Despite the dramatic events on the eve of FIFA’s Zurich Congress, the agenda will be followed at the Congress and the Palestine Football Association will put their resolution. But this may not have the impact they hoped for given the media’s focus on the arrests of nine FIFA offficials and background stories on FIFA corruption.
Like male Palestinian journalists, women – who make up a third of the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate – are subject to assaults by Israeli army and police who don’t want their actions recorded. Such assaults leapt in number last year. Palestinian authorities are no more welcoming of critical reporters, but under their aegis women journalists are subject to sexist abuse and threats, which remain beyond the law.
Uri Avnery casts a despairing, but ever keen, eye over Netanyahu’s new government. He had not expected it to produce peace with Palestinians but he had hoped it would treasure democracy. There is little hope of that.
On the momentous festival of Shavout, when God handed down the 10 commandments to Moses, Robert Cohen asks why and when the state of Israel replaced God as the centre of Jewish identity and loyalty. His own critique of Israeli (unJudaic) oppression of another tribe has drawn huge hostility and accusations of treachery. Nationalism has swamped religion and ethics reducing Jewish identity to loyalty to a state.
It is said so often that antisemitism is rising in Europe that it seems to have become the new commonsense – of course it’s going up, look at all those Jew-hating Muslims. And ‘Palestinianism’ has become dominant making anti-Israelism the new antisemitism said Prof. Wistrich. Yet a careful analysis of the data by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research shows this is not so, though there some anomalies. High antisemitism in Poland, Russia and Spain, more antisemitic attacks recorded in the UK than in France, with its much larger Jewish population. It is clear that current methods of recording and evaluating antisemitism leaves much to be desired say the authors. Meanwhile some Jewish bodies act on the assumption of rising antisemitism with no base of evidence.
You may not have heard of Scott Walker, Republican governor of Wisconsin, who is known in his state for his anti-trade union policies. We repost this comment on his visit to Israel because it could be about anyone who needs to be a friend of Israel and needs not to know about Palestinians.
Peace between Israel and Palestine is in the national security interest of the US says President Obama in this exclusive and sympathetic interview with Asharq Al-Awsat. He speaks of the ‘daily indignities’ of Palestinian life under the occupation and the tragedy of lives lost in the Mediterranean sea. He is strong on empathy, vague on how this goodwill can be put into effect.
You would think, if you read multi-billionaire Sheldon Adelson’s Israel HaYom, that Israel was a frail little state teetering on the edge of extinction by the mighty armed forces of Palestine. Living in a delusional world is the kindest thing one can say from his paper’s response to the Vatican’s recognition of Palestine. More unkindly, you might see a very sick imagination. Bradley Burston thinks they’re making it up.
The Pope’s friendly and respectful treatment of President Abbas has not gone down well with the Israeli government, for whom Abbas is either a cunning terrorist or a servile simpleton. In the normal world, the Vatican treaty with Palestine, confirming its recognition of Palestine as a state, has been a godsend and its first canonisation of two Palestinian women has done much to strengthen the status of Christians in Palestine. Despite the international status of the Vatican, it is seen as another move in the European move towards refusing to play the Israeli negotiations game.
A theme this week, continued from last week, is the shambolic inability of Israel’s judicial system to manage even an approximation of judicial fairness. A report from Yesh Din gives accounts of some of the criminal harms done to Palestinians – and the failure (refusal) of police or courts to hold the Israeli offenders to account. Due process does not operate in the land of martial law.
Try “being a Palestinian in the West Bank, where the man in charge of administering your day-to-day life doesn’t even see you as a human being”. The man with these views, Jewish Home MK Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, has been appointed as the head of Civil Administration in the oPt. What hope for justice?
Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper is well-known as an Israeli groupie. Even Israelis will be surprised at his desire to introduce a law making boycott of Israeli goods an antisemitic hate crime. Robert Fisk asks if he would prefer critics of Israeli policies not to use such a peaceful means of protest and advocacy for Palestinian rights.
In winter they are freezing, in summer sweltering – life in a shipping container is never easy, but when whole families have to squeeze into them, enduring temperatures that range from 8º to 30º C, life for the homeless in Gaza becomes insufferable. As families leave their relatives’ overcrowded homes and schools return to educational use, a metal box may be the only thing left.
In both Israel and Palestine the male soldier epitomises the heroic defence of homeland against annihilation. He is the most revered figure – at the expense of the lives, aspiration and needs of women and girls. UNSRC resolution 1325 (2000) acknowledges the disproportionate and unique impact of armed conflict on them. It calls for the adoption of a gender perspective to consider the special needs of women and girls during conflict, repatriation and resettlement, rehabilitation, reintegration and post-conflict reconstruction. The group 1325 Israel exists to make this a reality – though there are tremendous obstacles against them realising this ambition.
The notion that Israel’s High Court upholds laws protecting human rights and freedom of expression is essential to Israel’s self-presentation as the only country in the Middle East with a government that acts under the rule of law. No, says Amjad Iraqi of Adalah. The record shows that it usually backs up anti-left and anti-Palestinians laws. It only diverges from its pro-government position when it needs to rescue Israel from international shame.
Ha’aretz has published so many articles and comments on the UK election that this posting carries several articles from this source alone. Some focus on whether Ed Miliband is Jewish enough, or the right sort of Jew, some on what should determine how Jews should vote in the UK (in any country?).
When Netanyahu lost the election after his first premiership, crowds exulted. It had been a ‘total catastrophe’. Now he has perfected his salesman’s patter (different products for home and US audiences) and displayed his affinity with the far right, today’s Israel can’t get enough of him. Uri Avnery looks at how Netanyahu became what he is. Or perhaps isn’t.
Mahmoud Abbas has chosen now to write a succinct Op-Ed on why now is the time. For Palestinians it’s now because of the referral to the International Criminal Court. By enclosing the Palestinian demand for statehood tightly within a framework of international law he hopes, at the least, to wrong-foot those who oppose the demand. Gershon Baskin comments on Abbas’ argument. He believes that disputed issues can be resolved, if the negotiations are conducted in secret.
Shimon Gapso, the mayor of Upper Nazareth campaigns as a racist (it increases the Jewish vote for him), refused to build a school for the 2000 Arab children of Upper Nazareth, provides no municipal services for Arabic speakers, is building a new neighbourhood for Orthodox Jewish families only, expecting the women to bear a lot of new Jews, and in brief is devoting all his mayoral energy to ensuring the Palestinian population of Upper Nazareth is as small and weak as possible. Jonathan Cook reports on his neighbour up the hill.
Zvi Barel picks up whispers of indirect Hamas/Israel talks being effected by a variety of intermediaries. The most that can be hoped for is a longer ceasefire and an easing of the siege Israel enforces on Gaza. However, Palestinians’ access to the outside world via air or sea ports is not on the cards. Israeli claims they have left Gaza and exert no control over the Strip are obvious lies.