Signs of a growing interest by Israeli Jews to consider a one-state solution suggest the idea is moving into the mainstream says Rachel Lever. Whether these signs, such as settlers willing to support getting building permits for Palestinians, manifests Israeli colonial expansion or a genuine readiness to accept one state with equal rights for all depends on context.
The speech by President Abbas to the UNGA on Thursday (see post below) has divided Palestinians; some can’t be bothered with what he has to say, some think he valuably brought Palestine’s predicament and Israel’s aggression to an international audience, some thought it was a demonstration of Palestinians’ lack of power and strategy. A critical article from Doc Jazz is followed by an overview from Ma’an news.
At a meeting of the UN’s General Assembly in New York on Thursday both President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu had a rare chance to discuss the urgent question of Palestine. President Abbas did so, solemnly. Israel’s Prime Minister preferred the delegates to imagine a war with Iran. He provided the pictures with the aplomb of a 7-year old and the conviction of Colin Powell with his WMD dossier.
The common bonds uniting the right in the USA and Europe are their ignorance and their belief that the West represents civilisation which is under attack from ‘savage’ Muslims. At home they rely on Stop Islamisation campaigns; beyond their frontiers, Israel is their sole outpost against the Islamic horde. From many articles, we post pieces from Mondoweiss and AlterNet.
The imprint of AIPAC on American legislation which channels money and military equipment to Israel is well-known. Here Grant Smith explains how they achieve this. Less well-known is the work of other agencies in smuggling out American nuclear material, allowing Israel to become the only nuclear-armed state in the Middle East (presumably known by the CIA, hence the distrust noted by Jonathan Cook).
Israel Hayom (the free tabloid owned by Sheldon Adelson) has launched an interview with Ehud Barak in which the Defence Minister elaborates his suggestion that Israel should withdraw unilaterally from the West Bank after incorporating three settlements into Israel proper. Critics think he is angling for the centre vote and swift condemnation suggests the idea has no traction amongst MKs. It would break the status quo between Israel/Palestine and amongst players in the ‘peace process’ and jeopardise a larger peace deal.
The series of votes, reports and decisions by the TUC in the last three years all rest on the assumption that Israel is the oppressor and the Palestinians the oppressed. So, argues Sarah Colborne, it is clear that the Israeli government’s propaganda is failing to impress the bulk of people outside the right wing in the UK.
Gerald Steinberg, founder and director of NGO Monitor which devotes a lot of time and money to denouncing any NGO which supports Palestinians, recently visited the UK to address MPs at the invitation of the Henry Jackson Society and ‘advise’ unnamed Jewish organizations that NGOs like Defence for Children International which use the word apartheid should not be given UK grants. The JC gives a disingenuous report, +972 an angry one.
A founding premise of Israel was that Jews would do the full range of work which had not been open to them in Europe. In reality there has always been a shortage of workers for the manual and menial jobs. Fearful of foreign immigrants diluting the Jewish state, writes JKD’Amours, the Civil Administration has begun offering more work permits to Palestinians – with the usual bureaucratic complexities and inconsistencies.
In a report delivered to the Security Council last week, Robert Serry, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East, warned that the financial crisis crippling the PA would, if left untreated, bring down the gains made so far in building Palestinian state institutions. That, coupled with the stalemate in negotiations, would make a two-state solution ever harder to bring about.
Despite its origin as a secular state, modern Israel has increasingly relied on fervent religious Jews to expand its boundaries and justify their seizure of land. Palestinians have lost the most but Israeli women also find their boundaries have shrunk as orthodox Jews venture into the public realm to lay down the rules on how women should behave and dress. Nira Yuval-Davis talks to Deniz Kandiyoti.
Professor Naomi Chazan contemplates the jittery, unhappy mood in Israel on the eve of Yom Kippur (25-26 September) and chastises the leaders for putting a drive to preserve the status quo with Palestinians and for Jewish uniformity before any ethical concerns.
They may wear hoodies, but faced with a BBC camera they boasted, bare-faced, of their price-tag exploits. Every stick of wood on the West Bank belongs to them and will be redeemed, every act of terrorism is doing God’s work. If such Jewish and Muslim youth seem indistinguishable in their self-righteous intimidaton, the IDF should be able to tell them apart. Yet they done little to uncover this ‘enemy within’.
Eva Illouz from the Hebrew University is not much taken with Judith Butler’s ideas about contemporary politics, or even politics as queer theory; but she deplores the horrible practice by some fans of Israel of bullying critics of Israel and exerting private pressure on institutions to withhold from those critics any acclaim or acceptance rather than engaging with them in public debate.
The main item in this posting is very distressing to read. It is an account by an Israeli soldier who was there, was so traumatised by what he saw that he was eventually discharged as mentally ill and has been unable to speak about it until now. This is followed by three letters to the NY Times written in response to the article by Seth Anziska, which we posted last week. Only the letter from Israel’s spokesman was published.
To many in the West, the saga of the video trailer for Innocence of Muslims has been an unnerving spectacle: watch the fanatical Islamophobes torment the fanatical Islamists with a crude prong of propaganda and sit back. In thoughtful pieces from Al Jazeera, Hamid Dabashi deplores this posturing of the extremes (and notes the line from antisemitism to Islamophobia); 2nd Tarak Barkawi explores the fear of the global reach of Islam from within the confines of the western nation state. + link to pastiche mock-ups of the West’s fears.
Why boycott Israel? Is Madonna planning to perform in North Korea? Rihanna in Sudan, or Elton John in Iran? No. Israel is the only one of the repressive nations which claims to live by western standards of democracy and the rule of law. At least Israel’s occupation does not discriminate – Christians are as oppressed as Muslims. Southern Africa’s Catholic Weekly makes the case for boycott.
Next Monday, 24th September, a High-level meeting of UNGA will discuss enforcing the rule of law — and representatives from the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions will call for the Assembly to adopt a resolution asking for an International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion on the legality of prolonged occupation.
‘The illusion that a movement structured like Hamas is running a mini-government that depends on only a handful of people,[who can be assassinated] without whom it would not exist, is at the heart of the deceit nurtured by Israel’ writes Zvi Bar’el in this review of a new Israeli book about Hamas. It reveals a more strategic body, willing for dialogue with Israel, than the rhetoric of ‘security’ permits to be known.
Three Palestinian prisoners in Israeli gaols (illegally moved from the oPt) and one on a total fast in a PA gaol are near death, without ever being charged.. Samer al-Barq, Hassan Safadi and Ayman Sharawna are held by the Israeli military under administrative detention. Zakaria Zubeidi has resumed his total fast after a Palestinian court refused to free him on Monday, despite PA assurances.