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We provide links to articles we think will be of interest to our supporters, informing them of issues, events, debates and the wider context of the conflict. We are sympathetic to much of the content of what we post, but not to everything. The fact that something has been linked to here does not necessarily mean that we endorse the views expressed in it.

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Settlements Generate Virtually No Economic Activity
"A recent Israeli government report estimated there are…$250 million in annual exports — [only] 0.55 percent of the national total — from the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, territories the international community generally considers illegally occupied."
Jodi Rodoren cited by Richard Silverstein, 22 Jan 2014

Daily acts of violence committed by Jewish Israeli citizens against West Bank Palestinians
"These incidents — now particularly heightened during the olive harvest season — are not the aberration from the norm, but a regular feature of life in the occupied West Bank. In 2012, over 7,500 Palestinian olive trees were destroyed. In the 5-year period between 2007 and 2011, there was a 315 percent increase in settler violence."
Mairav Zonszein, Israel Must Stop Settler Violence, 8 November 2013
Police impunity
After their own investigations establishing a prima facie violation, Btselem has lodged over 280 complaints of alleged police violence in the oPt since the start of the second Intifada: "we are aware of only 12 indictments" Btselem April 2013
Runners in the first ever Bethlehem Marathon were forced to run two laps of the same course on Sunday 21 April 2013, as Palestinians were unable to find a single stretch of free land that is 26 miles long in Area A, where the PA has both security and civil authority. See Marathon report
30th March, land day.
On 30 March 1976, thousands of Palestinians living as a minority in Israel mounted a general strike and organised protests against Israeli government plans to expropriate almost 15,000 acres of Palestinian land in the Galilee.The Israeli government, led by prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and defence minister Shimon Peres, sent in the army to break up the general strike. The Israeli army killed six unarmed Palestinians, wounded hundreds and arrested hundreds more, including political activists. All were citizens of Israel.
* Out of 103 investigations opened in 2012 into alleged offences committed by Israeli soldiers in the occupied territories, not a single indictment served to date
Yesh Din, 3 Feb 2013
* In total, out of an area of 1.6 million dunams in the Jordan Valley, Israel has seized 1.25 million − some 77.5 percent − where Palestinians are forbidden to enter.
Haaretz editorial, 4 Feb 2013


Jewish-Arab brothers for God’s rule

The launching of Imams Without Constraint in Egypt on April 7th, 2013. They object to the use by the state of mosques for political purposes and state interference in the appointment of imams. Egypt’s imams fights for their mosques’ independence. Photo by Adham Khorshed. The Grand Mufti also objected to ‘Islamists’ (Muslim Brotherhood) attempt to take over al-Azhar university. Egypt: Islamist Muslim Brotherhood set sights on al-Azhar

Between Tahrir and Zion squares

There’s no major difference between visions of ultra-Orthodox parties and Muslim Brotherhood
By Yaron London, Ynet new Op-Ed
July 09, 2013

As we follow the dramatic developments in Egypt, we should ask ourselves in what ways we are similar to the Egyptians and how we differ from them. Those who object to the comparison will say: What does one thing have to do with the other? Our political tradition, they’ll say, is democratic and our ancient culture excels in verbal disputes, not blandishing swords.

I disagree. I believe a cautious comparison is the main benefit from the analysis of the reasons behind the events in Egypt. There are crucial differences between us and the Egyptians, but historic processes occur when slight changes pile up like straw on a camel’s back. The exhausted camel suddenly collapses. It always happens suddenly.

The threat to us lies in the relationship between theocracy and democracy. The literal meaning of theocracy is the rule of god, but the lord needs mediators – priests – who claim to know what he wants. It is forbidden to question their interpretation, so the rule of god is actually nothing more than the despotic rule of his authorized interpreters.

Following the revolt against Hosni Mubarak’s regime, the citizens of Egypt were given an opportunity to live a life of liberty, but they chose slavery. The choice sealed their fate, because democratic elections which result in the rise to power of a theocracy are the last democratic elections.

The tyranny of the interpreters of the religious laws can only be subdued by different kind of despots – the generals. Are we so far away from a situation where a theocracy will take over our damaged democracy with the help of democratic procedures?

Here is an example of theocratic “straw” being piled gently onto the camel’s back: The commanders of the haredi battalion “Netzah Yehuda” were replaced with religious commanders because the division commander wanted to prevent tension between commanders and their subordinates. Sensitivity, an excellent trait in and of itself, formed a military unit whose soldiers will be confused as to who has authority over them when it will matter most.

The paradox: A democratic party with secular characteristics is the main proponent of the expansion of this dangerous gamble, assuming army service will integrate the haredim into general Israeli society and instill in them modern and democratic worldviews. I suppose the result will be unfavorable: The theocratic core will expand and will obtain not only political power, but weapons as well.

There are those who say that most people who vote for haredi factions are more moderate than their political representatives. This is also what is said of the Palestinian population in Gaza and the Egyptians who supported the Muslim Brotherhood. “The people,” the pundits claim, did not want the results of their actions. “The people” were angry at the corrupt regime. “The people” merely wanted to live in peace and have enough bread. “The people” are not ideological. Perhaps, but this explanation has little value, because once the ballot is cast it cannot be pulled out from the ballot box.

Rabbis and supporters of the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism party during a gathering, January, 2013. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Among the 3.8 million citizens who voted in the elections for the 19th Knesset, 528,000 supported Shas and United Torah Judaism, parties which take orders from rabbis who despite democracy and are longing for the day when the halacha will replace the laws being enacted by the people through their elected representatives. There is no significant difference between the vision of these parties and the Muslim Brotherhood’s vision.

In the last elections some 346,000 supported Habayit Hayehudi, a party which hails democracy. However, half of the MKs on its roster declare their subordination to rabbis and favor the supremacy of “Judaism” over democracy.

Among Likud’s supporters there are also those who are in favor of a regime that is guided by the halacha. They are not conservatives like the Christian parties that rule some countries in Europe. Rather, they are messianic religious Jews (Moshe Feiglin is the most eloquent of this lot) who are certain the people will eventually hand over to them the reins of government peacefully. Is this not what happened in Egypt?

See also the critique of the Israeli state in the chief rabbinate, Arab-haters compete to be Israel’s Chief Rabbi

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