This is a fascinating article from 1967 extolling the role of the UK in supporting the establishment and development of Israel and the need for British Jews (most of whom did not want to move to Israel) to support their brethren who did. Palestinians and the ’67 occupation are not mentioned. It is such a different world, when all events took place in the context of the Cold War and the UK still fancied itself as a Great Power.
In a detailed article, Hassan Hassan asks why ISIL has again entered Yarmouk camp and identifies the shifting alliances and rifts amongst the many factions which are defending or trying to gain territory in the region. Hamas has joined in to repel ISIL, Ynet interviews Palestinians trapped in the camp.
Regardless of how much land it seizes, how many Palestinians it imprisons, settlements it builds, international laws it breaks – there are no costs for Israel, hence its drift towards extremism. Whatever Palestinians do to assert and protect themselves, Israel will punish them and tensions will rise. This, says Ghassan Khatib, is inevitable. Only outside pressure might have an effect.
Declarations of deadly intent towards, and from, each other constitutes the public relationship of Iran and Israel. In this latest round, Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naqdi is reported by Israeli TV (so far no other news publication has bothered to translate it) to have said yet again that Israel will disappear from the map though whether through its own inherent instability or military force is unclear. Nonetheless PM Netanyahu has lapped it up eagerly as proof that the nuclear talks with Iran should not be happening. Self-publicising Shmuley Boteach uses the speech to liken those in talks with Iran to Chamberlain appeasing Hitler, momentarily forgetting that the mouthy Brig. Gen runs a volunteer militia, not a country. And is pro-Palestinian Saudi Arabia, bombing Iranian allies in Yemen, now Israel’s friend?
In Jenin when the Israeli election results were announced, Naomi Wayne did not share the indifference displayed by many of her Palestinan friends. Even if Likud’s win ‘only’ means more of the same, that can only mean freedom and living space for Palestinians will be further squeezed. But it will be seen by the right to give them licence to speed up their exclusion of Palestinians from living space and human rights. There was, though, the success of the Joint List to bring a little light in the gloom.
US-Israel relations are at an all time low, kicked into a pit by Bibi’s declaration that there would be no Palestinian state. Up till now, he had kept up the pretence to the US that he was serious about a peace deal. And because US strategy for the MidEast depended on believing this, they were kidding themselves – as John Kerry must have finally realised.
In a quick overview of Jews in Britain Tablet magazine harangues the left for pushing policies against the existence of Israel. In fact, Labour is true to the Balfour declaration (see post) which specified that ‘nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious’ rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country’. Those who appeal to the Balfour declaration appear not to have read it. To criticise the idealised Israel is not to wish for its extermination. Obviously.
Here there is a long jeremiad by Jeffrey Goldberg convincing himself that European Jews are all doomed and had better move to Israel (where more Jews were killed in 2014 than in all Europe). He squeezes a few facts to get the juicy points he wants and ignores the rest. He never mentions the history of French colonialism in N. Africa which left a strong legacy of Arab hostility to the French state. Antony Lerman delivers a sharp, and informed, rebuke.
Only the Palestinian people, who are politically impotent, have a profound interest in ending the rift between Fatah and Hamas. To the Israelis in particular, and most other actors, the rift is a Godsend. As long as Fatah and Hamas are at war, they need do nothing. Here Daoud Kuttab gives his usual intelligent strategic ideas of the way forward for the PA. In the same issue of Al Monitor is an account of the bitter rivalry with Hamas, where the military wing has gained the upper hand. The Ramallah leaders are not the innocent victim of this – if they had authorised elections, movement might have taken place.
Israeli fears about scary neighbours (and enemies within) won Bibi his victory, which did not surprise Antony Lerman. Now, with the Israeli right-wing behind him and the international community distracted he can focus on denying Palestinian statehood and expanding Israel’s borders. But there was an expectation of change which will suck in other forces.
Two of the three articles here have ‘new’ in their headlines. A new generation of PCIs (Palestinian Citizens of Israel) displaying a new activism. The third, from the Communist Party of Israel is more wooden but as it’s joined the new Joint List – the source of the hope – it must feel something new in its bones. And new in this election is their emphasis on ending racism and occupation. Perhaps the ebbing tide of left-wing activism and hope has indeed changed.
The Israeli government is giving up on its costly efforts to persuade people in the EU and US that it is a nation of sweetness and light and the West’s main defence against Islamist violence. It is now being carried by its defence industry into the weapons-hungry arms of India and China – traditional supporters of the Palestinians.
The designation Salafist (eg at Charlie Hebdo) has come to mean a particularly ruthless form of violence against the West – and fellow Muslims. As in all fundamentalist groups, the greatest enemies are brothers who become heretics not Israel or the West. Several people explore the phenomenon.
Anshel Pfeffer welcomes the place the holocaust has gained in common knowledge. But the corollary of its being publicised as a human tragedy is that it has become a phenomenon that Jews can no longer hug to themselves as their own peculiar history.
Such is the cynicism about Netanyahu’s good faith that to many observers it is entirely plausible that he had ordered an airstrike that killed an Iranian general and six members of Hezbollah to boost his own reputation as Israel’s toughest defender.
Apartheid has become the preferred term for some critics of Israel as the best label for Israeli/Palestinian relations. Irene Calis disagrees. Whereas white South Africans needed, and still need, black people as cheap labour, Zionist containment of Palestinians is merely an unfortunate by-product of creating a Jews-only state.
PM Netanyahu has decided that the best response to the decision by the ICC to open a ‘preliminary inquiry’ into Israel is to use all means to delegitimise the court to boost his standing before the election (also post below). Any next step by the ICC will make either the USA and allies, or Arab states angry.
Nothing excuses mass – or individual – killings in the name of Islam, and this post is not intended to. But as regular readers know, the most provocative acts carried out in Israel are the acts of Jewish youth – ‘price-tag graffiti’ and desecration of mosques. In the USA, the usual killers of young white people are other young white people. What ideology is to blame? And, says Gideon Levy, it was not a Muslim who sent him a chilling (and pompous) death threat.
The dwindling of the ‘Israel right or wrong’ position that was once dominant in the US has received much comment in recent years. Ben White charts the shift by examining a variety of opinion polls discovering that human rights is a greater concern than Israel’s security.
Despite the terrible toll of dead, injured and traumatised in Gaza, Ramzy Baroud finds hope in the lively Palestinian resistance and international recognition of the right to fight back. Here he picks out the five most clarifying developments of the year.