Amos Harel, Haaretz military correspondent, reports that military intelligence thinks Palestinian unrest in the West Bank is escalating and that increasing the controls, which already Palestinians find humiliating and time-wasting, will only add to the tension. The government is ignoring military advice, and the far-right want an absolute security clamp-down.
Nouriel Roubini provides an alarming analysis of the ‘arc of instability’ stretching from the Maghreb to Afghanistan, in its wake failed states, a mass of refugees and the spread of jihadism. Diverting the $trillions from bombing into building economies and infrastructure is the only hope.
It doesn’t take much for ignorant people to assert that the Qu’ran, Sharia law, hadith incite Muslims to kill unbelievers. Richard Silverstein argues you might as well claim that Jews kill because of the Torah, [or Christians kill because of the New Testament]. Any mad cult can scavenge a scriptural sentence that justifies any human crime. What’s the point?
Tony Blair, on his one-man MEPP mission, has plucked the Arab Peace Initiative (API), 2002, from what Israelis hoped was the dustbin of history. Saudi Arabia, which initiated it, has now dumped it in the same dustbin due to their joint opposition with Israel to Iran. But the API still has traction with many others..
The upsurge of Palestinian knife violence may be in part a rejection of the ‘peace’ strategy of Pres. Abbas, which has done nothing to improve their situation. But, argues Jonathan Cook, a popular movement of non-violent direct action, including civil disobedience, could, with proper planning and training, yield much better results.
The northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel is an Islamist group. It is not an advocate of violence nor deemed by Shin Bet to be a terrorist group. But it has long been on the security cabinet’s hit list and the Paris attacks have given the cabinet cover to move against all things Islamic.
Uri Avnery begins his latest column in unusually comic mode – a dilemma over cats – before dealing with with extremely serious issues – the creation of a national security court and Netanyahu’s promise that ‘Yes, we shall live by the sword forever. There will never be peace.’
In a long phone interview with Barak Ravid, Ben Rhodes, Pres. Obama’s chief aide and adviser on the MidEast, recounts the points at which an agreement to talk might have been reached. Despite intense US efforts, and insistence that Israel’s security would be enhanced by an agreement, neither leader could shift off his sticking point. A valuable insight.
If PM Netanyahu had a reputation for negotiating one might sympathise: who would he negotiate with during the current unrest? But punishment and military force have always been his choice and he is now using them against the young stone-throwers. Laws passed this year against stone-throwers provide for a minimum of 3, and a maximum of 20, years in prison. Bassem Tamimi meanwhile explains why he has turned to non-violent action.
It’s an ancient debate; does change come when those in power act or when the powerless take things into their own hands (the two are related)? Ben Caspit reports this debate at a cabinet security briefing and pursues it in an interview about the baby boomers with right-wing immigration minister Ze’ev Elkin.
A UN official visits Hebron, the current centre of the violent hostility between young Palestinians and Israeli armed forces and settlers. He reports ‘a complete generation has lost hope in peace’. More than 25 of about 75 Palestinians shot dead have come from Hebron. Palestine’s biggest city has been flooded by Israel’s soldiers, weaponry and checkpoints. The residents live in a state of fear.
The Al Aqsa/Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif compound has long been the centre of violent conflict, overtly between Israeli forces and Palestinians, more covertly between different Palestinian factions and Jordan. Akiva Eldar says that Raed Salah, leader of the Islamic Movement’s northern branch, is now manoeuvring for it to become the dominant Palestinian faction in charge of the holy site. There are few rational voices in this dispute.
The two axioms of PM Netanyahu – ‘our security above all’ and ‘there is no partner for peace’ have effectively destroyed the left suggests Nechama Duek – though why they haven’t found a response to this hegemon is not asked. A second Ynet article on the attitudes of the growing population of religious Jews leaves no hope for a two-state solution.
The photo of PM Netanyahu staring at Gaza through binoculars with the lids still on is the epitome for David Grossman of Israel’s leadership. Sealed inside its own world, unable to see anything beyond it, feeding instead on the mind’s images of the Holocaust and immanent threats to Israel.
The ‘security’ situation in Palestine/Israel has been kicked into a crisis by the ‘knife intifada’. All international agencies fear a new MidEast crisis. Significantly, they have not blamed Palestinians for this latest emergency. “Security measures can be counterproductive if they are applied without special efforts to defuse situations before people lose their lives. If the use of force is not properly calibrated, it may breed the very frustrations and anxieties, from which violence tends to erupt” said the UN.
Israel’s Palestinian citizens are largely Bedouin – as are most of the knife-attackers. Here Joint List MK Zouheir Bahloul talks to Al Monitor about this troubled political identity – which drew him from sports broadcasting into the Knesset.
This is a long posting with articles from many sources. They do differ of course in their information and comments, but the point of posting a dozen pieces is to demonstrate the scale of the reaction to Netanyahu’s claim about the Grand Mufti. And as they say of comment sections, you know they’ve lost the plot when they start bringing Hitler into it.
Jonathan Cook and B’Tselem raise the alarm at the common practice of extra-judicial killings carried out by Israeli police who feel they have the licence to shoot dead any Palestinian who looks suspicious (don’t they all?). The chances that any police will be subject to judicial action or charge are virtually nil.
No-one doubts the anger causing young Palestinians to lash out; most doubt that they are organised or have clear goals or any strategy. And, unlike the past says Jonathan Cook, they have a quite new opposition to face – a highly aggressive, armed right wing and settler movement who accept no rules and, like the checkpoints, serve to separate Palestinians into isolated groups.
For some it presages the 3rd intifada – for others (including PM Netanyahu) it’s just the usual Palestinian nuisance which can be left to the security forces. Peter Beaumont reports from Jerusalem and the Guardian provides a briefing.