Enough is enough. There were significant protests by young people against the rule of Hamas in Gaza this week. The police responded with violence – which, by historical criteria, is unlikely to silence the anger. There is too little information to say more but the fact of popular anger against conditions in Gaza, and that the young blame Hamas, is worthy of note.
When it comes to elections in ‘the only democracy in the Middle East’ Israel is more like Africa than like any of its European parents. Analysis of results showed that it is not a melting-pot nor indeed that Jews have more in common with each other than with any other. Most voted on tribal lines, Ashkenazi, Sephardi, Mizrahi. The latter two make up more than half of Israel’s population and the left in particular lost out because of its contempt for the greater religiosity and tribal adherence of the poor under-classes.
The Palestinian Football Association is preparing its request to the FIFA Congress in May that Israel’s team be suspended from the association. Restrictions on Palestinian freedom of movement and association make it impossible for them to practice in the way players in other countries can and must. JfJfP Executive has written a letter in support of the PFA to FIFA.
In the midst of prolonged negotiations to create a coalition government PM Netanyahu has taken time off to promote two Knesset bills which will seriously weaken the powers and independence of the Supreme Court. Potential partners Kulanu and Labour may feel they have to set aside any conditions and join the government in order to prevent these changes going through. Is the PM playing a Machiavellian game of truth, dare, promise?
Arthur Goodman, JfJfP’s diplomatic liaison officer, grew up as a conventional, Israel right-Arabs wrong, Jew. Then came the startling and courageous rebellion of the 1st intifada and the re-telling of Israel’s story by Israel’s new historians. After that, it was JfJfP and his work as an incessant campaigning diplomat in the EU and parliament.
Publicity seeking, Muslim hating Pamela Geller has won the freedom to run a series of hate adverts on NY buses which say ‘Killing Jews is worship that draws us close to Allah’ attributed to Hamas. The test was not whether or not this quotation was true but whether or not is was protected by freedom of speech law, which a court ruled it was. The adverts are loudly opposed by the Jews Against Islamophobia Coalition. UPDATE This is the organisation attacked by assumed Muslims on May 4th. The AFDI event in Garland was called “Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest” and offered a $10,000 prize for the best artwork or cartoon depicting the Prophet.
Yes, Hamas was found guilty of storing ammunition in UNRWA schools, possibly firing from the schools. The PA is urged to investigate. The IDF, says the UN’s Board of Inquiry, shelled UNRWA schools where there were many hundreds of living refugees , killing 44 of them and injuring far more. If the IDF had liaised with the UN, if it really had targeted Hamas militants and ammunition dumps and so used more accurate missiles, exchanged information with UNRWA, these deaths could have been avoided. The IDF no longer takes steps to ensure civilians are not killed.
This is a meticulous account by the UN of who caused what damage to UNRWA schools which were made available for refugees from Operation Protective Edge. One of its findings is that information provided to the IDF about the schools had no effect – they were shelled anyway. Hamas did store some ammunition in some schools – UNRWA could have acted on this had the IDF informed them. Sadly, UNRWA now needs military advisers.
Israel still has no government. Netanyahu’s ‘crushing’ victory was more a swallowing victory – the further Right scuttled to safety to give Likud its unexpected number of seats. Which still left sizeable other Knesset parties which have to be let into a coalition. This is not a graceful business says Uri Avnery, with disgust. The scramble is on for who gets what.
Robert Wistrich, English Jewish Israeli historian of many subjects, was offered a platform at the Oxford Union to expound his views that antisemitism is growing (albeit in a new form of anti-Zionism or anti-Israelism, ie a superior 2.0 version because it is disguised) and that Islamophobia is an invention of Muslim militants. Close questioner Mehdi Hassan with Richard Kuper, Hannah Weisfeld, Sharif Nashashibi and BoD’s Jonathan Arkush as the ‘expert panel’.
In the week April 20th – 26th, 2015, our postings began and ended with the same issue: the new Israeli law (2011) forbidding anyone, including its citizens, from publicising the call for boycott of anything Israeli (Law for Prevention of Damage to State of Israel through Boycott). It’s in the news again because Uri Avnery headed a […]
Akiva Eldar gives his eloquent, and angry, response to those who ask him why he must be silent on the injustices perpetrated by his country against Palestinians and why he may not join with his fellows abroad in even talking about a boycott of bodies complicit in the occupation.
It is reasonable to think the BBC might address different questions to Israeli and Palestinian spokespersons; after all, the Israelis have the power, and the death toll to prove it. In BBC in Wonderland the reverse is true. Amena Saleem records the unbalanced questions and the nonsensical reasons the BBC offers for the difference.
There were fireworks and festivities for Israel’s Independence Day celebrations. But mostly there were military displays, military honours, and the announcement from Joe Biden that Israel, alone in the MidEast, would get the US’s new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft. Asher Schechter finds nothing to celebrate.
Older Palestinians remember the days when commerce between the West Bank and Gaza Strip was commonplace. Since Israel enforced the separation and Hamas entrenched its rule people in the two areas have become strangers to each other, bolstering suspicion and hostile beliefs about the other.
This is a brief article which suggests the biggest questions: the creation of the Jews’ state is also the creation and crushing of the Palestinian need for their own state. AFP reports on the Palestinian response to Israeli celebrations.
It’s controversial but W.European countries, including the UK, accept asylum seekers from the militaristic regimes of Eritrea and Sudan. Not so in Israel; as Richard Silverstein reports, the Jewish state returns them to likely death at the hands of psychotic ISIL.
The heads of mission of EU countries have sent in their annual report advising that it must act more firmly to stop the causes of the violence seen in Jerusalem last autumn. Heavy-handed policing and continued settlement building are cited. The diplomats say there will be no 2-state solution if the polarisation gets more severe.
‘It is time, now, to recognise the state of Palestine’ said Scotland’s minister of culture, Europe and external affairs, concluding the MSPs’ debate on recognition. Which was the view of most who spoke. It was ‘shameful’, said a spokesman for the foreign ministry because it was held on the eve of Israel’s Memorial Day which commemorates all Israelis who have died in war, the day before Independence Day..
The laws Israel’s Knesset has passed, forbidding commemoration of the Nakba or any call for boycott are measures of panic but have been effective in closing down open debate. Though many Israelis, like the Supreme Court, will be compliant, some remain defiant about free speech.