebuilt these massive heaps have to be cleared and mov ed – by whom, to where? The UN has brokered an agreement in which it will monitor the use of building materials.
At first, Mahmoud Abbas’ priority of reaching a peace deal with Israel was impressive. Everything was sacrificed to that aim including a referral to the ICC and even elections that would have brought in more belligerent politicians. Israel shunned this opportunity- and now support for the PA president is too low for him to effect anything.
The UN Human Right Commission, Yesh Din, B’Tselem, Amnesty, Human rights Watch are some of the organisations pressing for a proper investigation into the IDF’s lethal assault on Gaza, and judging them against Israel’s own laws as well as international laws. Jonathan Cook adds a new point: the effectiveness of Iron Dome makes indiscriminate attacks on Gaza indefensible.
The 43 members of elite Unit 8200 who have refused to continue intrusive and malicious spying on Palestinians are telling the truth writes Ynet’s Nahum Barnea. Their information ‘contributes to the occupation’s maliciousness, arbitrariness and foolishness, or provides a decent cover to the government’s false policy.’
Netanyahu made his success by defining Israel’s primary need as ‘security’ and its primary threat as ‘Palestinian terrorists’ says Ramzy Baroud. Hence a war which no Israelis believe Israel ‘won’, but was not ‘won’, in a conventional sense, by Palestinians in Gaza either. They celebrated not victory but their ability to survive and resist.
Michael Kustow, who has died aged 71, led a life steeped in the arts and politics, both influencing the other. He was adventurous in television, film, theatre and the visual and other performing arts; he was a thoughtful and ‘dissident’ Jew, exploring his Jewishness and also becoming an early signatory of JfJfP. We honour his work and courage.
Steven Salaita is an American academic, a specialist in American and Arab literature and an activist in academic politics. Last October he was offered a job at Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, subject to trustees’ approval. Then came Israel’s war on Gaza which prompted some furious tweets from Salaita. The job offer was then withdrawn on the grounds of ‘incivility’. As tweeting is not known for its polite elegance the trustees’ decision is seen as a political rejection of Salaita’s pro-Palestinian views.
The response to offensive speech should be to ask the offender to explain his or her position says Jerry Haber, not to dismiss the offender as rudely as Steven Salaita was. In two short posts he argues Salaita’s crude tweets should be judged in proportion to the enormity of Israel’s devastating attack on Gaza.
It’s worth knowing how the Israeli exceptionalism argument runs and Elliot Abrams sets it out; little Israel is surrounded by Arab states and Iran bent on its extermination but has survived by maintaining the status quo. It could crush Hamas but doesn’t; its one virtue is survival against a hostile world – although Palestinians no longer enjoy the support of Arab states. The hostility is pure antisemitism.
The letter from 43 reservists (see post below) refusing to serve again in anti-Palestinian actions has inevitably created a storm of in Israel, mostly of abuse. Rather than considering whether they might be telling a vital truth to Israelis about what their special ops involve, most Israelis have accused them of cowardice, treachery and being the tools of leftwing extremism.
‘We learned that gathering information is part of the system of military control over Palestinians, that assassinations kill more than the target person, that we get private information for the purposes of blackmail’. Such intelligence is gained by elite unit 8200. Its use has so disturbed many soldiers that 43 have written a public letter saying they will not do reserve duty – and that many more agree with them in private.
This is a hostile account from the pro-Israel Christian David Brog of a significant development in American evangelical politics. It had become a truism that Israel’s strongest supporters abroad were Christian evangelicals. That support is declining, especially among younger Christians who see the outlawing of Palestinians as incompatible with their faith (Brog thinks they are gullible fools).
“West Bank settlements have for decades been receiving vastly preferential treatment” reports Ynet. It doesn’t ask why the government made this decision. The obvious conclusion is that this extra money is needed to persuade Israelis to move into the West Bank. A poll shows that Israeli support for settlements has been in steady decline.
The EU is the biggest donor to the oPt and the PNA. But the IDF destroys much of the infrastructure European taxpayers have funded and there has been no movement towards the establishment of a Palestinian state – the point of the aid. Now senior EU officials are questioning whether there is any point in continuing this funding.
However many pictures you have seen, however many stories you have read of Israel’s war on Gaza, this speech from Dr. Mustafa Barghouti on how thorough and unsparing the attack was is still chilling. Every number you read is made up of individual persons, homes, places of worship, sanitation facilities… He urges resistance.
As civil rights in Israel become more limited and precarious, so the number of civil rights organisations increases writes Naomi Shepherd. The orthodox religious have been trying to establish their hegemony in civil and military life; immigrants who do not pass their test (Russians, Africans as well as native Arabs) are excluded, making a mockery of Israel’s claim to be ‘the only democracy’ in the Middle East.
The IDF has announced that it will itself investigate whether or not it committed any breaches of international law during its onslaught on Gaza. The announcement has provoked near-universal cynicism by all those who have commented, including B’Tselem, Yesh Din and Human Rights Watch. Fear that Israel may be taken to the ICC may encourage the IDF to identify a little wrong-doing.
The Islamic world has long been in a state of civil war, with different groups vying to become the ‘leader’ by demonstrating a more-or-less barbaric capacity to frighten the enemy (the USA and its ‘caliphate’ of clients) and unify followers behind them. The competition is fought through visual displays of extreme violence. It answers the US search for a purpose, whew. Tom Engelhardt recounts the steps taken towards today’s horror.