Tariq Dana attacks the development of Palestinian capitalism in which monopolies are granted by the PNA to its cronies and Israeli partners while the new business/bureaucrat class is divorced from the mass of the poor. All agencies see business development as the key to Palestinian survival. Are they wrong, or is the PNA’s form of capitalism wrong?
In a thoughtful and admiring review of Diana Allan’s account of Palestinian life in Shatila refugee camp, Max Ijl recounts how the struggle for power lines has replaced the struggle for political power under the shelter of the rhetoric of return.
Jonathan Freedland is well-known and admired in the UK left for his sharp commentary on all matters except Israel says Ben White in a sharp critique . Freedland likens the Jews settling in Israel as ‘the right of the drowning man’. The drowning have no ‘rights’, only needs which others may – or may not – be obligated to respond to. Plus some powerful photos from UNWRA archive.
I want the majority of the land with the minimum of Palestinians on it says Danny Danon. Government policies are moving in the right direction – but not fast or completely enough. With the failure of the peace-talks, the brakes are off. It’s straight out of the South African playbook
Richard Silverstein: Israel’s Shin Bet has been weakened in its fight against Jewish terror. Former Shabak and Mossad chiefs, Shabtai Shavit and Carmi Gillon, have said that Israel is a land with laws that aren’t enforced when it comes to Jews attacking Palestinians… Gillon has gone as far as to say that “The price tag phenomenon is likely to lead to the murder of another Israeli prime minister.”
Zochrot – “Remembering” – is an Israeli organisation, whose activists include Jews and Palestinians. It is dedicated to educating Israeli Jews about their history i.e. the Palestinian dispossession on which the state is founded. Next week it launches an I-Nakba phone app which will allow users to locate any Arab village that was abandoned during the 1948 war on an interactive map, learn about its history (including, in many cases, the Jewish presence that replaced it), and add photos, comments and data.
Ian Black reports for the Guardian
Wielding his scalpel, Uri Avnery dissects the twists, turns and contradictions of Israeli logic which have argued anything in order to avoid serious negotiation. He puts the blame for the failure this time squarely on Israeli shoulders but notes along the way how pitiful John Kerry’s contribution has been. A witty – and sobering – assessment.
Peace Now’s Settlement Watch presents the bare facts of settlement expansion during the peace talks. As Peace Now says, they show:
“Not only that the construction and the announcements of settlements were destructive for the American efforts and for the faith between the two sides, it also created facts on the ground that proved more than anything else that the Netanyahu Government did not mean to go for a two states solution but rather acted in order to strengthen the Israeli control over the Occupied Territories.”
Further comments and reflection on the end of the peace talks: PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Saeb Erekat’s statement on the end of the nine months negotiations period; Faysal Mikdadi’s moving reflections “Betrayal Tinged with Greed and Stupidity”; a Ha’aretz piece “Kerry: Israel risks turning into an ‘apartheid state’”; and Richard Silverstein’s “Kerry Says the ‘A-word’ and Abbas says the ‘H-Word’”
The one who bestows names on people, property, land, processes is the one with the power. So Israel renames the western part of Palestine as ‘Judea and Samaria’, bureaucrats rename the quest for peace as the work of finding a ‘political settlement’ and Putin renames the Ukraine as ‘Russia’. Uri Avnery on the seized power of naming.
There was a leftist Jewish story of the creation of Israel – that American/UN support for the new state would liberate Palestine by driving out British imperialism. The debate on John Judis’s book about Truman’s role in making Israel is vitriolic – but some take up his question of why Jews, known for their liberalism, should so utterly have dismissed the Palestinians. Zionism or tribalism?
Israel is an anachronism. By the time the newly-entitled Jewish immigrants had worked out how to run their new state- a Law of Return and a Citizenship law – to ensure Jewish privilege, settler colonialism was being abandoned elsewhere as unworkable and unjust. In her highly-praised new history Shira Robinson argues that these laws perpetuate Jews’ settler status – it’s what gives them their privileges. Philip Weiss interviews her.
Tony Benn was the most English of men. His involvement in foreign politics was an extension of his domestic politics – a fervour for true democracy and against the silencing of injustice. In 2009 as Operation Cast Lead came to its gruesome end the Disasters Emergency Committee ran an appeal, as it does, for those whose lives had been shattered. The BBC management uniquely decided not to run it. In an interview on the BBC, Benn twice reads out the address for the appeal, making clear his outrage at the BBC decision. We salute him.
Israel has fired into Gaza killing 3 members of Islamic Jihad, in response the IDF says to 30 rockets fired into Israel (no-one killed). Familiar – but alliances of the region are changing, creating a de-facto partnership between Israel and Egypt, the PA coming into the Egypt/Saudi camp and Hamas stuck between Iran and the new power of Qatar. These alliances are fighting for dominance of an area the US has vacated.
It was just the news that Bibi wanted; The day after he roused AIPAC with his speech about the existential threat from Iran (which stupid Obama does not recognise) an Iranian ship loaded with weapons, obviously for anti-Israel terrorists hiding behind Israel/Egypt’s impenetrable borders of Gaza, was captured by the Israeli navy. Richard Silverstein casts his usual sceptical and other-informed eye over the story.
There are places – Afghanistan, Palestine – where NGOs appear to have taken over the functions of the state and the people – NGOisation as Islah Jad memorably named the phenomenon. It can also seem to usurp national popular movements for change. Here, Fateh Azzam argues that NGOs and popular movements in Palestine should not be seen as two alternative models or realities. A really important discussion.
The crisis between Russia and Ukraine has provoked much talk of antisemitism. But whether or not antisemitism is thought to be a factor splits along left/right lines. Thus Jewish agencies who are usually quick to cry ‘antisemitism’ dismiss the charge, while leftists, who remember the eager collaboration of Ukraine with the Nazis see antisemitism as a key to the conflict. Is this just a Jew-centric view of history or is antisemitism a live force in Ukraine?
This section of a longer article by Nu’man Abd al-Wahid on British imperialism, examines the UK’s role in preventing the formation of powerful Arab states (it failed in Egypt). That hasn’t stopped the Arab dictators from accruing huge wealth much of which has been funnelled into Britain. Preventing the development of Arab democracy is a costly business.
A moving and thoughtful article about five American Jews whose religious beliefs are at odds with their communities’ support for Israel.
“I love being Jewish. I just don’t love the state of Israel,” says Corey Robin, a Conservative Jew from Brooklyn who supports the BDS movement. Prof Charles Manekin (the Magnes Zionist) believes that his Orthodox faith calls him to take stands against Israel. Professor Stefan Krieger, who also supports BDS, will not rise in synagogue for the traditional prayer for the state of Israel. Alissa Wise, a Reconstructionist rabbi, works for Jewish Voice for Peace. Prof Daniel Boyarin is still observant, but he has dropped out of synagogue life: “I have been so disturbed by the political discourse,” he said, “that I felt that I couldn’t participate.”
A discussion of water discrimination in Israel-Palestine. Both the New York Times and Ha’aretz carried reports on the Palestinian water problem. Guess which one was impartial? And in case of doubt, we also reproduce B’tselem’s latest factsheet which asks: Is there discrimination in terms of the quantity of water available to Israelis and Palestinians? The answer is yes. Are there gaps in water consumption between Israelis and Palestinians? Absolutely.