There is a strong current of opinion among those working on Israel-Palestine that the two-state solution is dead. Long time peace activist Gershon Baskin believes otherwise.The Palestinians are seeking recognition from EU countries and are drafting a Security Council resolution which, Baskin argues, has every chance of being adopted. This, together with a growing boycott movement and increasing pressure for sanctions could, believes Baskin, be a game changer.
US government frustration and anger with Netanyahu is reaching boiling point as Israel’s government ignores Washington, particularly on the issue of settlement building. As the head of the Anti-Defamation League told American journalist Jeffrey Goldberg, in quiet understatement: “The Israelis do not show sufficient appreciation for America’s role in backing Israel.” Goldberg and Israeli journalist Barak Ravid speculate on possible outcomes.
“The restrictions are so pervasive and systematic that it almost seems as if the Israeli state has mapped the entire Palestinian economy in terms of input-output relations, right down to the capillary level of the individual, the household, the small firm, the large firm, the school, the university, so as to find all possible choke points, which Israeli officials can tighten or loosen at will. Under these circumstances – which I’m happy to say I have never encountered elsewhere – political and economic development is barely possible…”
What is the most popular name given to boys in Israel today? And how many Israelis are aware of this?
Uri Avnery shows how Israel’s pretensions to be the only democracy in the Middle East are called into question in the little things as well as in the larger frame.
“Since the formation of the State of Israel, tree planters have been busy creating forests in the holy land, which was a barren wasteland for centuries.”
Pappé & Jaber give an uncompromising account of Israel’s policies of exclusion of the Palestinians. Under the guise of “preserving Jewish identity” the reality is a systematic – and ongoing – policy of ethnic cleansing. Your pennies and ours went to plant trees to cover up the reality of expulsion and village destruction…
“On current form, it would be easier to openly slip a prayer for Gaza’s dead children into a crevice of the Wailing Wall than to find an Israel policy gap between the UK Zionist lobby and our religious and communal leadership.”
Our very own prophet Micah shows how this was reflected in relation to the recent House of Commons vote on recognising the state of Palestine.
A new group calling itself The Third Narrative has been created for American academics who class themselves as pro-Israel and pro-Palestine. Jerry Haber questions whether it can strike out a new path given its absolute opposition to academic boycotts of Israel and its exclusive membership of ‘Liberal Zionists’.
It was Israel’s turn to have its record of human rights reviewed by the UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva. Committee members had many questions – access of Palestinians to water and their farmland, settlements on their land, house demolition to make way for settlements or ‘firing zones’. But, to the disapproval of the committee, Israel claimed it was not answerable for its actions in the oPt.
Palestine has now become a security state, argues this analysis from al-shabaka. The proportion of people employed in security is extremely high – and producing a security apparatus has been an Israeli demand in all negotiations. ‘Self-determination for the Palestinians went from being a right to a privilege that the PA had to demonstrate it deserved’ – by enforcing law and order.
Israel is not short of critics about its policies – but little attention has been paid to a conference exploring the causes and nature of domestic xenophobia and to a speech by President Rivlin describing Israel as ‘sick’. It was organised and attended by Israelis themselves – which is perhaps why, as Philip Weiss says, it didn’t go viral in the US.
At a recent State department gathering, John Kerry remarked that Arab leaders had told him that the Israel-Palestine conflict was ‘a cause of recruitment [to ISIL] and of street anger and agitation’. Israeli politicians are lining up to shoot this messenger. It was classic Jew-blaming said Jewish Home’s leader – though whether he meant it was John Kerry or Arab leaders doing the blaming is not clear.
Palestinians are using all means, from naming and shaming in social media to hurling molotov cocktails and stones, to prevent settlers buying up whatever Arab properties they can in Silwan. The unrest has been going on so long that Israel’s police chief has announced the creation of a new unit to suppress it.
EU member states have drawn up a document defining their ‘red lines’ before upcoming discussions with Israeli diplomats. Haaretz has obtained a copy of the document which identifies the population transfers and new settlements which present a “focused and increasing threat to the possibility of the two-state solution.” Barak Ravid reports.
Such deep-seated hostility to all things Palestinian, Arab, Islamic as afflicts education minister Avi Wortzman can turn a person’s head. His remarks on his facebook page, following the Commons vote, about how ‘at home’ Islamic State feels in Britain conveys only how profoundly out of touch with reality such people are.
This is the last post of the widespread discussion engendered by British criticisms of Israel’s policies – which also make clear abhorrence of antisemitism and acceptance of Israel’s secure existence as a state. The criticisms came from MPs in a debate last Monday and a speech made the next day by Sir Alan Duncan. They set a benchmark from which there can be no turning back to the past silences about Israel’s legal transgressions.
It’s one thing for youngish people to note that the British MPs debate on recognizing Palestine marked a change in opinions about Israel l. It’s another when a veteran insider and campaigner, 91 year old Uri Avnery, finds it ‘a profound, perhaps tectonic change in the public attitude towards Israel.’ Yet whatever Israelis think of their government, the IDF, however brutal, still basks as ‘the most moral army i the world’.
Horribly, the reputations of Adolf Eichmann and Hannah Arendt will remain forever linked. Her book on his trial – she saw a nondescript bureaucrat who was, indeed, obeying orders – has been deeply infuential. But further work has shown Eichmann to be a more strategic architect of Jewish extermination than she had imagined. Does this destroy her view of the mass murderer?
It’s been coming for a long time. Now it’s being organized. Young Jews, who want to be free to discuss Palestine or BDS have broken away from Hillel, the traditional organisation for Jewish students, and held their first ‘open Hillel’ conference. As this event received extensive coverage for its significance, several of the comments/reports are posted here.
In this essay Mitchell Plitnick surveys the post-war history of US policy towards Israel and concludes the Administration’s unflinching support for Israel is more to do with its assessment of national geo-strategic interests – Israel is a reliable military partner and anti-communist bulwark – than the over-rated power of the Israel lobby.
Attempts by Arab League members to persuade the International Atomic Energy Authority to call on Israel to join it, to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty and to open its nuclear facilities to inspection were rejected by a majority of IEAE members last month, for the second time. This article by Barak Ravid is posted now to accompany Mitchell Plitnick’s, above.